NEWS

Rania El-Alloul working on formal complaint against hijab ruling

03/13/2015 06:57 EDT | Updated 05/13/2015 05:59 EDT
Rania El-Alloul, the Montreal woman who was asked by Quebec Court Justice Eliana Marengo to remove her hijab, says she's still working on drafting a formal complaint against the judge.

In a brief interview with CBC, El-Alloul said she's been overwhelmed by hundreds of media calls and offers of support since CBC broke the story two weeks ago.  

El-Alloul said she's not doing any more interviews for the moment, and that she's working with the Ottawa-based National Council of Canadian Muslims on a formal complaint against Marengo to be filed with Quebec's judicial council, which oversees judges appointed by the province.

Earlier this month, Montreal resident Jean-Pierre Lussier, who doesn't know El-Alloul, filed his own complaint against the judicial council.

In the complaint, Lussier said Marengo's decision was decried by many citizens, politicians and groups that support the protection of civil rights across Canada.

Crowdfunding money turned down

El-Alloul's case made national headlines and led to an outpouring of public support.

A crowdfunding campaign raised more than $50,000 for El-Alloul, but in a letter posted on the fundraising website she explained she couldn't accept the money.

"Although, I very much appreciate the financial support offered by this generous and warm-hearted campaign, I cannot accept this gift," El-Alloul wrote.

"The awareness raised by this campaign has brought us people from all over, who have offered support to carry this issue forward. As a result, I believe that these funds can be put to better use helping those whose rights have been forfeited and stories left untold."

El-Alloul was in court Feb. 24 to make a formal request before Marengo to get her car back after it had been seized by Quebec's automobile insurance board. 

Marengo told El-Alloul that the courtroom was a secular place and that she would have to remove her hijab if the case was to proceed. After El-Alloul refused, the case was suspended indefinitely.

In her ruling, Marengo cited a Quebec court regulation that states simply that people appearing before a judge must be "suitably dressed."

The incident prompted NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to publicly condemn the judge's actions.  

The prime minister's office issued a statement saying that as long as people's faces were uncovered, they should be permitted to appear before a judge.  

El-Alloul's car was seized after her 21-year-old son was stopped driving it with a suspended licence. In Quebec, cars seized in such circumstances are held by the Insurance board for 30 days.

El-Alloul said she expects to finally get her car back on Friday.

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