Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Niqab Debate is a Racist Red Herring!

I am amazed at how gullible people are to accept politician’s deceit. Those who claim that wearing the Niqab at citizenship swearing in ceremonies poses some sort of risk to “national security” or a risk that the wrong person will be sworn in are either completely ignorant of how the process of becoming a citizen works or are simply racist . I suspect the latter.

The process of becoming a Canadian citizen is a long one where the identity of the applicant is well established long before the swearing in ceremony. It’s not like going the liquor store where you establish your ID at point of purchase. It’s similar to going to a ceremony to accept your degree after spending 4 years at University.

As much as I personally find the Niqab to be an abhorrent symbol of a culture that does not respect or value women I just as strongly believe that one of the reasons for becoming a Canadian citizen is to enjoy the rights and freedoms protected by our Charter of Rights. In particular ;“freedom of conscience and religion”. In other words women wearing a Niqab should have every right to do so. It is interesting that a traditional Roman Catholic Nun’s “habit” covers most of her body and much of the face yet no one is arguing that a nun should remove her habit to be “sworn in”.

This is a transparent and racist use by the Harper government of what is really a non-issue/red herring to motivate anti-Muslim vote in Quebec. Clearly the Harper government doesn’t respect the rights and freedoms protected by our constitution. As a matter of fact, in 2012, when our Charter turned 30 years old the Harper government chose not to celebrate. They did however celebrate the 200th anniversary of the war of 1812!

What has happened to an open and tolerant Canada? Can we really take another four years of this?

David Fai

North Vancouver, BC


Anonymous said...

A heartfelt letter expressing beliefs frequently heard. The author blends 3 separate characteristics. Religion, cultural norms and race.

The Muslim religion encompasses peoples of nations from around the world. Black, white, middle Eastern, Indo-Asians, and Asian believers. The religion is not confined to one race.

The cultural norm for Muslim women concerning coverings spans the hijab headscarf without face covering, the niqab headscarf with face covering, the burka a one-piece veil covering the head and body with a mesh covering for the eyes plus 4 additional styles of coverings. Some Muslim women opt to wear no head covering at all.

The head coverings are a cultural norm more strictly expected in some countries and branches of Islam and less in others.

The author's conclusion that opposition to the niqab is "racist" is incorrect as women of various races, including caucasian Muslim women, may wear the niqab.

The author's post title "Niqab Debate is a Racist Red Herring" is unintentionally ironically apt as use of the word racist is the red herring.

That the author opposes the conservative view goes without saying.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:55 seems to be obssessed with the words used rather than what the author meant.
The author could have more appropriately used the word discrimination instead of racism!

The author's point is that Harper is using and inflaming prejudice and discrimination against Muslim women to bolster his election campaign and that is just wrong!

Anonymous said...

Beg to differ Anon. 10:54, The author is using and inflaming prejudice and discrimination against Muslim women could not be further from the truth. He is using this prejudice and discrimination against all Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:43 I assume you actually meant that Harper is using prejudice and discrimination against all Muslims?

Anonymous said...

The Canadian Iranian Society has hosted two ACMs for North Vancouver and North Burnaby--Seymour. They were both attended by people of colour. It is incredibly important that the Iranian community pays attention because they are Canadians who who live and work and play in North Vancouver.

Anonymous said...

What about guys with huge beards? Certainly that would take away from identification, although the nose would be available. Perhaps they should have to shave the beard off for the picture or whatever. Really smart.

Anonymous said...

It is the media that blows this it of proportion

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:54. The author improperly uses the word "racism". This is an extremely inflammatory term and he intentionally misuses it to make his point. Of course I am concerned with words - how else did we read his opinion? What a foolish comment. Imagine if a conservative supporter misused such language to characterize an opponent.

The niqab argument can be quite successfully argued from many standpoints. The garment is not required by Islam and is worn as a choice to exhibit female modesty (which is required by Islam). It is culturally expected in various Islamic societies.

Is it reasonable or unreasonable to wear a face covering in a public ceremony? Personally, I can see an argument for both points of view. Therefore, I don't think either the pro or con sides have a win and it is a draw. For that reason, I choose to minimize that issue and look at other important matters.

Most importantly, I don't vilify and name call either side for their perspective.

Gastown Lawyer said...

Anon 8:58 although I normally would not reply to an anonymous post (often the denizen of trolls) I would point out that there is no word in popular use that means discriminating against someone for their religious beliefs and/or practices. The term racism seemed appropriate because frankly discriminating against someone for their religious beliefs is equally reprehensible as discriminating against someone for their race. Perhaps you would prefer "intolerance" or "bigotry" but frankly they are equally inaccurate and inflammatory.

The point is that the Harper government is quite willing to behave in this fashion, with no respect for the rights of the individuals involved nor any concern for the harm they may cause, simply advance their own power hungry political aims.

To make matters worse they are spending huge amounts of tax payer dollars in the courts attempting to justify their unconstitutional laws (many of which they new in advance were unconstitutional - on their own lawyers advice).

Stirring up peoples prejudices for political purposes historically has lead to great injustices!

David Fai

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:16. Re Iranians. Most Iranian women are Muslim yet most don't wear the niqab. While it may be preferred by some Muslims it is not a religious requirement.

I spoke to an Iranian woman friend and asked her how Iranians regard themselves in a racial context. She was somewhat put out that I even asked the question. She replied that Iranians are white people and she was very clear that Iranians are not ``people of colour``.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Fai. Thank you for your reply. Your Blog name implies that you are a Gastown Lawyer. If you are indeed a lawyer your response is frankly incredible.

You make reference to the Constitution. As a lawyer you should be highly aware that, along with racism, a Constitutional prohibited ground for discrimination is on the basis of religion.

You can`t make that point because ``there isn`t a word for it.`` Wow.

What I would prefer is that if you believe that there is illegal discrimination on religious grounds then say it. Don`t inappropriately use another term that is a red herring designed to inflame. This is exactly what you accuse the government of doing.

So you build your outrage on the grounds of religious discrimination. Of course you would be wrong. Even the Muslim Canadian Congress has urged the Federal government to ban the niqab and the burka as "medieval" and "misogynist" symbols of extremism with no basis in Islam.

So what it comes down to is opposition to the niqab is neither racist nor religious discrimination as you put forward.

As a lawyer will know that once your position has found to have no basis in law the balance of your opinion is just that. An opinion. No solid foundation.

I get that you don`t like the conservative position and that is fine. Apparently, some people, including Muslims, take a contrary view. That is fine too without name calling.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 12:40

Although people with Middle East backgrounds are considered "people of colour" they are correctly defined as Caucasians.

As lawyer David Fai pointed out, it's a matter of the words used to try to describe and debate this issue that are problematic.

Anonymous said...

Apparently people with Middle East backgrounds may not consider themselves ``people of colour`` so it may depend upon who is considering them.

Anonymous said...

Person of color
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Person of color (plural: people of color, persons of color, sometimes abbreviated POC[1]) is a term used primarily in the United States to describe any person who is not white. The term encompasses all non-white groups, emphasizing common experiences of racism. The term is not equivalent in use to "colored", previously used in the US as a term for African Americans only.

People of color was introduced as a preferable replacement to both non-white and minority, which are also inclusive, because it frames the subject positively; non-white defines people in terms of what they are not (white), and minority frequently carries a subordinate connotation.[2] Style guides for writing from American Heritage,[3] the Stanford Graduate School of Business,[4] Mount Holyoke College,[5] recommend the term over these alternatives. It may also be used with other collective categories of people such as students of color, men of color and women of color. Person of color typically refers to individuals of non-European heritage.[6]


PLEASE NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE: Person of color typically refers to individuals of non-European heritage.

Anonymous said...

I don`t think that the words are problematic at all. When accurate words are used the situation turns out not to be as described by Mr. Fai.

The following words are quite easy to understand and not problematic.

``The Muslim Canadian Congress called on the federal government to prohibit the two garments (burka and niqab) 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.
"To cover your face is to conceal your identity," congress spokeswoman Farzana Hassan said in a telephone interview, describing the issue as a matter of public safety, since concealing one's identity is a common practice for criminals.
The tradition of Muslim women covering their faces in public is a tradition rooted more in Middle Eastern culture than in the Islamic faith, Hassan added.
There is nothing in any of the primary Islamic religious texts, including the Qur'an, that requires women to cover their faces, she said – not even in the controversial, ultra-conservative tenets of Sharia law.``

Is the Muslim Canadian Congress racist, discriminating on the basis of religion, intolerant or bigoted. All words put forward by Mr. Fai.

In my opinion they have the right to express their view which appears to supportive the conservative position. Mr. Fai has every right to put forward his contrary opinion. He doesn`t like the Conservatives supporting the Muslim Canadian Congress in the context of the citizenship ceremony. Now we wouldn`t want to accuse Mr. Fai of being an ``ist``.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:12. To come back to the point, a poster referred to Iranians as people of colour. Notwithstanding Wiki and American terminology, through personal experience I am stating that the Iranians that I know do not view themselves as people of colour.

If you want to do that then OK. I will honour their perspective. That`s OK too.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the BC Muslim Association and other associations have to say. I don't have time to do the research now. Somebody should.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line here is that the Harper government is attempting to "divide and conquer" and it cannot work. The last 10 years have been all bad for Canada. We have lost our position as a "peacekeeper" on the World Stage. We have lost our credibility under the Harper government.

We must not elect Mike Little or Andrew Saxton in North Vancouver. It will be same-old, same-old.

Anonymous said...

So now it is fully revealed. An erroneous attack on the government for partisan political purposes. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 3:22

What exactly did you think when you decided to spend your "important" time with this blog?

Do not re-elect Harper as our Prime Minister! He is ruining Canada.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if the Muslim Canadian Congress ("MCC") asked the Harper government to ban the Niqab. Just as Christianity has many denominations so does Islam have several sects, each with their own interpretation of the Koran. The MCC has no more right than the Harper Government to prohibit the wearing of the Niqab if that is what the woman honestly believes is required by her religion.

The Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal have both told the Harper government that banning the Niqab at citizenship ceremonies is unconstitutional and illegal. Notwithstanding that, the Harper government is wasting millions of our tax payers dollars taking the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada where they will no doubt lose, there being no rational purpose for the ban (required by section 1 of the Charter).

Is this kind of divisiveness want we want and need?

Ever since 9/11 the amount of anti-Muslim sentiment has increasingly grown both here and south of the border. By stirring up the pot like this for obvious partisan reasons, Harper will be responsible for any violent acts that may occur.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of tricky. On the one hand, I think Mr. Harper's stragetists made a BIG booboo with this particular line of discourse and could just as easily pay as they could win at the polls.

On the other hand, we've kind of been down this road before with Sikhs and the RCMP uniform. I mean I personally considered the RCMP as an institution to be part of the heritage that my country bestowed upon me and even today, I do find an RCMP in a Dastar a bit offensive as it signifies nothing to do with his job but in fact signifies only his identity as a Sikh, not as a Canadian RCMP. Womem do manage to wear the Mounties cap without cutting their hair as well.

The idea that you can completely cover up and, basically, be invisible at a public ceremony designed to affirm your desire to join a new society, strikes me as lacking in fervour toward your new country. You aren't sufficiently 'engaged' as the progressives like to say.

But then, if you nix the niqab, where does it end? Will next years' new citizens find themselves forced to cover their tits and nipples while singing in front of the Queen's picture?

Anonymous said...

What ethnicity is David Fai?

Anonymous said...

The Muslim Canadian Congress was founded in the wake of 9/11 to provide a voice to Muslims who support "a liberal, pluralistic, democratic and secular society where everyone has the freedom of religion.

Note the word liberal.

How far the hapless Canadian Liberal Left has fallen. They find themselves in the untenable position of opposing the Muslim Canadian Congress' request of the Federal Government to ban the niqab and burka.

(See Anon 3:48, "It doesn't matter if the Muslim Canadian Congress ("MCC") asked the Harper government to ban the Niqab.")

Where is Hanoi Jane Fonda when the left needs her? Gloria Steinem where are you? Our liberal left is reduced to trumpeting the "right" of a woman to publicly wear the medieval symbol of her patriarchal society and male dominance. How humiliating.

I particularly love the liberal disclaimer how they always personally don't support the idea of the niqab but support the idea of wearing of the niqab if you have been sufficiently oppressed by who knows who.

The whole point of the LIBERAL Muslim (MCC) was in response to 9/11 so it's no use bringing that one up.

Ai-yi-yi. What a mess. Come on liberals, you've been suckered and you look like smucks. The Prime Minister has accepted the LIBERAL Muslim point of view and you have dutifully lined up to oppose the LIBERAL Muslims.

Get back on the liberal lefty train and protest corporations or something more up your alley.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile you who are clearly an apologist for a prime minister who cares not about muslims, liberal or otherwise, continually lower yourself to character attacks and don't address the fundamental human right that your position craps all over; freedom of conscience and religion.

As a wise american jurist once said "I may hate every word you utter but I will fight to the death for your right to say it". Freedom should never be traded for political ambition; there lays the road to tyrranny!

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the personal attack. The ad hominem. The last refuge of the desperate. Self-righteous language wrapped up in a confused position.

You have absolutely no idea what "my position" is except to say that it isn't your position. For you, that makes me the enemy. The liberal left always so predictable. Carry on.

Anonymous said...

Nice job of deflectling the real her man rights issue!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Is there some reason you don't want to state your position?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for asking Anon 9:31.

My viewpoint comes from the perspective that I am non-aligned. I have voted for all 3 major federal parties. I haven't drunk the Koolaid. This allows me to start fresh and without a belly-full of emotion and bias that clouds my judgement.

I don't hate Harper. A tough pill for those that do as this allows me to consider the pros and cons of the positional folks.
I don't hate any of the other 3 candidates either and they all have some points of merit.

The foundation of the subject of this thread was unfortunately erroneously conveyed as racism and discrimination through religion attributed to the PM. Those offerings are simply incorrect and seem to me to be driven by emotionally stated political bias.

The arrogance of the liberal left in that they feel empowered to choose for all Muslims is breathtaking. The PM is, at the moment, feeling empowered to choose for the 2 niqab wearing women who want to take the oath of citizenship but the courts have ruled against him. Doesn't look like anyone gets to wear the white hat.

On the other hand the small l liberals have a point when it comes to the protection of individual freedoms.

The viewpoint of the Muslim Canadian Congress is highly persuasive in that they represent a significant number of Muslims, but, not necessarily all Muslims. They also exist to encourage dialogue in order to promote understanding and avoid discrimination against Muslims.

So we have a circle that is difficult to square.

The great majority of Canadian Muslims do not wear the niqab. Yet, a few do and are they really hurting anyone? Do women wear niqabs out of fear of consequences or out of an expression of freedom? I don't know, it would be for the results of an unbiased investigation to discover.

At what point does the government intrude into personal freedom of expression for a few individuals and on what basis?

I tend to listen to the majority of those that speak for cultures that are different from mine. I don't pretend to be an expert on the intricacies of their centuries of religion, laws, traditions and cultures. I certainly am not equipped to wrap myself in righteousness and arbitrarily make a decision for them.

Ultimately, if this matter is really important enough, I would like to have parties heard from, have it debated and enacted into legislation that can be updated as is all other legislation.

Anonymous said...

From Monday's Vancouver Sun:

Only Tories stand up to terror, pedophiles? Nonsense

Re: Unjustified terror: Voters encouraged to be afraid, Column, Sept. 30

Kudos to Pete McMartin. Stephen Harper is Canada’s George W. Bush, with the same simplistic rhetoric, treating us as scared little children who need his protection.

Harper Conservatives have a record of responding to fair and legitimate criticism with the worst kind of name-calling.

During the 2004 election campaign, the Conservatives issued and then quickly withdrew a press release suggesting then-Prime Minister Paul Martin supports child pornography because his government wasn’t, in the eyes of Conservatives, sufficiently tough on crime.

Years later Conservatives accused anyone who opposed their bill to give police new powers to monitor the Internet of supporting child pornography.

Pedophilia, child pornography and terrorism are serious issues. Tory talking points should be serious, too, not bullying,

fearmongering nonsense.



Gastown Lawyer said...

It is interesting and perhaps ironic that the writer of anon 10:22 (and 6:27 and 2:17) appears to support banning the Niqab while keeping his or her identity anonymous!

It is laudible to consult with the "majority of those that speak for cultures that are different from" his or hers however, minority rights cannot be decided by majority vote. Look what happened in California with proposition 8. Frankly if the USA had a referendum instead of a civil war there would probably still be slavery!

It is the foundation of a democracy and a just society that there are certain fundamental human rights that the state must respect. We have codified those rights in our Charter of Rights. Obviously, freedom of conscience and religion are some of those rights (protected by s. 2).

Freedom of religion is obviously not absolute, for example a Jehovah's Witness parent won't be allowed to deny a blood transfusion to a child where there life is in danger (but the courts would allow an adult JW to refuse there own tranfusion).
But as you say, in relation to the few women who wear a Niqab: "are they really hurting anyone?"

You suggest in my original post: "erroneously conveyed as racism and discrimination through religion attributed to the PM. Those offerings are simply incorrect and seem to me to be driven by emotionally stated political bias."

The PM's actions are clearly discriminatory against Muslim women who chose to wear the Niqab for their own personal religious beliefs. As was stated earlier (anon 3:48) the Federal Court and Court of Appeal have ruled against Harper on this.

You state: "The arrogance of the liberal left in that they feel empowered to choose for all Muslims is breathtaking." Which precisely misses the point that no one, not you or I, not the MCC and not Harper have the right to choose for all Muslims. That must be left to the individual whose freedom of conscience and religion must be protected.

David Fai

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the lawyer that so passionately defends the freedom of the individual, which includes freedom of speech, denigrates anonymous freedom of expression on a blog that fully permits that participation.

So lets talk about freedom as it seems to be the core of the discussion.

Is the wearing of a niqab or a burka a free choice? If it is then I would think that the liberal left are correct and Mr. Haper is in error. If it isn't then the left is in error.

Mr. Fai tells us, "As much as I personally find the Niqab to be an abhorrent symbol of a culture that does not respect or value women I just as strongly believe that one of the reasons for becoming a Canadian citizen is to enjoy the rights and freedoms protected by our Charter of Rights. In particular ;“freedom of conscience and religion”

So Mr. Fai concedes that the niqab is an abhorrent symbol of a culture that does not respect or value women yet he defends her right to be disrespected and devalued in Canada. Yikes.

I would like to find out from Muslims if women are actually "free" to wear the restrictive garments. Is there coercion, threat of exclusion from family, spouse, community or religion if a woman refuses to comply with the dress code?

It is quite simple. If Muslim people who live in the culture tell us that the wearing of the garments is an entirely free choice then I would agree that the liberal left is correct in there perspective.

If Muslim people tell us that there is a threat of exclusion, coercion, mental or emotional abuse or otherwise that influences the woman's choice then the choice is not "free" it is a compelled choice. Such a choice is incompatible with protected Canadian freedom of conscience. At that point the liberal argument fails and I would agree that Muslim Canadian Congress request to ban the garments is correct under the Constitution of Canada and such legislation should be enacted.

Mr. Fai and the liberal left do not have a clue as to the Muslim opinion and are operating at a emotional level. Other than the position of the MCC I do not know of a dialogue on this subject that has resulted in a considered outcome by impartial individuals. Especially those individuals should be capable of listening to the people this effects without being blinded by their personal political prejudice. We should hear from the strangely silent Muslims.

At that point I would be entirely prepared to support the findings of an impartial and credible panel.

Anonymous said...

You could have heard from the woman at the centre of this discussion had you tuned in to her interview on CBC this morning. It sounds to me like it is her own choice, based on her religious beliefs, and that the only time she has felt fearful has been since the topic was raised by Harper.

Anonymous said...

I did hear her. You have no idea whether or not donning the niqab fell under any form of
coercion or cultural pressure or if it was a decision free of those subtle threats. If it was a free choice then I would support her freedom. If it was coerced then I would prefer the garments not be worn.

You don't get to make that choice for her. Neither do I. Prefer an independent panel over an uninformed gut reaction. Perhaps a panel consisting of unbiased human rights arbitrators and retired judges could serve to determine the "freedom."

Anonymous said...

By the way, you should be aware that there is no religious requirement to wear the niqab.

Anonymous said...

It is the Supreme Court of Canada that will ultimately decide this issue at great expense to the Canadian text paye this issue at great expense to the Canadian tax payers. I hope that when the woman Wins her case in the Supreme Court of Canada she seeks damages against the Harper government for putting her through this ridiculous farce!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:00/2:01 The woman interviewed said she was not coerced into her decision. She also said that she felt that her decision was a religious one. Who are you or I to object to her reasons for wearing the niqab? This is just a mean-spirited attack on a minority by our current government that is costing the tax payer.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:45. It is a peculiarity of persons coerced into decisions to say that they haven't been coerced for fear of repercussion.

I would prefer the outcome of a unbiased inquiry by human rights arbitrators to come to a conclusion regarding whether Muslim women are actually "free" (in the sense of the freedoms espoused in our Constitution) to make the decision or not. To come to a definite conclusion concerning an entire culture based on one person's opinion is shallow and foolish.

Anonymous said...

If Anon 2:45's memory is correct then this is troubling. I wonder how the woman came under the impression that her reason for wearing a niqab was religious?

The earlier quote from the Muslim Canadian Congress, "There is nothing in any of the primary Islamic religious texts, including the Qur'an, that requires women to cover their faces, – not even in the controversial, ultra-conservative tenets of Sharia law."

Only one can be correct. Either the woman has been misled or the statement by the MCC is intentionally misleading.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Winston Blackmore tells us his decisions are religious ones too. It is just a mean-spirited attack on a minority by our government costing us money to tell him different.

Anonymous said...

Last week on French speaking television Mr. Mulcair told a Quebec audience that, "I feel the same discomfort that you do about the niqab."

The Province of Quebec has legislation (Bill C94) that requires women to remove the niqab while accessing government services and this legislation is supported by the Mayors of Montreal, Quebec City and the majority of voters.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:36 there is no one correct interpretation of the Koran. If the woman believes her religion requires her to wear a niqab she doesn't have to have her beliefs approved by an unbiased committee or any one else for that matter.

Religious belief is extremely personal.

Nor does she have to prove that she isn't being coerced! It is simply none of yours or Harpers business. No one is suggesting we ban fashion magazines because young girls are coerced into having unrealistic body images by the extremely thin models!

Anonymous said...

Odd that this has generated more discussion in the past couple of days than any other topic that is of greater concern to us during this election. Harper has won and sidetracked everyone away from the real issues. Stop looking for bogeymen, people!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to anon 7:07pm for your sanity on the topic.

Anonymous said...

This is getting stupid

I have to leave my face uncovered for security,now what happens
with a covered face in a passport?

Anonymous said...

There are no covered faces for passports. What's your point?

Anonymous said...

That is my point

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:07. So anyone can say that they believe anything regarding their chosen religion and they must be accommodated by the government.

This is true because religion is extremely personal.

Anon 7:22 finds this viewpoint sane.

Winston Blackmore will be praying that you are his jurists.

Anonymous said...

Wearing a niqab isn't hurting anyone. Comparing that to the actions of Winston Blackmore and his ilk is baffling.

Anonymous said...

Who is Blackmore hurting? His wives tell us they want to be there. His kids say they are happy. Apparently it doesn't matter if they are being coerced as it is their personal belief.

Not my opinion but expressed by some.

Anonymous said...

Bare tits and NIPPLES at the ceremony I say!!!!

Anonymous said...

An interview with the woman at the centre of the issue:


Anonymous said...

Folks are being duped by a Harper diversion tactic. Ignore the real issues and roil up the fear and Islamophobia of the base.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link. It was an interesting article.

Ms. Ishaq is from a liberal Pakistani family none of whom wear the hijab (headscarf) or niqab. She didn't either until she saw a college professor who sported a niqab. This led her to a personal decision at 15 years old that she would wear one too. In her words she decided to "go for it." She got the impression that her father disapproved but he never said anything.

Is this a 15 year old adolescent kid in rebellion that has carried on and made it her schtick (like piercings, purple hair, tattoos etc.) and wrapped the whole thing a in a "rights" issue?

Anonymous said...

Clearly no coercion there!!!!!

Her choice, her right!

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight.

Rereading these posts I think that:

1. The Muslim Canadian Congress have asked the Canadian government to ban the niqab and burka as medieval and a symbol of oppression of women.
2. The MCC are a liberal Muslim group.
3. Muslims from conservative countries (like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan) are required by the government to wear the niqab or burka.
4. The requirement is social and cultural but not religious as it is not required by the Koran or Sharia law.
5. Our Conservatives partially support the Muslim liberal view by requiring removal of the garments under specific circumstances.
6. Our Liberals and NDP partially support the Muslim conservative view by supporting wearing of the garments under the same circumstances as found in the conservative Muslim countries.

Is it just me or are our folks each backing the wrong horse?

Anonymous said...

A little superficial Anon 10:48.

If we are at the tail-end of a stubborn teenager's "choice" then maybe the government should listen to the MCC.

My mind had gone to a serious devout life-long, or at least in her devout family and community, person who was being oppressed. I'm changing my mind.

Anonymous said...

The quality of her decision is not for you to decide. Thats the beauty of freedom it allows for us all to individually decide. Not to be dictated to by the MCC or Harper or any one else. She was inspired by a professor at university and decided to adopt that interpretation of Islam. She is not being coerced or pressured and should be entitled to her religious freedom.

Anonymous said...

Bravo 11:59!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have expressed it better, anon 11:59

Anonymous said...

Please check out:


Anonymous said...

Harper’s niqab debate shames us all

Posted on October 9, 2015
by Ceasefire.ca
in Blog
Leave a comment
niqab-1Blog 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.

- See more at: http://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=22454#sthash.C7vIQ2A4.dpuf

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of masked adults of any gender or background.

This feels like inviting a stranger to dinner and they accept the invitation only if I agree to their terms. Not really inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:59. You are mistaken.

In a democracy the extent and limitation of our freedoms are for each of us to decide through election of our representatives who create legislation which is interpreted and implemented through our court system.

No individual in this country has unfettered freedom no matter how high-minded that ideal may sound. Each of us gets to decide to what extent various freedoms should be acceptable and then vote for someone who best reflects our values. We also get to discuss our views whether others agree or not. So, yes forming an opinion regarding challenges to Canadian policies and procedures is for me (and you) to decide.

Having said that, it is a fact that Ms. Ishaq is now a Canadian citizen. She took the oath after removing her face covering and having her identity confirmed and then replacing it for the swearing ceremony.

Anonymous said...

Trevor Lautens column today North Shore ews a goid read

Anonymous said...

Lautens sees a conservative win based, in part, on their position on the niqab issue.

Anonymous said...

Sad state of affairs if bigotry and hatred leads to a Harper government. What does that mean about what the Harper government has made Canada become.

If you haven't read it google the New York Times article "Closing the Canadian Mind". A frightening list of what Harper has done to Canada!

Get out and vote! ABC!!!!!

Anonymous said...

It will be an uplifting inspiration if we are lucky enough to have another Harper government!

A government that refuses to accept medieval symbols of discriminatory patriarchal society. A courageous government that doesn't cringe to the baseless name-calling by a misguided left.

Forget reading left wing foreign columnists. Get out and read the Canadian National Post for the truth about our country.

Vote Conservative for stability and the courage of your convictions!!

Anonymous said...

Read Trevor Lautens column North Shore News October 9

That will influence my VOTE

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder about the people who are attracted into the Conservative Party? This election alone we have had candidates who urinate in a clients cup, make threatening and harassing calls to women and believe that homosexuality can be cured! Not to mention formet conservative mp who believes that the missing and murdered aboriginal wonen are to blame because they practice risky begaviour.

The fact that these nut jobs are attracted to the Conservatives can't be a coincidence!

Wake up!!


Anonymous said...

You have to love the left.

A loonier assortment of entitled dilettantes with no concept or, at best, the most superficial understanding of what liberalism means have the almost humorous audacity to look at conservatives as nuts. This just underscores how out of touch they are.

It would be too easy to go down the list of wing-nut Liberals and NDP supporters. The rent-a-protest crowd would be a good starting place. A more unstable group eager to spend other people's money would be hard to find.

Stay the course.

Anonymous said...

Worth a read:


Gastown Lawyer said...

Thank anon 12:43

Excellent article here is an excerpt:

Not since the since the early 20th century has a prime minister demeaned himself, his party and his humanity by employing racial and religious fear to castigate a specific group of Canadians as the enemy within to win an election. It is not only shameful, it's dangerous. Yet Stephen Harper persists like a modern-day Joseph McCarthy in creating a sweltering climate of fear against Canadian Muslims by employing dog whistle politics that equates an honourable religion with terrorism and radicalism.

History repeating

The Harper government has waged a cultural war against Muslim women who choose by the dictates of their faith to wear the niqab. Already women have been physically and verbally attacked for donning the veil. We have not seen this type of xenophobia since the Second World War, when Japanese Canadians were vilified and eventually stripped of their rights as citizens and forced to live in labour camps far from the communities they once called home.

Make no mistake: the Harper government has attacked faith, the rights of women, and ones right to express personal or religious liberty in a manner of one's own choosing. It is abhorrent and should have no place in 21st century Canadian politics.

Yet perhaps the most appalling aspect of Stephen Harper's attack on law-abiding citizens of the Muslim faith is this notion being peddled by Tories that it is being done in defence of women. A prime minister that has repeatedly dismissed and disparaged calls for a governmental inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women is no friend to women or any group that doesn't represent the interests of the Conservative Party.

In this election we must remember Canada's ugly and racist history that waged cultural genocide against First Nations and enslaved early Asian, Indian, Muslim and Caribbean immigrants to a lifetime of servitude. We must understand that the politics of fear and politics of greed are viruses that destroy society if left unchecked.

Voters must be mindful Canada could transform from a tolerant, forward-thinking nation to a regressive country -- where bigotry darkens the landscape like an uncontrollable forest fire. All it takes is an electorate that embraces, from either indifference or fear, the politics of racial and religious division. [Tyee]

Anonymous said...

"The Harper government has waged a cultural war against Muslim women who choose by the dictates of their faith to wear the niqab."

Mr. Fai please give us a break. To repeatedly publish information that you know is untrue demeans you and demeans the intelligence of the reader.

The above quote is just another example of your unreasoning hatred toward Mr. Harper without an ounce of substance.

Please find any excerpt from the Koran that requires a woman to wear a niqab or a burka. Publish that. It's not going to happen as the referred clothing is a construct of men dominating women. There is no religious requirement whatsoever for Muslim women to wear a niqab.

Until then at least move to something that is true when you post such drivel.

Anonymous said...

Gastown lawyer is a great example of the old adage, "never wreck a good story with the truth."

He would prefer to believe nonsense that supports his position than the actual facts that don't.

Anonymous said...

The woman in question is the one who is saying that her choice is a religious one. Why are you so opposed to her making this choice for herself? How is it hurting you? More importantly, what right do you have to interfere with her personal religious convictions?

Anonymous said...

Because it is not a religious choice. That choice does not exist within her religion. I challenge you to find it.

If it is not a religious choice then she should have to follow the same procedure at all other citizenship candidates.

There is no interference with religious convictions if they exist in reality. Imagined religious convictions do not qualify.

Anonymous said...

Raheel Raza, President of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and accredited with the UNHRC in Geneva wrote the following article for today's National Post.

Mr. Harper’s planes are being sent to protect largely Muslim populations from Islamist savagery. Mr. Harper’s policies in C-51 and C-24 will be utilized to target Islamist extremists who are hunting the souls of Muslim Canadian children. And Mr. Harper’s legislation against “barbaric practices” will help protect Muslim girls from female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriages and honour-based killings.

We Canadian Muslims are being protected by these measures from the worst elements within our own community. And Mr. Harper’s position on the niqab — shared by many Canadians including Muslims like myself — does not change that fact.

If anyone is cynically exploiting the racial divide in this election it is Canadian Islamists and their apologists who falsely label others as racists for tactical political advantage. And our politicians and pundits should be far more circumspect before blithely parroting these charges of bigotry. Bigotry is the one of the most defamatory allegations in our civic lexicon, a calumny no less deplorable than any racial slur when wrongly or maliciously wrongly applied.

If there is a significant threat to Canadian Muslims, it does not emanate from Conservative Canadians, but from Muslim groups that sow fear among Muslim Canadians — groups that promote a spurious narrative of Muslim victimhood in Canada which lays the groundwork for the radicalization of Muslim youth.

And if there is a danger to Canadian democracy it is not from C-51 or C-24. But from those who hurl unfettered accusations of Islamophobia against all and any that challenge their beliefs, inhibiting free speech and silencing discussion regarding the Islamist extremists in our midst.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:45, It's nice that you can enlighten us to the one true interpretation of Islam. Perhaps next you can focus on christianity and unite all the denominations! Who needs vatican two?

Your interpretation doesn't allow for a Niqab. It must be nice to be in possession of the one true meaning of the so called word of god! Just like the Taliban you want to force your interpretation on the muslim women of the world.

How absolutely arrogant you are. But I suspect, like Mr. Harper you are not sincerel but merely trying to stir the pot of religious hatred for political means.

You don't fool any one!!!

Anonymous said...

If you haven't read this article in the new york times its worth a read:


Anonymous said...

Anon 8:14. I accept the understanding of Muslims who are experts regarding the contents of the Koran.

I also accept the opinion of Mr. Raza (above) a Muslim leader accredited by the UN Human Rights Commission.

How absolutely blindly arrogant you are to dismiss these people and ignorantly continue to support an opinion that neither you or anyone can substantiate by pointing to anything whatsoever in the Koran.

You are trying to fool as many as you can and it cheeses you that you are so transparently just playing politics.

Anonymous said...

You are (probably intentionally) missing the point. The Catholic pope can say that the bible bans contraception but protestants disagree with that interpretation.

Those who wear the Niqab say it comes from Qur'an 33:53. Who are you and Mr. Raza to force your interpretation on others, thats what the Taliban does!!!

It is not the job of the government to enforce 1 interpretation over the other. (There is supposed to be a separation between church and state).

Admit your real purpose here is political!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:17. Well here it is:

"You who Believe, do not enter the prophet's apartments for a meal unless you are given permission to do so; do not linger until [a meal] is ready. When you are invited, go in; then, when you have taken your meal, leave. Do not stay on and talk, for that would offend the prophet, though he would shrink from asking you to leave. Allah does not shrink from the truth. When you ask his wives for something, do so from behind a barrier: that is purer for your hearts and theirs. It is not right for you to offend Allah's messenger, just as you should never marry his wives after him: that would be grievous in Allah's eyes. Allah has full knowledge of all things, whether you reveal them or not." (Qur'an 33:53-54)

There is no direction for a woman to conceal their face anymore than there is direction for a woman to cover her feet. Any reader can judge for themselves and see that the vast majority of Canadian Muslims are correct in their rejection of the absurd male created tempest in a teapot.

I was so pleased to hear you again bring up Christianity and repeat that it is not up to the government to enforce 1 interpretation over the other.

Given your logic you please choose one or the other:

Winston Blackmore and his wives interpret their version of Christianity to allow plural marriages.

1. You agree that he, as a religious man, has the right to make this interpretation and the government should not enforce the ban against plural marriage; or
2. The government should override his interpretation and enforce the ban against plural marriage.

Fair warning. If you choose 1 I will respect the courage of your convictions but disagree with your opinion. If you select 2 you are a hypocrite.

You may have failed to notice that this is a political blog. For me, I like my politics to be based on verifiable fact. I know it's way more fun to just go with unsupported emotion but that's not my bag.

Anonymous said...

It took three special prosecutors before charges were laid. But more importantly the age of consent is 16 so marrying a twelve year old is a sex assault and child abuse that could nit be allowed under freedom of religion. However, plural relationships between consenting adults would be another matter.

You are comparing apples to oranges. A women wearing a Niqab at a citizenship ceremony harms no one. But child abuse is an abomination.

Anonymous said...

Nice try to avoid showing that the liberal left is discriminating and inconsistent.

The charge going forward against Winston Blackmore is polygamy. He is accused of marrying 24 women. He is not charged with child abuse although it is be a great political ruse to inflame opinion.

Should an individual espousing a highly tenuous interpretation of religion and ignoring fundamental Canadian law and process be accommodated by the government?

It is exactly the same premise that you put forward. Apples and apples.

Do you support the constitutionality of the Canadian polygamy laws or not?

I get it that you seem reluctant to reply.

Anonymous said...

Polygamy is illegal under Canadian law. Wearing a Niqab is not (and so far are courts support this stance). Your argument isn't relevant, nor is it apples to apples. Nice try.

Anonymous said...

Hey check out this article on how much universal child care money Winston Blackmore got from our Government!


Anonymous said...

So you avoid a reply. I thought as much.

Yes, polygamy is illegal under Canadian law.

By the way, wearing a niqab to give or receive government services is illegal in Quebec so you are incorrect that it is not illegal in Canada. It will be interesting to see if that ruling is challenged in that province.

So wearing a niqab to take the oath of Canadian citizenship was formerly prohibited and is now permitted by the recent court ruling.

Blackmore is before the courts. Following your path of logic he should be able to act upon his own interpretation of his religion without interference by the government. It is almost certain that he will rely upon the niqab ruling to bolster that point.

Sticking with your logic the courts should rule in Blackmore's favour and rule that the polygamy laws are unconstitutional.

We would then become the first western country to permit the practice.

It is no wonder that you won't answer the question. You're not fooling thinking people.

Anonymous said...

The effects of Blackmore's polygamy is child abuse because people under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sex. Therefore Blackmore's practice causes harm to children and as someone said above freedom of religion is not absolute. We don't let religion b used to justify actual harm.

Other polyamorous relations not involving children may well be protected.

Being the first western nation to allow polyamorous relations doesn't trouble me. We were the first North American country to recognize same sex martiage and frankly I am proud of that.

As to the Quebec law it seems strange to me that Niqabs can't be worn when accessing government services yet a large crucifix hangs in the national assembly. I would be surprised if the quebec law survives a charter challenge. We have a precedent in the case of the Sikh RCMP officer who successfully argued for his right to wear a turban in the Courts.

Anonymous said...

Sticking with the facts, if Blackmore was suspected of child abuse he would face those charges. He faces soleyly polygamy charges so lets not go down the liberal rabbit hole of pretend.

As strange as the law of Quebec may seem to you it represents the values of the majority of the citizenry. It is called democracy. A concept often disparaged by the special interest groups unless it can be manipulated for their purposes.

Thank you for having the fortitude to publicly announce your support for polygamous marriage. I respect that you are consistent in your (misguided) views.

Of course you must know that through nation-wide Leger polling you are entirely out of touch with 93% of Canadian citizens who prefer the niqab banned at citizenship ceremonies.

For me, Canadian values are represented by the preponderance of Canadians just as Muslim values are represented by the preponderance of Canadian Muslims. If an activist judge takes a different path that doesn't change Canadian or Muslim values.

Predictably, I also do not support Canada becoming a polygamist country.

So there you have it folks. An ardent representative of the liberal left finally realizes the slippery slope that we have entered into by permitting a non-citizen to dictate the conditions under which she will become a Canadian. Stay tuned for the left's support of the next round of acceptance of foreign oppressive practices to be supported and implemented by the same folks.

Anonymous said...

Comparing the Niqab to Blackmore is like comparing Harper to Hitler! No wait, maybe not such a bad comparison. I mean if Harper gets re-elected you will be able to report your neighbours to the Barbaric Cultural Practices ("BCP") Tip Line! Just what is a BCP? Is a sweat lodge a BCP? How about a Bris?

It is nice that Harper wants to impose his ideological hegemony on us all so that we can all be just like him and flush our multiculturalism down the drain!

Heil Harper!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:50 or should I call you Canadian Taliban, since you are so concerned with controlling what women wear and do based on an interpretation of Islam that you clearly support.

Democracy doesn't determine the truth! Hundreds of years ago the majority believed the earth was flat - turns out they were wrong.

Certain fundamental rights must be protected despite the whim of the majority. That's why we have a charter of rights, but of course you conservatives don't like the Charter. It gets in the way of your ridiculous non fact driven, non evidence considering positions.

The slippery slope you support leads to an unrecognizable Canada, where cultural identities must be subsumed into a single mass. One size does not fit all!

Thankfully, because of the Charter and a strong and independent judiciary Harper's ill conceived laws are continually struck down!But that is not enough we must throw him out of office for the sake of saving our country!

Every body get out and vote! ABC!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:55. You've got up quite a head of steam. Obviously incapable of following the logic of your colleague so let's go back to something simple.

According to a recent Leger poll Harper is representing the values concerning the niqab of 93% of Canadians.

That means that only 7% of Canadians hold the same opinion that you do.

If you would like to have the country governed by those who espouse values of only 7% then that would be like living under a dictatorship.

So by your logic, you better rethink (key on word think) if you don't like governance by those that don't reflect the opinion of the majority.

Anonymous said...

Wow, can this get any better? Lefty Anon 11:07 now writes a post disparaging democracy while decrying the Prime Minister who represents the majority of Canadians.

You can't make this stuff up!

Think before you fall in with the left liberal cabal.

Anonymous said...

We are dealing with issues of fundamental freedoms and the best you can come up with is an opinion poll? Why don't you answer the resl question? You want to control what women wear and do! Just like the Taliban. And just like the Tsliban you presume to know what is best for women and you have the true interpretation of Islam!

If you accept polls so much you must agree with the legalization of marihuana since a recent poll put support for thst in the 80's.

Anonymous said...

How exactly does the PM represent the majority when he got elected with under 40% of the popular vote?

Anonymous said...

Hello Anons.

Let's get your red herring out of the before we get down to business. If there is clear majority support in this country for something then I would support that change. If not then no.

1. Let's talk about the best we can do and fundamental freedoms. This thread deals with niqabs. Thus far the left have been incapable of finding one single sentence in either the Koran or Sharia law that requires a woman to mask her face.

2. The Koran reflects a patriarchal view. It was written by men in countries where little girls are betrothed to men old enough to be their grandfathers, where girls and women have been refused education, drivers licenses, freedom to travel where they wish and basic human rights. These my friends are examples of the withdrawl of fundamental freedoms.

3. The left thinks that supporting donning the symbol of male dominance, intolerance and oppression at a citizenship ceremony in a country where such symbols are an anathema is appropriate.

4. The left has no corresponding independent Canadian poll showing any support for their perspective on this subject at all. Therefore they must denigrate the Leger poll that shows they are in a there position is widely unsupported.

5. The left knows full well that a government can be elected with less than 50% of the popular vote for the simple reason that we have more than 2 parties. Unless you are a moron you will understand the math. Another red herring.

Does it never stop?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03

So you support the legalization of Marihuana?

1. The interpretation of Qur'an 33:53-54 "behind a barrier" seems to be what the believers are relying on its not for me to say (or you). The roman Catholics ban divorce based on their interpretation of the Bible protestants do not - is one of them wrong?

2. We are in danger of losing our freedoms if we elect another Harper government.

3. Is not preventing women from wearing what they want a form of "male dominance, intolerance and oppression".

4. You already know what I feel about polls:

5. Which is why we need proportional representation!

It does stop. I am done with this blog, I think only you and I are reading it anyways and clearly I will never get you to change your mind!

Anonymous said...

It'll stop when conservatives stop trying to interfere with women and the choices they make for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I recommend a book. TRAGEDY IN THE COMMONS, written by Alison Loat & Michael MacMillan. Former members of Parliament speak out about Canada's failing democracy.

"A must-read for anyone concerned about Canada's politics."
Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans.

Anonymous said...

Anons 12:26/27.

Yes, if a majority of Canadians want marijuana legalized or de-criminalized then I would not oppose it.

1. re "behind a barrier". Here is your reference, "When you ask his wives for something, do so from behind a barrier:" The "you" that is referenced are male visitors that may enter the prophet's apartments. We know this as the same "you" is told that he may not marry the prophet's wives after him.

So the "you" is told that HE must be behind a barrier. If the barrier is to be a face covering then it is clear that it is the male ("you") that should be wearing it. Of course this would never happen as the entire set-up is from a patriarchal perspective to ensure that women are kept "in their place" (the same place that you would like to celebrate by ensuring that they have the "freedom" to perpetuate symbolic male dominance).

2. Canadians are in danger of losing their long held freedoms through a tyranny of the minority if we elect a Trudeau or Mulcair.

3. Legitimizing the symbols of systemic gender oppression in a once in a lifetime ceremony is an insult to our entire nation. Oppression and it's trappings just can't be dressed up as freedom.

4. If we are discussing a subject like "Canadian values" it would be difficult if not impossible to do it in any other manner than by use of opinion polls. The fact that your position is not supported by the polls speaks to your disdain.

5. I agree with you re proportional representation.

Anon 12:27. Your logic is so skewed that it is pointless to rehash the discussion. Please reread the prior posts and think about them if you are able.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 3:32

Your comment to Anon 12:27 is abusive. You must be an Alpha Male.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:44. Anon 12:27 tosses out a one-liner after reams of discussion that counters his/her point. Abusive? For me that would be living in a society that demeans an entire gender and then bringing symbols of that oppression to our society and insisting that it be perpetuated here. Now that's abusive.

You must be of the liberal left.

Anonymous said...

You must have a chronic case of verbal diarrhea.

Anonymous said...

It is so preferable to cranial constipation

Anonymous said...

Why are conservatives so driven by fear of anything different from themselves? Canada is a cultural mosaic. If you want a melting pot, move South. After all, Harper has done nothing but try and change our nations values to align with those of the American GOP. If that's what you desire, move there and leave Canada to Canadians (of all races, religions and ethnicities).

Anonymous said...

If you don't love it, leave it. The theme song of American rednecks now espoused by the liberal left. It just gets more confusing.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 4:22. Your comment is abusive. Are you an Alpha Male?

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should open up the whole citizenship ceremony to online participation, then her avatar could give the appearance of showing herself at the ceremony?

Sorry, but I think the swearing in is a public moment. It's purpose is for the country to grant you full rights as a Canadian, after which you have rightt wear a niqab for the rest of your existence in the country. But for THAT moment when you receive that right, out of respect for what you are receiving and who you are receiving it from, it is not too much to ask that you remove a small piece of cloth out of the wayjust this once, so that symbolically, ALL can see you have entered the citizenry. Yes.. it is symbolic, but not unimportant to your new fellow citizens.

Anonymous said...

Why stop there why not make her swear in naked. Then you could be assured she's not hiding a bomb under her clothing!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:32 it seems you completely missed the point of Anon 12:26's post. In their paragraph 1 they are pointing out that the is not one true interpretation of the Koran but several.

Your reply is to argue the intrepretation of the quoted section doesn't support the wearing of the Niqab and you fail to acknowledge that is simply your interpretation.

Religion is not rational but based on faith. Your interpretation is no more the true interpretation than any one elses. There are countries where only one interpretation is allowed and they are tyrannies. Mr. Harper has not been appointed ayatollah!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:34. I'm sorry but you have completely missed my point. The plain language of the controversial sentence is clear to any unbiased reader. There is no direction that a woman or man must mask their face although the language implies that it should be the man. Throughout all of the previous posts I have been clear that I understand that anyone can have a personal interpretation of anything. Winston Blackmore for example. The problem is that opens a Pandora's box of infinite interpretations required infinite accommodations and/or restriction by government and society.

On this point I do not agree that Blackmore should be permitted to flaunt the Canadian polygamy laws even though he has his own interpretation of his religion. Even though Blackmore may be sincere in his religious interpretation, that interpretation is not generally supported to the extent that it trumps Canadian process. Freedoms are not unlimited.

I also do not insist on my interpretation. Throughout the posts you will see that I defer to subject experts including both the Muslim Canadian Congress as well as the President of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow a UN accredited Muslim human rights council. Both of these Canadian Muslim organizations oppose the niqab. You will also notice the the pro niqab folks trivialize our Canadian expert groups and put no credible group forward as a counterpoint.

I have made the point concerning the symbolic repressive connotation of the garment.

I get that you are trying to make it personal but, again, you are in error. I am deferring to the widespread Canadian Muslim interpretation. It is their interpretation, not mine.

Yes, you are right. You can find a society, cult or sect in the world's myriad of religions and cultures that handle snakes, drink blood, roll in mud, go naked and any number of behaviours that are inappropriate for the dignity and gravity of the citizenship ceremony.

Your point is well-taken regarding immigrants coming from countries that are tyrannies. It is my opinion that the more extreme conservative trappings of those tyrannies should be left where they came from.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 3:57

You failed when you wrote: "....Both of these Canadian Muslim organizations oppose the niqab."

Sweeping incorrect out-of context generalization.

Anonymous said...

The MCC is on record as requesting the Federal government to ban both the niqab and burka.

This week Raheel Raza, President of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and accredited with the UNHRC in Geneva contributed an article published in the National Past stating that he supports Mr. Haper's view on the niqab.

Both are a matter of record and easily researched on line.

This is the problem with many of the liberal left. They are very clear on how they "feel", they just have no facts to support their emotions.

You failed when you failed to do the research.

Anonymous said...

You just don't get it.

If the pope asked Harper to make divorce illegal or if a non orthodox Rabbi asked Harper to ban the practice of segregating women from men in orthodox temples because it is a practice that implies men and womem aren't equal, I suspect you would not agree with either of these bans. Because doing so would infringe on the religious beliefs of non catholic christians and othodox jews respectively. The state should not decide which interpretation of scripture is corect.

Why then are you so willing to prevent a practice that is freely done by many women in the world. Check out this article in the National Post: (not exactly a liberal left magazine)


In the study 81 women in Canada who wear the Niqab were interviewed, none of them were forced or coerced. Most were well educated young women who have chosen to adopt the practice often against their families wishes.

So to us westerns we interpret the Niqab as a symbol for female oppression but with more facts we discover our initial impression was wrong.

Tolerance and coexistence is always the best policy!

And please don't resort to Winston Blackmore since many of the former "wives" who will be Crown witnesses will avert to the harm he has caused.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the National Post article. The referenced study concludes that the donning of the niqab is "a bit of a youth movement" and "done in a spirit of defiance". I buy that. We see all sort of young women with purple hair, tattoos and piercings. So why not?

The initial liberal insistence was that the wearing of the niqab was entirely a religious observance. Now the glacial change of position is taking place.

As the article says, "the women were split on whether they thought the practice was mandatory". Hmmm...I thought this was a dead certain "interpreted" religious requirement. One woman describes her use of the niqab as follows: "it was a sort of barrier to stop the advances.” I don't think we need the Pope or Rabbi analogies. It is pretty clear the the religious aspect seems discretionary.

Blackmore's wives? Well the stats tell us that 2 out of 3 marriages result in divorce. Given those figures Blackmore seems to be doing pretty well.

You may be interested in what Marsha Chatwin, one of Blackmore's wives has to say about the polygamy charges. “It seems ridiculous that they would say you can have relationships with people but if it’s in the name of religion, then you can’t,” Chatwin, whose name is listed among Blackmore’s alleged polygamous wives in an indictment filed this week, told The Canadian Press.

“This is not freedom.”

Yes, they just want the freedom to interpret their religion as they see fit and then act without regard for the processes of society.

Where have I heard that before?

Oh, I get it.

Anonymous said...

Obviously freedom is not important to you or Mr. Harper!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:27 It is true that the Niqab is required by some sects of Islam as a result of their interpretation of the Koran, the sects supported by the MCC and CMFT obviously do not.

The fact that in interviews with 81 Muslim women in Canada the National Post reports that some of them were unsure if it was mandatory or were doing it in the spirit of defiance doesn't lesson the religious nature of the practice. (I am sure if you interviewed Roman Catholics most would say that the wafer they consume at communion doesn't actually turn into the body of Christ notwithstanding the the religious doctrine.) It hardly equates wearing the Niqab with body piercing or tattoos!

If you acknowledge that none of the 81 women interviewed were forced or coerced to wear the Niqab then your position is just another paternalistic attempt to tell women what they wear and what they can do.

Of course the real reason for advancing this position is to stir up bigotry and hatred for political purposes.

(By the way - being liberal is not a bad thing - check out its definition in any dictionary! As much as Harper is trying to turn us into the US - where liberal is an insult - that won't work here!)

Obviously your personality is such that you must have the last word so I am sure you will reply!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anon 7:45. I toyed with leaving you with the last word just to allow you to be mistaken on another level.

If you go back to the storm and fury that was the originating post for this thread you will see that, hard and fast, the niqab was a religious requirement. Flowing from that was the liberal left early posts parroting the same misinformation.

Now we find at least half of a sample group of niqab wearers have no idea if it is mandatory. For another group it is teenage angst manifested in parental or societal defiance.

We have now moved from a general religious requirement to, in your words, "required by some sects." No word on who those sects might be. Where are they from? How many members do they have? Is Ms. Ishaq a member of the sect? Last we heard none of her family or community wear the niqab and she decided to "go for it" as a teenager seeing a university professor sporting one.

Yes, we have Christian sects too that have a unique interpretation of their religion (Bountiful) and, thus far they have not been accommodated.

We have not heard Ms Ishaw is a member of a sect that requires her to wear a niqab. From all accounts it is a clothing choice for her that represents a segment of her culture - not her religion.

For that reason I do not believe that she should be accommodated any more that Mr. Blackmore should be accommodated.

That doesn't make the threshold for bigotry and hatred as I don't think that any masked person of any gender, background or religion should be permitted to attend the Canadian citizenship ceremony. That opinion reflects entirely equal treatment free of any discrimination. I know the liberal left is knocking themselves out trying to make equal treatment "bigotry and hatred" and it just doesn't satisfy that test. It just makes the liberal left look hysterical and nutty.

No I don't think that being a liberal is a bad thing. It is good to have a balance but, just as the right gets too far out there sometimes so does the left. This is one of those times.

Whatever you do, don't reply to this post. That would give you the last word and apparently there is some implication that would make you a bad person.

Gastown Lawyer said...

I don't know if anon 7:45 will respond but I feel moved to.

Anon 8:27 states:

"We have now moved from a general religious requirement to, in your words, "required by some sects." No word on who those sects might be. Where are they from? How many members do they have?"

Those questions are simply not relevant. Under our law we will accommodate a religious practice unless it can be demonstrated that it causes real harm to others. The wearing of the Niqab, does not cause any harm. As stated in the National Post story none of the 81 women interviewed were coerced. It is quite possible that my statement in the beginning of this blog that the Niqab "is an abhorrent symbol of a culture that does not respect or value women" was ill informed and based on my own bias.

It doesn't matter what sect of Islam believes in wearing the Niqab, nor how many followers it has. It is not the job of the state to judge one version of a religion over another. We have separation of church and state, which is necessary for a free society.

As to the Winston Blackmore case, it is before the Courts so hard to know which way it will go. I suspect that his practices will be found to cause harm to others and will therefore not be accommodated.

In any event, the Harper government isn't raising this issue because they have a deep abiding concern for women's issues, but so they can make political hay out of the issue.

You make reference to "equal treatment" as if that means we all have to be the same. But in fact equal treatment before the law requires accommodation of beliefs and opinions. We make these accommodations every day, for example in the courtroom men are not allowed to wear hats, but we do not require Jewish men to remove yarmulke, nor Sikhs to remove their turban. Yet we are being afforded equal treatment as we may both attend court dressed in a manner that accords with our beliefs. Equal treatment does not require us to merged together in some sort of homogeneous mass.

You claim to be willing to abide by the will of the majority, and like to quote opinion polls. Yet in reading back through the blog entries it appears that you are possibly the only one who has written in support of Harper's policy on the Niqab.

The postings are anonymous so I can't say with certainty the entries were all from you but the majority of them contained similar phrasing such as "liberal left" and quotes from Muslim organizations. It appears that your opinion is in the minority, at least on this blog.

Hopefully it will also be in the minority on October 19!

David Fai

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many people who commented on this post really know anything about Islam. Don't get me wrong, if it works to eject Stephen Harper, then go for it.

Islam is a religion of peace, and when "terrorists" use the label Islam, or Muslim, it scares us all.

The people wearing the bombs under the banner of "islam" are not to be believed. They should be reported on as to what they actually are, not what they profess to be. They are terrorists, and no adjectives are allowed.
The Western Press is complicit.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fai. Many others beside myself have commented opposing the niqab. How do we know the niqab supporters aren't the same 3 people?

The bottom line is simple. Covering your face with a mask is not wearing a hat or head covering as you have suggested. It is entirely different and, in my opinion, masking one's face regardless of gender, culture or religion is inappropriate in certain environments including a citizenship ceremony.

You think it is fine. We disagree.

All the BS about hatred and bigotry is just that. In my world it is possible to disagree without hating someone.

It is as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch if irrates on this blog

Anonymous said...

Sober up.

Anonymous said...

"The Arrogant Autocrat" by Mel Hurtig is now available at the North Van District Library. Small book, good read.

Stephen Harper's Takeover of Canada

Anonymous said...

Mel Hurtig.

Unsuccessfully ran as a liberal candidate in 1972 and then broke with the party. Founded the further left National Party of Canada but was unsuccessful and the party folded. Long time opponent of free trade.

Writes a book slamming conservatives? Wow, who saw that one coming?

Anonymous said...

Sidetracked again NorthVancouverPolitics.com

It isn't about the Niqab. It's about Quebecois voters. Duh.

Anonymous said...

Our gastown lawyer tells us that the religious affiliation is not relevant. He shouldn't be a lawyer. If a claim is made under religious protection the claimant must be a member of a religion that encompasses the nature of the claim.

As someone stated his analogy of a hat or turban is apples and oranges as neither are a mask.
This distinction is borne out in Criminal Law where there are 2 separate charges associated with wearing a mask while engaged in a criminal act. There are no such charges for wearing a hat.

Griffin said...

Try going into a bank wearing a niqab. Just try it!

Anonymous said...

Hey anon 9:33 last time I checked swearing in as a citizen wasn't a crime. It is the act of committing a crime while masked that is prohibited. Halloween is legal, balaclava during stanley cup riot illegal.

I don't see anywhere that gastown lawyer says you don't have be a practictioner of a religion before making a claim of religious freedom. What he said in his last post was that the government can't be choosing which version of a religion is correct becaue of separation of church and state.

You mis-state his position just like the Conservatives running ads in the chinese and punjabi press that Trudeau wants to give marihuans to children or put brothels in your neighbourhood!

The Harper government isn't concerned about the facts or the evidence and Imguess neither are you!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:10. In fact it is you who misstate the position. The point was that wearing a mask or disguise is a recognized act in law. It was clearly stated that these laws apply to criminal acts.

Notwithstanding your misrepresentation it was NOT stated that wearing a niqab approaches a criminal act. You made this up and based your fallacious argument on sand.

The point was that, contrary to the lawyer's position, hats and turbans are not recognized elsewhere in law as prohibited so those garments are not an appropriate equivalent to a garment that masks your identity.

Regarding the "separation of church and state" this is a great mantra but how correct is it.

Aren't religious freedoms mentioned in the Charter? Hot flash, this document was created by the state not the church.

If you want to make a claim for special treatment under the guarantee of religious freedom you need to, at least, show you are a member of a religion that requires your claim. You can't just make it up.

Your wild-eyed speculation and then the wobbly tactic of trying to put words in my mouth is just pathetic.

Liberals like you love to make up "facts" and then build a case on what was nonsense in the first place. It would be a disaster if that approach was magnified to a government.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:03 I knew you wouldn't leave the blog!! You just can't resist using the word "Liberal" as if it were a negative, which clearly ID's you. (Even if you were wearing a Niqab!)

Freedom of conscience and religion in section 2 of the Charter means precisely that the state cannot control which religion is sanctioned - hence guaranteeing the separation of church and state!

Also freedom of conscience and religion includes the right to have no religion!

I have reread Gastown lawyer's posts and I don't see where he disagrees with your statement:

"If you want to make a claim for special treatment under the guarantee of religious freedom you need to, at least, show you are a member of a religion that requires your claim. You can't just make it up."

And there are sects of Islam that interpret the Koran that way, regardless of your analysis of the words!

Anonymous said...

Seems the Conservative is doing exactly what the Charter prohibits.

Anonymous said...


So for you two claiming a "right" under freedom of religion means keeping the religion secret in case someone wants to see if your religion actually requires the very "right" that you claim.

There is a reason that politicians and lawyers are the least respected professions in the country and your reasoning is a beautiful example.

You have put it in writing and it stands for the test of the readers. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:08. Which sects? What are they called? Is the citizenship ceremony niqab woman a member of the sect? If you can't or don't answer then I call BS on your argument.

Anonymous said...

Why do you enter multiple entries when it so obviously the same person?

Anonymous said...

Why can't you get that more than one person disagrees with your perspective?

Anonymous said...

Apparently Anon 4:08 prefers to keep the factual details of his opinion to himself.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:52. You will not receive a reply. The writer that instructed the readers about sects and the Koran has no idea what they are called and if the niqab claimant is a member of a sect requiring the garment. That writer used these spurious "facts" to bolster his point.

I have stated before that if she was a member of such a sect and she is under a religious requirement that is one thing. If she has a cultural fashion preference that is another.

Regrettably, none of those that support the garment, including the claimant, have made this clear and probably never will.

Anonymous said...

The electorate made their views pretty clear on this issue and decided not to side with a bigoted Prime Minister and Conservative Party. Now stop your whinging.

Anonymous said...

The classic Liberal sidestep. Unable to produce a factual basis for their information they go for the sidestep and change the subject.

OK. Subject change. Last month on this very blog the Liberals pointed out the Mr. Harper governed with less than 40% of the popular vote. The essence of the discussion was that 60% voted against him yet he was the PM. The inference was that he wasn't really a legitimate PM with 60% opposed.

Mr. Trudeau achieved less than 40% of the the popular vote.

Anonymous said...

When a woman walks around in a large cloth bag with a face covering, she is actually, perhaps unwittingly, wearing a uniform of intolerance towards certain groups, as dictated by a literal translation of the Koran.

These groups are: Jews, women, and gays. It's funny to me that Liberals don't realize that they'd be the first to go in any country where the Niquab is worn.

It is time people educated themselves about this extreme form of the Muslim faith.

It is dangerous to allow people into a tolerant society if the newcomers themselves are dedicated to intolerance, as many democratic nations in Europe are unfortunately finding out.

If a group of immigrants from America came to our border wearing white robes with pointed caps, would you remain tolerant? You know they would be dangerous to the population at large solely because of what they believe, all of which is reflected in their little uniforms.

It's time to wake up.

Oh, and please stop using the word "racism" when the real issue is sexism. (Bloody useless Liberals..I'm so tired of watching their utopian dreams turn into real-life nightmares.)

See: - youtube "muslims go crazy after watching film university Uppsala, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christopher Hitchens, Maajid Nawaz.