Women in America women may be having their hijabs ripped from their heads, but in neighbouring Canada it is quite a different story. In fact, on Friday a Canadian woman became the first ever hijab-wearing news anchor in the country’s history.
Ginella Massa proudly tweeted she believed she was the first woman in a headscarf to anchor a newscast in Canada, after hosting a bulletin on the CityNews channel.
Massa, who was born in Panama, had previously became the first hijabi news reporter in the country in 2015.
Many on social media were delighted by the news, especially coming at a time when rising Islamophobia in the US threatens to spill across the border:
Whooo @Ginella_M anchoring CityNews right now!!! I think the first time a woman in hijab has anchored a major newscast in Canada. Best!— Naheed Mustafa (@NaheedMustafa) November 18, 2016
@Ginella_M Too funny. Congratulations on breaking the hijab ceiling :) This is my Canada.— Amy Rose (@amyelizrose) November 19, 2016
Perhaps drawing a contrast with American President-elect Trump’s divisive anti-Islamic rhetoric, many took the opportunity to praise their Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, for promoting tolerance. Trudeau is well-known for his liberality and has previously suggested that openness and respect were better ways to defuse Islamist terrorism than “layering on big walls and oppressive policies”.
Massa’s is not the only recent advance for hijab-wearing women in the Canadian workforce. Earlier this year the Islamic head-covering was integrated into a centuries-old police uniform to accommodate Muslim officers. Around a million Muslims live in Canada, making it the country’s second-largest religion.
The positive response to a hijabi woman hosting television stands in contrast to the backlash received by British Channel 4 News presenter, Fatima Manji. Columnist Kelvin Mackenzie attacked Channel 4 in July for using a hijab-wearing anchor during the coverage of the attacks in Nice. His words were largely condemned in Britain, although he was cleared of breaching press standards.
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