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Keeping in mind the limitations of the sample, based on available data in the study the typical profile of woman in niqab is that of a married foreign-born citizen in her twenties to early thirties who adopted the practice after arriving in Canada.

As one interviewee indicated, “It’s part of our religion to cooperate with the government, so we have to.” When asked if it was appropriate to show their face in accessing government services, most of the participants indicated “Sometimes.” While many of the respondents indicated a preference for female service providers (physicians), some of the participants did not oppose receiving services from men.

The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) is no stranger when it comes to addressing the very issues that affect Canadian Muslim communities, including debates concerning Muslim women and their choice of dress.

Committed to the equality, equity, empowerment and diversity of Muslim women and their voices, for more than 30 years the national organization has delivered community based projects and advocated on behalf of Muslim women and their families.

This larger trend of tolerance and accommodation within Canada is reflected in the optimistic attitudes that the women in the study expressed towards Canadian society as a whole.

While some participants relayed their negative experiences which ranged from physical assault to verbal harassment, not a single participant in the study described her overall experience in Canada as being negative.

Yet the presence of a conservative religious outlook amongst participants did not translate into a uniformity of attitudes towards the niqab itself and whether it was a religiously mandatory practice.

44.7% of those surveyed established that it was necessary for a Muslim woman to wear it; while 47.4% indicated “Not necessary, but advisable” and 6.4% indicated that it was not, illustrating the variety of religious understandings concerning the article of dress amongst the participants themselves.

These questions do not yield simple answers, but they must be explored through open and honest discussion. Lynda Clarke of Concordia University paint a dynamic, engaging picture of Canadian women who wear the niqab and challenge many of the mainstream presumptions and stereotypes that are presented in the media, policy circles and the wider public.


 
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06-Mar-2020 11:46