IN VOGUE: BEHIND THE VEIL
GALA ISLAMIC EVENT GETS UNDERWAY TODAY
She might be nubile and nude beneath the niqab or a withered old hag.
Few will know when Islamic women gather today in Winnipeg to demand the right to wear their form and face concealing niqab.
The event takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Carol Shields Auditorium at the Millennium Library.
It will feature the latest in Islamic fashion, including the burquini which is sure to capture more attention on the beach than the scantiest bikini.
“It’s a woman’s choice to wear a miniskirt or niqab,” says event organizer Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association.
A niqab is a full-body garment that covers the hair and face, except for the eyes.
For Canada to be truly inclusive, people need to have a better understanding of each other, Ms. Siddiqui maintains, even if they cannot see the person with whom they are trying to communicate.
The organizers of the event are fearful that Canada and other Western countries might follow France in banning the wearing of hijabs and religious head scarves in public schools.
“People said, ‘There’s no way it’s going to happen here,’ ” Ms. Siddiqui says.
But in the last two months in this country, two women in Quebec have been ejected from class for not removing their religious head coverings. That’s too close for comfort for the Islamic Social Services Association
“Where does it end?” Ms. Siddiqui asks.
She wants Islamic women throughout Canada to voice their protest against “religious intolerance,” such as the demand that they remove their facial covering for the purpose of security.
Thousands of Muslim women are expected to join here although few will be possible to recognize.
Manitoba’s Muslim population is growing as the province increases its annual immigration targets.
In 1991, there were 2,805 Muslims in Manitoba. In 2001, there were 5,100.
Today, there are more than 7,000.
By 2015, the Muslim population is again expected to triple.