Mar 18 2010
From now on, any woman who is veiled with a MUSLIM niqab (veil) or a burka (black garbage bag) and comes to Quebec’s health-insurance office demanding to be photographed by a woman,“THE ANSWER IS NO!”
MONTREAL — In recent years, fully veiled Muslim women who had dealings with Quebec’s health-insurance board could choose to be served by a woman to avoid exposing their faces to a man outside their family.
In the latest example of the province’s growing resistance to the accommodation of minority religious practices, the insurance board on Tuesday announced the end of the policy after the provincial human rights commission said it has no duty to acquiesce.
The news follows last week’s expulsion from a French-as-a-second-language course of an Egyptian woman who insisted on wearing a niqab during class. It was the second school Naema Ahmed was expelled from for wearing the full face covering, which leaves only a slit for the eyes. Authorities at the first school had said her teacher was unable to properly assess her pronunciation without seeing her mouth.
Quebec’s Immigration Department said she could not continue her studies while wearing the niqab. (Buh Bye, don’t let the door hit you in the ass)
“If you want to integrate into Quebec society, here are our values,” Immigration Minister Yolande James told reporters last week. “We want to see your face.” Ms. Ahmed has filed a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission.
After the health-insurance board sought its expertise on the niqab issue, the rights commission published its opinion on Monday that requiring a veiled woman to briefly expose her face to a male employee is not a significant breach of her rights.
The commission reasoned that a woman would only have to remove her veil briefly for purposes of identification. It drew a distinction with people who for religious reasons ask that a driving test be given by a member of the same sex. In an earlier opinion, the commission said the province should accommodate such requests because the person is in a confined space with a member of the opposite sex for nearly an hour. (No, they shouldn’t)
The furor over the still rarely seen niqab is a clear sign that Quebec’s debate over the “reasonable accommodation” of religious and ethnic minorities has returned with full force. NATIONAL POST H/T Logans Warning
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