Now I know this may garner me a little bit of flack but I am going to risk it. I do not often agree with the Conservatives but I do agree with them about their stance on the Niqab. The full face covering that some Muslim women wear. The Conservatives are against the use of a Niqab. NDP recently mentioned that they support it. I do not know what the stance of the other parties are on this matter.
The argument being made by these women is that it should be protected by their freedom of Religion. And this is where I have a problem. They may believe it is mandated by their religion but a lot of Muslims will disagree and say that it really is a cultural mandate and not a Religious one. Some may say I or we are splitting hairs but, I will admit if I am wrong, Islam teachings specify a ‘conservative’ dress code and not the over the top dress code you would get with a Niqab. That was dictated by men in those regions of the Middle East due to whatever cultural reason. In Canada, there is no cultural reason for a Niqab and so it should not be allowed. Note, I am saying cultural not religious. I believe the Niqab is cultural and not religious so it should not be protected under the Freedom of Religion laws.
Plus I would support Banks and Corner Stores who mandate that no face covering of any kind (Helmets, ski masks, Guy Fox masks, Niqabs, etc.) are allowed. They do that to make it harder for robbers to hide their identities. It happens in the Middle East where wanted men would hide under women’s garb to avoid capture and detection. Who’s to say it would not happen here.
I understand it might be a cultural shock for the women to leave the house without one but it is something they should be encouraged to do here. Canada is a pleasant place to live without bringing it down with oppressive cultural artifacts from less pleasant places. And yes, it is an oppressive cultural artifact. Anyone who really argues against it really never grew up in a freer society like Canada.
I actually find it rather sad for those Muslims who dictate a public dress code for their women. I see quite a few near my work where they have a head scarf and their long… I do not know the correct name but I will call it a “Moo Moo”. I see their little girls and boys in normal clothes and cringe that eventually those little girls will be forcibly told they will have to dress like their mom one day and if not, there will be consequences. This will bring a lot of confusion and heart ache for these girls as they see their brothers not having to abide by any similar nonsense. It makes me worries that these families will eventually force their girls back to the Middle East to get married and fall in line with their “Culture”. It is a cruel fate for them if that happens having lived in a society like Canada and then send to a place where their freedoms that they enjoyed here are next to non-existent there.
That is my stance. It may not be a popular one but I just think that when “Religion”, or more correctly, “Culture” is dictating an unfair disparaging dress code and rules specifically for women, we should not stand for that.