Quebec judge who asked woman to remove hijab in court offers apology

Rania El-Alloul takes part in a news conference Friday, March 27, 2015, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz-The Canadian Press)

MONTREAL -- A Quebec judge has apologized five years after she refused to allow a Muslim woman to appear in court wearing a hijab.

A letter of apology from Quebec court Judge Eliana Marengo was read out today at a hearing of the province's judicial council.

In the letter, Marengo apologizes for having refused to hear Rania El-Alloul's 2015 case unless she removed her hijab, saying at the time that El-Alloul was violating rules requiring suitable dress.

Marengo says she accepts that she was wrong in her interpretation of the law and never intended to disrespect El-Alloul or her religious beliefs.

In a letter of response read during the hearing, El-Alloul, who had gone to court to reclaim a seized vehicle, said the judge's actions caused her pain but she accepts the apology.

The hearing of the judicial council, known as the Conseil de la magistrature, will now evaluate Marengo's request to end the disciplinary procedures that were launched against her following the incident.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 8, 2020


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