A Bilingual Condemnation of the Niqab

On November 9th 2015, Alban Ketelbuters’ article, “Zunera Ishaq, le Canada et le niqab” was published in the Huffingon Post Québec. It is possible that John McCallum, Minister of Immigration and Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice didn’t read Ketelbuters’ article or they chose to ignore it.

On November 16, this statement from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the Minister of Justice was posted on the Government of Canada website:

Niqab Appeal

Ketelbuters’ article, translated into English and posted on the Atheist Freethinker website as  “Zunera Ishaq, Canada and the Niqab,” is a convincing argument against the Canadian government’s decision to cancel its application to appeal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration v. Ishaq.

Ketelbuters begins by pointing out,

If the niqab were promoted by fundamentalist Catholics, the vast majority of progressives and feminists would have condemned it. Many of those who are intransigent when it comes to macho violence orchestrated by white males from a Christian background—violence which normally meets with immediate and unanimous condemnation—suddenly become much more discrete, nuanced and comprehensive when citizens from a Muslim background are involved.

While Ketelbuters’ article “Zunera Ishaq, Canada and the Niqab” presents a convincing argument against the niqab, one paragraph is especially vivid and persuasive:

Why do feminists celebrate each year the memory of the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, and yet remain silent about the ordinary despotism which continues to operate through the Islamic veil? Must Islamists walk their women like dogs on leashes before male politicians finally do something about it?

Those of us who consider the niqab “archaic and demeaning” are waiting for an answer.

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