A judge in Australia has issued a warning to a Muslim woman after she refused to stand when he entered the courtroom. Her lawyer claims this is because “she won't stand for anyone except Allah.”
The woman is named Moutia Elzahed, and she is the second wife of Hamdi Alqudsi, a man who was convicted for recruiting for ISIS in Syria. She was appearing in Sydney District Court relating to a civil matter.
Elzahed, Alqudsi and her two sons are suing the Australian government for assault and battery in a 2014 counter-terrorism raid.
Judge Audrey Balla explained to Elizahed’s lawyer Clive Evatt that Elzahed “doesn't stand” for the judge when she enters the court room.
Evatt replied she had told him that she was standing for “religious reasons” before stopping to check with other lawyers.
He then continued, explaining to the court: “She's a Muslim, your honour, a strict Muslim and according to my instructions she won't stand for anyone except Allah which I'm not particularly happy with, Your Honour.”
Judge Balla then noted he wanted to make sure Elzahed had been told about a recent offense created by a new law “which may relate to such conduct.”
The judge also noted “any action” would be made by other parties, and that she “just wanted to check she's received advice.”
Balla also pointed out that each occasion she doesn't stand may be a separate offense.
Of note, the NSW government introduced a new law with penalties for disrespecting the court.
The new law was enacted on September 1, 2015, and it carries a maximum penalty of up to 14 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $1000.
Balla refused to hear Elzahed's evidence if she wore her niqab, which covers every part of her body except her eyes.
The judge also commented she has hopes for a verdict on the case by the end of the current judicial term.