Quebec face-coverings ban leaves Muslims fearful: ‘Life will get harder’

A Muslim writer pleads victimhood in the Canadian press

Warda Naili was in tears Wednesday as Quebec passed a controversial law dubbed the “religious neutrality bill.” Naili, a niqab-wearing Muslim woman who lives in Montreal, cried knowing things were about to get worse. “I cried because it will affect my life, and the lives of other women too,” she told Global News.

The law, passed by the province’s Liberal government, requires residents giving and receiving services to do so with their faces uncovered — services such as taking the bus, or borrowing a library book. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has defended it, saying it’s necessary for communication, identification and security reasons.

Naili is already a frequent target of discrimination. She has numerous tales of enduring racial slurs and even instances of being spit at and pushed in public.

“Many things happen when I just want to go outside and live my life like everyone.” 

When asked what things will be like now, she pauses, then says: “The only thing I can say is, I will be a prisoner.”

Naili has health problems which prevent her from working (what a surprise!) , but she feels especially worried for niqab-wearing women who have jobs. “I’m worried for these sisters because they need the public transportation,” she says.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre raised the many questions the city’s public transit system is now grappling with.

“What does it mean? We have niqab police as bus drivers?” Coderre asked. “Will we refuse to provide them (women wearing face coverings) services if they are freezing with their children?”

It is so, so, simple. Step 1 – Remove the mask. Step 2 – go about business. 

Alia Hogben, the executive director of the Canadian Council for Muslim Women (CCMW), told Global News telling women how to dress in itself is troubling. . . many Muslim women concerned they will be targeted with hate crimes now.

“Muslim women are concerned. [The government] thinks it is only attacking niqabi women, but there is a spillover. It affects hijabi women as well.”Hogben explained that all Muslims — those who wear religious symbols and those who don’t — will fear for their safety now.



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