PDA

View Full Version : Most Canadians want niqab ban



islamirama
04-08-2010, 04:38 PM
Most Canadians want niqab restricted

Quebecers 95% behind proposed law. Support for veil strongest in Western Canada

By MARIAN SCOTT, The GazetteMarch 27, 2010

Most Quebecers and Canadians agree that women wearing the niqab or burqa should not receive government services, hospital care or university instruction, a new Angus Reid poll shows.

Ninety-five per cent of Quebecers support a proposed provincial law barring the face veil from government offices, schools and other publicly funded institutions, says the poll, provided exclusively to The Gazette yesterday.

In the rest of Canada, three out of four people give the thumbs up to Bill 94, tabled Wednesday by the Charest government. The bill would require all public sector employees to have their faces uncovered, as well as any citizen using government services, for example, someone applying for a medicare card or paying her car registration.

Nationally, four out of five Canadians support the bill.

Mario Canseco, vice-president of public affairs for the pollster, said the survey shows an unusually high level of support for a government measure. "It's very rare to get 80 per cent of Canadians to agree on something," he said.

"With numbers like this, there is not going to be much of a controversy over the legislation in Quebec or anywhere else in the country," he added.

Canseco said one reason support for the niqab ban is higher in Quebec than the rest of Canada is the ongoing debate over reasonable accommodation. The argument over accommodating minorities has heated up in recent weeks in the wake of the barring of an Egyptian woman from government language classes for wearing the niqab.

Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, attributed the poll results to the emotional climate the surrounds the niqab issue.

"They are giving it based on their emotional response to a woman covering her face, which is understandable," Elmenyawi said.

"It is associated with all the negative stereotypes that have been on the airwaves," he said. Elmenyawi said the survey could have produced different results if the niqab debate had been conducted in a calmer atmosphere and with more empathy.

Outside Quebec, the poll showed, Albertans are most likely to support the veil ban, with 82 per cent approving the bill; followed by Ontario, with 77 per cent support; the Atlantic provinces (73 per cent) and British Columbia (70 per cent). Support for withholding government services from those wearing the face veil was lowest in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, at 65 per cent.

"It's one of the few times when Quebec and Alberta are on the same page," Canseco said, noting that Quebecers and Albertans differ sharply on many issues, like the environment.

Only a handful of Quebec Muslims wear the niqab, an opaque face veil with a slit for the eyes, or the burqa, a long gown that also covers the face, with a mesh panel through which the wearer peers.

Eighty-three per cent of Quebecers strongly approve of the niqab law and 12 per cent moderately approve of it. Five per cent of Quebecers oppose it, according to the poll, conducted online among 1,004 adults on Thursday and yesterday.

The respondents were selected randomly among Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Across Canada, men were slightly more likely to approve the niqab bill than women (83 per cent vs. 77 per cent) and people over 55 were more likely to favour it than those under 35 (86 per cent vs. 69 per cent).

Bloc Québécois supporters favoured the bill most (95 per cent), along with Conservatives (86 per cent) and Liberals (81 per cent). Three-quarters of NDP supporters agreed with the bill.

A separate poll by Léger Marketing for the Association of Canadian Studies, part of which was also provided exclusively to The Gazette, shows that Quebecers are uncomfortable with the Muslim hijab in schools, but want to keep the crucifix in the National Assembly and allow the cross in classrooms.

Asked whether Muslim girls should be allowed to wear the hijab (headscarf) in public schools, 75 per cent of respondents said no, while 20 per cent said yes.

However, 58 per cent of Quebecers want to keep the crucifix above the seat of the president of the National Assembly whereas 33 per cent said it should be relocated.

As for crucifixes in public school classrooms, 54 per cent said they should be allowed vs. 41 per cent who said they should not.

"For those who say Quebec wants a société laïque (secular society), this poll shows they do have preferences," said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies. "Crucifixes are fine but the hijab is not," he added.

The survey was conducted online among 1,001 respondents March 21-24. Results are accurate within 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Most+Canadians+want+niqab+restricted/2732499/story.html

They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another)... (An-Nisa 4:89)

Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you(O Muhammad) till you follow their religion... (Al-Baqarah 2:120)


Hijab Types


Potent symbol

The word hijab is often used to describe the headscarves worn by Muslim women.

These scarves, regarded by many Muslims as a symbol of both religion and womanhood, come in a myriad of styles and colours.

The type most commonly worn in the West is a square scarf that covers the head and neck but leaves the face clear.

Popular styles

The al-amira is a two-piece veil. It consists of a close fitting cap, usually made from cotton or polyester, and an accompanying tube-like scarf.

The shayla is a long, rectangular scarf popular in the Gulf region. It is wrapped around the head and tucked or pinned in place at the shoulders.

Covering up

The khimar is a long, cape-like veil that hangs down to just above the waist. It covers the hair, neck and shoulders completely, but leaves the face clear.

The chador, worn by many Iranian women when outside the house, is a full-body cloak. It is often accompanied by a smaller headscarf underneath.

Islamic covering

The niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. However, it may be worn with a separate eye veil. It is worn with an accompanying headscarf.

The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils. It covers the entire face and body, leaving just a mesh screen to see through.

There have been attempts to ban both the niqab and burka in some European countries.
Reply

Login/Register to hide ads. Scroll down for more posts
Pygoscelis
04-08-2010, 10:23 PM
Banning Niqab isn't just about religious intolerance and womens issues. Its also about if religious freedom should include giving special rights to people, and about security and safety. In Ontario this follows not too many years after the Kirpan issue. That was a while back but still comes to the minds of many when thinking of this issue. You shouldn't be allowed to carry around a knife (ceremonial or not, dull or not - how can we really know?) or cover your face in public if there are rules against those things. And having a religion shouldn't open the door to you while keeping it shut to everybody else.

That said I do oppose bans on niqab, kirpan, or whatever. Just enforce the laws already in place and make no exceptions for these people. No need to single them out by banning their particular weapons/masks.
Reply

islamirama
04-08-2010, 11:56 PM
Quebec's veil law is a slap in the face to Muslim women

The bill is insulting, and dismisses Muslims as sub-human

By SHAHINA SIDDIQUI, FreelanceMarch 30, 2010

I have been reading in horror and sometimes nervous laughter the many tirades against the face veil that a tiny number of Canadian Muslim women wear in public. The arguments against the niqab range from the despicable to the ridiculous. Read the blogs or comments in major newspapers in Canada and you would think that we live in the most bigoted, intolerant nation in the world. Of course that is not the case and I am encouraged by the voices of reason, however few and far between.

As a Muslim woman and spiritual counsellor, I see the pain, anguish, and the sheer paralyzing fear that Muslim Canadian women are feeling. We have been dismissed, stigmatize and relegated to the position of a sub-citizen. As one young woman stated to me "I do not wear a veil but this attack is very personal, under the guise of empowering us they have totally shredded our confidence."

What people are ignoring is that Muslim women are human and deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of whether we agree with their choices or not.

We must ask why Naema Ahmed, a Quebec mother of three, is being put through this agonizing public lynching for exercising her right as she understands it, to practise her religion as she sees fit. Why is she being accosted for exercising her right to file a grievance through a government agency.?

Imagine what her children must be feeling to see their mother denied the right to an education, not for any crime she has committed, but for the way she dresses. The pain we have inflicted on this family is unforgiveable.

Furthermore we should be ashamed on how we have been bullying and demonizing Ahmed in particular and Muslim women in general almost on a regular basis. It is almost as if Canada has declared war on its Muslim women.

Now we have Quebec's Bill 94, essentially barring veiled women from receiving public services.

In Canada all citizens have the right to personal freedom as long as it does not infringe on another's right. However when it comes to a Muslim woman, we have convinced ourselves that she is a victim of her husband's dominance and so we do not believe her when she says "this is my choice."

What a cunning, circular web we weave. First we discredit her as an intellectual being, ridicule her claim to be a free-thinking woman, demonize her for practising her faith, and then smugly claim to be emancipating her.

As for the argument that some women are forced by their male guardians to wear the niqab, I am sure there are such cases. However the solution being offered by some to ban the niqab is to banish these women to a life of house arrest. The Canadian response should be to respectfully empower them through social interaction and education.

The claim that to teach language the teacher needs to see her mouth is to state that blind people cannot teach or learn language and that on-line language classes are bogus. If the issue is pronunciation, then guess what, we all have an accent. Ask someone from France if they approve of Quebec French.

As for the issues regarding the veil being a security threat, how many niqab-wearing women have held up banks? Note should be taken that women who wear the niqab are also obligated to remove their niqab for security and identification purposes, and they do.

Unfortunately the frenzy around this whole issue is taking on Islamophobic undertones. The holier-than- thou slogans chanted by so-called pure Canadians that "our values are better then theirs" has serious social consequences. What law gives us the right to impose our biases, transfer our ignorance and juxtapose our fears on these women?

And the argument based on comparisons between some Muslim countries and Canada is also a red herring. Do we really want to model Canada on the standards of human rights in Egypt or Afghanistan? We claim to be better than the Taliban because we do not force women to wear certain clothing - we would rather tell them what not to wear. What hypocrisy!

This outrage is not about a piece of cloth on my face or head, it is about what I believe and the lifestyle I have chosen. It is about my refusal to be exploited for my physiology, my refusal to fit in a frame that society imposes on me, and my courage to demand my right as a Canadian.

For this we are being punished, deprived of our basic human right to choose.

Unfortunately it is becoming socially acceptable to belittle Muslim women, treat them as sub-human, and to make political gains at their expense, but this is not something to be proud of or to celebrate.

On the contrary, it is time to mourn the Canada we might be losing.


Shahina Siddiqui is president and executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association Inc. - Canada.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Quebec+veil+slap+face+Muslim+women/2741867/story.html#ixzz0jmHroDAI
Quebecers opinion of Muslims on the decline: poll

By ELIZABETH THOMPSON, QMI Agency

OTTAWA — Only one-third of francophone Quebecers have a positive opinion of Muslims and that appears to be on the decline, according to a new public opinion poll.

A Leger Marketing poll commissioned by the Association for Canadian Studies and released exclusively to QMI Agency, found that only 33.3% of francophones said they had a favourable opinion of Muslims, compared to 59.4% who didn’t.

A similar poll in 2009 found 40% of French-speaking Quebecers had a positive view of Muslims, compared with 57% in 2007.

Opinions of Muslims were somewhat higher among anglophones, 53% of whom had a positive opinion (compared to 37.3% who didn’t) and allophones who were split 48.7% in favour and 47.8% against.

Francophone opinion of Jews also appears to be declining. The poll found 50% of francophones had a favourable view of Jews. A similar study in 2009 found favourable opinion of Jews was at 60%, down from 72% in 2007.

Favourable opinion among francophones of Catholics was down slightly to 86.4% from 88% in 2009.

The poll of 1,001 Quebecers via web panel was conducted during the week of March 22 and has a margin of error of 3.9%, 19 times out of 20.

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/03/30/13404161.html
Reply

CosmicPathos
04-09-2010, 06:11 AM
no need to cite from journalists. lets hear it from the lawyers or law students. http://lawiscool.com/2010/03/31/why-...ban-the-niqab/

An article jointly written by David Shulman and Lawrence Gridin
Last week the government of Québéc announced that it would restrict female Muslims from covering their faces with the niqab. This article is about the fundamental freedoms that we enjoy as Canadians and human beings, and the power of the government to encroach upon those freedoms.
The legislation proposed in Québéc will prevent a woman wearing a niqab from being able to access public services, including consulting doctors at a hospital or attending classes at university. It also prevents all government employees from wearing a niqab, including those employees who have no contact with the public. More details can be found here.
Prime Minister Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have announced that they support the ban, and a large (if not overwhelming) majority of Canadians agree with them.
A Primer on Freedom

Let’s begin our discussion with a review of the Ann Coulter affair, which bears some analogues to the Québéc niqab issue.
We cannot think of another person whom we personally disagree with more on virtually every dimension than Ms. Coutler. We have difficulty thinking of anyone else who spews out as much vile hate, ignorance and prejudice as Ms. Coulter. We’re bothered by the fact that there is any demand — outside of perhaps morbid curiosity — for her wares at all.
Here are three pieces, taken from Ms. Coulter’s repertoire, that support our opinion:
“They’re [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let’s do it. Let’s repress them. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the First Amendment.”
- University of Florida speech, October 20, 2005.
“I have to say I’m all for public flogging. One type of criminal that a public humiliation might work particularly well with are the juvenile delinquents, a lot of whom consider it a badge of honor to be sent to juvenile detention. And it might not be such a cool thing in the ‘hood’ to be flogged publicly.”
- MSNBC, March 22, 1997.
“I think [women] should be armed but should not vote…women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it…it’s always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care.”
- Politically Incorrect, February 26, 2001.
Despite our profound disagreement with her views, we would fight vigorously to protect Ms. Coulter’s right to express them. The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We would proudly defend her right to freedom of expression in any court with every ounce of our ability and integrity, just as vigorously as we would defend our own right to criticize and disagree with her views.
Why?
Mr. and Mrs. Shulman once visited David in Paris. One evening, they left David and joined some tourists from other parts of the world for dinner. Conversation turned to politics, which is Mr. Shulman’s favourite subject. Fueled by good food, wine and company, the discussion became rather heated as the diners grappled with various “issues of national importance.”
Eventually, Mr. Shulman gently attempted to change the subject, worried that someone might be offended by the discussion of politics at the table. But a woman at the next table interjected. In a thick German accent she said, “If people in my country had kept talking, we might have prevented the Nazis’ rise to power, this city might not have been occupied, the Holocaust might have been avoided.” The two tables joined and the political conversation was allowed to continue.
John Henry Wigmore, the famous U.S. jurist, wrote that cross-examination “is beyond any doubt the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth” (Evidence, Chadbourn rev. (1974), para. 1367, p. 32.). We believe that the facts and ideas of national importance are put to this same test at the dinner tables, public squares and university lecture halls of this nation by Canadians every day — whether they realize it or not.
We also believe that the more insidious and ignorant, the more hateful and bigoted, the more loony and absurd a point of view is, the more important it becomes for the light of public discourse to shine brightly upon it. Only in the harsh light of exposure can ideas be scrutinized and fallacies be laid bare before a wide audience. That’s how a democratic society disarms and marginalizes harmful misconceptions.
Freedom of expression is one of the keystones which upholds our Canadian democracy. As Justice Cory once wrote, “it is difficult to imagine a guaranteed right more important to a democratic society.” Democracy is fundamentally defined by innovation and change. Beliefs about the best way to live evolve over time to meet the needs of society. Ideas are the fuel for this engine of innovation. When ideas are suppressed, the engine chokes and grinds to a halt.
Ms. Coulter’s right to freedom of expression is a right that is commonly held by all of us. When Ms. Coulter’s right is eroded, all of our rights are equally eroded along with it. One way to erode that right is by attempting to censor and intimidate a person into silence, which is allegedly what happened recently at the University of Ottawa. [For the sake of discussion, we will assume that Ms. Coulter was threatened with violence were she to appear for her scheduled speech at the University. The only thing we know for sure is that Ms. Coulter's people called off the engagement. Whether violence was ever threatened or whether the protest was peaceful and legitimate, we do not know.]
As a result of the incidents at the University of Ottawa, Coulter became a martyr instead of a moron that day. To really get a sense of how sadly Canada failed at the University of Ottawa, watch how our entire nation was misrepresented to the American public. Freedom of expression, a freedom guaranteed to everyone in Canada by section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is conveyed by this Canadian columnist and unwitting Fox News “straw man” as some kind of pathetic, meager privilege. It is painful to watch.
The truth is that Canadians cherish the right to freedom of speech. It is a freedom which has been defended vigorously and repeatedly by the Supreme Court of Canada. Recognizing its importance to the functioning of our democracy, Canadian courts have been careful to place very few limitations on the exercise of the freedom.
First Principles

By now you’re wondering what any of this has to do with the proposed niqab ban that this article’s title refers to. We ask that you take from this discussion of Ann Coulter the following principles:
Canadian constitutional rights and freedoms are essential to our liberal democratic society.
Many social issues are best addressed by people sharing ideas and points of view in books, speeches, protests, YouTube videos, songs, and all the other modes of discourse and cultural expression. This method of sorting out what is right and wrong, what is a truth and a lie, is not only more effective than putting these determinations in the hands of a legislature, it is the reason we have an open society in the first place.
Rights and freedoms are invariably going to be exercised in ways that not everyone will agree with. If these disagreements never arose, society wouldn’t have to “guarantee” these rights in our Constitution and courts of law. But the deprivation of those rights and freedoms — whether it be by intimidation, violence or legislation — hurts us all.
The Supreme Court of Canada has explained:
A truly free society is one which can accommodate a wide variety of beliefs, diversity of tastes and pursuits, customs and codes of conduct… What may appear good and true to a majoritarian religious group, or to the state acting at their behest, may not, for religious reasons, be imposed upon citizens who take a contrary view. The Charter safeguards religious minorities from the threat of “the tyranny of the majority”.
R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295 at paras. 94, 96.
The Niqab

We personally have mixed views on the niqab, and religious symbols in general. Fortunately, we’re in Canada, so we can elaborate.
Regarding the wearing of the niqab specifically, we believe that it is a potentially self-harming religious practice. A person’s identity is intertwined with their physical person. There is no natural reason for a person to be “modest” regarding their own identity. Everyone should be proud of their identity, especially if they are a good person.
Society has limitless things to offer each of us: love, knowledge, happiness, culture, beauty, adventure, recognition and accomplishment. If a person is unable to share their identity with society, a person may be limited in the extent to which they can participate in society. A person who does not fully participate in society will likely not realize their individual potential; society as a whole suffers.
The niqab is a visual and symbolic barrier. It’s purpose is to promote privacy by obscuring identity. Humans are social animals; a barrier between a person and society dehumanizes.
Because the niqab is worn only by women, this dehumanizing effect is unequally borne between genders. Gender equality is a fundamental Canadian value which finds expression in section 15 of the Charter. Wherever the niqab promotes or represents the view that woman are inferior to men, we strongly oppose it. But that is not the only purpose of the niqab.
Choices

The small minority of Muslim women who wear the niqab do so for many reasons. At least some of these reasons can be categorized as follows.
First, there are women who do not wear the niqab by choice. These are women who have been coerced into wearing it by dominating males who deprive them of their freedom to make fundamental choices for themselves. Violence may be the means used to exert this control. These women effectively have no choice at all.
Second, there are women who wear it — not because of overt violence — but because of intense cultural pressure. These women have a choice, but it is a highly restricted choice, because the consequences of choosing not to comply may be unduly onerous.
Third, there are those women who wear a niqab because they believe that their religion compels them to do so and that wearing a niqab is the moral thing to do. These women also have a highly restricted choice, in that deciding not to wear the niqab would be an affront to their own sense of values. For them, it would be a deliberate choice to do the wrong thing.
Fourth, there are women who make an informed choice to wear a niqab. Some of these women wear the niqab simply because they prefer not to be sexualized and gawked at by men. Alternatively, they may wear it as the ultimate expression of their identity and the pride that they take in their faith. While many people see the niqab as a symbol of oppression, for some women, the niqab is a symbol of rebellion and defiance. These women may don the niqab precisely as a means of protesting the decline of values that they believe strongly in. They may wear it as a powerful expression of their world view and out of a desire to promote a system of values that they think the world ought to embrace.
This is an abbreviated list, and it is impossible to say which proportion of niqab-wearing women fall into each of the categories. It is also impossible for the State or a law to ever make this calculation in practice.
What is our answer to the women in the fourth category who make a voluntary choice? We do not particularly like the choice these women have made, primarily because we do not like barriers between people and society. However, we believe that it is completely paternalistic to tell these women that we know better, that they’ve been brainwashed, and that they have no right to express their values. Thus, our answer comes in the form of respectful disagreement with the views of these women, and nothing more. We cannot find a way to justify the intrusion of the State into the private decision to don the veil:
The values that underlie our political and philosophic traditions demand that every individual be free to hold and to manifest whatever beliefs and opinions his or her conscience dictates, provided inter alia only that such manifestations do not injure his or her neighbours or their parallel rights to hold and manifest beliefs and opinions of their own.
R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295 at para. 122.
But apparently, a majority of Canadians, the Prime Minister of Canada, the leader of the Opposition, and the Government of Quebec all think that the response to a practice they disapprove of should be a legislative one, namely a legal ban on the niqab. Is this not another form of coercion which deprives women of the freedom to choose?
The Proposed Law

There are legal reasons why Bill 94, if it becomes law, will very likely be found to be an unjustifiable violation of the Constitution. In particular, the law would undoubtedly violate section 2(a) of the Charter, which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion to everyone. For women in the fourth category at least, the law would also violate section 2(b) of the Charter which guarantees our rights to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.
Let’s get one thing cleared up. The government lawyers were aware that the Bill would likely offend the Charter, so they took some precautions when drafting the Bill: first, they defined the legislative objectives to be identification, security and communication; they played down the issue of gender inequality and played up the issue of religious neutrality of the State. You won’t find any of the above argument on the niqab in Bill 94, not surprisingly. Better still, section 4 of the Bill states that accommodation must comply with the Charter.
The deprivation of freedom of religion arises from the subsequent provisions of the Bill, which establish that compromise — defined as allowing the person to wear the niqab, not the other way around — may be granted if it is reasonable, does not infringe the rights of others, is not unduly costly and does not create any problems of identification, security and communication. Furthermore, the Bill puts the determination of these elements in the discretion of the administrative bodies. In other words, the Bill is designed to pay lip-service to the Charter while using broad definitions and administrative discretion to undermine those Charter rights and freedoms.
Lastly, section 6 makes it mandatory for all government employees to have an uncovered face when at work.
But the obvious legislative objective is found in the effect of the Bill, which forces niqab-wearers to choose between certain religious practices, values and beliefs, on the one hand, and basic, essential public services on the other. The legislators are not interested in identification, security, and communication. They want to suppress religion and expression which they do not like.
For further proof of the actual objective of Bill 94, listen to Christine St-Pierre, Québéc’s minister responsible for the status of women, who called niqabs “ambulatory prisons” and said Québéc was a “world leader” when it comes to gender equality, and that with Bill 94, “we prove it once again.” Again, it is this unstated objective that the majority of Canadians support. The Government of Québéc is trying to get it passed under one legislative objective but they’re obviously more interested in another. Regardless of whether this is all for the best, it’s really dishonest legislating.
It’s also a very ironic law. Those women who wear the niqab because of the edicts and expectations of their family would now simply be subjected to the edicts and expectations of the rest of society. In neither case do those women get to exercise any freedom of choice of their own. It’s a totally illusory “progress.”
Another irony is that the law is being introduced in a province that has fought so hard against cultural, political and religious oppression for hundreds of years. The French culture, language and once-predominant religion has been accommodated by the majority since Confederation. For example, section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867 guarantees that the Catholic School system (“Denominational Schools”) would be funded with tax dollars and could not be dismantled by the provincial governments. This same accommodation is being denied to the minority of Muslim women who veil their faces.
A common argument is that it’s not the wearing of the niqab that is so wrong, it’s the abuse that is associated with the practice. This is an argument which responds to the first category of women we’ve described. Again, we don’t know the strength of the correlation between the practice and physical abuse. Even assuming that there is a connection, this argument forgets the fact that violence and coercion are prohibited by the Criminal Code. These are criminal acts, and those individuals that commit these acts will be investigated by the police and rightly prosecuted.
Some people may think that this is not enough, that we should prevent these crimes from happening. Should we criminalize activity merely because it is associated with crime? Should we ban Harley Davidson motorcycles because they are a symbol associated with organized crime? What’s worse in the case of the niqab is that it is associated with the victim of the alleged abuse. So, this argument of “abuse prevention” implies that we should restrict the rights of victims in order to protect those victims. Doesn’t this just blame the victim? Wouldn’t this just punish the victim further?
Our Constitution

It is easy to show that the niqab ban infringes freedom of religion. Under the Charter, “freedom of religion” is given a wide and liberal interpretation. Whether the niqab is a widely-accepted or widely-followed Islamic practice is irrelevant. What matters in the constitutional context is whether a woman sincerely believes that the practice of donning the niqab is connected with the exercise of her spirituality (Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, 2004 SCC 47 at para. 62).
Clearly, a law which prevents a woman from accessing government services while wearing a niqab imposes a burden which makes it onerous (if not impossible) to comply with one’s sincerely held religious beliefs. The burden is far from trivial, in that it may even jeopardize a woman’s health if she is forced to choose between accessing a doctor and remaining veiled.
Perhaps the best and most obvious precedent for the niqab situation is the Supreme Court’s decision in Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite‑Bourgeoys, 2006 SCC 6. In that case, school authorities discovered that a Sikh boy was in possession of a kirpan — a ceremonial dagger — that his sincere religious belief required him to wear at all times. The school board subsequently prohibited the boy from bringing what they considered to be a dangerous weapon to school. Despite the necessity of maintaining a safe environment in schools, the Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition was an infringement of the boy’s freedom of religion. The infringement could not be justified because the prohibition was a disproportionate response to the school’s safety concerns.
We have summarized the portions of the Supreme Court’s decision that would be most relevant to the niqab issue:
In order to demonstrate an infringement of his freedom of religion, Gurbaj Singh does not have to establish that the kirpan is not a weapon. He need only show that his personal and subjective belief in the religious significance of the kirpan is sincere. …
The interference with Gurbaj Singh’s freedom of religion is neither trivial nor insignificant. Forced to choose between leaving his kirpan at home and leaving the public school system, Gurbaj Singh decided to follow his religious convictions and is now attending a private school. The prohibition against wearing his kirpan to school has therefore deprived him of his right to attend a public school. …
The argument that the wearing of kirpans should be prohibited because the kirpan is a symbol of violence and because it sends the message that using force is necessary to assert rights and resolve conflict must fail. Not only is this assertion contradicted by the evidence regarding the symbolic nature of the kirpan, it is also disrespectful to believers in the Sikh religion and does not take into account Canadian values based on multiculturalism. …
A total prohibition against wearing a kirpan to school undermines the value of this religious symbol and sends students the message that some religious practices do not merit the same protection as others. On the other hand, accommodating Gurbaj Singh and allowing him to wear his kirpan under certain conditions demonstrates the importance that our society attaches to protecting freedom of religion and to showing respect for its minorities.
Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, 2006 SCC 6 at paras. 37, 40, 71, 79.
Justifiable Limits on Religion

In order for a law to justifiably limit freedom of religion, the law must be aimed at achieving a pressing and substantial government objective. The law must be rationally connected to achieving that objective. In addition, the encroachment upon freedom of religion must be proportionate to that objective. In other words, the law must not impair rights any more than is necessary to achieve the government’s purpose.
Before we conclude, we’d like to address whether the Bill is aimed at a pressing and substantial objective and whether it facilitates reasonable accommodation. The closest that Bill 94 ever gets to being a reasonable and constitutional law is in dealing with certain public services that absolutely necessitate the presentation of a face for practical or legal reasons. For example, there is a need to reveal one’s face on government photo ID. In areas other than this, Bill 94 is unjustifiable because it is incredibly overbroad; for instance, by preventing all government employees from wearing the veil.
But in these limited areas, such as the creation of certain vital government documents like drivers’ licences, Bill 94 still fails. By framing “reasonable accommodation” in terms of “identification, security and communication;” by putting discretion in the hands of those that administrate these public services; and by articulating the new policy as “Two words: Uncovered face,” Premier Charest has made it perfectly clear that the government will not use means which minimally impair the rights of niqab-wearers.
Fortunately, Québéc has a role model for accommodation right next door:
Accommodations are made for women in niqabs, said Geetika Bhardwaj, senior communications advisor to Ontario’s Government Services Minister Harinder Takhar.
Women can go into an interview room and have an identification photo taken by a female staff member. Or, a picture can be taken in a private location by a female agent. “If there is not a private interview room or a private location, a screen can be erected in order to obscure the photo subject from public view,” Bhardwaj said.
And, in the Toronto area, health-care appointments can be made after hours, a system that will soon be extended across the province and will include health cards and driver’s licences.
In other words, simple solutions which accommodate niqab-wearers and create no “undue hardship” on the government abound. But it’s obvious that Bill 94 isn’t about accommodation. Bill 94 is about stifling a particular religious practice that the majority of Québécois disagree with.
Conclusion

The niqab issue raises fundamental questions about religion, expression, equality, and the limits of those freedoms. To us, the issue boils down to tyranny of the majority on the one hand versus constitutionalism and the rule of law on the other.
Whatever we may think about the merits of donning the niqab, we hope that Québéc decides not to enact this draft law. We encourage you to respectfully share your thoughts with us and other readers. Or better yet, to share a baguette, a bottle of wine and this subject of national importance at your next dinner party.
Reply

Welcome, Guest!
Hey there! Looks like you're enjoying the discussion, but you're not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, you can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts and make new friends.
Sign Up
tetsujin
04-09-2010, 02:42 PM
Originally Posted by islamirama
Quebec's veil law is a slap in the face to Muslim women

The bill is insulting, and dismisses Muslims as sub-human

[I]By SHAHINA SIDDIQUI, FreelanceMarch 30, 2010

....Now we have Quebec's Bill 94, essentially barring veiled women from receiving public....

This is incorrect. If you read the bill, it does not ban people from wearing a veil in public, and does not impose any laws on what is or is not allowed as clothing. What the bill does say, is that both administrators of public services and members of the public receiving services funded by the government, in part or in whole, have the right to know who is administering or receiving those services.

This means that for identification purposes, anyone wearing a face covering must accommodate the other party. This does not mean that you are not allowed to cover your face in any particular place or time before or after. It is not mandatory for anyone to uncover his/her face, however until sufficient requirements are met that person may not be able to administer or receive services.

There is no mention of the word niqab or of any particular religion. Could it affect you whether or not you are religious? Yes.

If you are a Muslim woman, it is within the bounds of the accommodation to ask for a female to verify your identity, if you do not wish to unveil in front of a male.

If it's a particularly cold day and you are wearing a ski mask to avoid frostbite, the rules apply to you as well.


If you would like to read the bill, and about its progress, it is available online.
http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/travaux-p...-20100325.html


All the best,


Faysal
Reply

CosmicPathos
04-09-2010, 03:56 PM
Originally Posted by tetsujin
This is incorrect. If you read the bill, it does not ban people from wearing a veil in public, and does not impose any laws on what is or is not allowed as clothing. What the bill does say, is that both administrators of public services and members of the public receiving services funded by the government, in part or in whole, have the right to know who is administering or receiving those services.

This means that for identification purposes, anyone wearing a face covering must accommodate the other party. This does not mean that you are not allowed to cover your face in any particular place or time before or after. It is not mandatory for anyone to uncover his/her face, however until sufficient requirements are met that person may not be able to administer or receive services.

There is no mention of the word niqab or of any particular religion. Could it affect you whether or not you are religious? Yes.

If you are a Muslim woman, it is within the bounds of the accommodation to ask for a female to verify your identity, if you do not wish to unveil in front of a male.

If it's a particularly cold day and you are wearing a ski mask to avoid frostbite, the rules apply to you as well.


If you would like to read the bill, and about its progress, it is available online.
http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/travaux-p...-20100325.html


All the best,


Faysal
To what extent do they have the right to know? Do they have the right to know the size of the testicles of the person receiving the services? Do they have the right to know the bust size of the person receiving the services?
Reply

tetsujin
04-09-2010, 04:35 PM
Originally Posted by mad_scientist
To what extent do they have the right to know? Do they have the right to know the size of the testicles of the person receiving the services? Do they have the right to know the bust size of the person receiving the services?
No, there's nothing of that sort in bill 94 or any law of which I am aware. It also wouldn't serve any purpose to know such details. They don't care about 'what' you are, only 'who' you are or more importantly are not.

Does the government have a right to know whom it gives a driver's license or health care? Do children in a public school have a right to know they are being taught by the same teacher that was hired for his/her qualifications? Do their parents? How would an officer confirm the identity of a driver stopped for a traffic violation?

This is no more of an infringement on the rights of the individual than those we already concede in democratic socialist nation. Again, nothing was banned in this bill.


All the best,


Faysal
Reply

islamirama
04-09-2010, 06:14 PM
Niqab ban gets unanimous support in Canada

Mar 28, 2010

Toronto: Canadians have unanimously supported the niqab ban announced by French-speaking Quebec province this week. After France, the Canadian province is the first in North America to ban the niqab, a top-to-toe dress worn by Muslim women.

The ban, triggered by an Egyptian immigrant woman's refusal to remove her niqab in her French classes in Montreal, will disallow access to government services, schools and colleges and health care to those who don't remove the face veil.

A national survey at the weekend showed widespread support for the ban in this highly polarized nation between liberals and conservatives. According to the survey - conducted by Angus Reid for the Montreal Gazette newspaper - 95 percent people in Quebec province supported the law to ban the Muslim dress which they say contradicts the liberal, secular values of their society.

Across Canada - which has 10 provinces and three national territories - four out of five people supported the ban.

Expressing his surprise at the near-unanimity among Canadians on the issue, Mario Canseco, vice-president of the pollster, was quoted by the Montreal Gazette as saying, "It's very rare to get 80 per cent of Canadians to agree on something. With numbers like this, there is not going to be much of a controversy over the legislation in Quebec or anywhere else in the country."

But Salam Elmenyawi of the Muslim Council of Montreal attributed the poll results to the emotional climate surrounding the niqab issue.

Canada is home to about one million Muslims who are mostly concentrated in major cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

As Canada's demographic profile changes with immigration and higher birth rates among immigrants, the Muslim population is estimated to triple in two decades, according to a recent report by Statistics Canada.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/niqab-ban-get-unanimous-support-in-canada/112238-2.html
Reply

Hey there! Looks like you're enjoying the discussion, but you're not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, you can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts and make new friends.
Sign Up

IslamicBoard

Experience a richer experience on our mobile app!