Monday October 29, 2007 10:22 PM ET

Canadian bill to ban veiled voting will protect integrity of electoral process

Farzana Hassan [President, Muslim Canadian Congress]: "The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) has welcomed the Conservative Government’s decision to introduce Bill C-6 to ban veiled voting. The organization considers this an essential and appropriate move to protect the integrity of Canada ’s electoral process. All voters, including veiled Muslim women will now be required to identify themselves visually.

The bill was introduced on October 26, 2007, by Peter Van Loan, the Conservative House Leader in compliance with the provisions of the Throne Speech of October 16, 2007. The move is also a response to the controversy generated by Elections Canada’s decision to allow veiled women to vote without removing their face veils in a September, 2007 Quebec by-election.

The proposed legislation, while remaining mindful of religious accommodation, is nonetheless a step in the right direction towards ensuring the separation of religion and state. Burkas and veils are not religiously mandated attire and serve to undermine public identification. Such attire is promoted by Islamists as a tool to undermine the democratic process by negating the identity of half the population. It must therefore, not be endorsed.

Bill C-6 is also an affirmation of the MCC’s stated principle of achieving the separation of religion and state in all public places."


[Farzana Hassan-Shahid is President of the Muslim Canadian Congress, Freelance writer, public speaker and author of  "Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest" and host of the radio program Islam: Faith and Culture.]