Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) releases two new reports: Violence against Women: Health and Justice for Canadian Muslim Women and Women in Niqab Speak: A Study of Women Who Wear the Niqab

TORONTO, October 3, 2013 – CCMW tackles controversial topics in its latest reports:  1) violence against women and girls, particularly femicide or honour based violence, forced marriages, violence in the family, and female genital cutting/mutilation and 2) the niqab or the Muslim face-veil
Around the world and in all communities across Canada, violence against women and girls continues to be one of the most persistent and devastating assaults on human dignity.  CCMW addresses this reality in its publication entitled Violence against Women: Health and Justice for Canadian Muslim Women.  Author Pamela Cross, JD/LLB, provides an overview and analysis of the four specific practices in the international and Canadian contexts and provides recommendations for policy and action in Canada. A foreword by renowned Islamic scholar, ProfessorAsma Barlas, challenges violence against women and girls from an Islamic perspective.  Funded by Status of Women Canada, the publication is part of a larger project to create awareness of these issues and identify resources and solutions for women and girls in communities across Canada.
Women in Niqab Speak: A Study of the Niqab in Canada, the first Canadian study of its kind, gives voice to Muslim women who wear the niqab.  The study, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, was conducted by Dr. Lynda Clarke, Associate Professor of Religion and Islam at Concordia University.   Results are based on 129 responses to a survey, focus groups and personal interviews with women who wear the niqab. Participants were from across Ontario and included women in Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, and from Quebec (Montreal). Study findings include:
  • The majority of respondents are willing to show their faces for the purposes of security and identification (in person or photo I.D).
  • The women have positive experiences in gaining access to services such as social services, legal services and medical care in Ontario.
  • The women’s experiences and rationales for wearing the niqab are diverse. The majority of the women come from families where the niqab is not worn and cited spiritual/religious growth, expression of Muslim identity and individual freedom and liberation as reasons they choose to wear it.
“I think CCMW approaches these difficult issues in a respectful, nuanced, and sensitive manner,“ said Dr. Barlas. “This is in stark contrast to the racism and stereotyping of Muslims prevalent in the media and public discourse which doesn’t benefit anyone in the end.”

Authors of the two reports will present their findings at the Council’s annual Women Who Inspire Awards, on Sunday, October 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Novotel Hotel, 3 Park Home Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M2N 6L3.  Further details and tickets to the event available at:

For further information, please contact Sahar Zaidi at 416-875-7796 or