Unintended Consequences: Minority Rights and Policy Making in the West

For many years now, countries around the world have been faced with the question of minority rights and religious accommodation. In Canada, where I currently live, questions about niqabs in courtrooms, voting stations and citizenship ceremonies have been raised in the past five years. Part of the debate has been the meaning of religious accommodation, the latest case being that of a student at York University who requested to be excused from working with females on religious bases. While the … [Read more...]

Rise of the Niqabi Criminal: Balaclavas, Burkas and Bank Robberies

Source: danielpipes.org

On December 30 of last year, someone wearing a niqab threw acid in the face of 20 year old Victoria's Secret shop assistant, Naomi Oni as she returned home after a late shift work one night. As Naomi Oni approached the flat she shared with her mother in Dagenham, East London, she caught a glimpse of the attacker before the acid was thrown at her.  Naomi Oni was almost blinded in the terrible, apparently random attack, although the Daily Mail guesses that this attack may have been motivated by … [Read more...]

Change Is Now? No, Not Yet: Manuel Valls as France’s New Interior Minister

Manuel Valls

I was rather excited about Francois Hollande winning the French elections this month.  I hoped that five years of hateful, fear mongering policy towards Muslims by Sarkozy and his minions would come to an end and that Hollande, for all his supposed blandness, would bring some low-key normalcy to the French presidency.There was one flaw in my reasoning: Manuel Valls, Hollande’s new Interior Minister.  The Interior Minister in France is a quite important cabinet position, responsible for int … [Read more...]

The French “Niqab Ban,” One Year On

Visage découvert poster

A year ago this week, a French law came into effect banning face veils for women.  At the time, the law was subject to much derision for “only” affecting the very specific number of 367 niqab and burqa-clad women (as of 2009) in France, although at its time, the law was thought to concern a couple thousand women.Anything relating to Muslims has long been a political tool in France, be it from the far-right National Front (FN) party, or from President Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UM … [Read more...]

Niqabs, Media, and Taking Action

Today is the Day of Action on Quebec's Bill 94, which I wrote about last week.In honor of this, I wanted to share a video of a community dialogue on the bill, which took place in Toronto in early May.  It was a really impressive event, with a very engaging panel and over 150 people in attendance.  The video is pretty long, but well worth the watch for anyone interested in learning more about various personal, social, and legal perspectives on the bill's implications:NO to Quebec Provincial … [Read more...]

Action Alert: Quebec’s Bill 94

The provincial legislature of Quebec, Canada, is currently considering a bill that would refuse key social services to anyone wearing a face covering if made into law.  Political discussions around this bill have made it clear that the law specifically targets women who wear niqab, a face veil worn by some Muslim women.As Muslim women and feminists who come from a variety of countries, ethnic backgrounds, political views and religious understandings, we at Muslimah Media Watch are disturbed by … [Read more...]