• Blog
  • October 9th, 2015

Harper’s Niqab Debate Shames us all.

niqab-1

Blog post by Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Institute

 

What do Stephen Harper and Islamic State have in common? They both want to dictate how certain women should dress.

 

Let us be perfectly clear. The niqab is only a symbol of oppression if it is forced on women.  Coercion is the oppression. The Muslim scholars who say that wearing the niqab is not a religious requirement are entirely missing the point that, for some women, it is a religious choice. This is what Canada used to stand for – offering choice in matters of faith.

 

The demeaning, divisive and hateful politics that Steve Harper represents shame us all.

 

For those who want to be truly inspired, I suggest that you listen here to the October 8th interview by Anna Maria Tremonti of CBC’s The Current with Zunera Ishaq, the woman who had to go to court to preserve her right to wear a niqab at her citizenship swearing-in ceremony (after removing it in private for identification purposes). She was sworn in as a citizen in a ceremony today.

 

You may be amazed to hear that Zunera Ishaq comes from a liberal Pakistani family who were totally against her decision, at age 15, to don the niqab. They reluctantly went along with it, when they saw how determined she was. Later on, her husband queried whether she should continue wearing it when they decided to come to Canada . He too reluctantly went along with her firm decision to continue to do so. Once it became clear that she would have to go to court to keep the right to wear it at the citizenship ceremony, he queried her again and once again she was adamant.

 

Frankly, although I could never imagine wearing a niqab myself, I find Zunera Ishaq to be an inspiration. Her courageous actions stand in sharp contrast to the despicable, hateful and racist campaign tactics of Stephen Harper, who has proven himself unfit to govern.

 

Reminder: See our latest Election Analysis here and our new INSTAGRAM feature here.

Read More

Comments are closed.




A shift to sustainable peace and common security

Eleven leading civil society organizations today publicly launched their submission to the Defence Policy Review, entitled “A Shift to Sustainable Peace and Common Security.” All members of Parliament and the Press Gallery received copies. The launch also featured an Op Ed  in the Toronto Star entitled Why UN Peacekeeping is worth the risks (Peggy Mason, […]

Read More
View the Blog »

UN Common Security Principles should guide PM’s dealings with Trump

This comment by Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason first appeared in the Open Canada online forum, Seven Foreign Policy Wishes ...

“This Remembrance Day I’ll wear two poppies: one red and one white”

First posted on Ceasefire.ca on 11 November 2014, we are grateful to share this insightful commentary again this year.  Note ...