Wente does what she likes best: criticizing nonwhites
There are perfectly legitimate reasons to oppose the niqab. The most basic are theological; there is no mention of niqabs in the Koran or the hadiths
. They were added centuries later, much like celibacy in the Catholic Church. Even today, they are not worn most of the Muslim world. A genuine case exists that they are a symbol of the subjugation of women.
But if the niqab is a symbol of patriarchy, that would be as true in Saudi Arabia as in Canada. Much more, in fact, since in Saudi Arabia thuggish morality police force
women to wear it, whereas in Canada it is to a large degree voluntary. It should not matter what country you are wearing it in for it to be right or wrong.
But Wente is not really interested in improving the status of women worldwide. That would be feminist
(or, in her mind, man-hating). To her it doesn't really matter if darky women are oppressed in "their" countries. What matters is how they behave in a white country. She quotes a London Times op-ed:If you don't like living here and don't want to integrate, then what the hell are you doing here?
and adds her own spin:There is a growing sentiment that immigrants should be more like "us"
"Us", of course, means white people, and "immigrants" means nonwhite people.
Now Wente has never, as far as I know, opposed immigration. To her, nonwhites are welcome to stay in Canada, provided that they dress, talk, eat, listen to the same music, and make themselves indistinguishable from whites. Eating McDonald's and watching Friends reruns is Canadian, but nibbling on chapatis and teaching your kids Punjabi is not. The niqab does not originate in Europe or a European-settled country, therefore it is foreign, and inferior.
A key implication of this idea is that immigrants of colour, no matter how long they may have been in Canada, are not "true" Canadians. They are mere guests in the country, who must be deferential to their white hosts, never complaining or rocking the boat. The key differential is not birth, but ethnicity. A third-generation Canadian of Pakistani origin is an immigrant, while an white immigrant from the United States (such as Wente herself) is every inch a pure laine
It logically follows that nonwhites, in spirit if not in law, are second-class citizens. No one would dream of telling Wente to return to her country of birth because of her decidedly un-Canadian right-wing views, but Wente shows no hesitation in telling niqab wearers to leave the country because she doesn't like to look at them.
Wente concludes with please, ladies, take off your veil
. If the veil is being worn voluntarily, it is none of Wente's business what other women wear. If the woman is being coerced into it, Wente's pontificating isn't going to make any difference.