Veil debate becomes big issue in Canada election

Veil debate becomes big issue in Canada election

By John Barber | The Guardian
October 1, 2015

Zunera Ishaq describes her choice to wear a veil in public as a “trivial and minor issue”.

But for 35 million Canadians, this woman’s stubborn insistence on her right to conceal her face has become a central issue in the ongoing election campaign, giving a late boost to a Conservative government that had previously seemed doomed to defeat.

A 29-year-old mother and teacher who was accepted as an immigrant to Canada in 2008, Ishaq first came to attention when she went to court to challenge a new government regulation that sought to prevent Muslim women from covering their faces during their citizenship ceremony.

She won handily, and won again early this month when a second court rejected the Harper government’s appeal against the earlier decision.

. . .

The ruling party’s nativist turn has left opposition leaders and progressive citizens gasping with indignation.

“Canadians should see right through this as a way to distract from the real issues that affect people’s day to day life,” said Amira Elghawaby of the National Council of Canadian Muslims. “We’re talking about the economy, we’re talking about the climate, the future for everyone. Whether a woman wants to cover her face for the two minutes it takes to swear her oath is not an issue that should be front and centre in an election.”

Most observers attribute Harper’s sudden success with anti-Muslim politics to the mid-campaign arrival of Australian consultant Lynton Crosby to help the flagging Conservative cause….

Read full article