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Muslim Canadian Congress demands Elections Canada rescind its Burqa decision

Statement by Muslim Canadian Congress

Saturday 13 October 2007

September 9, 2007

“Allowing masked voters, a rude joke,” says MCC President

TORONTO - The Muslim Canadian Congress has asked Elections Canada to immediately rescind its recent decision allowing Muslim women in burqa and niqaab to vote in the upcoming federal by-elections in Quebec.

In a letter to Marc Mayrand Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, MCC president Farzana Hassan said, “unless the intention of Elections Canada is to paint Canada’s Muslim community in a negative light, we demand that this silly provision allowing masked women to vote, be rescinded immediately. The sanctioning of the burqa and niqaab as Islamic attire is a rude joke, and insult to Muslim Canadians.”

The MCC president said, “Covering the face is not an Islamic religious requirement. “She said there is no express injunction in the Quran, which exhorts Muslim women to cover up entirely, therefore no such faith accommodation is necessary.”The covering of a woman’s face is a Saudi tribal practise intended to ensure women are treated like chattel, not equal human beings," she added.

While the MCC supports reasonable faith accommodations, the organization believes that allowances enabling voters to conceal their identity represent a compromise of the democratic process. Liberal democracies must ensure an atmosphere of openness and transparency during voting. Elections Canada’s decision is clearly in contravention of this important democratic principle.

The MCC also believes that such allowances will embolden Islamists and their supporters to seek even greater concessions in the future. The organization also feels that the current trend to appease fundamentalist forces may be symptomatic of a larger problem forcing governments to capitulate to the bullying tactics of Islamists in Canada.

Furthermore, the threat of random acts of terrorism must be considered while making such concessions. Due to this recurring and pervasive threat, individuals must not be permitted to appear in public without revealing their identity, let alone in a voting booth"

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For more information please call Sohail Raza, the Communications Director of the MCC at (416) 505-1613

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