Nothing says systemic racism like the ban of a religious, sacred garb. In a politically and emotionally charged attack on democracy, Bill-62 officially came into effect in Quebec. What’s bill-62 one might ask? A law that requires people to show their faces when they give or receive public services. Or in other words, a bill that forces women to remove their religious head garments like niqabs in order to use or give public service.
Let me repeat, some people are so genuinely afraid of a piece of fabric that they made it a law that you are literally forced to remove your religious head garment to tailor to their feelings.
This attack, because let’s face the fact that this is an attack on religious freedoms, comes at a time in our history where rampant islamophobia has become the norm. Whether we like it or not, certain political groups like to lobby against anyone that looks remotely different than themselves which is hardly a new development, historically speaking.
But what if they’re not actually who they say there are, you might ask? How will a bus driver know if the woman wearing that niqab is actually a woman?
Okay but who exactly do you think is under there? Tony from down the block? Jim the milk man? Three hobbits taped together? I mean we’re talking about actual human beings here. Human beings that have intricate, nuanced personal lives. People who only want to practice their religion in a way that is literally not offensive in any way to anyone.
The fact is, whether you like it or not, the law put in place that forces women to remove their religious garbs is not here to protect public service people and certainly not the women this law is targeted towards. That’s because it’s not a question of safety. You are just as safe on the street with someone not covering their face as you are with someone who is. I mean this is Canada and balaclavas are a winter clothing staple for many a Canadian. How is that any different than a woman wearing a niqab?
Which begs the question, why is it that people are so against women wearing niqabs? Is it because they feel as if the women are being forced to wear these garments? Cause if that’s your justification, it’s not a good one. Ask any Muslim woman why they were a hijab or a niqab and I can guarantee you the first response is not going to be ‘because a man is making me wear it’. There are many different reasons why women decide to wear their religious garbs and none of those reasons need to be justified.
The truth is, when you tell a Muslim woman that she’s not allowed on a bus because her face is covered by her religious garb, you are telling a Muslim woman she’s not allowed on the bus because she is muslim. And that makes you a racist.
Bill-62 is an antiquated, abysmal excuse for a law that is not only taking the country back in time, but doing so in a way that further discriminates against a marginalized group that already gets far too much slack in this country. Wake up, Quebec.