Skip to comments.Bill to Ban Canadian Voters With Niqab
Posted on 10/27/2007 10:02:08 AM PDT by knighthawk
CAIRO The federal government in Canada has introduced a new draft law that would bar Muslim women from voting if they show up at polling places with a niqab (face-veil), a move criticized by the opposition and Muslim leaders as unnecessary, The Globe and Mail reported on Saturday, October 27. The new bill would close a loophole that had enflamed the debate about niqab in Canada in the wake of the government's recent dispute with Elections Canada, which has refused to bar people with veiled faces from polling places.
The draft legislation provides for only one exception: bandages on the face worn for medical reasons, for example, after surgery.
But in that case, voters must present two proofs of identity or be accompanied by a qualified elector able to vouch for them.
It also gives some flexibility to Elections Canada officials in administering the law so that it is respectful of religious beliefs.
Electoral officers, for instance, can arrange for veiled Muslim women to uncover their faces behind a screen and in front of a female elections official.
The debate over the veil erupted last September, during federal by-elections in Quebec province.
Several days before the vote, Elections Canada laid down rules, under which fully veiled women could vote without showing their faces.
Led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, MPs in several parties hit out at the country's Electoral Chief Marc Mayrand, accusing him of thwarting the will of Parliament, which had passed a bill last spring aimed at enhancing voter identification requirements.
But Mayrand refused to budge, arguing that there was nothing in the current law that would bar Muslim women to remove their veils before voting.
He said lawmakers should consider changing the law, if they wanted to guarantee propter identification in voting.
The opposition and some Muslim leaders, however, dismissed the motion as unnecessary, charging that the Harper government was making too much fuss about nothing for political gains.
Liberal deputy leader Michael Ignatieff said.
"What I don't like about this whole project is the idea that we take a bunch of women wearing veils and we make a whole big deal about this ... Let's not have politicians fishing around and creating divisions between Canadians about this," he added.
New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton also questioned the urgency of such an issue given the fact that a handful of Muslim women wear niqab.
He said the government should rather fix an oversight in last spring's electoral law changes that wound up inadvertently disenfranchising one million rural voters who do not have formal street addresses.
Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress said the law is unnecessary and will feed discrimination against Muslim Canadians.
Sameer Zuberi, of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Canada, agreed, adding that "there are hardly any" women in Canada who choose to wear niqabs or burkas.
They both agreed that the Tories are hoping to make political mileage among Islamophobes.
Muslims make up nearly two percent of Canada's some 32.8 million people and Islam has become the number one non-Christian faith in the country.
If people want on or off this list, please let me know.
The niqab is not a requirement of Islam and is only worn in western countries as a political in-your-face statement.
If they don’t want to show their face then make them leave a fingerprint. Then make them dip their finger in ink like they do in Iraq.
Obviously the Canadian government is not sennnnnnnnnsitive to the needs of these women.
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