Jason Kenney says 'people like' Naheed Nenshi politicize niqab, sparks #PeopleLikeNenshi

Canadians on Twitter flocked to support Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi in a war of words with Conservative candidate Jason Kenney.

Nenshi called debate about niqab 'disgusting' and 'unbelievably dangerous stuff'

Naheed Nenshi on the niqab debate

8 years ago
Duration 9:57
The mayor of Calgary speaks to Wendy Mesley about the niqab issue.

Some Twitter users are flocking to support Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi in a war of words with Conservative candidate Jason Kenney.

Nenshi decried the Conservatives' position that women should be banned from wearing niqabs during citizenship ceremonies, calling the politics surrounding the debate "disgusting" and "unbelievably dangerous stuff" in a Sirius XM radio interview with Evan Solomon on Wednesday.

Kenney shot back in an interview with Postmedia on Thursday, saying, "it seems to me that it's the mayor and people like him who are politicizing it."

The mayor responded on Twitter by questioning Kenney's turn of phrase.

Nenshi's tweet has received more than 1,000 retweets since Thursday.

Many pledged support for the Calgary mayor, using the hashtag #PeopleLikeNenshi, coined by the Edmonton Journal's Paula Simons. The tag quickly shot up the trending lists, with more than 3,500 appearances in the last 12 hours.

Several NDP and Liberal politicians, including Justin Trudeau, also tweeted support.

Others defended Kenney and said his comments were being misread. 

Once again at the centre of a Twitter trend, Nenshi took time to make some light-hearted comments.

He even offered what could be seen as an olive branch to Kenney.

On Friday, Kenney denied that his comment had anything to do with Nenshi's religion or ethnicity.

"He's a friend of mine. He knows how close I am to all of the cultural, ethnic and religious communities in Canada, particularly his own Ismaili community," Kenney said during an interview on Solomon's radio program Everything is Political.

He said it was "completely ridiculous" to suggest that his comments were about religion or ethnicity. "I think I referred to politically correct liberals who were politicizing this issue."