The Australian National Imams Council announced yesterday the release of a document titled Explanatory Note on the Judicial Process and Participation of Muslims (full text).  Prepared in cooperation with the Judicial Council of New South Wales, the document is designed to:a) give practical guidance and explanation to members of the Australian Muslim community of the etiquette and behaviours expected of persons engaging in the judicial processes so that they may act consistently with these without compromising their religious beliefs; and,b) provide information to judicial officers on Islamic concepts and practices as they relate to matters which may be raised in connection with Muslims participating in the court processes.Among other things, the document says that there are no religious prohibitions on a Muslim standing up for the Magistrate or judge as a sign of respect.  It also announces:It is not contrary to Sharia law for a woman to uncover her face when she is giving testimony in court, whether she is a witness in a case or is there to witness a deal, and it is not contrary to Sharia law for the Magistrate or Judge (male or female) to look at her in order to know or identify who she is, make assessments as to credibility where this is an issue and protect the rights of all concerned.The document also outlines the appropriate way to swear in a Muslim witness. Daily Telegraph, reporting on the document, outlines some of the situations in Australian courts that led to the need for these clarifications.



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