During the Canadian election campaign, the niqab became an issue. The Canadian Supreme Court overruled a law passed by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper which banned the niqab, which nearly covers a woman’s entire face, during citizenship ceremonies. The Tories indicated they would introduce a new law restoring the ban. Interestingly, it was beginning of the end for the NDP which opposed the ban, but was at odds with their base in Quebec which resulted in gains for the Tories and the Bloc Quebecois. Yet the Liberals also opposed the ban, but there was no backlash against them.
I watched Justin Trudeau’s victory speech earlier this morning during which he spoke of a Muslim woman wearing a niqab in St. Catharines, Ontario who approached him after a campaign rally with her infant daughter. (These remarks come about 20 minutes into the speech). Trudeau said of the encounter:
She’s voting for us because she wants to make sure that her little girl has the right to make her own choices in life and that the government will protect those rights.
To her I say this. You and your fellow citizens have chosen a new government. A government that believes deeply in the diversity of our country. We know in our bones that Canada was built by people from all corners of the world who worship every faith, who belong to every culture, who speak every language.
Following these remarks, the Liberal crowd at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel began chanting, “Niqab! Niqab!”
If Ayaan Hirsi Ali heard Trudeau’s speech and the “Niqab” chants, I have no doubt she would shudder. Hirsi Ali supported the Canadian government’s decision to ban the niqab back in 2011 stating, “Niqab donning women should not get citizenship at all. It is crystal clear that they reject Canadian values and that their allegiance is first to a foreign legal system (Shariah) over the Canadian constitution, country and people.”
Justin Trudeau might sincerely believe that he is supporting the niqab in the name of diversity. But the cold fact is that most girls and women in Muslim families residing in Canada have no say in the matter and must wear the niqab.
Those Liberals who chanted “Niqab” following this election might be chanting “Shariah” after the next one.