NIQAB SHOULD BE OUTLAWED IN CANADA
Last year at right about this time, the Sheik of Meat, as he was dubbed, compared women who don't wear a hijab or niqab to a piece of meat inviting rape.
Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, the Mufti of Australia, gave a Ramadan sermon to 500 worshippers in Sydney's largest mosque that was translated and reported in The Australian newspaper last fall saying: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden, or in the park, or in the backyard without cover and the cats come to eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat?
"The uncovered meat is the problem," exhorted al-Hilali.
"If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred."
Australians were rightly outraged. Closer to home anger has erupted here ever since Marc Mayrand, Canada's chief electoral officer, declared that Muslim women with covered faces will be allowed to vote in the upcoming Quebec byelections.
Every leader of the four main federal parties have condemned the decision.
In a country where individuals are frequently required to show picture ID to rent a DVD and where ridings can be won or lost by a handful of votes, it doesn't seem unreasonable for the state to require positive identification of people exercising perhaps the most profound right given its citizens.
But the issue of face covering should go much further than just at the ballot box, argue many mainstream Canadian Muslims.
In Calgary, Mount Royal College sociology professor Dr. Mahfooz Kanwar -- a devout Muslim -- has been arguing for years that niqabs (the Darth Vader-like garb that leaves only a woman's eyes visible) should be outlawed not just at election booths but always.
He's calling on the federal government to pass such a law.
"There is no mention -- not one -- anywhere in the Qur'an that calls on women to cover their faces. It is not a religious requirement, it is a misogynist dictate by fanatical clerics carried out by brainwashed and fearful women," argues Kanwar.
If covering one's face is not a religious requirement, points out Kanwar, it cannot be considered a right under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"If this ruling isn't changed it could open a can of worms with these fundamentalists making all sorts of other demands," warns Kanwar, including the right to have photo ID in which their faces remain covered.
"This is Canada. It's based on Christian values, British Parliamentary democracy and the rule of law -- not Sharia. If someone wants to live under Sharia law, what the hell are they doing here?" Kanwar asks.
Farzana Hassan, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, is also calling on the feds to outlaw face covering, for a myriad of reasons, including the threat of terrorism and crime.
"Individuals must not be permitted to appear in public without revealing their identity, let alone in a voting booth," she said.
As for Mayrand, he made an excellent point Monday. If politicians disagree with him they should write a law that says so. Kanwar and Hassan, however, are urging all Canadians -- particularly Muslims -- to demand of their politicians to ban veiling completely.
That will give all the Sheiks of Meat out there -- and you can be sure Canada has some -- less meat with which to disparage and threaten the well-being of uncovered women.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
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