MPP Terrance Kernaghan, NDP London North Centre
400 York St.
Dear Mr Kernaghan,
Thank you for remembering and honouring the victims of the horrific attack on June 6 in London. Attacks on innocent civilians are devastating and London, and indeed the world, is devastated. We noted that last evening you attended an event to commemorate this tragedy.
In the London Free Press article, you are quoted as saying “[I] attended the rally to support a future where women can wear hijabs without fear.” This is true, but it must also be acknowledged that there are women who live in fear for not wearing or for removing the hijab. It is quite remarkable that in many Islamic states, women are fighting to be free of the hijab.
Looking at the event Friday evening, we see the religious symbol of the hijab is honoured in remembrance of the Afzaal family. Women who are under pressure to wear hijab or who are refusing to wear hijab could very well be feeling marginalized and forgotten by this.
London is home to many immigrants who left their homeland because of oppressive governments. Iran has been extremely oppressive in its crackdown on women who do not wear hijab. Within the past decade, women in Iran have been bravely removing their hijab, even under risk of imprisonment and fines. Many activists have been incarcerated or killed for their stand against this oppression. In 2003, a Canadian Iranian dissident set herself ablaze in front of the French embassy in London, UK in protest against this regime.
Yasmine Mohammed, an ex-Muslim Canadian activist, and strong proponent of women’s rights has spoken out strongly against the forced wearing of the hijab, noting that women in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and other Muslim majority nations are burning their niqabs and hijabs in protest.
Muslim activist, speaker and author Raheel Raza also spoke about the danger of making the hijab a defining issue: “The danger lies in making hijab the defining issue for all Muslim women. To do so is to deny the diversity of Muslim women, and drown out the voices and identities of those who choose not to wear the hijab…..”
A young Canadian girl by the name of Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her family for refusing to wear the hijab.
While mourning the loss of this family is important, it is also important to keep in mind those who have suffered and are suffering at the hands of oppression, which includes the forced wearing of the hijab.
Fighting hate in all areas of Canadian life is so important. Canadian women should feel comfortable either wearing or not wearing the hijab. All Canadian citizens deserve to be heard and treated with dignity.
Fighting Hate In Canada