(This article was originally published on September 15, 2015 in the Toronto SUN. The author, Raheel Raza, is a member of The Mackenzie Institute Board of Governors.)
As a Muslim mother who never saw a niqab when I was growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, I am astonished to see Canada’s judiciary caving in to Islamists who have nothing but contempt for Canada’s values of gender equality.
I write this as a Muslim Canadian who does not have any specific political leanings.
But in the 25 years I have called Canada home, I have seen a steady rise of Muslim women being strangled in the pernicious black tent that is passed off to naïve and guilt-ridden white, mainstream Canadians as an essential Islamic practice.
The niqab and burka have nothing to do with Islam.
They’re the political flags of the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaida and Saudi Arabia.
Now I learn I have not only to fight the medieval, theocratic adherents of my faith for a safe space for myself, I have to battle the Federal Court of Canada as well, which has come out on the side of these facemasks.
The ruling concerns the case of Zunera Ishaq, a 29-year-old woman who emigrated to Canada from Pakistan in 2008.
After previously showing her face to an immigration official in 2013 when taking her citizenship test, she refused to take part in the citizenship ceremony because she would have to show her face while taking the oath of citizenship.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government rightly banned face masks at such ceremonies, but this was found to be unlawful by the Federal Court.
With all due respect, let me introduce our Canadian judges to their Pakistani colleague in the jihadi badlands of Peshawar.
In November 2004, the Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), Tariq Pervaiz Khan, ordered female lawyers not to wear face veils in courtrooms, saying they couldn’t be identified, nor assist the court properly while wearing veils.
He scolded the niqabi women saying, “You are professionals”.
Covering the face is not a religious requirement for Muslim women.
The injunction in the Qur’an is for modesty (for men and women).
Some Muslim women interpret this as covering their head with a scarf or chador.
A scholar of Islamic history, Prof. Mohammad Qadeer of Queen’s University, Kingston, wrote in the Globe and Mail in March 2006:
“The argument about concealing one’s face as a religious obligation, is contentious and is not backed by the evidence.”
He added, “in Western societies, the niqab also is a symbol of distrust for fellow citizens and a statement of self-segregation. The wearer of a face veil is conveying: ‘I am violated if you look at me.’
It is a barrier in civic discourse. It also subverts public trust.”
The federal Liberals and NDP are treating Canada’s niqabis as a latter day Rosa Parks, fighting for justice.
This is vote-bank politics that is, as my friend Tarek Fatah calls it, “sharia Bolshevism”.
There is just one way forward: The next government must legislate the complete ban on wearing face masks in public, not just to expose the hypocrisy of the Islamists but for the sake of our security as well.