Muslim Canadian Congress calls for Canadian ban of niqab and burqa

A Canadian Muslim group is calling on the Canadian government to ban the wearing of the burqa in public, saying the argument that the right to wear it is protected by the Charter’s guarantee of freedom of religion is false.

The Muslim Canadian Congress called on the federal government to prohibit the two garments in order to prevent women from covering their faces in public – a practice the group said has no place in a society that supports gender equality.

“To cover your face is to conceal your identity,” Congress spokeswoman Farzana Hassan said.

Mohamed Elmasry, former president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, disputed suggestions that the garments pose a security threat, saying only a minority of Muslim women living in Canada feel the need to conceal their features in public. Elmasry stated that women should have the freedom to decide whether they wish to cover their faces, and that a ban would limit freedom of expression.