5 August 2021 – LRC statement on the derogatory remarks made towards Advocate Bawa during the Constitutional Court hearing in Women’s Legal Centre Trust v President of the Republic of South Africa

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The Legal Resources Centre condemns the derogatory remarks made today towards Advocate Nasreen Bawa shortly before she presented her arguments to the Constitutional Court in Women’s Legal Centre Trust v President of the Republic of South Africa, a matter which seeks recognition of Muslim marriages in South Africa.  

Ms. Yasmin Omar of Omar Attorneys, appearing for Lajnatun Nisaa-il Muslimaat, was heard from her unmuted microphone during the virtual hearing saying “Look how Nazreen Bawa came. She is dressed like a ninja. Did she always dress like that? She didn’t. She’s putting on an act today. Can you see?” Omar stated to News24 that her comments were about “something playing in the background” and were not directed at Advocate Bawa. While we note Ms. Omar’s statement to News24, the comments she made in court were hateful and are particularly offensive given the nature of the matter before the apex court.

Considering the clear recording of her comments, we stand in solidarity with the Women’s Legal Centre, and endorse their statement that Ms. Omar’s utterances are not only hurtful and undermine Advocate Bawa’s professionalism, but they also make a mockery of Muslim women who choose to dress in line with their religious beliefs.