March 21, 2015

"Non-Muslim liberals don't get it," says Muslim activist who wants to ban niqab

Marissa SemkiwArchive

Muslim activist Athar Khan and broadcaster John Downs joined me for a lively debate about the Muslim niqab.

Khan says this controversial head covering is not Islamic but was imposed on the religion.

"Non-Muslim liberals don't get it," he says. "This is part of a broader campaign" to introduce sharia to Canada.

He wants the niqab banned outright.

Broadcaster John Downs disagrees, saying it isn't up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper (or anyone else) to impose their opinions about the niqab on the rest of Canada.

It's a debate you'll want to keep going in the comments.

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commented 2015-11-18 20:32:11 -0500
I would love to see Athar Khan on here on a regular basis. Downs was useful I suppose, but he sure can’t connect the dots.
commented 2015-03-24 19:41:02 -0400
There are plenty of Muslim authorities who say that face covering is not a mandatory part of Islam. It is a cultural preference. Canadians’ cultural preference is to see the faces of fellow citizens. We “read” faces to make important decisions. Why does an immigrant insist on imposing her own cultural norms over Canadian ones at a CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP CEREMONY no less? It is to promote sharia creep, get the nose of the camel into the tent and the rest of him is sure to follow.

The women who wear niquab are either married to hard core patriarchal Muslims or are hard core themselves (e.g. the wives of the Toronto 18 jailed for terrorist plans to blow up the Stock exchange, behead the PM among other mayhem). So the women are either helpless property or Muslim extremists (raising any kids they have the same way). No less an authority than Bin Laden’s second in command Ayman al Zawahiri declared veiled Muslimas to be as soldiers in the Islamic army promoting the Muslim cause. Such women in the West clearly do not plan on being working contributing taxpayers but more likely a drain on taxpayers as who would hire them to do anything? Customers and clients as well as co-workers do not want to deal with an unidentifiable wraith. So by donning the niquab, Muslim women are striking a blow to advance an extremist patriarchal form of Islam while making themselves unemployable. Such a person does NOT make a good Canadian citizen and should be prevented from entering the country as an immigrant. There are 57 Muslim countries to choose from. Why immigrate to a country whose most basic customs you challenge as your first act of “citizenship”? This is not immigration where assimilation and loyalty to one’s freely adopted country should be expected but COLONIZATION.
commented 2015-03-24 17:27:13 -0400
Fully agree with Athar Khan and with the comments of Valerie Clark, Jon Hammond, Peter Page and others. I agree with PM Harper that the niqab has no place at a ceremony to become a Canadian citizen. For all we know it may be her sister or cousin who’s under the cloak.

It was enlightening to read by Jon that niqabs are not allowed in Mecca! Who knew.
commented 2015-03-23 23:27:55 -0400
Most Canadians would object to someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit or a Lone Ranger mask or a Halloween costume or clown costume to a Canadian citizenship swearing-in ceremony, so why are so many weak-kneed politically correct Leftists and Liberals not interested in defending Canadian values or in upholding the prestige of new Canadian citizens taking their oaths while having their faces fully visible to the public and to their peers?
commented 2015-03-23 23:19:23 -0400
I fully support Athar Khan’s objections to the wearing of the niqab or burka and frankly, I am sick and tired of the standard misguided political correctness of Liberal-minded atheists that often use religious/cultural relativist arguments when discussing Islam, burkas, or creeping Sharia law.

First of all, burkas and niqabs are not permitted in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, so why should they be permitted in Canada when they pose grave security risks in schools, malls, airports, government offices, banks, train stations, etc?

Secondly, what those on the Left, particularly among the atheist Left, fail to understand is the burka is a symbol of Sharia law, is being promoted by Islamo-fascists including the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc, and is a middle finger to democracy, pluralism, freedom, free speech, gender equality, and Western civilization itself. The burka also signifies that women must be covered from head to toe because men are not expected to have any control over their emotions or their sexuality. The burka implies that all men are potential rapists and they cannot be held personally responsible if they choose to rape women because they were “tempted” by women not wearing a burka or by those showing their face, hair, skin, or other exposed body parts.

Lastly, the burka should not only be insulting to all freedom-loving women in Canada, but it should infuriate all real men that would object strongly to being branded as violent, sexually irresponsible thugs and beasts that can only be tamed if women are permanently covered in suffocating tents. Burkas and niqabs have no place in Canada or in any truly civilized country!
commented 2015-03-23 15:09:08 -0400
Sorry, Downs; insisting on wearing a veil during a citizenship ceremony IS a big deal. Her respect for Canada’s culture and rules is non-existent and she shouldn’t be allowed to become a Canadian until she understands our culture and its values and norms. Until then, she can live in any one of many countries that will respect and even enforce her decision.
commented 2015-03-23 14:42:07 -0400
Now I understand why I don’’t miss John Downs on 1010. However it is good to see the other side of a debate. Teaches us how ill informed some are and face it, in most circumstances, Downs proves hes an idiot
Marissa, next time you have him on this debate, ask him if it would be ok for a KKK member to wear their silly outfits to a citizenship ceremony. To them, its based on their cultural beliefs, covers all but their eyes, pretty much the same thing as a Niqab if not a tad sicker. Sounds like a stretch, but think about it people..same thing
commented 2015-03-23 09:45:53 -0400
You don’t need to be a muslim or an immigrant to have been involved in similar conflicts. My mother came from North Western Hungary. She was raised in a rural town where her family grew grapes and made Tokay wine. She was from a Conservative Jewish religious family. After surviving the holocaust she moved to Canada where she expected freedom would mean she could practice and perpetuate the beliefs and lifestyle of her ancestors.

My mother did not understand the freedom that attracted her to Canada could make the beliefs and lifestyle she wished to perpetuate largely irrelevant. She did not realize the culture she came from was largely based on authoritarian ideologies that could be questioned by her children in a modern democracy. My father had no such difficulties. He was from a Neologue Jewish family that was educated and secular. Like a large proportion of European Jews he considered himself assimilated and secular. To his dismay, that made no difference to the anti-semites who conducted the holocaust.

As a Canadian I had the opportunity to attend university, choose who I married, choose my own career and choose my beliefs and lifestyle. I became a lifelong philosophy student and was draw to the writings of Encyclopedists like Diderot, D’Epinay, Holbach and Galiani. It broke my mother’s heart but my dad couldn’t have been more pleased. I remember how he cherished the copy of Diderot by Arthur M. Wilson I bought for him. Although many conservative Jews like to portray Israel as a religiously Jewish state I went there and learned it was also largely a product of the European Enlightenment.

I believe this is why Israel is a modern democracy and not a Jewish theocracy. I had grown up being taught Israel was a religious state. My mother had sent me to Hebrew school where there was no mention of the secular roots of modern Israel. Later, I read The Jewish State by Theodore Herzl and was surprised to find he was an Atheist. When I visited Ben-Gurion’s Tel Aviv home and looked in his library I saw books by the same Enlightenment philosophers I admired. I met Golda Meir as a volunteer at Beit Hashita Kibbutz and was surprised to find she was also an Atheist. If there was any philosophical tradition these Zionists identified with it would have been the European Enlightenment.

The ability to identify with a modern democracy requires the ability to identify with Enlightenment values. The right of an individual to think for themselves and choose their beliefs and lifestyle. To practice discipline rather than obedience. My mother could not understand the very freedom that she though would allow her to perpetuate her ancestral culture would also offer her children the freedom to not have their beliefs and lifestyle determined by their ancestry; that her beliefs and lifestyle were incompatible with freedom. Isn’t this the same misunderstanding facing some Muslim immigrants who came here to freely practice their lifestyle and beliefs only to find those lifestyles and beliefs considered unacceptable in a free culture?

I am grateful to have the opportunity to write on a website that practices freedom of thought. The opportunity to break a few politically correct eggs. The opportunity to say I don’t have to respect beliefs and lifestyles that erect barriers to freedom. The opportunity to be an independent observer. Canada needs the Rebel. Can you imagine one of the more established news sources ever criticizing a cultural lifestyle or set of beliefs? It would be sacrilege against the ideals of multiculturalism. We would have fingers pointed at us and be accused of being bigots.
commented 2015-03-23 08:07:27 -0400
MARTY i agree, i had enough of that idiot on Sun News, when he was on i tended to change the channel until he was gone.
When he and Ryan Doyle used to be on Alex pierson’s show, he did not have the decency to look at Ryan when he spoke, he just stared straight ahead, when Downs spoke Ryan would look him in the eye,It’s like Downs didn’t really care to hear what Ryan said.
I am disappointed the rebel has him on, i really can’t stand the sight of him or his views, ( (which he is entitled to of course ) i just don’t care to hear them.
I see i am not alone here in my views of Downs,if i see him on future clips i will just not watch them
commented 2015-03-23 02:23:53 -0400
John Downs again! I am truly disappointed in the Rebel for bringing along this Jerk. Please let him go to the CBC or Toronto Star or wherever his followers want to listen to his asinine statements.
commented 2015-03-23 00:50:10 -0400
Can you please bring Mr. Khan on for a one on one? I would love to hear him talk for 15 minutes.
commented 2015-03-23 00:44:39 -0400
“The niqab is a political and cultural statement of non-conformity and the unsolvable clash of civilizations.”
Paul posted this below and I think it sums up the argument. Wearing of the niquaqb signifies a repulsion of western civilization; that same civilization that made Canada a place that people clamor to enter.
Now we have people like Mr. Downs wishing to change the fundamental NATURE OF THE COUNTRY.How much longer will it be, until this country is like any despotic other?
commented 2015-03-23 00:23:37 -0400
Mr Downs – You are a stone cold idiot. Not being a woman, you don’t seem to follow that wearing a veil across your face is a total subjugation of your being and, in the western world a defiance of our democratic values. Hopefully, a western woman will come along to convince you otherwise. Are you sleeping tonight with a veiled woman? If not, why not?
Another great interview! Thank you!!!
commented 2015-03-22 17:12:11 -0400
I agree with the muslim man Athar. Niqabs are one of many starting points to introduce sharia law into Canada. For this reason alone they should be banned. But there is the other point of security. Any common male or female criminal can use this as a disguise and in a way women wearing these niqabs have criminal intent. Wearing niqabs is a way for them to outwardly protest and go against everything that’s Canadian in a passive aggressive way leading to the more dangerous outcome of sharia law. People like John Downs are gullible fools.
commented 2015-03-22 16:49:33 -0400
Listen, all you folks who think only submissive battered women wear niqab.

The niqab is like Irish Spring – men wear it too.

So do the Khadr women and there is nothing submissive about them.

The niqab is trendy gangster wear. Sex-trade workers wear full-niqab burkas, as do their pimps. As do fleeing IS fighters. And suicide bombers. And bank robbers.

Marketed aggressively by oppressive Islamic states that use police to oppress ordinary folk, the niqab and burka let gangsters hide their criminal activities in full public view.
commented 2015-03-22 16:40:08 -0400
Despite all the complaints about this naughty little menage-a-trois with Marissa, Athar and John, look at all the comments!!

Sure looks like a winner to me!
commented 2015-03-22 15:45:07 -0400
Amazing how John Downs, who is not a Muslim, knows more about Islam than the Muslim sitting next to him who has done post-secondary studies in Islam. A bit arrogant aren’t we John? It’s unfortunate that the interview wasn’t better moderated – I wanted to hear more of what Athar had to say, but John was continually interrupting him and wouldn’t let him finish speaking.
commented 2015-03-22 15:30:39 -0400
Even though Muslim scholars say the niqab has nothing to do with religious writings in the Koran, supplicant pansy Downs has decided to disagree. Is he kidding? Compares a Catholic wearing a hat or bonnet and a dress with no straps to a virtual full sheet with eye slits head to toe and disavows the difference. So dressing up nice to go some place is equivalent? Burkas and niqabs exclusively subjugate only women to a male dominated system. He doesn’t respect the Judeo-Christian beliefs on which this country and western civilization flowered. A mentality that can lead to cultural suicide.

Like the left-wing regressive milquetoast he has always been, he’s compelled to take shots at Harper and, if losing an argument, resort to false moral equivalence and the usual race baiting. Despicable. Downs says, "It’s not up to a “white man” (white guilt race baiting; how about Canadian person of any colour) in Ottawa to say whether a woman can do this and wear it during a citizenship ceremony." But it’s the place of the PM to abide by the constitution and delineate the fact this has nothing to do with religion, is anti-women, and unsupported against our CANADIAN customs, traditions and laws. Showing your face when addressing a legal proceeding is important. Have we lost our spine? What’s next? Politicians and voters wearing disguises? Lunacy.

Downs also said that people who go to church on Sunday and accept the body of Christ are brainwashed. In other words for him, their actions are not voluntary just like invisible subservient niqab wearing slaves. But this iconoclast doesn’t seem to understand Christian women going to church are being faithful to God. Niqab slaves are showing they are subservient to their man and should be educated. Downs wants to encourage this. Stupidly naive, completely disassociated and delusional.

The niqab is a political and cultural statement of non-conformity and the unresolvable clash of civilizations. Antithetic to Canadian values, heritage and way of life. A wedge to Sharia aspirations and has nothing to do with religion. It’s concrete visual evidence of the debasement and subjugation of Islamic women who are in danger of being beaten or punished in their medieval patriarchal culture. Interestingly, the silence of feminists and women in general is almost laughable, in that, they are enabling the women’s movement to be set back centuries. This is a case where liberalism is a mental disorder. Yes just look the other way folks. Welcome to the third world. Nothing happening here.
commented 2015-03-22 14:35:57 -0400
Wonder if she covered her face when she went for her free health card, after all the cards are now all photo id now…
commented 2015-03-22 14:28:57 -0400
If women want to dress up like ninjas then all the power to them but when their stone age customs start interfering with the proper functioning of a modern society then they have to take it off or leave the premises.
commented 2015-03-22 14:23:20 -0400
As I have mentioned before, other people also. There is nothing in the Quaran that states that a woman has to wear head covering.
The problem has resolved through fanatic Imams wanting the women to stand out, we are here, we are pure, we are better than you and shall take over your country.

What about the Muslim Rape Gang that raped eight young girls in one night, in the UK. They were caught by the Police and being Muslims opted to be tried in Shari Court. This resulted in them all being acquitted on the grounds that none of the girls were wearing Head Covering at the time of the rape and this made them fair game for any male.

The Liberal Supreme Court of Canada has made it’s decision and that’s that.

Who is running this country, the SCC or the Government. The SCC are not political appointments but who appoints the individuals that decide who is going to be a member of the SCC?
commented 2015-03-22 14:15:51 -0400
There’s the typical liberal arrogance. Here’s a liberal siting beside someone who has been a muslim his entire life, but the liberal knows better than him.
And yes to the liberals denial, there was a jewelry store robbery by men wearing niqabs last year.
And there have been at least three honor killings of women in Canada because they wanted to dress like Western women, against their families wishes!
So all you liberals please tell us again how this is a women’s free choice?
commented 2015-03-22 13:58:01 -0400
We only want this person to show us her face when she is swearing an oath to Canada. Other than that, she can cover here face wherever she wants. However, some merchants may not want masked people entering their establishments and they may want to be able to order its removal or to stay out. I’ll bet if I were to walk into a bank with a mask on, there would be consternation, at least, from the management.
commented 2015-03-22 13:32:13 -0400
The niqab is just the begining of introducing sharia law into Canadian culture. Those who agree to this backward chauvinistic intolerant ideology need their heads checked. Look what is happening in Europe and Britain. Ban the head covering and body bags. We the people have a right to know who is hiding under the guise of facist fasion.
commented 2015-03-22 12:11:35 -0400
With due respect, it demeans the Rebel to have John Downs on as a representative “liberal”. There are thoughtful liberals out there, but John does not belong to this group. The niqab discussion provides an excellent example of John as a completely brainwashed member of the “tolerant” Left. While a very thoughtful Athar Khan explains the history and environment of the niqab in terms of fact and first hand experience, John responds with vacuous opinion and conjecture.
commented 2015-03-22 11:18:34 -0400
Why is it that these apparent “liberals” (who appear to pander to everybody demanding “rights” (whilst ignoring the corresponding responsibilities)) have no concept of logic? These same “liberals” decry legislation that would protect our nation’s population while defending the “right” of someone which WILL be abused by others with nefarious motives — as has already been demonstrated by a Muslim woman being beaten and killed by a man wearing a niqab. Further, these same “liberals” seem to be oblivious to the concept of “fair is fair” — a Muslim woman hides her face for a legal proceeding (isn’t that what a Citizenship ceremony is?), so logically everybody else should be able to hide their faces for legal proceedings. And they don’t see the anarchy that will result from this? Minorities have been claiming discrimination and persecution even here in Canada for a long while - some justified, many not. Our Human Rights tribunals/courts have supported these “claims” (Read Ezra’s book “Shakedown”), and this continues. These minorities, be they by religion, or skin color, or language, or nationality, have been pushing our society for too long. It’s time for the rest of us to take our government to task, AND HOLD THEM TO IT, and demand equal treatment for the majority. No more special treatment for minorities. We are all Canadians, and we follow Canadian laws and traditions. Those that come here as immigrants or refugees are voluntarily leaving behind their previously-known cultures and traditions. I have no issue whatsoever with "little"whichever enclaves in various cities (little Italy, little Vietnam, little where/whatever), as these communities develop by similar cultures/languages/beliefs maintaining some semblance of familiarity while residing in a new country. Let them! They may keep their languages and traditions and religious practices within these communities — but they must remember that they are now CANADIANS, and their communities do NOT trump my country. Until recently, with the “militant Muslim” influx, this hasn’t been a problem. Now we have Muslims (or who claim to be, at any rate) demanding special treatment. NO. To those “militant Muslims” I apply logic: reverse the demands and see if THEY would meet our demands. Laughable. Not a hope in hell, right? So why should we cave in to their “demands”? Let the rest of us, we Canadians, demand of our government that EQUAL TREATMENT be applied, that LOGIC be applied, and that this “thin edge of the wedge” of Sharia be stopped in its tracks. Let Harper use this rationale against both Mulcair and Trudeau and see how those two blowhards respond to “equal treatment”. Let Harper ask if the Opposition is willing to have ordinary Canadians cover their faces for court proceedings, passport photos, drivers licenses, et al and see what the Opposition’s response(s) will be. (And then we should turf, or at least severely curtail, the overarching vindictiveness and blank cheque “authority” of the Human Rights Commissions… but that’s entirely another issue…)
commented 2015-03-22 10:47:20 -0400
Khan seems to be a “voice of reason” in the debate over the niqab. Would love to hear more of his views.
commented 2015-03-22 10:20:57 -0400
Ah the Niquab

Sometime flashing oft times smouldering dark eyes
Assessing the world, framed and accentuated by veil and scarf.
Exotic and erotic portals, an invitation to mysterious intimacy.
Mmmmmmmmmore please
Bob Pawley
commented 2015-03-22 10:11:49 -0400
John Downs is arguing on behalf of those who believe in the right of Muslim men to dictate that Muslim women must cover their faces at all times in public. Downs may personally disagree with the giving them this right but they are who he is siding with.
commented 2015-03-22 09:39:48 -0400
“What’s next, the politically-correct crowd stepping up to appeal for a Muslim woman be allowed to wear a niqab for a driver’s license photo?”

So a woman driver wearing a niqa is pulled over by a cop. She shows him her licence with her face shown. How is the cop to know this is that woman on the licence? He will ask she reveal herself, but she will refuse. Then what????