An insider’s view on niqab

What follows is an account of the experiences of a young sister in Canada who has been wearing the niqab since she was 17 and at school. Her name is Ardo; she is of Somali origin and lives in Ottawa, and is presently in her fourth year at university. I wanted to present a real sister’s experience and perhaps defence of the niqab, because although I strongly defend the right of Muslim women to wear it (and, insha Allah, I may post a more comprehensive defence either here or at the Sharpener either today or tomorrow), I am not best-placed to do so as a man, so I sought Ardo’s experiences. What she told me was both enlightening and sometimes depressing.

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Open season on Muslims

It seems to have been open season on Muslims in the media the last few days, with three inflammatory anti-Muslim stories becoming front page news in either the morning or the evening papers in as many days. First it was the Pc Bashar story, which turns out to have been exaggerated anyway, but nonetheless made the front pages of the tabloids and was the lead story on Vanessa Feltz’s phone-in, with the host branding it “pick-and-mix policing”. Then there was the “Jack Straw on veiling” controversy, and then the petty incident of the Muslim cab driver who refused to carry a blind woman with a guide dog.

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