Ontario: suspended sentence in niqab assault case

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. 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.

CBC News, 25 November 2011