Falling for Islamophobia reflects poorly on Canada. As if Canada and its culture might be threatened by Islamists. In various twitter arguments, people cite how oppressive the niqab is to women, as if denying women citizenship or jobs (the latest Islamophobe balloon hoisted by Harper) would be good for women. But mostly, folks argue that this sends a bad signal, that oppression of women is tolerated in Canada if we accept the niqab.
Please. Come on, Canada, you should have confidence in your society that the basic norms and values that are widely shared are not so weak that a few women wearing niqabs will undermine the progress made by women in Canadian society.
This idea that there is a cultural battle being fought here is silly in the extreme. The real threat to the place of women in Canada might be posed by the party that has the fewest female candidates, the party that is anti-choice, the party that is lackadaisical about the issue of missing and murdered First Nations women, the party that uses minority women as targets in political campaigns. That party is, of course, the Conservatives.
I have lived in Canada for more than thirteen years, and I think Canadians are better than this. That they should have confidence in the multicultural mosiac that is this place, in the standing of women in Canadian society (could be better, but is better than many other places), and in Canadian values. A few niqabs are not sufficient to erode these things that make Canada great. Supporting a paper that uses Islamophobic appeals, however, is destructive of these very Canadian fundamentals.