On Wednesday, March 18th, students at the University of Ottawa gathered to take photos and to speak out against discrimination against Muslim women who veil in Canada. The action was initiated by Civil Law student Hina Ansari and led by fellow Civil Law student Assma Basalamah and Common Law student Aruba Mustafa, who is also the president of the university’s Muslim Law Students’ Association (MLSA).
A twitter photo by Amna Qureshi just went viral. Posted in protest of Montrealer Rania El-Alloul being told by Judge Eliana Marengo that she had to remove her hijab in order to be “suitably dressed” in a “secular” Canadian courtroom. The incident made the ongoing Islamophobia that Muslim women who wear hijab or niqab face in accessing services a national issue. It also raised the question of how Muslim women lawyers who veil will be treated within the legal system. As part of Muslim Link’s ongoing So You Want To… Series where we interview Muslims about their programs of study or career choices, Amna Qureshi, a graduate from the Law School at the University of Ottawa discusses the opportunities and challenges pursuing a law degree offers for Muslim women. A Pakistani Canadian, Qureshi now works as a staff lawyer at Legal Aid Alberta.
Muslim Link’s new series “So You Want To…” interviews students and established professionals for advice and reflections on their various fields of study and professions, with the aim of helping other Muslims aspiring to join those fields.
In this article, Arab Canadian law student Assma Basalamah discusses her experience as a law student in Ottawa.