Court decision puts veil over women's rights
By EZRA LEVANT, QMI Agency
It is illegal for a woman wearing a face-obscuring veil to board a plane in Canada. But a unanimous ruling last week by the Ontario Court of Appeal says it’s just fine for that same woman to give testimony in court with her face covered.
There’s more. Ontario’s highest court says veiled women can ask for an order to clear men out of the courtroom — any men in the public gallery, any male court staff, even her opponent’s lawyer, even the judge himself — in return for taking off her veil. It’s paragraph 85 of the ruling.
Shariah law has come to Canada.
Face-obliterating veils called niqabs are a medieval tool for gender apartheid. They destroy a woman’s identity. They turn her into an object, a chattel owned by her master — which is why they’re the norm in Saudi Arabia, where women have fewer rights than men and only slightly more than animals.
Burkas — an even more prison-like shroud, with just a tiny beekeeper’s screen to peek through — are the Taliban variety. Those are now allowed on the witness stand in Canada, too.
Rip the Ten Commandments off the wall, because we must have separation of church and state. But when the most un-Canadian expression of radical Islam walks in the court, our judges follow the Qur’an.
But that’s not fair to the Qur’an. No verse in that book requires face-covering. But our judges now say it’s a Charter right. To their shame, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association intervened to support this. They have demanded Bibles be removed from schools and the Lord’s Prayer be banned from legislatures. But Muslim veils — a chastity belt for the face — have their support in a secular court.
The CCLA has found religion. And LEAF, the feminist law organization built with Canadian tax dollars, has a new view on a woman’s proper place. They argued for the niqab, too. As National Post columnist Barbara Kay points out, a survey of Muslim women in France found 77% wear the veil out of fear of men.
Australian Imam Taj Din al-Hilali put it another way, in a sermon about rape: “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street ... and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem.”
LEAF supports covering up “the meat.” Now our courts do too.
The Ontario ruling came about because a Muslim woman alleged she was molested as a child by her uncle and her cousin in the 1980s. It’s a horrendous accusation and, if true, the woman deserves our sympathy and the accused deserve our most punitive punishment. But before we get there, there’s the matter of a trial.
In Canada, even accused rapists have the right to question their accuser and the court has the right to observe her demeanour. It’s why we don’t allow testimony from someone wearing a mask.
But this accuser didn’t want to take off her mask.
“It’s a respect issue, one of modesty and one of — in Islam, we call honour,” she told the judge at the preliminary inquiry “It’s to conceal the beauty of a woman.”
She had only been wearing a veil for about five years and the judge found her religious belief was “not that strong.” But “I would feel a lot more comfortable if I didn’t have to, you know, reveal my face.”
Sure, she took the veil off to get her driver’s licence. But that was important, you see. Not like accusing a man of a horrendous crime. The judge told her to take off her veil. That’s what was over-ruled last week.
This could be great, says the Court of Appeal. The reliability of her veiled testimony could actually be better.
“Without the niqab ... one could not expect her to be herself on the witness stand ... her embarrassment and discomfort could be misinterpreted as uncertainty and unreliability.”
But it’s more than law. It’s politics, they say. Allowing the niqab “could be seen as a recognition and acceptance of those minority beliefs and practices.”
That’s exactly the problem.
In heaven, Aqsa Parvez is screaming again.