Freedom, Choice, and the Niqab


Should the government be able to force you
to wear a uniform, or police what you are and aren’t allowed to wear? Of course not. You enjoy the freedom of expression, guaranteed
in our constitution, to look however you want to look. Unless you choose to wear this:
This piece of clothing is called a Niqab, religious garb worn by some women in the world,
and a tiny minority of women in Canada. Is the wearing of this clothing patriarchal? Is it an expression of religious devotion? There is a large body of evidence that women
in the West who wear niqab do so out of their own choice. What about, say, this piece of religious garb? Have you ever gotten upset about how nuns
dress? Have you ever heard a public discussion about
banning it? Getting away from religion, we could talk
about the policing of girls’ clothing in schools. Girls often face restrictions and punishments
for what they can wear in school dress codes. Implicit in some of these codes is the idea
that boys have urges they cannot control, and for some reason, girls are therefore responsible
for covering up and making things more comfortable for them. Even if you have issues with the marketing
of these kinds of clothes or the patriarchal culture trends which cause them, is it fair
to put that on girls and women who want to dress the way they want to? Is your beef really with them? Maybe we can extend this reasoning to the
Niqab. This isn’t an argument about culture or
religion, it’s about difference, freedom, and most of all choice. A growing trend in certain places in the west
is to put laws and codes in place which dictate that women not be allowed to wear this type
of clothing. So if we listened to the evidence, and realised
that the niqab is primarily worn in the west BY CHOICE as a symbol of religious devotion
OR IDENTITY, what could we call a ban other than discrimination? The ideal we’re talking about here is equality. All people get to make choices for themselves,
even if we are different from each other. You don’t need to agree with other people’s
choices. You don’t need even to understand their
reasons. It’s not about a full-throated embrace,
but about extending to others the same right to choose that you want for yourself. To learn about CCLA’s fight for this freedom
in Quebec, click the link in the video description. If you liked this video, and want to help
the cause of civil liberties in Canada, check out our website, ccla.org, and become a member
today. Also, be sure to subscribe to CCLA’s YouTube
channel to stay updated on civil liberties issues in Canada. Choice, equality, and freedom are ongoing
struggles, but the CCLA is here to defend your right to choose.

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