Meet Raffia Arshad, The First Hijab-Wearing Muslim Judge In The UK

Raffia Arshad

The religion of Islam has currently more than 1.3 billion adherers in the world. Most of them are in Africa, the Arab world, and in Asia. It is rare to find any practicing Muslims in a good position in the western world. Recently, a woman, Raffia Arshad, in the United Kingdon (UK) has become the first judge who wears a Hijab.

The Hijab wearing judge wants Mulsim to know nothing is impossible in the world and they can have anything that they desire. Raffia started dreaming of her career when she was only 11 years old. However, certain questions haunted her while she used to dream about becoming a lawyer. She used to wonder, would there b people who look like her and belong to the same minority background.

Almost 30 years later, Raffia is not only a successful lawyer but is a Deputy District Judge on the Midlands circuit. Rafia, who is the mother of three gave a thorough interview

Raffia said, “It’s definitely bigger than me, I know this is not about me. It’s 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.”

Rafia still faces discrimination

Despite the fact that Raffia is in a powerful position, she still meets discrimination and biases “sometimes on a daily basis”. Raffia grew up in West Yorkshire. Once her own family member advised her interview for a scholarship at the Inns of Court School of Law.  Her possibility of favorable outcome would lessen if she wore Hijab, her relative tole Raffia – However, Raffia did not submit and wore hijab.

She said, “I decided that I was going to wear my headscarf because for me it’s so important to accept the person for who they are and if I had to become a different person to pursue my profession, it’s not something I wanted.  So I did, and I succeeded in the interview. I was given a considerable scholarship. I think that was probably one of the most profound first steps in my career. It was a solid ‘, yes, you can do this’.”

Raffia told “Recently, an usher asked: ‘Are you a client?’ ‘No I’m not.’ “You must be the interpreter?” “No I’m not.” “Are you here on work experience?” “I’m actually the barrister”.’ “I have nothing against the usher who said that, but it reflects that as a society, even for somebody who works in the courts, there is still this prejudicial view that professionals at the top end don’t look like me.” She continued: “I think one of the things that hold women back is Imposter Syndrome. There are many times I’ve been in a courtroom and I suddenly think: ‘Am I good enough?'”

Rafia believes young Muslims will follow her

Despite discrimination, she believes that young Muslims may follow her and get inspiration if they see many of suck people working in various professions. Raffia said: “The judicial office are doing their utmost to promote diversity and at the time they appointed me they didn’t know I was going to be the first hijab-wearing judge. I’ve been appointed on merit, not because I wear a hijab.”

Raffia Arshad

Source: Twitter

“But now it’s up to me to be that voice for them, to make sure the sound of diversity is heard loud and clear and that it gets to the appropriate places.” Besides,  the Joint Heads of St Mary’s Family Law Chambers asserted they were “delighted to hear of Raffia’s appointment”. Vickie Hodges and Judy Claxton said: “Raffia has led the way for Muslim women to succeed in the law and at the Bar and has worked tirelessly to promote equality and diversity in the profession. It is an appointment richly deserved and entirely on merit and all at St Mary’s are proud of her and wish her every success.”

Furthermore, Hijab is important in Islam. There are certain reasons why Muslim women wear Hijab. To conclude, Raffia Arshad wants young Muslims to believe in their dreams despite discrimination.

What do you think of Raffia Arshad? Let us know in the comments section below!

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