According to my eldest daughter, I am a racist and a bigot.
I made the mistake of wading into the current niqab debate with her. No big deal my daughter and I disagree on many issues, being that she is at the complete opposite end of the political spectrum to where I am.
I think this is the first time I have agreed with a majority of people in Quebec.
I will endeavor to make my case by taking you back to 1979 Iran.
When the Shah was ruling Iran it was a secular Muslim state. After the fall of the Shah, one of the first orders of business by the triumphant Islamic Council, was to insist that all women veil themselves. The minimum requirement was that women must wear the niqab, which is the subject of one conversation in this current federal election. It is a full facial covering for woman in which only the eyes are showing. The ruling mullahs have since relaxed things a tad and woman are now allowed to wear the hijab which loosely covers the hair. Iran was the first Muslim fundamentalist country to make this a requirement of women and it is actually where veiling of woman in public originated. Nowhere in the Koran is there a direct requirement for woman to veil themselves. It only calls for men and women to dress modestly.
My next case in point is Afghanistan. After the Mujahideen forces unceremoniously kicked out the occupying Soviet army in 1989, the country subsequently spiraled into chaos, due to the vacuum that was left behind.
From that chaos emerged the Taliban in 1996.
The following is a quote I found online from Human Rights Watch from that period of time:
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (The Taliban) has methodically and violently forced half of its population (women) into virtual house arrest, prohibiting them from doing many normal everyday activities on pain of physical punishment”.
Part of that “house arrest” included the insistence by the Taliban for woman to wear a burka at all times in public. The burka is basically a body-bag with a mesh for the poor woman to see out of.
One thing that became very apparent to me when watching the news reports regarding this latest ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada, to allow Zunera Ishaq to wear a niqab at a citizenship ceremony. Is that whenever she was being interviewed, her husband was always hovering nearby, I very much doubt that he would have allowed her to be interviewed if he were not present. The wearing of a veil is not a human right, it is the complete opposite. It is a nasty little patriarchal part of the Muslim religion practiced by a small portion of Muslim men used to subjugate woman and keep them hidden from the leering eyes of other men, I find that quite disturbing.
In more secular Muslim countries the wearing of the hijab or the burka is actually forbidden in some public areas for security reasons. Those countries seem to have figured this out so why can’t the Supreme Court of Canada? I have read various polls of Muslim woman and a large portion (around 67%) seem to have no problem unveiling themselves in many situations. As Harper said the only people that are making this an election issue are the Liberals and the NDP with their clumsy efforts to allow this “religious freedom”.