Ban The Niqab

This has been going on for a while, the push to ban the Niqab. I’m no muslim but this one bugs me in a big way and I’ll tell you why.
If you read the papers around here, you will see that the debate appears to center around whether the niqab makes people uncomfortable and whether it is fair for veiled muslim women to receive government services without having to uncover their face. While you are busy raising your bloodpressure over the question of whether foreigners should have to sacrifice a certain amount of religious freedom when they move to Canada, you are missing the true reason for why the niqab has been made into an issue at all: it interferes with the implementation of facial recognition software in surveillance systems.

In Quebec, the debate centers around the hapless pharmacist Naema Ahmed, who was twice thrown out of a government- mandated French class for refusing to remove her veil. The second time she was given the boot, it was in the middle of an exam, adding academic injury to cultural insult.
The public immediately split up into camps on the issue of religious freedom versus cultural intergation, spouting phrases like “If you want to come to Canada, you have to abide by Canadian law”, although no law exists against wearing a veil, and “The veil makes people uncomfortable: we want to see your face”.

Baaa, baa, baaa.

You don’t appreciate a veiled pharmacist? Is it for security reasons? Maybe you think she will send an impostor and poison her clients. Or perhaps, you just don’t like to be served by someone whose face is hidden. Allow me to just point out that when you go to the pharmacy, you give your order to a technician and pick it up from a cashier. The pharmacist often does nothing more than verify the prescription. She does give consultation, but if you are willing to take consultation over the phone from Info-Sante, not being able to see her face should be a non-issue. And if it still bothers you, you could always go across the street to another pharmacy.

Or is the issue just one of making people feel uncomfortable in general? Many things make people feel uncomfortable: public nose-picking and farting top the list. Maybe public rudeness should be outlawed, too. Unusual dress of all kinds makes some people squirm. Will that kid with the green mohawk be forced to remove his plethora of piercings before entering the classroom? How about transexual men in cheap wigs? And the guys who wear their pants so low you can see their crack? And while we’re on the subject of pants, how about the girls with the low-rise jeans who flaunt their neon-green thongs for all to see? Maybe what Quebec needs is a Minister of Modesty who will oversee the new dress code. Modest, but not too modest. Something that will ensure that no-one is ever offended by another’s attire. Maybe a uniform. It worked so well for communist China, after all.

Oh, but I digress. I was going to tell you why this has nothing to do with culture or religious freedom and everything to do with implementing a police state through the installation of cameras with facial recognition software.

You may remember that a little while back, the debate over facial coverings in Quebec had nothing to do with niqabs and everything to do with protesters. Unmask the trouble-makers! It’s for public safety!

I would like to point out that if anyone is doing anything illegal at a protest, the omnipresent riot police should be able to arrest them on the spot. So what is the problem with facial coverings? Oh, it prevents suspects who got away from later being identified and apprehended. This, of course, would not be possible either unless there were cameras in place to capture their naked mugs for later analysis.

If you want to see where we are heading in terms of surveillance, all you have to do is look at England, where they now have not only thousands of cameras eyeing your every move, but even programs by which citizens can serve their country by spying on their fellow- Londoners and promptly correcting their behaviour by addressing them through loudspeakers. “Madam, you have dropped your cigarette butt: please pick it up”.

We are surrounded with propaganda when it comes to the niqab debate, but it is not about manipulating you to suddenly feel there is a pressing need to force people to accommodate to ‘Canadian culture’- whatever that is. It’s about making you think that is the issue in the first place.


2 responses to “Ban The Niqab

  1. I listened to youse guys (we call everyone here in Chicago “guys”) on American Freedom Radio. You two are great!

    Yeah, I’m a pretty progressive person who’s into the Truth movement, and sometimes, the gun toting, antiabortion, survivalist wing, does make my eyes glaze over, and I think you handled your guest on Monday very well. We have to find the intersecting points where we agree and agree to disagree on other things. Anyway, I think you two are great, I love your videos on youtube and I am an instant fan.

    Anyway, I thought this post really hit the nail on the head (no pun intended).

    I go to school at NEIU here, in Chicago, and we have one of the most diverse campuses in the US. Many Muslim women students wear the Hijab, and Niqab and a few wear Burkas. Now, I have to tell you honestly, I personally do not like the concept of the Hijab and I have philosophical differences against the arguments that some Muslim guys and gals use to support their decision to dress in tradition Muslim clothes.

    Personally, and speaking for myself only, I think it makes otherwise intelligent women (and men) look just as stupid as those Mennonite women who sell cheese at the Farmer’s Markets in Michigan City, Indiana. They wear this totally sucky doily type caps on their head, presumably to protect their modesty, and they wear the ugliest dresses! But I guess since you can see their otherwise pretty faces (sans make up, can you imagine!) they don’t offend the powers that be. And those polygamous Morons (I mean Mormons) in Texas, whose happy community were invaded by the state a couple of years back, okay did you see what those women wear! Yuck! And those Buddhist chicks who like shave their heads, a la Sinead O’Connor, circa 1990, look totally dorky. Or what about Hindu women who insist on wearing red and yellow saris at the same time, oh it just makes me so upset!! Or how about the Polish women in my neighborhood who still wear Babuskas! Dude, I’m like mostly Polish in my ethnic heritage, and Babuskas went out after the Solidarity Movement succeeded in Poland.

    But, hey, not everyone is going to be able to get on the show, “What Not to Wear.”

    So, we should just live and let live and let women express their faith and themselves in anyway they choose even if to do so makes them total fashion failures, or like Cyndi Lauper on acid. (Cyndi Lauper, don’t even get me started…)



  2. Truther Girl:

    FYI, I’m a female, born in BC, Canada. Frankly, I’m sick of seeing more and more niqabs in and around the city of Vancouver. Say what you will about religious ‘freedoms’, but let’s admit it, the niqab is mandated by an interpretation only, an extreme fundamentalist interpretation, of the Quran and practice of the Islam faith. As a woman, in secular Western society, I see the niqab as representing nothing but abject, patriarchal subjugation of women. What are we fighting in Afghanistan again for? Oh right, the extreme fundamentalist interpretation and practice of Islam by the Taliban.

    Our Canadian female ancestors, Nelly McClung et al (if you’re not familiar with them, look them up), did not fight a mere 90 odd years ago for the franchise of women in Canada to see female Islam followers practicing this deeply offensive, medieval-like practice in 21st century Canada. If Muslim women wish to practice such extreme interpretations of their religion, please, remain away from Canada. In Canada, this practice can be seen for nothing less than what it symbolizes to a Western woman – a deep and utter subjugation of the female half of our population. This is wrong in the Canada I wish to remain egalitarian and secular.

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