Ensaf Haidar, who along with her three children became a Canadian citizen on Canada Day, took to Twitter to urge Ford to follow Quebec’s lead and outlaw the burqa and niqab from government settings, schools, banks, hospitals and public transportation.
Quebec’s Bill 62, which came into law in October, doesn’t specifically mention burqas or niqabs, but forbids people from covering their faces while providing and receiving public services.
Haidar and her children fled Saudi Arabia and took refuge in Sherbrooke, Que. in 2015, three years after Badawi was arrested and charged with “insulting Islam through electronic channels.” Badawi ran a website, Free Saudi Liberals, which published content critical of influential religious clerics and the festering of extremism in certain Saudi institutions.
Badawi was condemned to seven years in prison and 600 lashes, although the sentence was later raised to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a monetary fine. He received 50 lashes in January 2015 in a public flogging, but is not known to have received more physical punishment since then.
In a statement, Haidar told Global News that she wanted to use her first day as a Canadian citizen to raise awareness about the plight of women forced to abide by Sharia, or traditional Islamic law.
Earlier, Haidar told the Canadian Press that she was delighted to become a Canadian citizen, and said her favourite thing about Canada is freedom of speech.