Maryam Rasa was born in Toronto, attended high school in the city and went on to study at the University of Toronto, but these days she proudly walks the streets of her home town with face covered under a niqab because this dress allows her to be herself and foster a sense of being a devout Muslim. During the past few decades in countries like Canada or Egypt or Indonesia where Muslim women have a choice concerning dress a significant minority now select the niqab. According to Salma Siddiqui, “In Canada we recognize the equality of men and women. The burqa marginalizes women. Perhaps, the most fascinating aspect of the current niqab wars is its appearance in nations in which Muslim women can wear what they desire.
The issue was further complicated by Grand Sheikh Mohammed Tantawi of Al Azhar University in Egypt who has banned the niqab from the university and elementary and secondary schools on grounds it has nothing to do with the Muslim religion. In a sense, he agrees with the view that wearing a niqab marginalizes women. In the end, it is an individual woman who must have the right to make this decision, not governments or religious leaders.