PM Harper takes issue with allowing women to vote while wearing burkas

CCD applauds PM, raises concerns about government enforcement of sharia practices This is a very important stand. The CCD explains why.

Canadian Coalition for Democracies

Ottawa, Canada – The Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD) applauds Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a stand against exempting one religious group from the requirement of photo identification when voting.

“Prime Minister Harper is right to demand that all voters, regardless of their religion, be equal before the ballot box,” said Alastair Gordon, CCD President. “Permitting or accommodating the anonymity of a full Muslim veil or burqa at a polling station undermines the integrity of our electoral system.”

On April 19, Sun media reported that “Elections Canada has begun to contact Muslim organizations to gauge their feelings on how to accommodate veiled women if photo identification becomes necessary to cast a federal ballot… Sameer Zuberi, with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he spent 30 minutes on the telephone with an Elections Canada representative on Tuesday.” Following this consultation, Elections Canada appears to have bowed to sharia standards, agreeing to exempt women with face coverings, including full burqas, from the accepted practice of photo identification to which all other voters are, and should be, subjected.

“The risk is that once such a principle is accepted, we will face radical demands for its consistent application in other areas of our lives,” added Gordon. “Having said that photo ID is not required for one religious group for a transaction as important as voting, the same demand for sharia privileging can be made for driver’s licenses, passports, airport security passes, and other accepted mechanisms of personal accountability and public safety.”

A bedrock principle of our successful democracy is that people are open and identifiable. That openness has helped create the relatively safe, tolerant, pluralistic society that we enjoy today. Cloaked voting clearly breaches this principle.

“By agreeing to bend our electoral system to sharia demands, we not only undermine our democratic system, but create a precedent that will have potentially deadly consequences if extended into areas of public safety and national security,” added Gordon.

The Canadian Coalition for Democracies expresses special concern about reports that some public officials’ might favour a “solution” calling for fully-veiled voters to raise their veils exclusively to female electoral officials for identification purposes. Any such approach would constitute a grossly unacceptable enforcement of sharia gender sensibilities and inequalities by government personnel and processes. It would undermine gender equality and electoral integrity, and represent a constitutionally unacceptable affront to the human rights of male officials barred from the performance of their duties on this account.

September 10, 2007 | Comments Off on PM Harper takes issue with allowing women to vote while wearing burkas

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