At the start of the hearing of a case, Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) v President of South Africa on the recognition of Muslim marriages in the Constitutional Court this morning (5 August 2021) that was online via Zoom and available on Youtube, a participant logged into the hearing link was heard referring to WLC counsel, Advocate Nazreen Bawa SC, as “looking like a ninja”. The individual in question was further intimated that Advocate Bawa was only dressed in a religious headscarf because she was putting on an act for the court given the subject matter of the hearing.

Look at Nasreen Bawa, she’s dressed like a ninja. Did she always dress like that? She didn’t. She’s putting on an act today, can you see?

Justice Steve Arnold Majiet could then be heard saying: “It’s a Ms Yasmeen Omar that was speaking. Can people please mute.”

The WLC subsequently published a press statement on their website “The WLC takes great exception to the utterances made against both our counsel as a womxn, as a legal practitioner and as a Muslim womxn who has chosen to express her religious beliefs. The comments were made by another female legal practitioner at the beginning of what is arguably the most important case related to the rights of Muslim womxn in our country’s constitutional democracy”.

The WLC further states

“We are saddened but completely not surprised that she has been targeted as the face of the case today in such a vile and misogynistic manner. “

Social media has been at the front lines of calling out for justice and a public Apology by Zehir Omar Attorneys for the statement made by their representative.

One user posted on whatsapp groups:

“In fact Zahir Omar should also be held accountable and made to apologise as well, as he is the principal of the practice and it indicates the attitude of his practice towards Muslim Women.”

“An Embarrassing Own Goal
Who needs enemies when we publicly undermine ourselves”