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The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) is no stranger when it comes to addressing the very issues that affect Canadian Muslim communities, including debates concerning Muslim women and their choice of dress.
Lastly, we are eternally thankful to the Muslim women from across the country and the province of Ontario that shared their life experiences with us and to whom we dedicate this publication. She focuses in her research and teaching on Shiism, gender and law, and has also written on Islam in the West and Canada.These questions do not yield simple answers, but they must be explored through open and honest discussion. Lynda Clarke of Concordia University paint a dynamic, engaging picture of Canadian women who wear the niqab and challenge many of the mainstream presumptions and stereotypes that are presented in the media, policy circles and the wider public.A total of approximately 81 women who wore the niqab participated in this study, 38 of whom responded to online surveys, 35 that participated in focus groups in Mississauga, Montreal, Ottawa and Waterloo and 8 who participated in in-depth individual interviews.Our hope is that the research presented here will help build a more inclusive Canada by developing a greater understanding amongst policy officials, the media and the public, by providing them with knowledge about Muslim women and the niqab that is rooted in the voices of Muslim women themselves. can share only what they perceive as genuine common ground, not something that some simply offer to or even force upon others. Her most recent publication in the latter field is “Asking Questions about Shariah: Lessons from Ontario”, a chapter in the volume Debating Shariah: Islam, Gender Politics and Family Law Arbitration, published by the University of Toronto Press in 2012.As the late Václav Havel reminds us, “Different cultures . Professor Clarke is a longstanding ally of CCMW, having collaborated in several other projects, including the Muslim Marriage Contract Kit designed to provide a basis for Muslim couples to construct a more equal marriage using Muslim law.In terms of religious orientation, the majority of the respondents in the study adopted what can be viewed as a “conservative” approach to Islam.
For instance, the majority of respondents did not agree with the practice of dating and did not believe that homosexuality was an acceptable practice.
The majority of the participants were homemakers, while others were self-employed or worked in a range of fields including Muslim communities, consulting, engineering and web design.
Those that did not work expressed a desire to in their lifetime, but were concerned with the exclusion they would likely face in the workplace.
Participants described these harmful experiences as reflecting a minority of the Canadian population and instead relayed a strong affinity to Canada, praising its multiculturalism, its respect for human rights, its freedom and life changing opportunities.
The recently proposed Charter of Quebec Values has once again brought religious forms of dress and the question of religious accommodation to the forefront and CCMW’s position on the matter has remained steadfast.
CCMW has previously issued position papers about the niqab and also presented our statements to government bodies.