Ban the Niqab, But Don’t Stop There


Photo Credit: JP Moczulski / National Post

Here in Canada there has been much debate about whether women who wear traditional head coverings like the niqab should be forced to uncover their faces in situations like court appearances and citizenship ceremonies.

Zunera Ishaq made news recently by refusing to remove her niqab for her citizenship ceremony and caused all kinds of uproar. There has been much public debate, some of it rather offensive. Prime Minister Stephen Harper even made a statement about how oppressed Ishaq must be to cover her face.

I have just one question.

Why are BEARDS not considered to be face coverings?


Dude, what are you trying to hide?

Is a guy with a beard likely to run into issues with the courts or authorities because his face is obscured by facial hair?

I highly doubt it.


How do I know you are who you say you are? And what’s with the weird sweater?
OMG that’s not a sweater!?

The problem is, women are constantly judged by their choices whether they choose to show their skin or cover themselves up.

Zunera Ishaq has spoken out and explained why wearing a niqab is important to her. It’s unfortunate that her opinion has not been considered important in the ongoing public debates about what was, and is, her personal choice.

Personally, I think a lot of things women wear should be banned, and good riddance.

High Heel Shoes


High heels are not only bad for your balance, they’re bad for your back. As in, they cause your body physical harm when you wear them.

They’re also, when you think about it, extremely dangerous to women’s safety.

They tend to make a lot of noise when you walk, and make it extremely difficult to run. This makes women in heels pretty vulnerable to potential attackers. Considering that 683,000 adult American women are forcibly raped each year, you’d think this would cause some concern.

You’d think someone might even suggest a ban on high heeled shoes in the best interest of women everywhere.

Nope? Okay then, moving on…

Handbags and Clutch Purses


The reason clutch hand bags are considered chic and sexy is because, like high heels, they make women vulnerable.  Unlike more practical purses with straps that can be worn hands-free, little teeny hand-held purses really limit your actions.

You have one less hand to open a door for yourself, carry items or drinks, or grab your keys, or do anything really practical with your handbag hand. This is why they’re considered sexy, and it’s by design.

It’s the same reason mermaid dresses are so glam. They are so restrictive it’s very difficult to even walk normally while wearing one.

Ooh…that’s pretty oppressive. We should ban mermaid dresses for sure.


I mean what if, for some foolish reason, women decided to wear mermaid dresses AND high heel shoes at the same time? The financial costs to our health care system would be enormous!  BAN THAT SH!T.



Don’t even get me started on why piling tons of makeup on your face is not only a waste of time and money (money that could be better spent on tuition, travel, RRSP savings, or pretty much ANYTHING ELSE), it’s a great way to load your skin with all kinds of toxic garbage.

Besides, using makeup can dramatically alter your facial features and therefore misrepresent what you look like.

If only because it can obscure your true identity, we should ban women from wearing makeup at their citizenship ceremonies and when testifying in court.


I can’t not include this one.


Who invented these ridiculous, torturous leg-encasers? Great, my legs look some weird shade of tan and unnaturally shiny, and the rest of me is still pastel ghost white.

Also, I generally expect an article of clothing I spend money on to last more than 1 or 2 wears before the slightest contact with anything sort of pointy causes it to INSTANTLY SHRED TO TATTERS.

Why? So I can look “respectable” in a business environment when I’m rocking my best pencil skirt?

So getting back to my point… Before we as Canadians judge women like Zunera Ishaq for their choices, let’s:

a) hold everyone to the same standard and demand that we all show our true, unmasked faces – no beards, no makeup,


b) be really honest with ourselves about what kind of “oppressive” choices we feel comfortable making before judging other people’s choices.

Yes, there are women who are forced to wear the niqab against their will. There are women here in Canada forced to wear high heels against their will. Neither is okay.

If we aren’t prepared to ban beards, makeup, or high heel shoes, then what right do we have banning the niqab?



  1. clintbutler33 · March 17, 2015

    As long as nipple rings and fuzzy cuffs aren’t banned, I’m good.
    They aren’t just for control, they are functional.

  2. clintbutler33 · March 20, 2015

    To make an argument…. An arm band with a swastika is just a piece of cloth, too. How well would that go over in a court of law?
    Symbols have meaning, far stronger than the item they are associated with. Simple cloth used in a certain way can be as destructive as tearing down a building a certain way.
    The cloth was never the issue. Not, the person. It isn’t labeling the individual a ”terrorist” . The issue for many in the western world would be the implied and ousted notion of “control” over individuals, more specifically woman.
    And, there is a context of “culture”, as it is certain cultures that enforce the Niqab.
    Whereas, other cultures do not.

    • K T · March 20, 2015

      Fair point, and I do understand why there is concern. But I never meant to imply that the niqab is “just a piece of cloth.” Of course it has significance. My worry is that in the larger discussion of whether or not a particular cultural or religious practice or symbol is “bad”, we lose sight of the fact that people in power always get to make the rules and always get to decide what is “good” and “bad,” what is tolerated and what is not. For example, this guy showed up for court in a full Nazi uniform with a neck swastika: And nobody told him he was “dressed inappropriately” or not reflecting American values. He is a white male, and as a result, gets to do what he wants. That is the true definition of “special treatment.” So, if you are really concerned about the plight of women in this country (and in others), let’s support them rather than judge them. Nobody forced Zunera Ishaq to wear the niqab, and forcing her to take it off is not the way to liberate women you feel are “oppressed.” And correct me if I’m wrong but public humiliation isn’t a great way to address somebody’s difference in a constructive way. Thank you for the comments, great discussion!

  3. clintbutler33 · March 20, 2015

    Let’s also not forget the basics that the court has rules. Rules for all to follow. Presentation and etiquette is among them. And treating everyone as equals, without prejudice.

    The Niqab is in essence a they’re back in eastern culture. It is the control of women, much like the shoes written about above.

    The court wishes to hear the court as a woman without prejudicial control, implied our applied, by anyone.

    • K T · March 20, 2015

      Let’s put it this way. Michael Jackson showed up hours late to his own child abuse trial high as a kite and in his PJs. And apparently fictional characters and Muppets can testify before Congress: But nobody will take a woman in a niqab seriously. Kind of mind-boggling.

  4. clintbutler33 · March 20, 2015

    I apparently cannot edit my comment on my phone. So here is the last statement fixed

    The court wishes to hear the woman as a woman without prejudicial control, implied or applied, by anyone.

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