LETTER: UBC student has her say on niqab ban

Dear editor,

Bill 62 was authorized Wednesday, Oct. 18 within Quebec’s National Assembly. It is a religious neutrality law, which apparently imposes impartiality, though by enacting secularity (state being separate from religion), it really just breeds grounds for societal upheaval in terms of religious freedom. Moreover, it prohibits Muslim women who wear the niqab (symbolizing religious faith), from covering their face to acquire public services, principally government built ones, unless they concur to go without it. A point of dissention is, equal access to government services should be a universal right, despite religious wear in a nation that should place value in religious/ethnic diversity.

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To emphasize my concern, the bill was initiated presumably out of safety concerns, but instead it would spark more violence, mortifying and criticizing these women who are just exercising their rights to utilize government services, unless they agree to remove this covering.

It is crucial to realize, Premier Philippe Couillard (provincial Liberal government) indicated that this was not only in the favour of Quebecers, but also majority of Canadians, though to juxtapose, only the Liberal party voted for this bill, while every other party opposed, so how is the bill justifiably seen as the majority say of a diverse society?

Furthermore, the bill inoculates opposition, forcing secularism among citizens, being niqab-wearing Muslim women, who just want to retain faith. On the contrary, federal NDP leader(Jagmeet Singh), openly expressed

that he believes this will be overturned, while Prime Minister Trudeau ensures rights will be monitored, otherwise legal challenge is a possibility if it comes to that.

In like manner, I firmly hold that those who honour entrenched rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, will continue to protest against this bill being pursued, it should face harsh challenge, as it disputes not only our religious rights but also comprises basis for moral appeal.

Hania Malik

Vancouver

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