“What’s in a Face? Sexual Assault and Niqab-Wearing Women in Courtrooms”

The Feminist Research Speakers Series Presents:

Professor Natasha Bakht
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

“What’s in a Face? Sexual Assault and Niqab-Wearing Women in Courtrooms”


Thursday March 31
3:30 pm- 5:00 pm
HC L3 (Humanities Centre Lecture Hall 3, University of Alberta)

Reception to follow in HC 4-29

All are welcome!

Further information: 780.248-1192 or luhmann@ualberta.ca

Co-sponsored by the Centre for Constitutional Studies and LEAF Edmonton.

Last year, a Muslim woman complainant in a sexual assault trial made a request to testify in court with her niqab or full-face veil. Her initial request, which was denied, is currently making its way through the Canadian judicial system. Muslim women around the world who wear the full-face veil have found themselves to be the targets of arbitrary governmental policies and public objections to their dress. Unfortunately, Canada has been no exception. The depth of discomfort evoked by these women and their outward markers of religiosity is extraordinary and results in a wide range of rationalizations as to why their choice of dress must be banned. Professor Natasha Bakht will analyze the growing agitation that has been expressed about these Muslim women and argue that niqab-wearing women must be treated with respect and equality.

Natasha Bakht is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s common law program. She clerked with Madam Justice Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada and holds an LL.M. from New York University School of Law where she attended as a Global Hauser scholar. Academia allows her to pursue policy work and volunteer with a range of organizations, including the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) and the National Judicial Institute. Professor Bakht is also a member of the National Legal Committee of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). She has published in the area of women’s equality rights and religion.

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