by Muthoni kimani
May 28, 2020
A Muslim woman has become the first hijab-wearing judge in the UK.
Raffia Arshad 40, was appointed a deputy district judge in the Midlands after a 17-year career in law. She wants young Muslims to know they can achieve anything they work hard to do and that nothing is impossible.
When addressing the press, she said;
“It is definitely bigger than me, I know this is not about me. It is important for all women, not just Muslim women, but it is particularly important for Muslim women.”
“It’s odd because it’s something I’ve been working towards for a number of years and I always imagined I’d be absolutely ecstatic when I found out. ‘I was happy, but the happiness I’ve had from other people sharing this is far greater.”
“I’ve had so many emails from people, men and women. It’s the ones from women that stand out, saying that they wear a hijab and they thought they wouldn’t even be able to become a barrister, let alone a judge.” She added.
The judge said despite the experience she has gathered; she sometimes gets mistaken in the law court as an interpreter or client.
Raffia said that in 2001, a family member advised her not to wear her hijab to a scholarship interview stating it would affect people's view of her.
She concluded by saying, it's up to her to be that voice for other women, to make sure the sound of diversity is heard loud and clear and that it gets to the appropriate places.