A recent incident in a Canadian courtroom illustrates the depth of creeping Shariah, (Islamic law) writes Muslim reformist Tarek Fatah. There's been an uproar over a judge's decision requiring the victim of an alleged sexual assault to testify without her face veiled. It's an issue of modesty, the woman told the court. But Fatah is hearing none of it:
"There is no requirement in Islam for Muslim women to cover their faces. The niqab is the epitome of male control over women. It is a product of Saudi Arabia and its distortion of Islam to suit its Wahabbi agenda, which is creeping into Canada."
Fatah points to the 2004 establishment of the Al-Huda Islamic Institute for women as a turning point for driving more Canadian Muslim women toward the niqab. The institute advocates polygamy and encourages women to stay home to tend to their families rather than work. A spike in niqab-clad women soon followed.
"For the better part of the 20th century, Muslim reformists, from Egypt to India, campaigned against this terrible tribal custom imposed by Wahabbi Islam. My mother's generation threw off their burqas when Muslim countries gained their independence after the Second World War. Millions of women encouraged by their husbands, fathers and sons, shed this oppressive attire as the first step in embracing gender equality.
But while the rest of the world moves toward the goal of gender equality, right here, under our very noses, Islamists are pushing back the clock, convincing educated Muslim women they are sexual objects and a source of sin."
He is sympathetic toward the alleged rape victim, considering her victimized twice – once by her alleged assailant and then by "those who wish to keep women in their place."