Niqab-Citizenship ceremony – A Letter to Prime Minister Harper

I read an article yesterday on CBC. Now, I am not Muslim, I am just an ordinary citizen of Canada, and Mr. Prime Minister I disagree with you. For a minute, I invite you to look at this from the perspective of the devout Muslim woman whom you are asking to give up a fundamental right.

This woman has come to Canada with her family, broken ties with her native land for better opportunities for her children. It is likely she comes from a country where she is being persecuted for her religious beliefs. She has read about Canada, a great and free land, which promises in its Charter of Rights, fundamental freedoms which she doesn’t have in her country, including freedom of conscience and religion.

Becoming a Canadian citizen for most is a moment of pride, of achievement, of belonging and acceptance. So imagine the mental torture inflicted on this woman when at this moment she is asked to either subvert her conscience and her religion or forego Canadian Citizenship, a goal she and her family have sacrificed for. You must remember that this woman has probably worn the niqab for most of her adult life, never taking it off in front of strangers, specially men. Your direction for her to remove this piece of clothing is akin to asking her to disrobe.

I don’t understand Mr. Prime Minister why you think that most Canadians would want to see this woman remove her Niqab? If she believes she is following her religion then most Canadians would want to defend her Charter Rights because that means they are defending their own rights as well. Why would they want to allow you, your ministers or any other member of government to decide what constitutes their religious beliefs.

If this was only a matter of identifying this woman, to make sure it is indeed the same person who is mentioned in the documents, this can be done in private with a female official from CIC and then the woman in question can continue to the ceremony keeping her dignity and religious beliefs intact and go on to be a law abiding Canadian citizen.

I urge you to reconsider your decision to appeal this ruling as you are wasting tax payer money to impose your will upon Canadian citizens and affect their Charter Right to freedom of conscience and religion.

To my fellow Canadians I will say this, today these ministers, instead of upholding the law and protecting our Charter of Rights, are creating division based on their personal bias and views. Tomorrow, they may not like something another group of us does and they will apply that same baton to that group. This is not just about a Muslim woman and her Niqab, this is about upholding our Charter of Rights, so please let these politicians know that we will not tolerate this.

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28 Responses to Niqab-Citizenship ceremony – A Letter to Prime Minister Harper

  1. I am left wondering if this is the beginning of more attacks on a culture that some people feel we are at war with in the west. While we may be waring with ISIS (ISIL) we are not fighting Muslims and this is an unneeded attack on this woman’s freedoms. I am surprised the prime minister would choose to engage in such a meaningless social agenda issue with an election in the near future. Enjoyed your thoughts!

    • Bhaskar says:

      Firstly, the full veil is not part of Islam as written in the Koran or the Hadith. It is a medieval tribal practice from the desert lands of Arabia. Go to Muslim majority countries such as Malasia and you will not see the veil covering a woman’s face. So it is to do with ‘culture’ rather than religion and since this cultural practice signifies subservience of women, and is not part of mainstream Canadian culture, the PM is right in opposing it, especially as it is being used to express an aggressive political identity. We have all left the old country and come to Canada for a better life for our children and family. This is about the future. I would want to live in a modern civilized world, not medieval imports through which schools and other institutions are pressured to allow alien practices as mainstream. If someone is not willing to adjust and change, there are many rich Muslim countries where these practices are followed. Emigrate to one of these countries if they allow it.

  2. Reblogged this on Brandon's Adventures and Rants and commented:
    Another view on the Niqab issue in Canadian Citizenship. Enjoy this read.

  3. happyinfidel says:

    The Koran warns Muslim women to cover themselves so that they won’t be confused with infidels and molested. (33:59). That’s why the top Muslim in Australia said that uncovered women were like “meat left out for the cat”. This is vile. This the niqab is oppressive for both the Muslim women who wear it and non-Muslims as well. It has no place in our society. Period. Indiscriminate tolerance is weakness. Period. Islamic supremacism is a threat to our civilization. Period.

  4. Pickles says:

    The Niqab does not belong in Canada. People have to moderate their personal freedom in all societies. The covering of a person’s face prevents you from seeing them and poses a safety issue. This is not the case with the hijab which covers hair only.
    The idea that we religious freedoms is an either/or issue is non-sense. Everyone gives up personal freedoms to live in societies-and the Hijab is repressive and oppressive and ought to be restricted to home use, if a woman so-desires.

    • What’s next then? There is a significant Sikh population in Canada, what stops a government or society from going after their turban next? You are talking about a piece of clothing, the day society starts deciding what people can wear or not is the day we become regressive and like those whose ideologies we fight.

      • Art mack says:

        people who throw their beliefs in your face by wearing outlandish gear are saying to everyone, I am better than you and I want to control society rather than being a part of it.
        Non of them should be tolerated in a free society. Take off the Niqabs, the turbans the hats the dread locks the Hells Angel jackets, the KKK white hoods and stop looking like a bunch of supremacist idiots. Yes I put the religious zealots in the same grouping as the KKK and the Hells Angels.
        I call you all supremacists because that is what it is all about. It has nothing to do with religion. It is all about which gang is taking over the country.
        You are either part of our society which provides for all your needs, or you are on your own, so do not ask us to give you welfare, do not ask us for medical aid, do not ask us for charity, do not ride on our roads, in cars that we manufactured, and do not live in the houses we built. You are on your own.

      • You say “none of them should be tolerated in a free society.”

        The definition of a free society is “Tolerance.” Your viewpoint doesn’t seem to espouse tolerance in any way!

  5. freeforever says:

    Funny how you need to wear a head scarf in certain Muslim countries under the threat of not having one to cover.

  6. freeforever says:

    The last time I personally checked, women weren’t refused entry to churches for wearing head scarves. Funny how the last time I personally visited a mosque that women without headscarves were refused entry.

    • Aman Saxena says:

      That wouldnt be the case in just Mosques… its the same visiting Gurudwara’s (places of worship for sikhs)

  7. Lived in Saudi says:

    Why do they refer to Mr. President in the first paragraph. Isis propaganda letter from a foreign country, make the world follow shariah law it’s the obligation of every Muslim even by deception. Hopefully Harper will see the letter for what it is. BS

    • Thanks for pointing out that error, I corrected it. Oh and by the way, I mention at the start itself that I am not Muslim, so your wild assumption that somehow this is a Isis propaganda letter is hilarious! It goes to show how paranoid people have become. Ready to give up their own personal liberties at the drop of a hat. You say you’ve lived in Saudi, now you want Canada to become like that! They force people over there to follow rules about clothing and you want to do the same here!

  8. bwana says:

    I don’t care if they cover their hair but I want to see their face. The face is the “window” to the person. A Niqab turns the person into an object. I’m sure this in not what Muslim women really aspire to be!?

    • I personally agree with you. The practice is regressive, it’s alien to this culture, yet enshrined in our charter of rights is the right to freely practice ones religion. Is it ok corrupt this right? Is it ok to give up our personal liberty in a reaction? Should this right then not be removed from the charter?

  9. Ellen Rudolph says:

    The niqab is not religious garb. It is tribal garb. It is not allowed to be worn during the Haj – the holiest of Muslim rituals. It would clarify the whole issue if the powers that be in the Muslim faith would come out and publicly state that it is tribal and banned from their own holy pilgrimage and site. Myth busted! No need for niqabs except in “tribes” where the men dominate the women. She lives in Canada now, it’s time to be free.

    • I guess I use the word niqab interchangeably with the veil. The veil is allowed, however the niqab, the piece of cloth with slots for eyes is not. This is a technicality though…if this person believes her religion dictates she cover her face in public and Canada grants religious freedom through its Charter of Rights, is she not within her rights?

  10. marcoend says:

    The Niqub to cover up their faces is not belong in canada, as everyones give up their personal freedom as we live in any societies than we must respect, we considered and the Hijab to cover the people hair only , this is not thing with related to any religious freedom.! we reclaim again and please do not confused the acts the Niqub cover up people faces that mean represenative for devil and want to act as a devil of killing aqnd murdering, we are appreciate and have somes of your personal thinking.!? thank you

  11. Mohammed says:

    This article is so typical of stupid ignorant white LIBERAL Canadians who think that they can change a culture by welcoming them to Canada and letting them do whatever they want to do. Muslims who wear the traditional face coverings (call them what you want) do NOT want to blend into Canadian society or follow Canadian laws. They come into countries, multiply and then eventually when the numbers are high enough, force the government to allow some form of Sharia law – the same pattern that has followed for decades.
    If you want to wear the niqab, you should have stayed where you were.

    • Richard says:

      You comment contains a remark with the term, “white LIBERAL”. This is racism at its worst. I question your motivation in spreading fear.

      Are you really “Mohammed”.

      The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom is explicit in matters of race and religion.

  12. Richard says:

    I am not a muslim. I am a Christian.

    It is oppressive to force a woman to remove a face covering or to force her to wear it. The question of identification is full of baloney as a person about to swear allegiance to Canada has already being through multi-layers of checks before she arrives at the ceremony.

    It is not about being Liberal or Conservative. It is about being in Canada and about protection of the fundamental Charter of Rights and Freedoms accorded to every Canadian.

    Our Prime Minister Harper, I am ashamed of him, has chosen to pick on a minority of minorities, to promote fear and divisions.

    I am not afraid of the Niqab, neither am I afraid of the Sikh Turban, beards, Jewish Kipah, a nun’s cornette, all other facial coverings, head gears, oppressive or unoppressive clothing.

    Finally, it is appalling that men should be forcing women what to wear or not to wear.

    Feel free to wear it, that is our Canadian Law and do not pervert it.

    • Reading the comments on this blog post Richard, it feels like we are in the minority. I don’t understand why people don’t see this as a charter issue. Thanks for your comment.

      • Richard says:

        A myth in Canada is being spread by Harper and which needs to be busted! Check out twitter Hashtag #PMDresscode. There are tens of thousands of like minded comments.

  13. Himmat S Ladhran says:

    We are a free society and would like to maintain it as one. It is not the norm to run around wearing a burqa in all Muslim communities. When people are immigrating to a new country they mustn’t expect the new country to adapt to the ways of the new comer but instead the new comer should adapt to their adopted home. Today you allow the Burqa and tomorrow all the Canadian women will have to wear one because the Cleric feels it’s unnecessary temptation for the men. The west has shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the fight for equality and free speech and it amazes me to see westerners arguing for the acceptance of cultural practices considered archaic even by eastern standards and for that matter even the Muslims. The western people defending the use of Burqa in public are clearly not in touch with the societies and/or cultures where women are forced to wear it. Before you begin voting in favor of foreign practices go and work in the countries where they are practiced and then you can become an authority on the subject. Simply vacationing in countries only provides you superficial exposure. If you are going to read for cultural familiarization then you will have to be a voracious reader to read authors that are left, center and right in their ideologies because the truth will lie somewhere in between. Don’t vote in favor of oppressive practices. Educate yourself. Freedoms are easier lost than gained. Just ask a Saudi, but it may take you a while trying to find one who will give you an honest answer because the answer could be reason enough for jail or the death penalty!! No……. The west certainly should not allow immigrants to chip away the modern culture while silently replacing it with the dark archaic practices of the past.

    • Thank you for sharing your view. You started your comment with “we are a free society and would like to maintain it as one.” In a free society one person shouldn’t be telling another what to wear! It shouldn’t matter what garb is worn. Worse for a free society is when the government steps in and tells its citizens what to wear. That society isn’t free anymore.

      Freedom of choice is absolute. Either it is there or it isn’t. Standing in front of a mirror in the morning and choosing what to wear is a basic freedom, what if I objected to your favorite piece of clothing, found it against my view of western culture and petitioned government to ban it. Allow the government to do it once, and it won’t stop just there.

      If a woman who wears a niqab is made to wear it forcibly by a family member, now that’s another story. Of course let’s support her to ensure she can exercise her freedom.

      What you are agreeing to, is actually giving up your individual freedoms you enjoy just because someone else chooses to wear a piece of clothing you don’t like. Seems to be a slippery slope to becoming a country without freedoms to me.

      • Himmat S Ladhran says:

        First of all the niqab conceals. The whole premis of enforcing the niqab is to keep women subservient. Everyone needs to educate themselves regarding Wahhabism and the origin of the niqab. With increasing threat of terrorism we really don’t need to have people walking around who can not be identified. No amount of argument can justify its presence in a free society where we are entitled to feel safe and secure. Justifying the wearing of a niqab appears to trump the safety and security of the public. If freedom of choice is absolute and the basis of your argument then why not repeal all the drug laws and free people to shoot up heroin or any drug of choice when and where they desire?
        Are the drug laws not infringing upon freedom of choice.

  14. I agree with you, security of the general populace cannot be compromised so though wearing a piece of clothing might be a citizen’s personal right, the individual must submit to security checks like any other citizen. A private screening option is made available for this reason, which respects the individual’s rights and keeps the rest of us safe.

    As a Canadian, I don’t care about Wahhabism or Saudi Arabia and what it does and doesn’t do. I only care about my personal rights in Canada. I want to be able to stand in front of the mirror each morning and wear what I choose to wear and allow my fellow citizens the same privilege without judging them. I am not for or against the niqab per se, but against the idea that my neighbour or my government can prevent me from wearing a piece of clothing that I “want” to wear.

    My freedom of choice comment was in the context of this post, as it relates to wearing a piece of clothing, and I apologize I didn’t frame my sentence adequately, I didn’t expect this debate to turn into a drug choice debate or another issue that goes sideways! It is really easy to get sidetracked on an issue, and politicians are masters at the game. “Oh, if you allow niqab, then what about drugs?” That just doesn’t make sense to me, with your permission lets leave that debate for another time.

    You and I are on the same side, looking at your posts you stand for freedom:

    “We are a free society and would like to maintain it as one.”
    “Freedoms are easier lost than gained.”

    I particularly like that second sentence, “Freedoms are easier lost than gained.” Please examine that sentence and then think again. You are actually supporting losing a freedom we have today, wearing whatever we want. Why should majority of Canadians lose this freedom because a minuscule minority chooses to wear a niqab?

    The next question might be: “How does the majority lose this freedom? I am only asking for the niqab to be banned today.”

    And my answer to that question is, do you really trust that this won’t be pushed further? Today the niqab is an issue, tomorrow it will be a Sikh’s turban, another day it will be a Scottsman’s kilt. A sikh person wears his turban as a part of his identity, it is integral to his being and symbolizes pride. So tomorrow when this same government refuses to provide acceptance afforded to this garb, what then? Supporting to take away people’s rights is a slippery slope to be on, cause one day it is going to trip you up as well.

    So cherish the Charter Rights and all it affords us Canadians, the rights come with responsibility and it is only responsible to protect these rights for us and out future generations. Politicians are in it for their personal gain. They will make an issue out of anything they can draw attention to, as long as it keeps the populace from focussing on the real problems, economy, jobs, recession etc.

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