No Culture for Niqabis

Part of the infographic produced by Libération.

The French "niqab" ban (burqa ban, whatever ban…call it what you will) of October 2010 has not faded away from the public consciousness in France at all. What I had originally hoped was just right-wing propaganda has turned out to be, since its entry into force in April 2011, part and parcel of a unique French interpretation of democracy and a revisionist version of French secularism, or laïcité. What started as laïcité was a series of what were originally anti-Catholic laws in 1882 and 1905, whi … [Read more...]

Effective Discussions on the Oppression of Women: Is the Burqa It?

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For a few years now, I have been observing depictions of the veil, the niqab and the burqa, not only in the media but in pop culture. Muslimah Media Watch has written extensively about these depictions because they are so prevalent everywhere. Just last week, Nicole wrote about a controversial ad featuring a niqabi woman and a soldier. Similarly, as I have discussed in another post, niqabs and hijabs have made it to stardom through famous people like Lady Gaga and Madonna. We also see a tendency … [Read more...]

The Snore Heard ‘Round the World

[Source].

A few days ago, my Facebook newsfeed was awash with people sharing articles about a new billboard that just went up in Los Angeles. It depicts a male American soldier embracing a woman wearing a niqab. The billboard is for a product called SnoreStop, and it also displays the hashtag #betogether.Um…okay.Despite the buzz, the ad doesn’t catalyze brand recognition for me. Thus, I suppose in my case, the purpose of the ad is defeated. I can tell you that the ad has to do with snoring, but I h … [Read more...]

Take Off Your Veil to Rock the World

Cover of Girls Who Rocked the World. [Source].

The daughter of a close friend recently turned 10, and I went to a children’s book and toy store to look for a gift.  I made my way past the picture books, marvelling at how fast the time has gone since I was buying her a Scaredy Squirrel book for her sixth birthday, and stood looking at the chapter book display, which was fairly small.  It had none of my own childhood favourites, but one title did catch my eye: Girls Who Rocked the World.I picked it up and flipped through.  The book consi … [Read more...]

And the Hijabs and Niqabs Won’t Go Away!

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During a period of time right after my conversion to Islam, I contemplated the idea of wearing hijab. I rushed off to several stores and bought a giant scarf collection that now sits in my dresser. I experimented with the veil, and I was basically a weekend hijabi (I wore it to go to the mosque and to hang out with my Muslim friends). I even tried out niqab after a friend convinced me of wearing it to go shopping. Later on, I decided that neither hijab nor niqab were going to work out for me… In … [Read more...]

The Elephant in the Room: Niqabs in the Courtroom

The Supreme Court of Canada. Guided Tour 2013.

A couple of years ago I attended a lecture delivered by Dr. Natasha Bakht at the University of Alberta, who had come to advocate for women’s right to religious accommodation in the courtroom, a subject which proved to be quite divisive. I wrote a post about it on my personal blog, as I personally felt that her views on the issue were refreshing after all the anti-niqab brouhaha that was around back then.Dr. Bakht’s speech focused on the now famous N.S. vs. the Queen case that took place in On … [Read more...]

Pink Burqas, Gagas and Madonnas

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It gets me every time... it makes me upset and irrationally angry. The stereotyping, the orientalist exoticism and the appropriation are only some of the things that go on when niqab, hijabs and “Muslim clothing” in general is used for profit by non-Muslim Western stars.Today M.I.A., who was once described by Time Magazine as wearing “one of the most controversial garments of our era” while wearing a niqab, is no longer “unique.”  In early July, Madonna published pictures of herself wearing a … [Read more...]


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