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Tuesday night on air . . .

Paul Coletti | 17:46 UK time, Tuesday, 24 October 2006

We're live on air revisiting our Hungarian 'revolutionaries' from last night, discussing the veil incident in Detroit and talking about whether working mums can be good mums.

Hungary and its 50th anniversary of the uprising

Andras: “Today about 10am I went back to the area and the streets were clean and the city centre looked peaceful. No real damage. The protestors are being blamed for being disobedient.%E2%80%9D

Szilad : “I have to say I don’t agree with the protestors’ behaviour: damaging cars and using a tank etc. They should manage this in another way.%E2%80%9D

Istvan: “It’s raining now and there are not many people on the streets. It’s seems like a double-bladed sword. On the one hand I sympathise with the crowd for raising their voices but on the other . . . “

Zolli: “We have to be very careful about drawing parallels with the past.%E2%80%9D

An e-Mail has just come in

Michael, Jamaica
Isn't it ironic that the Hungarians are today demonstrating for what they were demonstrating for 50 years ago - honest politicians?

Ros wants to know: who do the protestors represent?

Kristina was caught up in the unrest: “There was a rush of people at Astoria with shots coming too and before Viktor’s speech had ended the police started shooting into the crowd who weren’t even protesting. They wanted nothing to do with it. They just wanted a peaceful commemoration.%E2%80%9D

Anna was also there: “I have very different views. Orban Viktor (of the Fidesz opposition party) made a mistake in calling people to Astoria. It’s not a square for collecting people for a demo. It’s completely inept for that purpose and they knew that. He and his fellow politicians keep making such mistakes. It’s not true that this government is illegitimate.%E2%80%9D

Kristina: “Innocent people were being shot at.%E2%80%9D

Anna: “It was just rust rubber bullets . . .%E2%80%9D

Kristina: Not just rubber bullets . . there was tear gas too. People just wanted to commemorate the day.%E2%80%9D

Szilad: “Choosing Astoria was probably not the best choice.%E2%80%9D

Istvan: “The police brutally over-reacted in the situation. It’s like firing bullets at peoples’ heads, that’s an international shame. Everything nowadays is about politics in some way.“

Kristina: “I would like to see less pointing of fingers. Something really needs to be done. We need to take the next step . . I don’t know.%E2%80%9D

Anna: “I believe that what happened yesterday and I think the police reacted properly and I thank the police for what the did yesterday. I feel safe now.%E2%80%9D

Detroit veil . . .we’ve a discussion panel live from WDET in Detroit.

Ginnah Muhammad is the woman at the centre of the story and she feels the Judge got it wrong: “Judge Paruk is looking for attention. He never opened my case, he was too busy lookin’ at me and I’m not looking for attention. I want to thank everybody in Michigan for their comments in the paper. We have a right to free speech and in America you can choose who you want to be.%E2%80%9D

We’re just taking a break for the news . . . we’ll be right back.

. . . we’re back in WDET in Detroit where we’ll be with the WHYS roadshow in November.

Ginnah: “I went to court for a small-claims injustice and when I got there the judge called me right up and said ‘Do you want your case heard? You have two choices: you either take the veil off or your case is dismissed’. People said I lost the case ‘cos I didn’t show up but I was there.%E2%80%9D

We’re switching to working mums but we’ll be back to Ginnah and the panel soon.

Anna believes looking after a child is a full-time job: “We’re all victims of this 30-year-old ideology. There are no winners in this game. Your child needs you. You cannot successfully avoid it nor delegate it.%E2%80%9D

I didn’t get the name but someone, maybe Rhoda in Kenya just said: “You could get attached to the hip to your child. It’s not healthy to spend too much time. . .%E2%80%9D

Eileen is in Nairobi: “I see nothing wrong with a mother going back to work. Here in Africa it’s necessary – we need two incomes to keep the home going. But we’re talking about quality time.%E2%80%9D

Anna: “Babies are becoming a commodity. Something you pay for.%E2%80%9D

Tracy: Your kids are only small once. Enjoy them. When they grow up they’ll never be small again.%E2%80%9D

The mails are flying in

Sarah - a working woman in the USA
One would never hear the question, can a working dad be a good dad? Males have never been put up to this criticism, but now that the majority of women are working, their new dual role is being questioned. It takes a lot of work to be a good parent and people who need to have jobs to provide for their families should be helped, not criticised.

Back to the Detroit veil story . .

. . . the debate is in full swing, we’ve got the Mighty Quinn of WDET helping us.

Larry: “An alternative would have been to see if a female judge could have been assigned to the case.

Ginnah: “This is my first time ever in court and I’m 42. I go to court and they kick me out.%E2%80%9D

Professor Sayed of Wayne State Uni knows a thing or two about Islam: “The scholars say that even if it’s a muslim judge the judge has the right to see the face of the defendant.%E2%80%9D

Nadia Fadell: “She is being discriminated against. This will potentially pose another issue in the courts system. Freedom to practise our religion should not stop once we get into the courtroom. In terms of truthfulness they are other means such as body language. She doesn’t put on the veil just for the courts.%E2%80%9D

Ginnah: “I don’t feel I’m above the law. I follow the law, I stop at red lights.%E2%80%9D

Jennifer phoned in from Virginia: “I support the fact that you wear the headscarf. I don’t see it as something optional for you. We’re so fortunate to have the freedoms we have. She should have been deposed by a woman judge.%E2%80%9D

Ginnah: “I gave him that option. He said ‘No, I’m in charge of my own courtroom.’%E2%80%9D

Syed Khan: “I have to give the judge the benefit of the doubt.%E2%80%9D

Some mails are coming in

Here in Canada we have an instrument called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which upholds the rights of Canadians in many matters and it has always been my understanding that the US constitution upholds the rights of its citizens in matters of freedom of speech and religious expression as well. Perhaps I am mistaken, but doesn't the actions of this judge directly contravene the principles upon which that country was founded? Should this Muslim woman not be entitled to the same protection under the constitution as all other US citizens?

The argument that the veil interferes with communication is absolute rubbish and a blatant example of discrimination and intolerance which has always been rife in America.

Toronto, Canada

What does wearing a veil have to do with presenting evidence in court? I believe in separation of church and state however I don’t see why the judge behaved as he did.
It makes it appear as if the judge has prejudice against Muslims. Why does seeing her full face make her any more believeable? Is there a law that says that a person’s entire face must be visible in court? What about accident victims? Are they to take off bandages so the judge can see the whole face? Does the Judge have the legal right to dismiss a case because of Ginnnah Muhammad’s wearing a niqab?

Michele Lonoconus
Thompsonville Mi (formerly of Detroit)

Nadia: I don’t belive that this case will have a negative effect. There will be a backlash in courtrooms though

Larry Dubin: “This is a legal issue. You don’t have to show the judge acted in bad faith. I would just say the judge erred in disqualifying a witness from taking the stand. You can only do that in very rare cases.%E2%80%9D

Another mail just in . . .

It would be quite difficult to conduct a proper civil trial without the removal of the veil. Assigning a female judge would not do the trick. Both attorneys must be allowed to view the witness' testimony as well. Therefore, both attorneys would have to be female as well. I do agree that a procedure needs to be put into place to allow muslim women to testify without removing any clothing. However, there is also a XIV Amendment issue here, because if muslim women are treated differently than everyone else in a court room they would be receiving special rights and that would violate the Constitution.
Perhaps we should all check our religion at the door of the court house.
Brad, Law Student, Boston, MA

Well that’s it for another night. Special thanks to WDET in Detroit and you, our listeners. Sleep tight!


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