In Montreal, a woman from Egypt has been expelled from her French language class for refusing to take off her niqab-an opaque veil that covers all of the woman’s face except for her eyes.
The case has sparked controversy in Quebec, where Premier Jean Charest has defended the woman’s expulsion, and on Tuesday the Human Rights Commission in the province said if a woman wearing a niqab wants to receive a Medicare card, she must uncover her face to confirm her identity.
VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb speaks with Morton Weinfeld, who chairs the Ethnic Studies Department at McGill University in Montreal.
The school that expelled the woman said the niqab covering her mouth made it difficult for the language instructor to teach French to the woman, but Weinfeld says there’s a larger cultural battle being waged in this case.
Click listen to hear the entire interview.