The cartoon that appeared on your editorial page on March 25 exposed the forlorn deficit of knowledge that exists amongst much of the media with reference to Islam and Arabic ways of life. It proves that even amongst the most self-assured mainstream western media there has been an appalling lack of effort to study that religion and culture that has captivated thousands of headlines since 9/11.
Of course, we understand that the purpose of the cartoon was to bludgeon our prime minister as often as possible, but surely there has to be at least some basis for the insinuation that Harper should hide under a niqab. “Hide” being the key word here, since it would appear that the cartoonist approves of women hiding under the garment.
As to the fine, cultural mosaic attributes of the niqab, please seek out the writings of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Canadian Raheel Reza who helped put together the documentary “The Honor Diaries”.
Just a little effort in the study of Islam and the many cultures and sub-cultures of Arabia and North Africa will quickly knock down the stereotypes upon which this cartoon rests.
Dennis R. MillerSaanich