Niqab by Numbers: Quantifying the Overreactions

Niqab by Numbers: Quantifying the Overreactions March 25, 2010

I am so, so sick of talking about the niqab.  So I’m not really going to, despite the fact that the Canadian province of Quebec recently introduced a bill that, if made law, would force everyone to show their face when dealing with provincial government bodies.  If anyone else has intelligent insight on recent Quebec-related media coverage, please share.  I, for one, can’t think of anything new that I haven’t said a million times already.  You’d think the politicians would get as tired of this as we are…

The only thing I want to do here is highlight part of this article, which puts into context just how overblown the whole issue is:

One Muslim group argued Wednesday that Quebec’s political oxygen was being unnecessarily sucked up by debate over a microscopic number of cases.

The Muslim Council of Montreal says there may be only around 25 Muslims in Quebec who actually wear face-coverings.

Of the more than 118,000 visitors to the health board’s Montreal office in 2008-09 only 10 people — or less than 0.00009 per cent of cases — involved niqab-wearers who asked for special dispensation.

There were zero such cases among the 28,000 visitors to the Quebec City service centre over the same time period.

So, everyone who’s freaking out about how Quebecois culture as we know it is going to crumble if people are allowed to wear niqab can probably breathe easy.

I’d love to see similar numbers as they apply to other regions or countries dealing with similar debates (France, perhaps?).  And, I’d love to see these numbers appear more often.  The media can play a big role in fueling (or even creating) panic about Muslims (or whoever) taking over, and numbers like this help to give a little perspective about how miniscule the group is that is being discussed, and how disproportionate the outcry really is.

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