I am glad to see that the Ottawa Citizen provides its citizens with a non-biased representation of Islam. I was upset reading newspapers from other cities, such as Toronto, which tries to subtly imply the niqab isn’t welcome here. I was born in Canada and I have recently reverted to Islam; I don`t believe there is or should be any conflict between these two aspects of my personality. I also don`t believe wearing a niqab should interfere with any of the rights Canada grants any of its citizens. As Canadians niqabis should be allowed to follow their dreams as much as anyone and should be able to be lawyers, government employees etc. (For obvious reasons-multirepresentation being one.) As Muslims we put our faith before anything else (as does anyone with religious convictions) and if it came down to choosing between God and the state anyone would choose a niqab over the dreams they have of this life as choosing God gives you eternal life. I believe the majority of Canadians don’t realize the extent of conviction Muslims have for their religion (not in any violent jihadist type of way, just the love we have for God, who is the same God Jews and Christians believe in). I am a Canadian-born citizen who wants her right to CHOOSE to wear the niqab; who will deny me my right to choose? Who will deny me my right to cover myself and have modesty?
I find the issue regarding women’s dress extremely ironic. First of all all of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would cover their hair. (Yes, remember bonnets?) Now all of a sudden hijab is foreign? How did we forget our history so quickly? Second of all, how dare the government allow a woman to expose her breasts under the pretense of ‘freedom’ but are considering not allowing a woman to guard her modesty under the pretense of freedom? So we have the right to expose ourselves but not cover ourselves? I have to be given a right to determine my dress…Sounds chauvisnistic to me. I am sorry but if I choose to cover my face in front of men no man is going to convince me otherwise. Even if face covering was NOT a religious conviction and was an act of modesty; how dare a man tell a woman she must show herself? A MAN legislate my wardrobe? Don’t think so, and furthermore: why aren’t women in government addressing these issues anyway…any room for diplomacy? Id rather hear a woman speak about our rulings concerning dress rather than a man. As a woman I feel deeply violated sexually to know I MUST expose a part of myself.
Now thousands of Canadians argue its for security. Well if you took the time to research something before judging it you would know that yes, even in Islam, niqabis show their faces to men for identification purposes (if there is no woman around). Although being in Canada aren`t women supposed to make up 40% of the workforce anyway? There is no basis in arguing that niqab is against security. If you think you have instances where niqab WOULD affect security please point it out to me and we can discuss it. But please refrain from insulting religious practices; I am only willing to address those with an open mind. It does not mean you can’t try to convince me, but being rude will not convince me, as it wouldn’t convince anyone.
*I will follow up on how niqab does not violate security.