TORONTO — The woman whose fight to wear a niqab during her Canadian citizenship ceremony has unexpectedly become a dominant election issue fears the raging debate has tarnished Canadians’ views of her fellow Muslims.
Zunera Ishaq said much of the discussion swirling around the issue in recent weeks has been based on misconceptions about Islam, the niqab and the women who embrace both.
She attributed much of that misinformation to the Conservative government, accusing Prime Minister Stephen Harper of turning her personal choice into a national vote-getting strategy.
She added she fears the tactic may be working.
A spokesman for Harper did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ishaq said the Canadian public is not being well-informed.
“They are being misguided by the government on this particular issue,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview.
“They were of the view that Muslim women who are wearing the niqab objected to show their identity for security purposes, but that’s not the case …. The image of Muslim women, and as a whole the Muslim community, has been damaged by this.”
The Canadian Press