In Ms Zunera Ishaq’s recent federal court action challenging the current Conservative-government policy prohibiting wearing a niqab while taking the oath of citizenship, this policy was definitively struck down:
“The Court found that the policy of requiring a woman to remove her facial covering, where there is no question of identity or security, was illegal.” — Zunera Ishaq’s lawyer, Lorne Waldman (per National Post 2015-02-12)
In response to this I’ve encountered snide comments about “Accommodation!” and “If she wants to become a Canadian then fit-in!”
First, please note that this ruling applies “where there is no question of identity or security,” and I contend that absent any legitimate need to compare her face against photographic ID, there is no reasonable purpose in having someone who doesn’t necessarily know Ms Ishaq in the first place, who might never have seen her before, nor perhaps ever again — to see her face while she recites her oath.
The elimination of an unnecessary, arbitrary, or pointless restriction is not an accommodation.
As to the “if she wants to become a Canadian then fit-in” attitude: I suppose that’s why we’re all speaking the language and wearing the traditional garb of the peoples originally indigenous to the areas in which we live?
No? Perhaps it’s more like the dominant culture, having overwhelmed previous ones, now claiming entitlement as the one, true, way?
This “we were here first!” argument is pretty shaky.
How, in any case, is whether someone chooses to wear a niqab, or a burqa, or even wear their trousers back to front for that matter, anyone-else’s business? How is whether you “like,” or choose to “accept” or merely “tolerate” what someone else might wear somehow an “accommodation” by you?
It’s simply religious or cultural bigotry. Nothing else.
It’s enough to get a man’s kilt in a twist.