Below is an excerpt from a focus group discussion held at the University of Toronto, in Toronto, Canada, on May 22nd 2010, led by Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im. The theme was “Muslims in North America: Enhancing Citizenship.”
When asked about how Muslims can bring our citizenship into play on two levels – namely, changing the laws of the state to our favor and changing the image of Islam in the public perception – answers varied. In one interlocutor’s view, “Questions remain about what is ‘mainstream Muslim,’” and another revealed that through Bill 94, in Quebec, a niqabi woman can be denied publicly-funded services, but this cannot legally apply yet because the bill has not been passed. Some reminded others that “citizenship is proactive; we need to engage in the practice of policy-making and don’t shy away from it.”
Although most Muslim Canadians see themselves as both, full Canadians and full Muslims, many admit that there are severe challenges they have to face. They agree that Muslims must participate in the Canadian society, and not shy away from doing so, in an attempt to safeguard their civil rights in the country, for they are as Canadian as the non-Muslims of Canada are.
Read more at the source: http://sharia.law.emory.edu/en/blog