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UK Appoints First Muslim Hijab-Wearing Judge

Raffia Arshad, 40, has become the first hijabi Muslim woman to become a judge in the UK

Arshad was appointed a deputy district judge on the Midlands circuit last week after spending seventeen years working in law.

“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,” she told Metro.

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Arshad’s law career consisted of triumphant work in a variety of fields, including advocating for the rights of children, fighting against forced marriages and female genital mutilation, and being a prominent voice for Islamic law issues. 

Although Arshad has an extensive and impressive career in law, she has often felt the brunt of prejudice and discrimination.

Arshad described how she sometimes gets mistaken for a client or interpreter while in the courtroom. These experiences have often caused her to second-guess her ability to lead or be considered good enough.

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After training in London, Raffia was called in 2002 and received pupilage in Nottingham, joining St Mary’s Family Law Chambers in 2004.

Arshad became a successful Barrister, and became an expert and writer in issues related to Islamic family law.