Niqab in the news: Let’s hear both sides of the story

Once again, the niqab is back in the news, this time regarding a Quebec women who’s taking a college to the Human Rights Commission because it reportedly expelled her for not taking off her niqab. She’s an immigrant taking French-language classes paid for by the government.

There has been widespread discussion and condemnation of this woman and her behaviour. The problem: So far, it has all been based on what the school and the government have said.  Folks all around (Muslims included) have been jumping to conclusions without hearing the woman’s side of the story.

If you read the school and government’s account, it does seem like she was asking for too much. Yet, that’s assuming everything they’re saying is 100% accurate. But in the absence of her side of the story, it’s unfair to jump to conclusions and condemn her for what she supposedly demanded.

Golden rule (found in Islamic principles as well): Hear all sides of the story, then decide.

Kudos to the CBC for finding her and getting at least some comment from her. (See: Niqab veil-wearing Montrealer feels treated unfairly)

Plus, since when did seeing the face become an integral part of learning French? French, unlike Arabic, doesn’t have specific points of articulation that would require seeing the tongue or lips. Niqabis have learned French in the past, while wearing their niqabs. Why is it an issue now?

UPDATE: Something else came to mind. The original LaPresse article on this states the college told the woman she was free to take the course online if she didn’t want to take her niqab off. If seeing the face is so important to learning French, how do the online courses work?


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