The group's spokesperson, Farzana Hassan, said the practice of wearing the burka and niqab is more rooted in Middle Eastern culture than in religious teachings. She added that there is nothing in the Qur'an that stipulates women must cover their faces.She said the issue is one of public safety.Furthermore, Ms. Hassan said banning the burka is an issue of gender equality:
"If a government claims to uphold equality between men and women, there is no reason for them to support a practice that marginalizes women."CBC News - Canada - Muslim group calls for burka ban. Okay, I agree. It's oppressive to women. Just like booty cleavage, breast implants, and the diet industry. Many women will argue it's their "choice" to cover every part of their body, reveal every part of their body, go under the knife, and/or starve themselves. Choice is surely a problematic word for what persons do when faced with social coercion, religious exhortation, and advertising. But if the Canadian government began to regulate burkas, then would they also be forced to regulate thongs? I'm not saying that the state has no role in the regulation of industries and products harmful to its citizens. Cigarettes have a warning. A patient getting a boob job is well informed of the risks. Of course governments can and must regulate dangerous industries and products- whether it's banks selling bundled derivatives and subprime mortgages or religions selling poisoned Kool Aid. But let's face facts. Canadian women who wear a burka are not any more or less imprisoned than Canadian women who display their buttocks for all to see. The burka is worn for reasons of religious and ethnic identity; the thong for reasons of the beauty and fashion industries. But the burka is singled out as particularly oppressive to women because part of the justification for the war in Afghanistan was the liberation of women. This lie sold to us by the Bush administration and actually believed by some major feminist organizations should be seen for what it is: a racist justification for invasion. And the burka and the butt cleavage should be seen for what they are: signs of the myriad ways in which patriarchy can express itself on the bodies of women. It is not choice, but dilemma. It is not freedom, but coercion. Forcing my teaching assistant to wear a lab coat or be fired would have also been coercion. And so I was forced to look at her different way of expression both her subjectivity and subjegation as a woman. As she was forced to look at mine. And we are all forced to look at each others. So cover up or take it all off. I am safely robed in the true liberation that is the lab coat.