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Niqab Outlawed at Quebec Polls

March 27th, 2007     by Thea Lim     Comments

In more proof that Canada is not the oasis of tolerance that we sometimes like to think it is: the chief officer of elections in Quebec has said that Muslim women who were the niqab must lift their veils to vote: see here.

Does anybody see the sickening irony in the fact that this means some Muslim women may actually lose the vote? Whoops, I thought it was Canada in 2007, not Canada in 1947.

This is one of those topics that really gets my goat!! And this is not the first example of this in Quebec - it follows the recent barring of an Ontario girl in a soccer tournament for her hijab, and the firing of a corrections officer for the same reason. In both situations it was suggested that the hijab was dangerous. At the soccer game, it was suggested that a player could strangle herself with her hijab (Death by hijab? I don’t think so).

Suggesting that someone could strangle themselves with a hijab seems to make about as much sense to me as suggesting that someone could strangle themselves with their ponytail, scarf or tie (much more likely with a tie, since it is already wrapped around your neck). This is all the more ridiculous considering that there actually is a specially designed hijab for sports and safety that tucks into the collar, see: here

In all honesty, at the polls you generally have to show photo ID, so it is not totally unreasonable to ask that poll employees get a clear view of voters’ faces (even though our embarassingly low voter turnout makes it seem unlikely that anyone would want to try and vote twice, let alone once). But the fact that this legislation follows so swiftly on the soccer debacle and the corrections officer debacle, as well as the whole kerfuffle at Herouxville (where residents tried to pass a set of laws to make sure that immigrants “fit in” - and most of these laws were targeted at Muslims, and clearly skewed by racist perceptions of Islam) makes me suspicious that it is truly about electoral efficacy.

I’m too enraged to properly express myself! Please see the much more lucid Zuzu at Feministe for more details.

(Thanks so much to avid Shameless Blog reader Katie for this tip!)

Tags: news flash

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