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Brown man doesn’t smile in picture, is accused of barbaric cultural practices

Posted on 10 October 2015

Yesterday, Zunera Ishaq did what the law of this country told her she is allowed to do: she went to a private area, identified herself to officials, then wore a niqab to a public ceremony to become a Canadian citizen.

The woman at heart of niqab controversy gets citizenship

— Susan Ormiston (@OrmistonOnline) October 9, 2015

The media was there, and took some pictures. And in some of those pictures was her husband. And do you know what her husband did?

He didn’t smile every single second.

This might not seem like a big deal, but this is Canada in 2015 and if you haven’t heard, we have to be on the constant lookout for barbaric cultural practices.

We’ve been promised a tip line we can call if we suspect someone of engaging in those practices, and we’ve also been told repeatedly that the niqab is a symptom of those practices. So really what we get here is a snapshot of that mindset in action.

What follows is all screenshots of actual tweets from actual people who would actually be able to call a tip line if it existed.

Check it out:


look at this guy


Because he’s wearing a grey suit? He has a beard? What are we supposed to be looking at? What just happened here?


not smiling

Think twice if you look like that guy. If you don’t smile, you’re suspect.



forced marriage do as i say


Of course. One look at this picture and you can tell he forced her to marry him under threat of death!



This, by the way, is what Ishaq herself had to say about her husband’s role in her decision to wear the niqab (which she started doing as a teenager, against her parents wishes):

“She was also asked on The Current whether her husband was in favour of her wearing it.

“‘No, not exactly,’ she said. He wanted to know how it might affect her ability to ‘move around’ in Canada. ‘But I told him I will figure it out,’ and later, she found her community to be ‘very welcoming.’

“Ishaq’s husband also urged her to think about whether she could remove the niqab for the citizenship ceremony and be willing to take on the legal fight.”


So all the evidence we have is of a husband who encouraged his wife to wear what she wanted, even when he wasn’t sure it was the best idea.

But buddy simply exists in the background of a picture and a bunch of people are ready to say he’s a violent abuser.

Based. On. How. He. Looks.

Again, let’s be perfectly clear:

He is being accused of what Canadian legislation now defines as Barbaric Cultural Practices because of what he looks like and people are uncomfortable with the clothes his wife chooses to wear.

This isn’t partisanship. Vote for whoever you want.

But do not judge another human being because he isn’t smiling while being brown.

And think deeply about how we got here.

Filed under: Canada

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