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Indian woman ordered to unveil or leave French course in Canada

Montreal (Canada): A 25-year-old Indian-origin woman was expelled from her government French class near Montreal on March 12 due to her religious face veil.

According to reports, Aisha, whose face was hidden by the veil, was pulled out of her class and told to unveil or leave the course.

“I was heartbroken. I loved my French course and I loved that school, it was like a second home to me,” The Globe and Mail quoted Aisha, as saying.

“ It’s like ripping off my modesty, like someone asking me to take off my clothes,” she added.

Rachna Abrol, a former classmate, said the students were unhappy with Aisha’s expulsion, and everybody wants her to come back.

“Everybody liked her. She co-operated with everybody. She talked to men. She liked French and she’s intelligent, too,” Abrol said.

Meanwhile, Mustapha Kachani, Executive Director of the centre, said he favours the removal of the veil, but wished Aisha had been given time rather than an ultimatum.

“I’m sure we could have found a solution instead of isolating her and marginalizing her. Maybe we would have convinced her to remove her veil,” Kachani said.

Kachani made Aisha two offers in an effort to help her stay at school, she could either remove her veil and sit in the front of the class, facing the teacher and with her back to the class or she could settle for a six-hour-a-week course on Quebec society given by the centre’s employees, with her niqab.

It is the second such case to come to light in Quebec. Last month, the same ultimatum was given to Naema Ahmed, an Egyptian-born woman whose case sparked an uproar and led to landmark provincial legislation against religious face veils.

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