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Oct 7, 2014

…And Seeks Legal Redress

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

As we said, the matter is disturbing, but the alleged victim of the discrimination has not chosen to stay silent. Supported by the Muslim community, she has sought legal recourse. On September twenty-fourth, because she could not enter the courtroom, the application for a restraining order was thrown out by the Magistrate. That means that in addition to the discrimination, there is the matter of real danger from a volatile domestic situation. Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd has taken on the case, and told News Five today that she is shocked by the allegation.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney of Muslim Woman

“When I was first approached about this case, I was a bit taken aback simply because I know that there are different types of discrimination in different work places or institutions, but the last place I expected to hear that there is this kind of constitutional breach of someone’s right is at the courts because you got to the courts to seek redress for many issues. So when I was first asked by someone in the Muslim community to look into it and deal with it and then I met the complainant, I realized that it was something serious. However, being that we are officers of the law, there are certain things we try to do to resolve issues and that’s what we’ve tried so far.”


Mike Rudon

“From your knowledge of the law, is there anything which would explain why she was asked to remove her head dress before entering the courtroom?”


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Absolutely nothing within the law can force anyone to take an action that would go against their religious belief. So she wearing her hijab is part of her manifestation and part of her religious belief. It is not just a style; it is what identifies you with that belief, it is a way that you manifest and profess that belief. It is what the women must wear when they profess that faith. To do otherwise is to go against your creed. And so the constitution protects you from discrimination based on your religious belief or creed as we would say. Nothing, no law, trumps that belief. So let’s say for security reasons they would say we have to search you. They can search you and they can put you in a private room and remove any clothing you have to search you, but it has to be that they have good reasons to suspect that you are a menace or a danger. At the end of the day, my client was not allowed in the courtroom and at the end of the day, her matter was not heard. You have to look at the matter itself. She didn’t jsut go there to apply for some frivolous matter; she went there to apply for a protection order because she is in a physically, emotionally and mentally abusive relationship, a very dangerous one. She has had to go to the police and has done a report. So the police has had made it known clear—and anybody would know this—the police can only intervene after something has happened to you or could do certain things. Seeking a protection order is a way for you not to have to wait for someone to do you something for you to call the police. And so my answer to your first question is no, I don’t know of anything in the law that would allow you to tell a person or a female Muslim that they have to take off their headwear. Nothing.”


Matura-Shepherd has written to the family court asking for an explanation, and is awaiting a response before any further action is taken.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “…And Seeks Legal Redress”

  1. Concerned citizen says:

    This muslim woman was deliberately discriminated against because of her religious beliefs. She is not the only person being discriminated against because of religious beliefs but thank God she was able to stand up for her rights unlike other people who have been trampled upon. I have a a friend who is muslim and she was directly told by American investigators that she is a follower of Osama Bin Laden but she remained quiet about it because nobody would be able to assist her. So far they had nothing to prove and whatever they were investigating they never came back to her and ask anymore questions. But the minute one confesses that he or she is muslim, they are labelled as terrorist which is quiet sad because one can no longer practice their religion in peace.

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