Monday, March 16, 2015

Resisting The Fashion Fascists

If his shrill demagoguery is any indication, I suppose Herr Harper and his regime can be considered to be at war with Islam; the latter's offences range from embracing jihadism to being a culture that, according to our self-appointed fascist fashionista, is 'anti-women.'

In that war, Zunera Ishaq is what we might consider a resistance fighter. You will recall that the Pakistani woman and devout Sunni Muslim who is seeking Canadian citizenship, while willing to remove her niqab to an official before taking the citizenship test, wanted to remain veiled for the swearing-in ceremony. A federal judge overturned the ban on her veil, but the Harper regime is appealing the decision, while at the same time eagerly fanning the flames of intolerance to better reach his base.

In today's Star, Zunera Ishaq offers her perspective on the issue:
I am Zunera Ishaq. I am a mother. I am university educated. I believe that the environment needs saving and I try to do my part by joining campaigns to plant trees. Chasing my boys in the snow is one of the things I love most about winter. I believe we should strive to give back to others, and for me that means volunteering: at women’s shelters, for political candidates or at schools.

I also wear a niqab. And according to my prime minister, that is all you need to know about me to know that I am oppressed.

It’s precisely because I won’t listen to how other people want me to live my life that I wear a niqab. Some of my own family members have asked me to remove it. I have told them that I prefer to think for myself.
Ishaq, who has removed her niqab on every occasion that required facial identification (airport security, driver's licence, etc.) offers a spirited defense of her decision:
I will not take my niqab off at that same ceremony for the sole reason that someone else doesn’t like it, even if that person happens to be Stephen Harper.

I am not looking for Mr. Harper to approve my life choices or dress. I am certainly not looking for him to speak on my behalf and “save” me from oppression, without even ever having bothered to reach out to me and speak with me.
Had Harper asked why she wears the niqab, he might have learned a few things that would have challenged his rigid intolerance:
I would have told him that it was a decision I took very seriously after I had looked into the matter thoroughly. I would tell him that aside from the religious aspect, I like how it makes me feel: like people have to look beyond what I look like to get to know me. That I don’t have to worry about my physical appearance and can concentrate on my inner self. That it empowers me in this regard.
In her article, Zunera Ishaq emerges as a thoughtful and independent thinker. As we know, those qualities, while normally real assets, are seen as most unwelcome obstacles in Harperland.


  1. The "oppressed" speaks -- and reveals that the prime minister is a fool.

    1. Indeed, Owen. And how it must gall Dear Leader.

  2. Tell me, Lorne, that Harper is on the wrong side of Canadian public opinion on this one. I really need some assurance that we're not becoming a nation of Harpophile bigots.

    1. I like to think that it is easy to stir the pot among those so inclined, Mound, but I believe there still exists 'the silent majority' that wants to truck with such bigotry. Take a look at some of today's letters in the Globe for a reaffirmation of faith: