The veil as a political tool

The Journal gives space to a distasteful screed by Fatima Houda-Pepin this weekend – “Le Canada: paradis des islamistes” – which claws at Bill 62 for not being hard enough against the niqab and goes on to equate the few veiled women in our society with terrorists. This is simply inflammatory material pitched at the most xenophobic readers.

I should maybe stop and re-state here: I don’t like the niqab. I do find the hidden face alienating and I don’t truly understand why some women feel it’s better to spend their lives breathing and speaking through a piece of cloth. But it is their choice to make. Maybe it’s reasonable under a few circumstances to ask these women to reveal their faces for identification purposes, but passing a law on what women can wear, in weaselly legalese, to pacify a xenophobic strain in our society (and win their votes) is a cowardly move by the Quebec government.

A court case will determine the constitutionality of the terms of the bill. But this isn’t likely to end the stoking of hatred for political ends.