Canada Bans Burka

PUBLISHED: 1:43 AM 26 Jan 2018

“It’s A Walking Prison”: Sharia Sparks Debate As Left Denies Voter Will, Tries To Block Burka Ban

The divide revolves around appeasing traditionalist Muslims or those who want public safety but the bill has passed.

This ia debate going on around the world right now.

Voters in Quebec, Canada recently voted to ban a specific type of religious clothing when citizens choose to use public services like the bus system or local libraries. The area had some issues with Muslim women appearing in public wearing full-face veils, which are called “niqab.” They take the headscarf one step further as they bridge the gap between the scarf and a full-on burka.

Many within Quebec see the niqab as being a symbol of the darkest side of the Muslim faith. This is a shocking sign of repression on the streets of the towns and cities. Many see “it’s a walking prison” and see no value in the link to the faith argument.

One adult immigrant shared her experiences with the veils as she came to Canada:

“As a Muslim teenager in her native Tunisia, Nadia El-Mabrouk never once saw a woman wearing a full-face veil. After moving to Canada, she was shocked to see her first one on the streets of Montreal.”

The idea that a woman is not allowed to veil her identity also comes down to a matter of public safety. It would be nearly impossible for someone to identify a female for example who committed a crime with a face veil hiding their full face.

For those who argue this article of clothing is tied to their freedom of religion, it is important to note that many even within the Muslim faith were taken back by the face veils appearing on city streets. This is not the norm for all Muslims.

The law, which is called Bill 62, has already seen its share of controversy. It was already suspended once by the Superior Court of Quebec as they weigh arguments that it impedes individual freedom of religion rights. Some question if the overall law is constitutional and others were worried about the logistics behind this type of ban.

While the ban is currently suspended, it appears that it very well may go back into law later this year. The most significant stumbling block right now is not having clear policies about how and when public employees will uphold the ban.

The fight to stop the ban has become an issue with the liberal face of Canada, their Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. At this point, there is speculation that he may join the efforts to stop the law by formally joining the group that brought the issue to the Supreme Court. Trudeau has not expressed his support of the lawsuit to date. He has been a strong supporter of both immigrants and women’s rights.

With regard to the immigrants, many see this ban as a form of Islamophobia. The idea is that it, for the most part, targets a small cluster of immigrants who are also Muslim. They are especially leery of the law since it seems to single out Muslims and this specific face veil.

As recent as the last census in Quebec, the overall population is made up of about 3.2% Muslims. This has doubled in past years but still represents a minimal number when compared to the total population.

When we look at the issues tied to women’s rights, there seem to be two conflicting ideas at play here. The first being that the face veils are a way to oppress women, so they fly in the face of efforts to make sure women have equal rights. The second idea is that the underlying concept behind women’s rights should focus on their right to make choices for themselves. Supporting their rights would give them the opportunity to dress as they like, even if it seems repressive from the outside.

It is not clear from the Muslim culture if the face veils are in fact tied to women wanting to hide their faces or if they are being forced to do so by a male-dominated culture. The Muslim faith has seen its share of backlash over the treatment of women in their religion as they commonly practice female genital mutilation, honor killings and arranged marriages. It is safe to assume these are well within their religious beliefs but hardly examples of something covered by the women’s rights movement.

It is an interesting place to be in as liberals argue against a ban on something many see as being both repressive and abusive towards women. There is also some concern over how the new law would be upheld by public servants. This part is still up for debate as the court hears arguments for and against the ban. It is safe to safe this is a more significant issue tied to overall safety related to the use of public services. That shared goal should be the focus of any of these discussions.