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for immediate release: November 2, 2006

Canadian Muslim Union calls for ISNA (Canada) to retract remarks

The Canadian Muslim Union takes strong exception to ISNA (Canada) Director M.D. Khalid's remarks that "very attractive women" should cover their faces. There is nothing in the Quran or common practice that suggests that attractive people of either gender as opposed to "regular people" should wear different clothing. And most traditions, Muslim or otherwise, around female dress codes focus on age and the people you are with, not on some culturally specific concept of beauty.

Khalid's remarks are an insult and denigrate both men and women. Then he proceeds to make it worse by placing the blame and onus on women. His thoughtless utterances have no basis whatsoever in the Quran.

While the Quran and Islamic traditions require men and women to dress modestly, the veil is strictly a cultural relic that is not even specific to Islam. If women want to wear one because it is their cultural tradition or because they are trying to make a statement, that is their right. And if women choose not to wear one, that is also their right. Neither practice says anything about the depth of their faith.

Khalid's assertions about the veil are without foundation and ISNA (Canada) should immediately issue a retraction and remove him from any position of authority. In addition, ISNA (Canada) should issue a statement clarifying that the niqab is neither Muslim in origin nor specified in the Quran.

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