Stephen Harper's niqab legal battle seen by Muslims as politics

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      Some Muslims are baffled by the level of political rhetoric around the niqab.

      Other than the fact that it is an election year, they can’t see why the wearing of this face-concealing veil by some Muslim women while taking the oath of Canadian citizenship has become a hot-button issue.

      Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that the niqab is “rooted in a culture that is antiwomen”. His government earlier this month appealed a February court decision that struck down the 2011 ban his administration slapped on wearing the niqab during citizenship-oath-taking ceremonies.

      Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, for his part, compared the Conservatives’ stance to Canada’s hostility to Jewish refugees before the Second World War.

      According to Langara College lecturer Itrath Syed, it’s like Quebec last year when that province’s ruling party introduced a pre-election bill that sought to bar public servants from wearing overt religious symbols and clothing.

      “We saw this in Quebec as part of their election, and we’re seeing it here in the federal election,” Syed told the Straight in a phone interview.

      From Burlington, Ontario, Nina Karachi-Khaled, a board member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, said that the niqab is simply a “form of dress” that some Muslim women wear out of religious belief.

      Although Karachi-Khaled finds it “really unfortunate” that Harper thinks the veil is a symbol of oppression, she said she also thinks Trudeau went a bit overboard with his comparison to anti-Semitism.

      “You know what? It is an election year, so the rhetoric going back and forth, I think, is not indicative of…[what] they’re going to be speaking about [otherwise],” Karachi-Khaled told the Straight by phone.

      Surrey-based Islamic scholar Aasim Rashid noted that the niqab shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place.

      According to Rashid, a former spokesperson of the B.C. Muslim Association, Muslim women around the world take off their niqab for identification purposes. (Zunera Ishaq, the woman who originally challenged the ban, was willing to unveil herself to confirm her identity prior to taking her Canadian citizenship oath wearing a niqab.)

      “Everyone does get their pictures taken for their driver’s licence, for their passport, and so on and so forth,” Rashid told the Straight by phone. “This is a nonissue.”




      Mar 25, 2015 at 11:00am

      Sad that appealing to fear of a minority and bigotry is now considered just politics in Canada. Latest poll shows that 1/3 of Canadians think even the hijab (head covering) should never be worn in public. This is the crowd Harper is appealing to and some thing this is politics. I think it is is rhetoric meant to appeal to the baser instincts and fears that, sadly, are not that difficult to stir up. Justin Trudeau was right to remind us of our racist past and say this is not how politics should be.

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      Charles The Hammer

      Mar 25, 2015 at 4:36pm

      “Other than the fact that it is an election year, they can’t see why the wearing of this face-concealing veil by some Muslim women while taking the oath of Canadian citizenship has become a hot-button issue.”

      It’s because of the larger issues at stake.

      The wearing of the niqab represents the next gradual step that these Mohammedans are taking in order to impose their beliefs and ultimately conquer the infidels (as they refer to us).

      One step at a time.

      I wonder if Mr. Pablo is familiar with the history of Islam and its thousand
      year jihad against practically everyone else?

      Is he aware of what is happening in countries like Britain, France, Germany, Norway, etc. who have imported huge amounts of them and are now experiencing unprecedented levels of social disruption?

      Mr. Pablo had better get with the bigger picture. Unless of course he absolutely loves the way these Mohammedans bring vibrancy and diversity to other countries.

      Frank the Nail

      Mar 26, 2015 at 11:57am

      I wonder if Mr. Hammer is aware of the last 2000 years of Christian soldiers saving the souls of everyone else at the point of a weapon?

      Charles The Hammer

      Mar 26, 2015 at 12:11pm

      I wonder if Frank would rather live in a Christian country than a Moslem one?

      Ho Hum

      Mar 26, 2015 at 12:55pm

      Why should Canada play a part in the oppression of women by a group just because they are considered religious. Hell, people around here had a major hissy fit over a university just asking their students to sign a pledge against participating in certain sexual situations, yet you guys will support a group that considers women the property of men, that states that men are the controllers of women and that women should have their genitals mulitated. Sad commentary on the left wing liberals who can't see the forest for the trees. Oh, don't forget they like to kill homosexuals also - but you go telling yourself you are doing some good.

      Frank the Nail

      Mar 26, 2015 at 7:10pm

      Frank would rather live in a secular country.