'Canadian' Values vs. the Niqab

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Xander Sly
'Canadian' Values vs. the Niqab

Dear Canadians,

I'm tired of having you decide what my values should be, and what that should look like, especially when those values embody protectionism, racism, and the devaluing of people of colour. 

What does that mean exactly, anyways? What is a Canadian value? Who decides what that looks like? I can tell you this much, I don't identify as a Canadian, and I am surely not proud to call myself one. Do you know why? Because we Canadians are hypocrites. 

I hear these words about values tossed around whenever something threatens the insecurities of white folks. There, I said it. And yes, I am white too. And no, I am not painting all white folks with the same brush. Just most of us.

White folks reading this should start asking themselves some tough questions, if they truly embrace values of freedom, respect for diversity, 'multiculturalism,' women's rights, and personal choice. 

Again, I ask you - what is a Canadian value? This country is made up of immigrants (colonizers) from all over the world. This piece of land, Turtle Island, which we claim to be ours and now police whoever may enter it and demand that those entering subscribe to Our Way of Life... well, what is this way of life? Who gets to define it?

Is a Canadian someone who likes to watch hockey, hangs out with mostly white friends and family, talks about having 'generations' dating back to prove roots, drinks beer on the weekend, and.... what else? I really don't know what being Canadian means exactly.

Perhaps it means asking someone "Where they are from" whenever their skin isn't as light as yours, and then complementing them on their complexion because it is so hard for you to get a tan and how you wish you had one right now. Oh well, there's always summer. 

Perhaps it means asking them "Where they were from before that" when you didn't get the answer you were looking for. Why not just ask someone what their racial make up is? That would be a little more honest.

Perhaps it means telling that person how beautiful they are and that's why you were asking - because anyone that isn't blonde, blue-eyed and light skinned is exotically beautiful. 

Perhaps it means feeling defensive when someone challenges you on the reason you are asking that question of someone who doesn't look like you, and then complain that your intentions were good, and how that means you aren't racist. 

Perhaps it means that you ask anyone who has an accent different than yours "Where they are from" because surely they are not from here. Exactly when does someone get to claim when they ARE from here? After 2 years? After 5, 10, 15, 20, 45 years? Oh I know, but it sounded so pretty and whimsical, that accent. You just thought it was so lovely you thought you should comment. 

Perhaps it means that when you have discussions of race and racism, you claim that you don't even notice race. That you even have friends of colour, and you never noticed it and that you see those friends exactly as you would anyone else. Well, you also just erased the idea that this person is racialized every damn day based on their perceived difference. 

Perhaps it means how excited you get when you think about going to 'cheap' (read impoverished) countries such as Mexico to enjoy a leisurely existence while the locals struggle to put food on the table. 

Perhaps it means how excited you get when you think about buying up property in that country because it is a real steal of a deal, and never give a thought to the fact that you are stealing land from indigenous folks for your benefit. 

Perhaps you never give a thought to the impact of your travels, and claim how you are actually benefitting the local economy by bringing your wealth to local businesses. 

Are you feeling Canadian yet?

In the name of Canada, we create policies which make it incredibly difficult for anyone that doesn't come from a white, Western European background to enter our country and perform the skilled labour they are trained to do. In fact, we make it nearly impossible. Then, as Canadians, we complain about how 'those people' (read people of colour) are taking OUR jobs. 

Well, I don't see a huge line up of folks willing to give up their education and training to drive cabs in this country, simply so they can be thankful to be a part of a so-called democratic, freedom loving society. I don't see so called Canadians willing to give up their rights and freedoms and ability to have citizenship to perform any kind of labour that will earn enough money to be sent to your family who will never be allowed to stay with you here. 

Yes, I recognize that it is hard in this country to find work - and that your MSW or MA or PHd doesn't buy you the cache that it once did and that you are ever threatened with working at Starbucks, and why the fuck did you spend all that money to educate yourself anyways? I get it. 

But, please examine how you still hold more privilege than those that are trying to enter this country with skills in hand, who are even denied access to that job at Starbucks to work next to you. 

Please examine why it is that you support excluding immigrants from access to skilled labour based on your perception that you have more rights to access work than someone who doesn't share your background. Your privilege. And yes, I get that your parents are immigrants too and came over here with nothing and you know what that struggle is like. You are not a fascist neo-lib/con, and you are simply trying to make ends meet. 

Well, ask yourself, why you separate your struggles from those entering the country who are denied access to basic citizenship rights. Ask yourself why it is that you think those people that are denied access are receiving more benefits than you? 

Ask yourself why it is that you feel so threatened when Muslim women wish to wear dress that is different than you. Why you have a right to demand that she bare her face to you. What assumptions do you hold about that Muslim woman when she is wearing a niqab? What fears and anxiety do you have when you cannot read the facial expressions of that niqab wearing woman?

Ask yourself how you support the rights, independence, and freedom of women when you strip them of their choice to honour themselves in a way that you do not understand and make bold assumptions about. Ask yourself why you think it is a burden to someone that they are covered up, and how that couldn't possibly represent a choice. Ask yourself why you assumed that it was a choice based in misogyny, and patriarchy and not an expression of selfhood and respect for one's body?

Ask yourself how it is that you should have the god given right to demand that someone strip themselves for you, so that you feel safer. 

Then ask yourself again what kind of Canadian values you hold and why.

Better yet, examine the ways that you can work in solidarity with folks who are different than you so that their voices are heard, and their rights are respected. 

Start asking yourself some tough questions and then tell me what kind of Canadian you are, and what kind of Canadian you would like to be.

~Sly

Issues Pages: 
lagatta

Are you talking about recent events in Québec by any chance ? When I bet you don’t even speak our language, and yet are talking about suspicion of other people’s accents ?

I don’t support the legislation on the niqab – I think it is silly, petty, and will probably be overruled. But your anglo-Canadian chauvinism towards our nation is every bit as objectionable as what ou are decrying.

If you want to know the legislation on secularism I do support, go to www.quebecsolidaire.net and read MNA Dr Amir Khadir’s declaration on the vote. Oh wait – you can’t understand it because it’s in French !

j.m.

lagatta wrote:
Are you talking about recent events in Québec by any chance ? When I bet you don’t even speak our language, and yet are talking about suspicion of other people’s accents ? I don’t support the legislation on the niqab – I think it is silly, petty, and will probably be overruled. But your anglo-Canadian chauvinism towards our nation is every bit as objectionable as what ou are decrying. If you want to know the legislation on secularism I do support, go to www.quebecsolidaire.net and read MNA Dr Amir Khadir’s declaration on the vote. Oh wait – you can’t understand it because it’s in French !

lagatta, I think many anglo-Canadians would interpret many of these criticisms as directed towards them. Racism towards muslims is not endemic to Québec. It does happen that the accomodation case is based in Québec, but the elections canada policy on those using niqabs to vote was a policy across the nation.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

While I support Quebec's right to self-determination, which includes their right to craft a legal and political narrative unique and separate from the ROCs, I can also disagree with their justification and authorship of particular pieces (especially since the vast majority of my adult life was spent in Quebec).

It should also be pointed out that the Federal Liberals and Conservatives have made this a national issue.

conrad yablonski

I'm unclear on this rant-did OP write this or is it an unattributed C&P?

milo204

I agree, this whole ban is pretty much directed only at muslims, who else has a religious dress that covers their faces.  it is complete bullshit, and has nothing to do with equality and everything to do with inequality.  note they didn't just ban people with niqab's from demanding female only services, etc. (which would be fine with me) but they banned the niqab itself.

I suppose it's not enough we support and install dictators in their countries, launch wars, steal resources, prevent democracy, screw them at the UNSC etc...we have to screw them here too.

Viking77

Quote:

Racism towards muslims is not endemic to Québec.

Since when have "muslims" been a race?

Cueball Cueball's picture

What's not racist about "Canadian values"?

skdadl

What's not McCarthyist about "Canadian values"? See Catchfire's link to Ignatieff's statement above about a "good Canadian balance."

 

I agree with Sly's take above on the whole problem of "values"-talk as it has ambushed public discourse over the last few years. To me, this is a straight neocon importation from the U.S. and has nothing to do with democratic principle, forget anything more advanced.

 

The Charter is not a codification of anything as mushy-minded as "values." It is a codification of the underlying structures and principles necessary and sufficient to build and maintain a democracy. "Values" are everything else, and on "values" people typically differ, a lot. That's what the Charter protects, our right to differ on "values." (God I hate that word; that's why I keep putting it in quotes.) I've got news for Mr Ignatieff, and Scott Reid, and any of these other airheads who wants to rabbit on about getting some "balance" and consensus on our "values": they have many many "values" that I do not share, and the Charter says I don't have to; they can't make me.

 

Well, until they get out the thumbscrews, o' course. And I do fear that could be coming.

Unionist

Cueball wrote:

What's not racist about "Canadian values"?

Hi, Cueball!

Here in Québec, we don't talk much about "Canadian values", so I'm not sure how that enters into the discussion.

The OP, of course, addresses "Dear Canadians", and shows no recognition of the dynamic being played out in Québec.

I don't agree with Bill 94, for reasons similar to those set out by [url=http://www.quebecsolidaire.net/actualite-nationale/projet-de-loi-sur-les... solidaire[/url]. But the two overriding aims that it entrenches - a secular state, and equality of men and women - have achieved a broad consensus in Québec society. As QS points out, the legislation gives lip service to these aims, but fails (for example) to restrict the wearing of religious symbols of any kind by people in authority (judges, police, etc.); fails to halt funding for private religious schools (which, despite the welcome elimination of religious instruction from all public schools, still receive up to 60% state financing); and fails to go much further in assuring male-female equality, by for example expanding support services for women facing oppression in their family, community, or religious milieus.

 

Stargazer

Seriously, I am really interested in the OP's post in regards to "Canadian Values" (a term I abhor!). I have never, fortunately, been in a huge discussion over what "Canadian Values" are but like skdadl says this talk has been exported here by neocon asshats (sorry, can't be much nicer) and mean nothing.

skdadl

Unionist, if you think that the rhetoric of "our shared Canadian values" doesn't affect you in Quebec, then there's a lot you haven't been paying attention to. Try starting with the CPCCA.

Unionist

skdadl wrote:

Unionist, if you think that the rhetoric of "our shared Canadian values" doesn't affect you in Quebec, then there's a lot you haven't been paying attention to. Try starting with the CPCCA.

I didn't say it "doesn't affect" us here. But at the very least, you'll admit that it misses something of the specific reality of Québec, I believe?

As for CPCCA, I and some others I know were directly involved in browbeating the BQ to get out of that and condemn its bias. So far, it's the only party that has done that, even though its position on the matter is still confused and inconsistent - not to mention its shameful position on Afghanistan, on which the people of Québec are remarkably clear. So there you have a couple of areas where our priorities have manifested themselves in different ways - not to mention labour and social and educational and women's and parental policies.

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Xander Sly wrote:

Dear Canadians,

I'm tired of having you decide what my values should be, and what that should look like, especially when those values embody protectionism, racism, and the devaluing of people of colour. 

What does that mean exactly, anyways? What is a Canadian value? Who decides what that looks like? I can tell you this much, I don't identify as a Canadian, and I am surely not proud to call myself one. Do you know why? Because we Canadians are hypocrites. 

<Followed by many more or less valid criticisms of common behaviour by Canadians particularly the new Quebec niqab law.>

Dear Sly:

As I have written in another thread some time ago, I do not identify very strongly as a Canadian, either. I believe that nationalism and patriotism generally is a divisive and destructive force. And I agree that Canadians are generally hypocrites. I also agree with skdadl that the whole concept of "Canadian values" is a euphemism for neocon-sponsored Christianist jingoism. The problem with your argument is that this is in no way unique to Canada. In fact, despite the recent backsliding that skadadl rightly points to, Canada is still one of the more tolerant places on this little planet we inhabit.

The sad truth is that all human societies, in all times and places since our ancestors first became distinct from the other ape species, have been intolerant and hypocrital. If you want to be ashamed of your membership in a group, there is no reason to limit that group to Canadians. I submit that you should really be ashamed of being a member of the human race. I have felt that way from time to time, but in the end, I think it is rather pointless to rant about the faults shared by all groups of homo sapiens individuals so far in history. Suggesting specific steps that would improve the situation in our particular little polity, as Unionist has done in a post to this thread, is much more productive.

 

skdadl

Unionist wrote:

But at the very least, you'll admit that it misses something of the specific reality of Québec, I believe?

 

It misses something of the specific reality of Canada. It misses something of any reality of democracy. That is the political point.

 

But thanks for the show of solidarity. And forgive me if I see in some of the social coercion you approve of something that I cannot call progressive, however smug it makes you feel.

Unionist

skdadl wrote:

But thanks for the show of solidarity. And forgive me if I see in some of the social coercion you approve of something that I cannot call progressive, however smug it makes you feel.

I support social coercion of all kinds. I am not a libertarian. In the case of the niqab, I told you exactly what I felt about demands to be served by women or men in trivial contexts (like getting an insurance card or sending a police officer of the right sex), as opposed to ones that everyone agrees are sensitive (like medical examinations or reports of sexual assault) - whether there are niqabs or Muslims or Hasidic Jews involved or not. I have no more interest in "accommodating" inequality between the sexes than in "accommodating" someone's religious need not to served by a gay or lesbian or a trans person. And I yearn for the day when the state will expunge any kind of "assistance" to any kind of religion and eliminate any residual hint of favouring one (i.e. Christianity, Catholicism) over the others. We have not come far enough in that respect, but there's a powerful movement to keep going in that direction and I support it.

If that makes me unprogressive and smug in your catalogue, skdadl, so be it. But what do you have against discussing the issues (it's a discussion board for Darwin's sake) without characterizing me?

 

skdadl

Well, you just characterized someone who defends civil liberties as a "libertarian," which I consider a smear, so we're even on the characterization front, eh?

 

Unionist, we both know where this is going, and it is going to make me too angry, so I will exit the discussion. I learned some of my position from the Turkish novelists who have fought persecution from the "secularist" Attaturkist military-judicial establishment of Turkey, but who were at the same time shocked and appalled that French deputies would believe they were supporting them by attempting to pass legislation criminalizing denial of the Armenian genocide. All that Orhan Pahmuk or Elif Shafak could do was splutter and beg them to stop -- What are you doing? This is what we fight.

 

As Elif Shafak said, Who in the world wants people with political power to write her history? (paraphrase) Right on, sister.

remind remind's picture

Michael Moriarity wrote:
The sad truth is that all human societies, in all times and places since our ancestors first became distinct from the other ape species, have been intolerant and hypocrital.

No, this is not accurate, there is historical evidence in South America, that shows an ancient large city state, that was centered around trade, had absolutely NO warfare. However, since the time of that most ancient city state, most certainly most all human societies have been intolerant and perhaps hyprocritical. One could perhaps argue against that with the Masai.

Quote:
If you want to be ashamed of your membership in a group, there is no reason to limit that group to Canadians. I submit that you should really be ashamed of being a member of the human race. I have felt that way from time to time, but in the end, I think it is rather pointless to rant about the faults shared by all groups of homo sapiens individuals so far in history. Suggesting specific steps that would improve the situation in our particular little polity, as Unionist has done in a post to this thread, is much more productive.

Agree with all of this...

theocracydie

Lagatta says: "Are you talking about recent events in Québec by any chance ? When I bet you don’t even speak our language, and yet are talking about suspicion of other people’s accents ?"

The author could very well be Quebecois. The critique strikes me as deconstructing notions of “Canadianism,” and thus the dominant discourse of what Canadian is/means and who Canadians are. I would wager that Quebeckers are very much affected by a dominant discourse of Canadiasm.

Unionist says: "Here in Québec, we don't talk much about "Canadian values", so I'm not sure how that enters into the discussion. The OP, of course, addresses "Dear Canadians", and shows no recognition of the dynamic being played out in Québec."

 See above. Again, I do not see this critique as being ignorant to the dynamics of Quebec. It is simply striking at the heart of dominant biases and sentiments that have power to shape the way we deal with issues such as banning religious dress. And, I do believe that within a history and struggle of the right to self-determine, issues of racism are still implicated in the dialogue around Bill 94 that is happening in Quebec.

Michael Moriarty says: "Suggesting specific steps that would improve the situation in our particular little polity, as Unionist has done in a post to this thread, is much more productive."

I think calling on people who self-identify with dominant Canadian discourse and Canadianism - or who see themselves finally as being part of that discourse through the examples given – to examine their biases and how this can be a part of racism is a productive action. The suggestions are to examine those behaviours we partake in that perpetuate exclusion and nationalism, and to think about who is affected by this, and how they are affected. The idea is to challenge folks who id as Canadians to expand their concept of their National identity to include ways of being that actually do reflect a value of multiculturalism. It also may mean investigating what makes Quebec values different from Canadian values, and what there is in common.

Viking77 says: "Since when have "muslims" been a race?"

The idea of “race” is a socially constructed term. In fact, there is no biological basis for the idea of separate races. However, Muslims do face racialized discrimination/racism. They are often perceived as a race and acted on based on their perceived differences.

 

 

j.m.

Quote:
Viking77 wrote:

Racism towards muslims is not endemic to Québec.

Since when have "muslims" been a race?

Since they were deemed "non-whites" by people who follow a "Canadian, white construct" .

Fuck, Viking, do you just come on this board to participate in white revisionism?

lagatta

If the author is a Québécois, he or she is an Angryphone. Not even Charest, a staunch federalist, speaks of “Canadian values”.

Neither Unionist nor I support this Act, for the reasons you’ve mentioned and others. Have you gone to the Québec solidaire site to see the legislative measures the party I support does advocate?

I don’t know why on earth you are insinuating anyone is supporting overt or tacit racism without proof of the above. There are antiracist outlooks that are NOT Trudeau-style multiculturalism, by the way. The major anti-racist groups in France, for example, do not advocate such an outlook. In Québec, the leading progressive discourse on this question refers to interculturalism, not multiculturalism.

As is all too common, the original post absolutely denied our existence as a distinct society and social formation, making it as ethnocentric as the Act it (rightly) condemns.

Yes, of course “Muslims” can be a racialised group (in quotes because it includes actual Muslim faithful and people assumed to be so, either because of their cultural family background (Amir Khadir just for example) or because they hail from a largely Muslim society, or due to racial profiling of brown people, which infamously killed a (culturally Catholic) Brazilian electrician after London the tube bombings.

theocracydie

lagatta says: "If the author is a Québécois, he or she is an Angryphone. Not even Charest, a staunch federalist, speaks of “Canadian values”."

I believe you are missing the point on WHY the author is taking aim at “Canadian values.” I’m not sure how to explain it better for you. Do you not see that taking aim at a dominant discourse of Canadian values is something that you do as a Quebecois? I think you are hung up on the fact you believe this to be in response to the Quebec decision, when, in fact, the author addresses it to “Canadians” (which they may have intended to include Quebeckers or not) and is focusing on a national discourse. These are issues affecting all Canadians - those who hold citizenship, and those who do not, but provide labour which is exploited for our benefit. Where is YOUR analysis of Quebec in all of this? Do you think that a debate on whether or not to ban or remove the niqab should be soley your domain - even if that domain has a different history and struggle than the ROC?

Lagatta says: “I don’t know why on earth you are insinuating anyone is supporting overt or tacit racism without proof of the above”

Institutional/structural racism is absolutely implicated in a discussion of any law/rule/regulation or sentiment that targets the removal of religious/cultural clothing that only affects one particular ethnic group. It is on the table when discussing such a proposition and should be analyzed. Yes.

And by the way, in any discourse on colonization, Quebec/Quebecois are also implicated as colonizers. I’m not sure what discourses or analyses are happening around this in Quebec as I have not studied it. Quebec, too, is implicated in the stealing of indigenous land and the control of borders, culture, and identity. Just because this colonization has occurred within the context of Anglo-dominance does not exempt an analysis of how Quebec also perpetuates colonization of aboriginal lands. I would think that issues of colonization would be very sensitive issues for Quebecois - but again, I don't know the dialogue that has happened around this.

 

 

lagatta

But I DIDN'T approve of the niqab act. If I had, then your assumption of tacit racism could have been relevant.

Of course Québécois (or the original French settlers) were colonisers. The question of how oppressed nations in the First World relate to colonisation and exploitation of indigenous groups or exploited peoples in the so-called Third Wiorld is a complex one; many have written about it here, in Euskadi, in Ireland and elsewhere. I'm not obliged to provide you a reading list.

I have actually been involved in anti-racist, immigrant + refugee and Indigenous-support activism for a very long time. I've taken part in organising drives in predominantly immigrant sectors against superexploitation, in support of refugee claimants and people in sanctuary, in the Kahnawake/Kanasatake defence movement and in support for Aboriginal cultural programmes. Just as a few examples. I don't need your lessons in anti-racism and a SPECIFIC antiracist discourse rooted in USian postmodernism.

pookie

lagatta wrote:
But I DIDN'T approve of the niqab act.

No, you didn't.  However, you have pretty clearly implied that it is somehow, I don't know, simplistic to discuss Bill 94.  You seem to think that it is so obviously unconstitutional that it is not really worthy of our attention, and certainly not if it is going to involve people who don't speak French criticizing Quebec (or, as you put it, people who don't speak "our" language raising an issue about accents).  WTH?  Then you directed the OP to Quebec Solidaire's response. I really do not see the relevance of that response, in the context of a critique of Bill 94 and what it represents for ethnic minorities in Quebec. QS's vision is not on the legislative agenda.  QS's vision is not what is drawing widespread support across the country.

 

theocracydie

I am happy for you and your resume Lagatta, but you didn't answer my questions. And no, I'm not asking you for a reading list. thanks.

JimWaterloo

The niqab is a cultural choice and a personal preferance and it is not a religious requirement. Therefore I see it as a non issue.

j.m.

pookie wrote:

lagatta wrote:
But I DIDN'T approve of the niqab act.

No, you didn't.  However, you have pretty clearly implied that it is somehow, I don't know, simplistic to discuss Bill 94.  You seem to think that it is so obviously unconstitutional that it is not really worthy of our attention, and certainly not if it is going to involve people who don't speak French criticizing Quebec (or, as you put it, people who don't speak "our" language raising an issue about accents).  WTH?  Then you directed the OP to Quebec Solidaire's response. I really do not see the relevance of that response, in the context of a critique of Bill 94 and what it represents for ethnic minorities in Quebec. QS's vision is not on the legislative agenda.  QS's vision is not what is drawing widespread support across the country.

 

Nor is Bill 94 perceived as a "symptom" of Quebecois culture. Islamophobia is ubiquitous in the Western world, hence why so many white Anglophones wouldn't find Bill 94 objectionable in their communities.

lagatta

Pookie I hate Charest. But we have to fight him here. In that sense what we advocate is very relevant indeed.

Yes, I do think this act is unconstitutional, (it violates the Québec Charter too, so even if we became independent tomorrow it would be so). I just hope it doesn't take a niqabi being refused hospitalisation for that to be proven.

You are silent about the OP's address to "Canadians" - if Bill 94 should be criticised, shouldn't he or she also address QuébécoisEs? Or do we not exist as a distinct nation? Even fucking Harper admits that (for opportunistic and demagogic reasons, but still...).

I am not responsible for what bourgeois governments vote, except of course as an activist who must oppose them.

ACSial

I can think of one other compelling reason to ban the hijab, as well as the niqab...at least in a particular situation. A week ago, a young relative was taking an exam at a Calgary post-secondary institution. Just before entering the exam room, she saw a classmate slip a Bluetooth earset under her hijab. The reason for doing this is pretty obvious. My relative didn't want to alert the instructor, out of fear of retribution.

Most college campuses have installed, at considerable public expense, special fixtures for Muslims to perform 'ablutions'. During the last Students' Union election at the U of Calgary, three young women ran for student government, kitted out in hijabs. I've seen quite a few niqabs in the Brentwood/University area, along with the Northeast. Boardwalk Properties' apartments seems to be the go-to market for Muslims' housing. Some of you may recall the Edmonton Boardwalk apartment dweller who was ordered by the company to take down a Canadian Flag from his window, lest it bother their immigrant tennants. Sleazy, developer-friendly Calgary Alderman Diane Colley-Urquhart (she tried to foist the 'area redevelopment/intensification' plan on Brentwood residents and was soundly crushed in her bid runing as a PC MLA) sits on the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Yep--the one that went after Ezra Levant for republishing those Jyllands-Post cartoons. Even foreigners seem to notice the Islamification of Alberta: Casey Affleck thought Calgary's demographics made it look like 'Baghdad North'. I've even seen a 'Muslim Stampede Breakfast' poster, admonishing people to "dress modestly". If anything, Muslims are coddled here, and the oil companies' and developers' lobbies have much to do with it.

We went down this road, already, with Sikh immigrants. After a huge influx of radical, seditious 'refugees' (India was/still is a parliamentary democracy), Babbar Khalsa set up shop in Canada. Then came the Air India bombing, murders of anti-fundamentalist journalists, near-fatal beating of Ujjal Dosanjh, and all the cultural baggage from the old country (sword-fights over seating arrangements in temples, spousal murders, doda trafficking). No lessons were taken from this. However, PC, Liberal, NDP and Conservative politicians only care about two things: bloc-votes and sucking up to the financial (banks, REITs) and developers', construction companies' and real estate speculators' lobbies. In order to keep the real estate bubble inflated, there has to be constant population growth. This is why Brian Mulroney jacked up immigration to over 250,000 per year, after meeting with real estate lobbyists. Of course, this population growth (2/3rds of Canada's total) is the single, preventable cause of urban sprawl, loss of farmland and escalating freshwater use...but Mulroney was the 'greenest' PM, right? Now, Ruby Dhalla has thrown C-428 into the mix. If passed, this would spell actuarial armageddon for OAS, since the flow of retirees between Canada and third world countries is so one-sided. However, all parties are too chicken to oppose it, fearing voter reprisals in ethnic ridings.

The hijab, niqab et al. are merely sartorial expressions of mysogeny--nothing more (why don't men in these cultures wear bags over their heads?). The horrific rates of spousal abuse and domestic homocide are a reality in Muslim and South Asian communities, whether 'progressives' want to acknowledge them, or not. There is also a powerfull homophobic element in Muslim, Sikh and Hindu cultures: do you folks recall when Harper visited a mosque in Calgary, trolling for votes, to denounce gay marriage? (I suspect that at least part of Jason Kenney's omission of gay rights in the Citizenship Book was due to a desire to not offend foreigners' religious sensibilities.) All of the gains for women and GLBTG people in Canada, along with things like free expression, are being pissed away on the altar of multiculturalism, along with feeding developers and banks warm bodies and politicians votes. It seems that Quebec finally woke up to this reality.

 

 

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

kitted out in hijabs.

 

Is there a particular reason why you use a verb usually associated with military use to describe the attire of Muslim women?

NDPP

All Aboard the Niqab Ban

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/silver-powers/all-aboard-the-niqab-...

"The legislation is a legal and constitutional mess addressing a 'problem' that doesn't exist"

Siddiqui: Quebec's Witch Hunt Against Niqabi Minority

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/786141--siddiqui-quebec-s-wit...

"It is scary when a state feels compelled to keep women either covered or uncovered...Across Europe and now sadly in Quebec, populations and government are in a tizzy over a few dozen niqabi women. Sadder still, Quebec is not only out of step with the rest of Canada but has taken a bigoted leap ahead of Europe, the historic home of Islamophobia..

In Quebec, less than 25 women are said to wear the niqab"

Most Canadians Agree with Quebec's Ban

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Most+Cdns+agree+with+Quebec+burka/27...

"Three quarters of NDP supporters agreed with the bill.."

I guess the Islamophobes have it all sewed up...

 

ACSial

al-Qa'bong,

At least some of the 'women' in niqabs and burqas have been men. Taliban operatives have snuck about Central Asia so attired. In Heathrow Airport a few years ago, they arrested an al Qaeda member who was trying to get on a plane (to escape the authorities), covered in a burqa. And don't forget Michael Jackson, when he was in his Dubai niqab garb... :p

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
Even foreigners seem to notice the Islamification of Alberta: Casey Affleck thought Calgary's demographics made it look like 'Baghdad North'.

WTF?

Maysie Maysie's picture

ACSial. I truly don't know where to begin.

Baggage from "the old country", "horrific rates of spousal abuse", and "powerful homophobic element" can be used to describe many many communities. Including white, Anglo and Christian ones.

Invoking such stereotypes about Muslims is problematic. 

If this is going to be another thread about the niqab and white "Canadian values" I really hope the level of discourse goes beyond racist talking points. No, ACSial I'm not calling you racist, but your points are racist talking points, and to repeat them, verbatim and without critique, is not something that is a great deal of value to a progressive discussion.

I would really like to hear more from Xander Sly, new babbler, who started this thread. 

Sineed

This legislation comes out of ignorance and a lack of contact with Muslims.  I live in west Toronto a block from a mosque, there's a growing Palestinian community and east African community all around me, and I can count the number of niqabi women I've seen this year on the thumbs of one hand.  It's an extremely wee minority that dress this way.  My neighbourhood, for its plethora of Muslim residents, is no more "Islamified" than it represents any other religion, (though maybe Casey Affleck would disagree, seeing the "Islamic Clothing" store, and the falafel shop, and the halal meat shop in close proximity - perhaps we need to legislate a minimum distance between shops owned by Muslims?).

Some of the girls at my kids' school wear hijabs.  For my kids, it's a non-issue.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

What would Casey Affleck do?

ACSial

Maysie,

Everyone has 'baggage'. Examples include Polish and Ukrainian antisemitism, Protestant vs Catholic hatreds, &c.--something my ancestors had to check at the pier in Hallifax. However, some social problems are exclusive to certain cultures. The problems of spousal homocides in Indo-Canadian communities are so bad that women from these groups have spoken out on the issue. 'Honour killings' are endemic to Islamic cultures, period--there are no equivalents in Western societies (what the sociologists call 'culture-specific'). Female Genital Mutillation is another culture-specific (East/North African) ill that's becoming an increasing problem, with immigration, in Western countries. Doda and khat abuse/trafficking are also cultural imports. Here in Calgary, the police recently busted a large doda trafficking operation, run out of an East Indian supermarket. And this niqab issue has much to do with what specific sect (Salafism) is largely representative of Islam in Canada. Certainly, the Ismailis think head coverings are a joke...but the Salafis (again, the growing majority, even among 'reverts', in Canada) don't even consider the Ismailis, Alevis and other liberal sects to be 'Muslims'.

As for homophobia, this is a problem common to both Islamic and Christian radicals...although even the most radical Bible-thumpers don't generally condone murdering homosexuals. In Holland, this was one of Pim Fortuyn's beefs with Islam (vicious homophobic attacks by Muslims are a big problem there). Harper and Kenney have been guilty of pandering to these elements, in search of votes. And, again, this has nothing to do with 'race'. There is too much 'definition creep', with respect to the 'r'-word. Simply pointing out the negative attributes of certain cultures is not 'racism'. Nor am I guilty of 'culturism' (a la Mark Steyn). All cultures have good and bad points. However, one has to admit that different cultures have incompatible--and non-negotiable--mores, regarding things like gender relations. This is why muticulturalism is ultimately doomed to failiure.

 

Slumberjack

ACSial wrote:
Everyone has 'baggage'. Examples include Polish and Ukrainian antisemitism, Protestant vs Catholic hatreds, &c.--something my ancestors had to check at the pier in Hallifax.

However, one has to admit that different cultures have incompatible--and non-negotiable--mores, regarding things like gender relations. This is why muticulturalism is ultimately doomed to failiure. 

From my experience with growing up in an east coast town divided along Catholic and Protestant affiliations, a few carry on pieces seemed to have slipped through.

Speaking of incompatibilities, personally I find the respective ideologies of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, primarily due to their dominant status in this country, to be millstones around the neck of humanity in general, and specifically, I find them incompatible with a progressive society struggling towards equality and justice on many levels.  While appreciating the difficulty of attending to everything at once, what do you propose as solutions in these instances, once you've seen to the Muslim 'threat?'

NDPP

"My question remains: What kind of Canada do we want to reflect, if we truly feel we are freedom loving and respectful of multiple cultures, given the historical and continual colonization of this country?"

Clearly we are neither freedom loving nor respectful of multiple cultures given the historical and continual colonization of this country. We are a settler state based upon racism, ethnic cleansing, usurpation and genocide. So first things first - the illegal occupation continues, the ethnocide continues, the denial continues..

The Canada You Stole

http://shunpiking.com/ol0109/Praxis_Collective.htm

"you cannot fight an enemy with snakes in your pockets"

Maysie Maysie's picture

Xander Sly wrote:
 My question remains: What kind of Canada do we want to reflect, if we truly feel we are freedom loving and respectful of multiple cultures, given the historical and continual colonization of this country?

What NDPP said.

And a rhetorical question I always ask, slightly tongue in cheek, Xander, is who is "we" ? If the people on the margins are allowed to set the agenda, how might this question be differently phrased?

Xander Sly wrote:
 How are individual Canadians going to begin to work in solidarity with Muslim women, for example, and not perpetuate systemic racism?

Think of solidarity work as starting not from the perspective of "We have to outreach to them" or "We need to include them" (and there's that pesky "we" again) but as a stepping back from leadership and looking at what groups, organizations, ad hoc committees are already out there. 

Canadian Council of Muslim Women

Muslimah Media Watch (an article quoting a piece on rabble.ca. Oh the po-mo of it all.

I'm really happy you've joined us at babble, Xander Sly. Smile

Open Hand

People should be allowed to wear what they want.  The niqab is really a non-issue.  I'm not sure what Charest was thinking with this legislation.  Maybe he was trying to be more French than the French.  Having said this, I must say that as a feminist I have problems not only with the niqab other religious impositions upon women to be "modest".  This includes orthodox Jewish women cutting off their hair and really most fundamental religions (of whatever faith) where women are told to behave a certain way and cannot be full spiritual participants.  Wearing a niqab or cutting off your hair go beyond modesty.  Why do men force women to behave this way.  I'm sorry, but it's all about control and keeping women in their place.  If these men can't deal with a pair of woman's lips, her hair or a bare arm then they have serious problems.  It will only be when women are allowed full participation in their faith and their lives that they can make the choices that they choose.

Unionist

Xander Sly wrote:

To begin to think about the ways that racialized newcomers are excluded from participating in an equitable manner in this society. This, rest assured, will not only be an issue in Quebec. It has already become a national issue, and reflects on all Canadians.

You seem to make no distinctions between Québec and "all Canadians". That lands you into a risky metaphor.

Quote:
I think this is very dangerous territory, and I wish for Canadians and Quebecois to think very hard about how they may or may not contribute to structural and institutional racism with regards to policies that single out Muslim women, in this latest instance.

You're not including the structural and institutional sexism that singles out women as a whole, and Muslim women in particular? Just the racism?

Quote:
I do not see much difference between arguments on preserving national cultural identity occurring today, from those occurring in Nazi Germany.

That's a really frightening analogy, my friend. It's precisely the one that the most extreme anti-Québec chauvinists have traditionally used in attacking Québec's language legislation. Preservation of Québec's "national cultural identity", as you call it, has been universally recognized as a legitimate and necessary aim since the Quiet Revolution. Canada's ability to accommodate this aim, more or less, has been instrumental in keeping Québec within the federation.

Does Québec's language and education legislation, explicitly designed to preserve Québec's distinct culture and identity, remind you of Nazi Germany? Or are you referring to something entirely different?

Quote:
How are individual Canadians going to begin to work in solidarity with Muslim women, for example, and not perpetuate systemic racism?

Not, I hope, by accommodating second-class-citizen status for women, no matter what their beliefs or cultural background. I always thought that elimination of barriers to equality was a key ingredient to solidarity.

Xander Sly

Unionist: You are making some grand assumptions and conclusions from my statements so let me be clear: I support the right for Quebec to have it’s own cultural identity, nationhood, language requirements and social policies.

What I do not support is the culturally superior and sexist idea that Muslim women are in need of saving from their own identity and culture, and therefore require oppressive Anglo and/or French Canadian laws to help them achieve some sort of liberation. Assumptions that Muslim women are weak, confused, and the property of men are Islamophobic. Assumptions that Muslim men are “particularly” more misogynistic than Anglo/French men is offensive and racist.

It is not anyone’s role to determine for Muslim women whether or not they should dress or undress. As Canadians, they are free to dress according to their cultural and religious preferences, and yes they do have a choice. Our legislation does not require them to dress a particular way, and until now, has not imposed any requirements on them to not dress a particular way. Imposing a dress code on Muslim women in the ironic name of their defense is not liberating, it is sexist, oppressive and racist.

Unionist

Xander Sly wrote:

Unionist: You are making some grand assumptions and conclusions from my statements so let me be clear: I support the right for Quebec to have it’s own cultural identity, nationhood, language requirements and social policies.

Good, I'm glad. Perhaps then you could specify exactly which arguments you are referring to in this statement, and which ones are excluded:

Xander Sly wrote:
I do not see much difference between arguments on preserving national cultural identity occurring today, from those occurring in Nazi Germany.

I made no grand assumptions - I merely quoted your words. Obviously I need some explicit clarification to grasp your critique more clearly.

Quote:
Imposing a dress code on Muslim women in the ironic name of their defense is not liberating, it is sexist, oppressive and racist.

 

Well, I fully agree with that. If you read the threads regarding the woman wearing a niqab in a French integration class - or the thread on the opinion by the Commission des droits de la personne regarding accommodation by providing a female agent for taking photographs - you will note that my problem was not with the decision by a woman to wear a niqab, but rather with the expectation that any distinction - whatsoever - will be made between males and females in order to accommodate that person's unwillingness to show her face to a man. My concern, you see, is not to liberate some person from their cultural or religious framework, which would indeed be a patronizing and oppressive concern, but rather to ensure that that person's individual decision does not drag our society back from the few achievements we have made in gender equality and secularism.

That's one reason I oppose Bill 94, or specifically, the part which mandates receiving services with one's face uncovered. It is an opportunistic and discriminatory provision which goes beyond any rationale based on need. Even though the text of the law allows for accommodation of facial covering in such circumstances, it goes on to prohibit it where the prohibition is justified by security, communication, or identification needs. It very deliberately gives the impression (though it doesn't actually say) that niqabs and burkas will be absolutely disallowed in such circumstances, which panders to the lowest xenophobia, the same tactic used by Dumont and the ADQ. If the state wants to truly reinforce and entrench the principles of secularism and gender equality, it must not do so in a way which falsely targets a racialized minority as being the source of the problem.

 

Xander Sly

 

Unionist: "I made no grand assumptions - I merely quoted your words. Obviously I need some explicit clarification to grasp your critique more clearly."

I am referring to the specific decisions in Switzerland and France. I am also drawing a comparison to the potential for a similar dialogue to emerge, specifically in ROC with regards to national identity/values. This is what I was referring to in my original post. I recognize the history and struggles of Quebec are unique and therefore the discussion around protection of cultural identity takes on a much different context. I don’t even believe that this is the argument in Quebec as it stands, in terms of reasoning for removal of the niqab. I haven’t heard of it, if it is. However, it is all too easy for the dialogue and discourse in the ROC to become one of protecting so-called ‘Canadian’ values, while thinking of the rulings that are happening in Quebec. Does that make sense?

 

 

Unionist: "You will note that my problem was not with the decision by a woman to wear a niqab, but rather with the expectation that any distinction - whatsoever - will be made between males and females in order to accommodate that person's unwillingness to show her face to a man." 


Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying you are against making accommodations for women to be dealt with by other women instead of men? 

If so, I disagree. I would not support accommodations that would offer a Muslim woman to remove her niqab for identity/security purposes in front of a man when she is uncomfortable to do so. I think there are culturally sensitive options that do not necessitate this option. 

 

Unionist: "That's one reason I oppose Bill 94, or specifically, the part which mandates receiving services with one's face uncovered. It is an opportunistic and discriminatory provision which goes beyond any rationale based on need. Even though the text of the law allows for accommodation of facial covering in such circumstances, it goes on to prohibit it where the prohibition is justified by security, communication, or identification needs. It very deliberately gives the impression (though it doesn't actually say) that niqabs and burkas will be absolutely disallowed in such circumstances, which panders to the lowest xenophobia, the same tactic used by Dumont and the ADQ. If the state wants to truly reinforce and entrench the principles of secularism and gender equality, it must not do so in a way which falsely targets a racialized minority as being the source of the problem."

 

I wholeheartedly agree.

 

 

Unionist

Xander Sly wrote:

I am referring to the specific decisions in Switzerland and France.

Ok, thanks. I'm unfamiliar with the specifics of those.

Quote:
However, it is all too easy for the dialogue and discourse in the ROC to become one of protecting so-called ‘Canadian’ values, while thinking of the rulings that are happening in Quebec. Does that make sense?

I suppose that could happen, but I think it's unlikely. The discourse in Québec is about protecting secularism of the state and gender equality, not about our "identity", though some backward elements would go that way. I just can't see that kind of discourse happening in the ROC - neither equality, nor secularism. The issues are simply not framed that way. It could, certainly, take on an uglier form.

Quote:
Are you saying you are against making accommodations for women to be dealt with by other women instead of men?

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying, except (as I said above) in circumstances like sensitivity about medical exams, reports of sexual assault, etc. - but absolutely nothing to do with religion. The right to religious accommodation ends, full stop, where it requires separation or segregation or anything close to that between men and women. That's the point at which the person with the relgious belief should start accommodating. It's a two way street, and that's where the head-on collision comes. I really recommend that you read my remarks in those threads, if you're really interested in understanding my views. Demanding that a woman agent  photograph you, or that a male cop attend to a routine call, is exactly as offensive as refusing to be served except by a heterosexual. Unless you think that's an acceptable accommodation if sincerely required by someone's religious beliefs??

Quote:
If so, I disagree. I would not support accommodations that would offer a Muslim woman to remove her niqab for identity/security purposes in front of a man when she is uncomfortable to do so. I think there are culturally sensitive options that do not necessitate this option.

Well, we strongly disagree then. I'm "culturally uncomfortable" with dragging Québec society backward into separation - of any kind whatsoever - between men and women, which by the way inevitably meant the subordination of women. If an individual wants to put themselves in such a framework, that's their affair. Their rights come to a dead stop when they require others to do likewise.

 

 

remind remind's picture

Excellent post at #46, unionist.

 

In particular this below, sums it all up quite clearly, as I am sure you meant in the public service realm, if not let me know:

 

 

Quote:
The right to religious accommodation ends, full stop, where it requires separation or segregation or anything close to that between men and women...That's the point at which the person with the relgious belief should start accommodating.

If an individual wants to put themselves in such a framework, that's their affair. Their rights come to a dead stop when they require others to do likewise.

ACSial

Slumberjack (great hook!),

The Ismailis are a great example of 'moderate' (actually, more liberal than most Christians) Muslims. Their leader, the Aga Khan, is a philanthropist and quite philo-occidental. The Alevis (from Turkey) are another liberal sect. Unfortunately, the Salafi sect is now dominant in North America. This is thanks to Saudi and Gulf Emirates and their oil money. CAIR/CAIR-Can and its MSA satellites are, at least in part, funded by the Saudis. Most 'reverts' (Islamist PC term for converts) join via the Salafi sect. There is another far-right Islamist 'sect' (really, similar to Salafism, except for its public face) called Fetullah Gulen, named after a Turkish national living in exile in Pennsylvania. They have planted sleepers in Turkey and--except for the Kemalist Army--are well on their way to overthrowing the secular Turkish state. Other radical Islamist groups exist in the states, including Kenny Gamble's Universal Companies. Gamble, a former songwriter who made a ton of money, has been using Philadelphia's crooked eminent domain laws to steal people's 'blighted' properties and create Muslim-only urban enclaves. Radical Islamist Imams have also been taking over much of the Black Muslim Movement's organisational machinery, as well as getting involved in prison outreach programmes.

While you may not agree with some of the things the authors say, Muslim Mafia (Gaubatz & Sperry) is an interesting read. Also, for an unpleasant surprise, read what's posted on some North American Muslim online groups, especially about women, homosexuals, Jews and Baha'is.

The problem is that the Right was too worried about commies and sucking up to the Saudis, and the Left unable to come to terms with the idea of a reactionary religious revolutionary movement to see this problem coming. Much of the Islamic immigration in Canada was the result of the ill-considered Immigrant Entrepreneur (i.e., buy-a-citizenship) programme. Some of the 'refugees' taken in were actually Islamists fleeing the 'persecution' of secular regimes. We took in blatantly radical Islamists like Mohammed Elmasry, Aly Hindy and Syed Soharwardy by the planeload. The RCMP and even local police forces could enforce the Criminal Code's Seditious Libel laws against radical Islamists, before they get to the 'Toronto 18' stage...but they don't. Progressives also have to realise that Islamism is an ultrareactionary revolutionary doctrine, having nothing to do with 'race', that has nothing but contempt for women's rights, religious pluralism, or gay tolerance. Salafi Islam is also the export of a very rich, first-world country: Saudi Arabia.

As far as 'solutions'--how about not taking religion too seriously? This, however, is a problem for the Salafis. Islamic fundamentalists believe that the Qur'an is a verbatim copy of an actual (inscribed in stone, in Bedouin Arabic) document in Heaven. There is no 'wiggle room', unlike even the most fundamentalist Christians and Jews, who believe that the 'Word of God' means more-or-less, and translatable (Muslims prefer the term 'interpretation'). There are also no ifs, ands, or buts about following the Will of God. This becomes a problem for a society like Canada, when you have suras that advocate wife beating. Really, it's pretty ridiculous to equivocate here.

 

 

No Yards No Yards's picture

ACSial wrote:

Maysie,

Everyone has 'baggage'. Examples include Polish and Ukrainian antisemitism, Protestant vs Catholic hatreds, &c.--something my ancestors had to check at the pier in Hallifax. However, some social problems are exclusive to certain cultures. The problems of spousal homocides in Indo-Canadian communities are so bad that women from these groups have spoken out on the issue. 'Honour killings' are endemic to Islamic cultures, period--there are no equivalents in Western societies (what the sociologists call 'culture-specific'). Female Genital Mutillation is another culture-specific (East/North African) ill that's becoming an increasing problem, with immigration, in Western countries. Doda and khat abuse/trafficking are also cultural imports. Here in Calgary, the police recently busted a large doda trafficking operation, run out of an East Indian supermarket. And this niqab issue has much to do with what specific sect (Salafism) is largely representative of Islam in Canada. Certainly, the Ismailis think head coverings are a joke...but the Salafis (again, the growing majority, even among 'reverts', in Canada) don't even consider the Ismailis, Alevis and other liberal sects to be 'Muslims'.

As for homophobia, this is a problem common to both Islamic and Christian radicals...although even the most radical Bible-thumpers don't generally condone murdering homosexuals. In Holland, this was one of Pim Fortuyn's beefs with Islam (vicious homophobic attacks by Muslims are a big problem there). Harper and Kenney have been guilty of pandering to these elements, in search of votes. And, again, this has nothing to do with 'race'. There is too much 'definition creep', with respect to the 'r'-word. Simply pointing out the negative attributes of certain cultures is not 'racism'. Nor am I guilty of 'culturism' (a la Mark Steyn). All cultures have good and bad points. However, one has to admit that different cultures have incompatible--and non-negotiable--mores, regarding things like gender relations. This is why muticulturalism is ultimately doomed to failiure.

 

 

You throw out a whole lot of accusations without providing any facts to back them up.

White Christian men have been killing their white Christian wives for a damn long time, still wasn't that long ago really that white husbands could beat their wives with little or no repercussions.

The most recent example of "honour killing" that I can think of is the incident in Bellville where a dumped (white) boyfriend killed his ex-girfriend's mother and little sister, and just failed to kill his ex but did seriously wound her.

Also, seems just because some South Asians' drug of choice is not the "White Canadian" drug of choice, that this is somehow a knock against South Asians?

There are lots of equivalences, but you seem to chose to ignore them. Yes, I'm sure you'd be much more at ease with those strange foreign people if only they acted more like "normal white people" and killed their spouses for not properly cleaning the floors or burning diner, and used illegal drugs that had more familiar names like coke, but just wait a while and I'm sure people like yourself will make sure that Canada reverts back to the "good old days" when it was just the more acceptable "white Christian" crime we had to deal with.

 

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
The most recent example of "honour killing" that I can think of is the incident in Bellville where a dumped (white) boyfriend killed his ex-girfriend's mother and little sister, and just failed to kill his ex but did seriously wound her.

 

While I can see the obvious appeal of trying to conflate any North American man who kills his wife or partner with "honour killing", I think you may be ignoring the fact that men go to jail for this in North America; it's not culturally sanctioned. Also, while it's unfortunately not all that uncommon for a man to kill his wife for (say) having an affair, can you recall the last time you read of a man's brother or uncle killing that man's wife for having an affair?

 

I think you're deliberately trying to confuse a crime of passion with a socially and culturally sanctioned crime.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thanks No Yards.

Snert wrote:
 I think you're deliberately trying to confuse a crime of passion with a socially and culturally sanctioned crime.

Snert! Oh my god, you did NOT call violence against women a "crime of passion" did you? Did You??? There's so many things wrong with that I can't even begin, but please see any link or thread about violence against women in the feminism forum. PLEASE. It is downright wrong to characterize violence against women in this way. Stop it. Yes, I said stop it.

And Snert! Again! Violence against women is NOT culturally and socially "sanctioned" in the non-Canadian cultures that are being referred to. Specifically, in the way that you mean: that "those other" cultures treat women way worse than what happens in Canadian society. That's racist.

Or, looking at it another way, violence against women IS a part of many (if not all) cultures INCLUDING CANADIAN CULTURE.

How many times have I written on babble about this? And other feminists? That VAW is socially, culturally normative. Singling out specific communities of colour, or religious communities that are outside Anglo Christian communities is RACIST.

It's not okay to spew that on babble. 

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