Harper’s comments were made in the House of Commons on Tuesday. (Photo: On Islam)
Harper’s comments were made in the House of Commons on Tuesday. (Photo: On Islam)

Ottawa, 22  Jumadil Awwal 1436/13 March 2015 (MINA) – Canadian PM Stephen Harpers’ remarks on Wednesday that face veil worn by Muslim women is “rooted in a culture that is anti-women” sparked anger from Twitter users, rejecting his remarks as “offensive”.

“Shouldn’t the Canadian government focus on tackling real gender inequality in meaningful ways, instead of telling grown-ass Muslim women how to dress?” blogger Shireen Ahmed asked, urging readers to use the hashtag, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

Amira Elghawaby, of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, told CTV: “What I actually think is anti-women, is for the state or anyone at all to be telling women what they can or cannot wear.”

Harper’s comments were made in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

He also said that donning facial veils during state ceremonies is “offensive” to “most Canadians.” Protesting against his comments, women soon started tweeting pictures of their outfits at the prime minister with the hashtag #dresscodePM, urging Harper to “approve” of their clothing choices.

This is not first time for the PM to criticize face veils. “I believe, and I think most Canadians believe that it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family,” Harper said in February.

#DressCodePM has been tweeted 1,500 times, according to Hashtracker.

“Stephen Harper forgive me for I have sinned, I dressed without your consent this morning #DressCodePM #Doyouapprove,” Amna Qureshi tweeted.

The comments came as part of an ongoing push by the ruling Conservatives to ban face coverings in Canadian citizenship ceremonies. “I`m thinking of wearing white shoes before May 24. Is that still considered tacky,” asked Toronto Twitter user Sarah Dearing, who uses the handle @sarahdearing.

Hamilton, Ontario user Sarah S., who tweets as @FrugalRock, wrote: “What`s your take on leggings @pmharper? Do they count as pants?”

Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada’s 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country. A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.

While hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that a woman is not obliged to wear the face veil, or niqab, but believe that it is up to women to decide whether to cover her face. (T/P011/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)