Thursday March 19, 2015

2 niqabs and a hijab: 3 Muslim women talk about the face covering

Panelist Rezan Mosa in our CBC London studio.

Panelist Rezan Mosa in our CBC London studio.

Listen 21:59

Amid a national debate that's filled the Twittersphere and the public square, the voices of Muslim women are often under-represented in the conversation. We hear from a panel of women who wear the niqab — or used to.

niqab panel

Shomyla Hammad, Khadra Ali and Anna Maria in our studio in Toronto.

Ever since Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his remarks in the House of Commons last week, the niqab has found itself at the centre of a national debate. Unlike the hijab, which covers a woman's hair, the niqab covers the entire face of the women who wear it — revealing only their eyes. 

Last month, a federal court judge ruled that Zunera Ishaq, a Canadian permanent resident, could indeed wear the niqab during her citizenship ceremony, in spite of a 2011 policy against the practice put forward by the Conservative government. But Stephen Harper is adamant — and has vowed to appeal the decision.

It has become a hot button issue, with passionate arguments from both sides, and a sarcastic uprising on Twitter, questioning the Prime Minister's place in dictating dress codes.

We invited three women to share their thoughts:

Shomyla Hammad is from Mississauga, Ontario and wears the niqab. 

Khadra Ali wore the niqab for a year, before deciding to take it off. 

Rezan Mosa is a student at Western University who wears the niqab. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and intern Samira Mohyeddin.