For Zarqa Nawaz, a hijab-wearing Muslim woman living in the Canadian prairies, life in the west has always provided certain conundrums. For example, is a woman obliged to cover herself in the presence of a gay man?
A recent report by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW), Engaging Muslim Women: Issues and Needs, reveals Canadian Muslim women’s affinity and affection for Canada but a lack of engagement in the political, social and economic life of the country.
Recently, there has been controversy around the veil worn by some Muslim women to conceal their faces. Many have viewed this as a conflict between Muslims on one side and the "Islamophobic" west on the other. Not so.
From a hard knot of contradictions a further thread has unravelled, and the most preposterous rationalization of all, particularly coming out of the mouths of men - that the niqab is a feminist declaration.
Ingrid Mattson, new president of the largest Muslim organisation in North America, is the first woman, nonimmigrant or convert to Islam in this role. Despite this, her election has been greeted with caution by some women's rights activists.
Please join us for a reception for the WLUML exhibition "Dress codes & modes - women’s dress in some Muslim countries and communities," on 28 September, 5.30-7.30pm in the EVDS Gallery of the University of Calgary.