Banning a piece of religious apparel is a form of oppression, simple as that. Refusing public service to those who do not comply with Quebec’s Bill 62 is the exact same thing.
The bill, which was passed last month, requires people to have their face uncovered while using certain forms of public service. An example of this is the public transportation system.
The new law specifically targets a small group of Muslim women who choose to wear the Niqab, a religious garment that covers the entire face with the exception of the eyes.
According to multiple news sources, less than 100 women in Quebec actually wear this article of faith.
It is a fairly common western ideology that the Niqab is a form of oppression and that women are forced to wear this article of clothing by their controlling husbands and fathers.
The irony is too clear to miss and yet simultaneously goes way over the heads of a lot of the people in North America.
What people do not seem to understand is that forcing women to take off their Niqab, or anything else they choose to wear, is just as oppressive as forcing women to wear something they don’t want to.
By ordering women to take off their Niqab the government is taking away their choice, and therefore, their freedom of expression.
It seemed that we were progressing in women’s rights in other ways.
In a sense, North America started to make big changes on the opposite end of the spectrum.
People are becoming more and more accepting of women showing their body in ways that has always been accepted in men.
For example, in Canada, it is no longer illegal for women to be topless in public.
Why is it that we are able to accept women’s choice when it comes to showing less, but take away their choice in when they decide to cover up? Is this really in the name of freedom?
It is difficult for the western world to accept what they do not understand. Although many Canadians would like to consider our country multicultural, we are not as accepting of values that come from the east because of a distorted view of what their culture means for women.
And yet, most of us have never experienced their world in a meaningful way. In fact, our only understanding of this culture is from what we see on television.
Whether this is coming from news or popular culture, our view of the eastern world, and especially those of Muslim faith, is directly linked to terror and violence.
Bill 62 was created out of fear. Fear of the unknown, which has lead to a legislation that creates an even bigger divide between Canadians.