Statement by Canadian Islamic Scholars and Mainstream Muslim Organizations Reaffirms Freedom of Religious Expression

October 9, 2009


OTTAWA - October 9, 2009-  In response to recent calls to ban the niqab (face veil) in Canada, a wide coalition of mainstream Canadian Muslim organizations in conjunction with Canadian Islamic scholars issued a statement today reaffirming the freedom of religion and conscience in Canada.

The statement read as follows:

“The recent calls to ban the niqab (face veil) in Canada are misplaced and contravene the fundamental principles of our free and democratic society.  All Canadians, whether Muslim or not, are guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms the freedom of religion and conscience. The state has no business in the wardrobes of the nation.

“Therefore, if a segment of Canadian Muslim women believe that wearing the niqab is part of their religious practice, then they must be allowed to freely do so.  The principle must be extended to all religious practices, provided the practice does not infringe upon the fundamental rights of others.


“The marginalization of Muslim women must be countered with public education and anti-discrimination efforts, not with the state’s dictation on how one may dress, which only serves to further marginalization instead.”




Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN)

Canadian Council Of Muslim Theologians (CCMT)

Canadian Council of Imams

Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC)

Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association (CMCLA)

Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute (CMWI)

Canadian Muslim Forum (CMF)

Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre

DawaNet Canada

International Muslims Organization (IMO)

Islamic Society of British Columbia

Islamic Society of North America Canada (ISNA Canada)

Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA)

Islamic Society of Toronto

Jami Omar Mosque

Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

Muslim Council of Calgary (MCC)

Muslim Association of Canada (MAC)

Muslim Council of Montreal / Conseil Musulman de Montreal

Salaheddin Islamic Centre

Scarborough Muslim Association

TARIC Islamic Centre, Toronto

Young Muslims Canada