Canadian Federal Election Campaign By Mansoor Ladha Of The Edmonton Journal

Canadian Federal Election Campaign By Mansoor Ladha Of The Edmonton Journal

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During the 2015 Canadian federal election campaign, Zunera Ishaq challenged the government in court over a ruling that bans the niqab and any face covering while giving the oath of citizenship. Ishaq refused to remove her niqab during the citizenship ceremony, arguing that it was a violation of her religious freedom. The Supreme Court of Canada sided with Ishaq, claiming that a ban of the niqab during the oath of citizenship was a breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The government, unsatisfied with the verdict, filed for an appeal that was dismissed after further review, the decision angered many Canadians because the niqab to them symbolizes oppression, gender inequality and violates Canadian values. However, Ishaq received much support from fellow Canadians who sympathized with her and acknowledged that in Canada wearing a niqab is choice unlike other parts of the world. In an attempt to understand this complex issue, two opinion pieces with opposing viewpoints will be analyzed. Opinion piece A, written by Mansoor Ladha of the Edmonton Journal, argues that the niqab goes against Canadian values and should be banned. Opinion piece B, written by Mia Rabson of the Winnipeg Free Press, argues that the niqab debate pretends to be about women’s rights but distracts from women’s issues in Canada. After analyzing both opinions using a sociological lens, the position taken by opinion piece B is correct and the position taken by opinion piece A is wrong.
Objectivity is important when conducting any form of sociological research. However, there needs to balance between objectivity and sympathy. Max Weber, a prominent sociologist, believed that to understand the motives of others fully, we need verstehen – understand the ...


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... claiming to stand for women’s rights and gender equality are discriminating against those that want to wear one (2015).
All cultures, traditions and religions should be respected and treated equally in Canada. In a democratic country, the government has no business dictating what attire is appropriate and not appropriate to wear. Likewise, Caplan’s interviews have provided a better understand as to why women wear the niqab, which has removed many misconceptions I had. Wearing the niqab in Canada is unlike in the Middle East, and it shouldn’t be seen as being oppressive or anti-women because women in this country have the ability to choose what they wear. Rabson can evaluate the niqab issue with both empathy as well as objectivity and her ability to view the issue with a much more macro approach has resulted in her article being a correct representation of the issue.

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