In 2008, a young Muslim woman known as N.S. stepped into an Ontario court to explain why she should not have to remove her niqab veil during testimony.
Her reason for testifying in the first place was to bring to justice two male relatives she alleged sexually assaulted her as a child.
Her fight to wear the niqab eventually made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which upheld a trial judge’s discretion to reject full-facial coverings for the purpose of giving testimony. As a result, N.S. chose not to testify and the Crown withdrew the sexual assault charges due to no reasonable prospect of conviction.
The irony here is that N.S.’s adherence to a very backwards anti-feminist cultural tradition resulted in her choosing to sidestep her rights by dropping her claims of sexual assault and allowing the alleged perpetrators of sexual violence to get off without a trial.
Where were the feminists in Canada then to lobby the government and educate communities on lifting this veil of lies from oppressed women in Canada? Where were they in making sure there wouldn’t be a woman in Canada who was the alleged victim of a sex crime who did not feel comfortable testifying and showing her face in public? Where were they when that mattered?
Today, we’re seeing similar cowardice play out on the part of the modern Western feminist movement.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the niqab “anti-women” in the House of Commons on Tuesday. His comment follows the Conservative government’s appeal of a Federal Court ruling that Muslim women be allowed to wear the face-obscuring veil while taking the oath of citizenship.
This “anti-women” remark gave rise to the hashtag #DressCodePM, started by feminist Globe and Mail columnist, Tabatha Southey. She tweeted: “As long as the niqab remains an issue for him, it behooves all women of Canada to check w/@pmharper each morn as they dress. #dresscodePM”
Even Margaret Atwood, who admonished misogynist theocracy in her book The Handmaid’s Tale, jumped on board by tweeting: “Who’s next? #pmdresscode Turbans? Orthodox #jewish head coverings? #inuit traditional dress? Ladies’ hats in church? Queen’s headscarves?”
Modern Western feminists are thinking through a rigid ideological paradigm that will not allow them to take common sense into account. At the end of the day, the victims of their politically correct mindset are the same people they would claim to be protecting.
For Atwood and Southey, is it that they are so affected by “Harper derangement syndrome” that they are unable to separate his positive actions for their movement from the “hidden agenda” they slandered him with so heavily throughout his political career?
Southey and Atwood’s outrage over this issue is correct, just misplaced. They should be advancing the pro-women policy goals of this Prime Minister.
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