Niqab assault case ends in suspended sentence
A woman who pleaded guilty to assault after pulling off a Muslim woman’s face veil at a Mississauga, Ont., shopping mall was given a suspended sentence on Friday.
Rosemarie Creswell pleaded guilty to assault after mall security footage showed her pulling off Inas Kadri’s traditional face veil, known as a niqab, at Sheridan Centre in Mississauga in August 2010. Kadri was with her two small children when the attack occurred.
Kadri claims she was approached by two women, and one began berating her.
"She was swearing at my religion, my face cover and by my presence here in Canada," Kadri said in an interview on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning on Friday. "It was a shock."
You can listen to the entire interview with Kadri by clicking here.
In court Friday, Creswell’s lawyer argued for a conditional discharge, meaning she would have no criminal record.
'Not to be tolerated'
Judge Ian Cowan disagreed, and issued her a suspended sentence plus one year of probation and community service. It means she will have criminal record but won't have to serve time.
"I don't know what you were thinking at the time...," he said. "Any assault because of the differences people have with one another is not to be tolerated."
The judge suggested that part of Creswell's community service could be at a local mosque so she can learn more about Islam.
Creswell submitted a handwritten apology to Kadri. "I had no right to behave in this manner, and I would appreciate for you to accept my apology," she wrote. "I now have a much greater appreciation for what I did to you and its effect upon you and your family."
The court was filled with Kadri's friends, family and some strangers interested in the case.
"It's not only my case," Kadri said afterward. "It's a Muslim community case. It's everybody in Canada who has a right to practice their freedom."