Coronavirus masks reveal hypocrisy of face covering bans

This spring at Paris Fashion Week, some designers showcased face masks. Others in attendance wore designer-label face masks to block COVID-19. The irony of these fashion statements and the recent ubiquity of the medical mask is not lost on some — especially those living in places like France, where Muslim women can be fined for wearing a veil in public, and Québec, which has banned niqabs and other religous garments for some civil servants. In Canada, hate crimes have been rising — and Muslim women have been one of the main targets. The hate crime may be connected to words coming from politicians who have called the niqab “tribal,” “offensive” and “anti-women.” And those words may, in turn, be connected to the opinion of a majority of Canadians who in polls say they are opposed to niqabs in public. Will all these attitudes (and laws) change now that everyone may soon be asked, if not required, to cover their faces during the pandemic? Is a face mask used to help block coronavirus different from a niqab?

Today in The Conversation Canada, Katherine Bullock, lecturer in Islamic Politics at the University of Toronto, explores this question by delving into the history and politics of the veil in the West.

Also today:



Vinita Srivastava

Director of Journalism Innovation | Senior Editor, Culture + Society

Coronavirus News

Is a face mask used to help block coronavirus really that different from a niqab? (Ashkan Forouzani/Unsplash)

We are all niqabis now: Coronavirus masks reveal hypocrisy of face covering bans

Katherine Bullock, University of Toronto

Now that face masks are being used to help fight the spread of COVID-19, it has caused some to look anew at discrimination against Muslim women who wear niqabs.

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Non-Coronavirus News

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La Conversation Canada

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