The Niqab


The recent Niqab issue has sparked lots of debate in Canada in the recent months.

-Tahir P.

The Niqab debate mainly started when the Conservative leader and Prime Minister at the time, Stephen Harper, told the House of Commons back in March that wearing the veil is rooted in the culture of “anti-woman.” He stated this because he believed that wearing the Niqab during the citizenship ceremony was un-Canadian and not in Canadian culture. At the time Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair accused Stephen Harper of being islamophobic and did not agree with Harper’s ideas, but again the issue was brought up with the federal election. The main problem that I have is that, the Conservatives, current political figures, and most Canadians are merely uninformed on this issue.

You would think that political figures would do their research on a topic before insulting more than half a million people in Canada but they don’t. Minister of Transportation, Lisa Raitt stated that she was a feminist and because of that she believes that women should have the “ability” to show their face. The entire Conservative’s view on this issue is that women are being forced to wear this veil and as I said before, is un-Canadian.

The Niqab is a religious headdress that isn’t stated in the religious book of Islam, the Quran, and isn’t required to be worn by all Muslim women. The idea of wearing the Niqab comes from the Quran, where it says, just as it does in the Torah and Bible, that all women should be modest and not seductive. There is no direct instruction to cover your face or how to cover your body but it’s a symbol of modesty. How is that “anti-women”? The Niqab was something created more than 5000 years ago in the Arabian Peninsula because it was to show modesty, not secrecy or hiding your identity but modesty because all that these women were and are still doing today is following their religion. There are many Christian or Jewish people, although maybe not in Canada, that wear a religious head covering even today.

It shouldn’t be such a big issue because as far as I know, Canada is an inclusive place and many people came to this country for religious freedom and restricting someone from wearing a religious garment, no matter at what time, is simply unconstitutional. I believe that the conservative party used the fact that a lot of people are becoming islamophobic because they are again, misinformed about religious issues, to their political advantage. Yes it may not have been a big issue before because of how many people wear a Niqab in Canada or have worn it in during a citizenship ceremony, but before the attack on Parliament last year, the Conservatives had not brought the issue of niqab up for debate.

It is ironic to me that the Conservative leader at the time, Stephen Harper said that it was “un-Canadian” to wear the Niqab, I argue that it is un-Canadian to go against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and say that wearing something that offers no danger to people is “barbaric.” I also find it funny that people believe something is not in “Canada’s culture”, our “culture” is being inclusive to all no matter who they are and how they practice and if they practice religion.


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