A year ago I felt differently than I do about the niqab and the hijab. A hijab covers the hair, a niqab covers the whole body including face and hair leaving a slit for the eyes. I used to believe we all lived within human rights and in Canada, so those women must be wearing these things by free choice.
I've been conversating on this topic, and I see how my view today seems very harsh and pessimistic. Who am I to tell anyone what they should wear? This too is our Liberal leader's stance, that:
"It is a cruel joke to claim you are liberating people from oppression by dictating in law what they can and cannot wear."
Well that seems pretty lazy doesn't it? I mean, someone is telling them what to wear and it's not me or my fellow Canadians. It is a book, a man, or an imam that is telling them what to wear.
And through it all I keep thinking about that beautiful and free Canadian named Zainab Shafia who was drowned by her father just on the outskirts of my city, along with her two younger sisters Sahar and Geeti, and their "aunt Rona". I keep hearing Zainab's voice saying that she doesn't want to wear that thing over her face. And look at her face, the award for artist of the day of her birth goes to the goddess on this one:
RIP innocent one.
Over and over in this case, the officials, the authorities, the guidance councillors were all aware of the ongoing situation with the Shafia girls. Zainab cried for help in her own way and yet they ALL allowed culture and the fear of offending it, to allow this murder to proceed as planned and acted out by their father and their brother. By family members. All because a book and a religion's or cultural dogma told them to.
Are we doing that now? I mean, it seems pretty lazy to simply hope or even worse, assume that Muslim women and girls who wear the hijab and the niqab are doing it by free choice. How can you be sure? Is the thought that 'personal responsibility' and our good 'ol Canadian freedoms would protect them if they wanted to cast-off that veil? The Shafia family murders have proven that this is not the case many times.
I'm sure some wear these veils by free choice. I'm sure some wear these veils because they are told to, forced to, intimidated to. There are some that cover their hair and their face because they have been taught since birth that they are to blame if a man is turned on by their looks.
I wonder how long it will be before MY hair, MY body, My face needs to be covered up too? I mean, am I to blame if my booty and my mane of thick auburn hair gives a Muslim man an erection?
I see Zainab now ... in my imagination. She had a boyfriend y'know. Or a boy that she liked. She just wanted to be a normal Canadian. And she was thrown in Kingston Mills Locks because her father and brother would not allow her to be normal. I see her putting on make up and playing with her hair. She sees the media and the Hollywood pictures ... why can't she be Gaga too?
. . . . . . because a man, a book, a religious and cultural dogma says she cannot.
Dear NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Green leader Elizabeth May,
You seem to be the only ones awake on things right now. I implore you to address the possibility that some of the Canadian Muslim women who wear these face-coverings are being forced to wear them.
What would the harm be, in providing a toll free number and announcing this:
"If you or someone you love is being forced to comply with religious dogma that marginalizes you as a female Canadian, please call this number for help and advice."
It takes a community, a government, a country's entire citizenry to maintain and preserve it's freedoms.