A tidal wave of social media ridicule engulfed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper after saying the niqab, a face-covering veil worn by some Muslim women, is “rooted in a culture that is anti-women.”
Harper made the statements in the House of Commons on Tuesday, CTV reports. He also said that donning facial veils during state ceremonies is “offensive” to “most Canadians."
Women soon started tweeting pictures of their outfits at the prime minister with the hashtag #dresscodePM, urging Harper to "approve" of their clothing choices.
— Alexandrine (@ALatendresseNPD) March 11, 2015
"Shouldn’t the Canadian government focus on tackling real gender inequality in meaningful ways, instead of telling grown-ass Muslim women how to dress?" blogger Shireen Ahmed asked, urging readers to use the hashtag.
Amira Elghawaby, of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, told CTV: “What I actually think is anti-women, is for the state or anyone at all to be telling women what they can or cannot wear."
Harper's comments come as Canadian government is appealing a federal court decision that permits new Canadians to cover their faces while taking the citizenship oaths.
And it isn't the first time the prime minister has criticized face veils.
"I believe, and I think most Canadians believe that it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family," Harper said in February.
#DressCodePM has been tweeted 1,500 times, according to Hashtracker.
Check out some of the #dresscodePM tweets, below:
— Footybedsheets (@_shireenahmed_) March 11, 2015
— Amna Qureshi (@Amnamaq) March 11, 2015
— Sean (@Sean_Dog_Owner) March 11, 2015
Some women pointed out that face coverings are a traditional Canadian winter survival technique.
— Sarah Kalim (@SarahKalim) March 11, 2015
— jaymes stephen (@still_jaymes) March 11, 2015
— Nicole Rosen (@ecaduc) March 11, 2015
— Murray Munro (@MurrayMunro68) March 11, 2015
Others drew attention to their careers
— Amina Jabbar (@AminaJabbar) March 11, 2015
— Jenna Robertson (@jennarosaa) March 11, 2015
This photo of Harper in costume also made the rounds.
— Shamini S (@shaminis) March 11, 2015