To Niqab or not to Niquab… that is the question…

March 10, 2010 | Filed Under Politics, Social idiocy, The Heartless Bitch Way | 3 Comments

Never one to shy away from controversy, trust Heather Malik to address the Niqab controversy head on.  You might remember Heather as the Canadian journalist who raised the ire of so many Fox News followers with her scathing review of Sarah Palin, covered in a previous Bitchitorial column.

The subject of the appropriateness of hijabs and niqabshas been hotly debated in the western world,  and I have to concur with Heather’s stance on the niqab (full face/body covering for women) for women in Canada.   While we may argue for individual human rights and the ability to practice our culture and religion, we must also judge with a careful eye (in the context of our social values) when those practices are actually harmful  – in this case to fairness, equity and the ability to advance/succeed in our society. 

Despite Ahmed’s accusation,  I do not believe it is “racist” to require people to show their face when learning a language or working with the public – especially when the face conveys so much more meaning than just words – it is an essential part of our in-person communication.   More importantly,  I believe the niqab  is, by it’s purpose,  a statement of the mistrust of men and a placement of the burden of men’s supposed inability to control themselves, on women.  Both of which are not values that we want to engender or promote in Canadian society.

Just because a person has a prior cultural practise, does not mean that it is automatically “right”, nor does it give them the right to practise that behavior in Canada. 

“Ahmed hopes that no man will ever see her face, and that men will never truly interact or compete with her. We had that era in Canada, before the Persons Case (and long after), when women were fired from their jobs when they married, when women, Jews and other undesirables couldn’t get into good universities, when men ruled on sexual and reproductive matters, when society was compartmentalized to the extreme.

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