I noticed that newswatchcanada.ca had a title and link up this morning, from the Toronto Star, saying that at least one Muslim group wants the niqab and burkas banned in Canada. Why? Originally dated Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, here is a sample of what the Star column states:
- “Middle Eastern garments designed to cover a woman’s face are “medieval” and “misogynist” symbols of extremism with no basis in Islam, a Canadian Muslim lobby group said Wednesday as it urged Ottawa to ban the burka and the niqab.”
- “The Muslim Canadian Congress called on the federal government to prohibit the two garments in order to prevent women from covering their faces in public – a practice the group said has no place in a society that supports gender equality.”
Hmm. So, Prime Minister Harper’s statements recently that the niqab is a medieval anti-feminine symbol is actually how many Canadian Muslims feel themselves. And, let’s clarify. Mr. Harper has never said anything against the hijab, which is simply a head covering. Nor has he ever said anything about a total ban on face coverings.
Anyway, good for the Star to remind us how out of touch Justin Trudeau, and all those screaming backlash, are with the majority of Muslims who are law abiding Canadians. Trudeau needs to re-read what the Muslim Canadian Congress said and apologize to all those Muslims he claims to be speaking for. Trudeau also needs to realize that other recent Liberal leaders have spoken out against the veil, like Michael Ignatieff did in March of 2010.
As a woman of retirement age, I can tell you that looking at the photo image of Zunera Ishaq with her face covered makes me cringe. I came of age in the late 1950s, and to think that I and millions of my fellow Canadian women have struggled since that time for equality, only to end up seeing women hiding their faces and calling it empowering.
Hardly! If it was so empowering, why do Muslim men not cover their faces as well? Because what it is, in reality, is a not so subtle example of oppression. At the very least, Muslim women should show their faces when they are taking the Citizenship oath.
The crux of the matter is that this discussion should not only be about Muslim woman and their rights. What about the rest of us? By showing their face for that one minute when they become a Canadian, they are showing some respect for our rights and the society they claim they want to belong.
Beyond that moment, of course, whether we like the niqab or not, most Canadians, including me, are tolerant of their chosen oppression.