'Canadian' Values vs. the Niqab

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Unionist

remind wrote:

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:

That's exactly how I meant it, remind. Private belief, practice, and worship are and must be protected - because by definition, being private, they don't require others to "buy in".

No Yards No Yards's picture

Snert wrote:

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.

Yes, "culturally" we murder our women folk a bit differently ... in my childhood I recall hearing wife beating excused as "she was asking for it" ... I also remember a day when "murdering your cheating wife" was mitigating circumstances.

 

If there are still people immigrating to Canada believing that "honour" (in any of it varying disguises) is a an excuse for murder, then they need to be straightened out, just as the Christian white culture has attempted to straighten itself out, but to bring up an argument about "honour" killing in the context of what cultural clothing we should allow someone to wear, or as an indicator of the "failure of multiculturalism" is bordering on racist ... or if I want to be generous, at least not a very considered argument.

 

remind remind's picture

So called "crimes of passion" are socially and culturally sanctioned, in fact, you yourself just indicated such snert....by labelling the murders of women as "crimes of passion".

VanGoghs Ear

Snert - denial is not just a river in Egypt

Honour killings don't exist - where did such a name or idea even come from - you made it up didn't you

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
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.

 

To be clear, I didn't suggest that anyone is "way worse".

 

Really, my only point is that honour killing IS different.

 

Did you know that in Jordan, the Criminal Code states that

Quote:
"he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds, or injures one of them, is exempted from any penalty." This has twice been put forward for cancellation by the government, but was retained by the Lower House of the Parliament, in 2003: a year in which at least seven honor killings took place. Article 98 of the Penal Code is often cited alongside Article 340 in cases of honor killings. "Article 98 stipulates that a reduced sentence is applied to a person who kills another person in a 'fit of fury'".

 

That doesn't sound socially sanctioned? I guess it did to me. Anyway, I'll leave it.

remind remind's picture

Unionist wrote:
remind wrote:
I am sure you meant in the public service realm

That's exactly how I meant it, remind. Private belief, practice, and worship are and must be protected - because by definition, being private, they don't require others to "buy in".

Thought so, thank you for the affirmation. That is the thing eh..."buying in" in the public service realm is non-acceptable.

No Yards No Yards's picture

If someone comes from a country that sanctions "honour killings", then they need to leave that cultural sanctioning in their old country ... by the same token using the "legal sanctions" of someone's original home land against them when they come to Canada is also completely wrong.

 

Seems to me you're just as guilty of bringing "baggage" from another country as any immigrant.

 

In the USA they sanction capital punishment ... maybe we should be discussing the issue of allowing US immigrants to wear crocs .... might be a sign that they still harbour cultural desires for the death penalty?

 

remind remind's picture

You speaking to snert no yards?

VanGoghs Ear

No yards you started this drift so why not also end it

remind remind's picture

No again, as per usual, you are wrong Ear, ACial started it obliquely......

No Yards No Yards's picture

remind wrote:

You speaking to snert no yards?

 

Correct ... sorry for the confusion, I should have quoted.

 

 

remind remind's picture

Ya sometimes these threads go so fast, that when you think you are responding timely, you actually aren't.  So now I just auto put names in, saves an edit or clarification.

 

Thanks...

No Yards No Yards's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

No yards you started this drift so why not also end it

Excuse me? The thread was about a specific law in Quebec aimed at a specific sex within a specific religious group ... some people then started to bring in issues about misogyny  and murder in other cultures and countries and suggested that there was no comparison in western culture.

I though that this error had to be corrected, and to point out that we don't follow the same flawed logic when dealing with Canadians of European heritage ... I don't recall any laws ever being seriously proposed to deal with Canadians with a heritage from former WWII Axis countries ... I think we are somehow able to give European-Axis-Canadians the benefit of the doubt and don't put in silly proactive laws because they have a "heritage" of starting World Wars and attempting to exterminate whole races.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Snert - denial is not just a river in Egypt

Honour killings don't exist - where did such a name or idea even come from - you made it up didn't you

He got sucked into MSM language.  I am sure what both you and he are thinking of is the nasty "provocation' defence still used in most of the Excited States as a defence if you see adultery but in some places you don't even have to see adultery. One of the worst pieces of "law" imaginable.  

Now I don't blame all Christians for this kind of law and practice but I would think they would be doing something to change it instead of accepting this barbaric idea as normal.

Quote:

 

 

a judge concluded that a reasonable jury could decide that, if a woman 

danced with another man at her engagement party, then her behavior was a 

reasonable excuse for the anger that prompted him to kill her by beating her 

from that evening through five o’clock the following morning, and it merits a 

reduction in sentence.22 

 Randall Dixon’s Arkansas is among those few jurisdictions that followed 

the Model Penal Code’s expansion of the traditional provocation doctrine to 

its “extreme mental or emotional disturbance” rule (“EED”).23

 

 

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/institutes/csls/lawemotion_conference/papers...

wage zombie

Unionist wrote:

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??

Agree.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist your are advocating the use of the American  "di miminimus" test for accommodation in human rights not the undue hardship test that we use in Canada.

It will mean that these women will not be accommodated because the majority do not believe they have the freedom of both religion and expression to not have their faces seen by men.  That is the crux you do not see that the have any right to accommodation because you do not believe they should be able to express their religious piety in a way that offends you. 

It reminds me of Olympic protest zones.  Here is your area to have freedom of expression, enjoy your Canadian liberty.  No you can't enjoy that liberty over there becasue it would require a minor accommodation.  They backed down in Vancouver because it was so patently against our supposed Charter right to freedom of expression that it would have been embarrassing in the court. this new law in Quebec is as much of an embarrassment.  

Either you believe in freedom of expression or you don't it has little to do with religion. If you believe in rights you have to believe in accommodation or there are no real rights. Disable people would have no rights at all if public bodies were allowed to say sorry we have to do something so we don't have to accommodate you.  You have your rights but we have the right not to have to change anything to accommodate you.  that is a denial of rights in our system 

http://www.heenanblaikie.com/en/publications/item;jsessionid=DA2B810AB48...

Unionist

Kropotkin, I don't know where to start. My objection has nothing to do with "religion". I do not believe that a person has a right to be accommodated just because they express some individual preference.

If a person says, "my belief system prohibits me from being served by a homosexual - please arrange for a straight employee to take my photo" - do you believe this person deserves accommodation?

I hate to say this, but I will: Yes, or no?

My answer: NO.

It has nothing to do with "undue hardship". Undue hardship is only the test when there is a right to accommodation. Accommodation is founded on discrimination. There is no discrimination in our society based on dislike of queers. There is no discrimination in our society against people who favour gender inequality. Therefore, there is no right to accommodation in such cases.

 

remind remind's picture

Disagree with you kropotkin, for public services, privately held religous expressions divided along lines of gender inclusion exclusion, or any other type of discrimination of an identifable group, are unacceptable. Do you not understand the precedent it would make?

gay or female and  wanting to serve the public? well you do not get the job because no one will allow you to serve them, that is  one of things that could happen at the far end of the accommodation spectrum that will arise from making such a precedent.

 

we do not need to go backwards....

remind remind's picture

well crossposted with unionist....

Xander Sly

Unionist says: "It has nothing to do with "undue hardship". Undue hardship is only the test when there is a right to accommodation. Accommodation is founded on discrimination. There is no discrimination in our society based on dislike of queers. There is no discrimination in our society against people who favour gender inequality. Therefore, there is no right to accommodation in such cases."

 Unionist, please tell me what you DO define as discrimination? These niqabi are not asking to not be served by men. They have no issue receiving services by men. The government (in this case Quebec), is requiring they remove their niqab - a cultural/ethnically specific/religious garment, which explicitly effects Muslim women wearing the niqab and no other group. In accommodating the government's request to strip their religious and culturally specific garment, they are simply asking for someone of the same gender to see them, in accordance with their religious and cultural sensitivities. It is in direct response to the government unveiling them, they only ask to be “accommodated” in a sensitive manner. This is similar to the idea of a “same-sex” strip search.

And you should do some research on why it is that they might feel discomforted by revealing themselves to men - that is the whole point of the niqab: modesty – not subservience. Therefore, it is the government that has created the need for accommodation. And the government needs to correct it. This can be easily achieved.

Your argument that this rule/law will somehow impose gender inequality and throwback the nation to the stone ages is flawed. Sexism is based in patriarchy, which means that women are affected by the power of men, not vice versa. If anything, the law is reinforcing sexism and the effects of gender inequality by forcing these women to remove clothing and then providing no other option if they are seen by men.

Remind says: "gay or female and  wanting to serve the public? well you do not get the job because no one will allow you to serve them, that is  one of things that could happen at the far end of the accommodation spectrum that will arise from making such a precedent."

Well, guess what? That is exactly what the Quebec bill is proposing. That niqabi must unveil themselves to be accepted as public servants, so that the majority of people they serve feel less uncomfortable.

You are also missing a key point. That is that men are not the victims of sexism, they are the perpetrators. As well, your reasoning is a stretch. The case in Quebec involves what some estimate to be roughly 12 niqabi. And accommodation does not = a free for all. It is just that, an accommodation. And it's not even a difficult one, I might add.

The missing ingredient in this is an analysis of the "lens" being used to determine that it is unreasonable for niqabi to not be seen by men, if they are required by law to remove religious dress. The Western/European lens dictates that it is a ridiculous notion that niqabi feel modest when baring their faces to men, and instead, imposes a definition of internalized patriarchy and mysogyny on them - without any consent on their part to this action.

 

 

 

 

Xander Sly
remind remind's picture

No... sorry it imposes no definition of patriarchy, as I believe allowing it would. 

People's rights, that will set a negative a precedent, stop when they will impinge upon all others of oppressed or decernable groups rights. If they do not, then the patriarchy will really get to win.

Is how I see it.

it is a two way street and you are missing the otherside of what making such a precedent means. Say nothing of  then not having a secular society in the public realm.

Unionist

What an ignorant anti-Québec article. Unbelievable.

Xander Sly

In response to Maysie, the moderator’s request…

I posted the “Letter to Canadians” (which I wrote) in response to the article I recently read on Ignatieff calling the niqab decision a balanced one. The article can be found here: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/03/26/ignatieff-quebec-niqab.html

It was also provoked by the recent expelling of an Egyptian Muslim woman from a provincially funded language class in Quebec, for refusing to remove her niqab.

Apologies for sounding Anglo-centric, but the target audience is the national scale, and perhaps some of the dominant values and perceptions that many Canadians have, and may wish to examine with regards to newcomers, and the largely racialized immigrants entering this country.

It was also borne out of the actions that have been occurring in France and elsewhere around this idea of “accommodations” and the double standards, paranoia/Islamophobia resulting in laws re-embedding structural racism particularly with regard to Muslim peoples. In Switzerland it resulted in the banning of minarets. In France, it is the proposed burqa ban.

I do not want to suggest I have easy answers, or that I have never been guilty of some of the behaviours that I have mentioned. I am working very hard to be conscious of the many ways that I have been socialized to believe that I deserve the unearned white privilege that I have (ideas around the right to buy property; the right to travel freely; the way that it is so easy to have curiosity about someone who is perceived to be different than you impact that individual in a way that racializes them, for example). And if you were feeling ashamed, angry or defensive when you read that letter – I would like you to examine why. How can that shame, anger, or defense be protecting you from recognizing your own complacency in dealing with systemic racism and racializing people other than you?

My point in writing the letter was to get Canadians who do hold white power and privilege to have a stake in what kinds of decisions around “religious accommodation” are made. To reflect on their own potential biases and assumptions with regards to the type of values they hold and why. To reflect on the ways that they participate in othering people different from themselves, and how this impacts and marginalizes people. How this is racist.

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.

The trends in France and Switzerland have been disturbing due to the degree of Islamophobia that is acceptable to hold, in the face of nationalistic preservation. I do not see much difference between arguments on preserving national cultural identity occurring today, from those occurring in Nazi Germany. 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.

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?

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

 

Merowe

 "I soon accepted the nakedness of these people as perfectly natural, and never gave it a thought except to regret that Christianity, with its roots in Judaism, should so generally equate nakedness with shame, and even regard it as sinful...However, some chiefs, like this Jikany chief, would put on shorts when they were with us. I once met a chief whose shorts were evidently uncomfortably tight, so he had left his fly buttons undone and hung everything outside. This was convincing proof of his sartorial innocence but it did look startlingly indecent..." - (Wilfrid Thesiger, my bold.)

I understand the niqabite chooses to wear her costume out of culturally determined feminine modesty. If any of us pitched up in a place where the local custom dictated we go about naked from the waist down, most would require some period of adjustment. The more timid among us might never grow comfortable with the practice.

Perhaps our children would not have the same problem, and go about as the locals do.

I think in this case the state presumes upon the freedom of the niqab-wearer to wear what she pleases. It is only xenophobia that prevents this matter being promptly sorted - without a fuss and bother - and any others in the future on a case by case basis, based on strictly practical considerations - can she operate the machinery/ do the job so dressed - without passing discriminatory laws.

Niqab as instrument of patriarchal oppression? By all means provide these misguided foreigners with the fruit of our own evolution there and let them judge for themselves, without coercion. We are not exactly post-patriarchal ourselves, why are we in such a damned hurry to make everybody just like us?

remind remind's picture

another failure in ability to "see".

I do not want some  male  refusing to have me teach him Food Safe for example, because I am not dressed appropriately for him, and/or because I am female, thank you very much.

 

And that will happen should a precedent that is so looking backwards would do.

Unionist

Merowe wrote:
If any of us pitched up in a place where the local custom dictated we go about naked from the waist down, most would require some period of adjustment. The more timid among us might never grow comfortable with the practice.

Nonsense. How long could you be "timid" if everyone went around naked? People emigrate to a new society, they quickly adopt the habits of that society. That's the way of the world, all over the world. They even learn to speak new languages! That's tougher than adopting a new dress code.

Quote:
Niqab as instrument of patriarchal oppression?

Don't know, and not really that interested. People can practise and wear what they want, as long as it in no way interferes with the freedoms the society has fought for and is fighting for. No one comes here and seeks to impose gender separation beyond the ills that we already know. I'm referring to Québec. People may feel "timid" around drag queens too. The best advice I can give them would be to suck it up - or do better research before coming to live here.

ETA: This isn't about Muslims, and it isn't about immigrants. In one of our union's workplaces, a 40-year-old worker announced that he was going to have SRS M2F surgery. This actually came as a shock to most of his workmates, who didn't see it coming. Luckily, there were some enlightened souls both on the union and management side, and we did joint sessions and training to prepare workers to deal with this. One young man announced that he would never be able to work with her. When asked why not, he said that his Christian faith would prohibit it. We (the union) told him, ever so gently, that he had better try for a transfer to another plant, or hand in his resignation. We did not offer him the option of changing his work schedule so that they could minimize or eliminate their possibility of working on the same shift. Had he said his faith prevented him from working on Sunday (or Saturday or whatever), the employer (and the union) would have been legally and morally bound to at least try to juggle schedules to accommodate that. I hope you get my point. We do not accommodate misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, inequality of human beings...

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Unionist wrote:
Nonsense. How long could you be "timid" if everyone went around naked? People emigrate to a new society, they quickly adopt the habits of that society. That's the way of the world, all over the world. They even learn to speak new languages! That's tougher than adopting a new dress code.

It's difficult to learn new languages if government officials are hounding you from class to class with sumptuary laws as you try to educate yourself in the local culture. For someone who is keen to emphasize the Québecois national flavour of this incident, Unionist, you are showing a shocking lack of consideration for the French antecedents of Québec's approach and the fruit it bore: an entire generation of Arab French nationals running riot in the banlieues de Paris, demanding the citizenship their country has denied them.

mybabble

Its a very tough question that is for sure.  I tried to pin point Canadian's value but culture issues and lanugues barriers held me back.  I guess it is safe to say we are All, all that is out there for sure as Canada is a nation founded on immigration.  I wonder what Canadians value most?

Unionist

Catchfire, I guess we'll have to disagree very diametrically on this one. I feel solidarity with individuals, but not with belief systems which require us to retreat, even an inch ("it's not undue hardship!!!"), from gains already made on the road to equality.

By the way, why are you citing "French antecedents" here. France overthrew the power of the Church almost 200 years before Québec did. France embraced bourgeois democracy and developed a vibrant national culture while Québeckers still had to learn the rich man's language to hold down a factory job. France's immigrants came from its former colonies and were treated accordingly. Québec was itself a colony, and treated accordingly.

And I'm not keen to emphasize the Québécois national flavour of this "incident". I am, however, keen to understand what lies behind the ignorance and xenophobia of an article like the one by Uzma Shakir, cited above. Perhaps you can help me understand how people can find such high horses from which to judge and condemn other nations?

remind remind's picture

Unionist wrote:
This isn't about Muslims, and it isn't about immigrants. In one of our union's workplaces, a 40-year-old worker announced that he was going to have SRS M2F surgery. This actually came as a shock to most of his workmates, who didn't see it coming. Luckily, there were some enlightened souls both on the union and management side, and we did joint sessions and training to prepare workers to deal with this. One young man announced that he would never be able to work with her. When asked why not, he said that his Christian faith would prohibit it. We (the union) told him, ever so gently, that he had better try for a transfer to another plant, or hand in his resignation. We did not offer him the option of changing his work schedule so that they could minimize or eliminate their possibility of working on the same shift. Had he said his faith prevented him from working on Sunday (or Saturday or whatever), the employer (and the union) would have been legally and morally bound to at least try to juggle schedules to accommodate that. I hope you get my point. We do not accommodate misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, inequality of human beings...

Exactly the same thing unionist good example. And I have experienced similar in the union framework.

When I was with the UFCW, way back in the 80's, we had a incidence  like this with a grocery store manager on the Island. The union, in no uncertain terms, told the union employee complaining to the union about his boss impinging on his moral code, to move along, or get the hell over it.

Xander Sly

Unionist, you use twisted logic to endorse an uncritical examination of the sexism and racism rampant in Bill 94 and then defer to Anglo-centrism as your catchall response.

Accommodating a transperson and ensuring they are not discriminated against should ensure that you ALLOW niqabi to remain dressed in government institutions. Not vice versa.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I'm citing French antecedents because Québec is embracing their model of secularism. Not to mention lagatta mentioned that it was important to consider the French context rather than the ROC's model of multiculturalism.

By the way, you have made no case as to how Ahmed's niqab is an affront to gender equality in any meaningful way not already enforced cross-generically by the other cultures which make up our nations.

Quote:
And I'm not keen to emphasize the Québécois national flavour of this "incident". I am, however, keen to understand what lies behind the ignorance and xenophobia of an article like the one by Uzma Shakir, cited above. Perhaps you can help me understand how people can find such high horses from which to judge and condemn other nations?

You have mentioned Québec in nearly every post you have made on this issue thus far. What point were you trying to make by that if not to emphasize its unique relevance to Québec, and the oblique suggestion that any non-Québecker should refrain from commenting upon it? Uzma Shakir, while speaking from a position ignorant of Québec's right to self-determination, is also speaking from a position with a sharp solidarity and sympathy with Ahmed's otherness and exclusion which doubtless exceeds yours. I might attend to that deficiency if I were to criticize hers. I might also question why, if both Québec and the ROC enjoy such a stark separation in national politics as you assert, why you deem yourslef capable of commenting on the politics of Ottawa at all. I, of course, have no problem with you doing so, but perhaps you are suffering from an interior conflict you should resolve.

As for the last sentence, the offensive implication you have left there--intentionally or otherwise--is beneath you.

Unionist

Xander Sly wrote:
Accommodating a transperson and ensuring they are not discriminated against should ensure that you ALLOW niqabi to remain dressed in government institutions. Not vice versa.

I see - you still refuse to read my posts about the niqab issue; you seem to understand, then forget, my opposition to Bill 94; you just don't get that I have no issue with such religious practices if, and to the extent that, they in no way require "accommodation" via gender segregation or distinctions on the part of others. I guess I'll have to accept that you want to paint me in a certain way and give up trying to convince you of the inaccuracy of your portrait.

Catchfire wrote:
Uzma Shakir, while speaking from a position ignorant of Québe's right to self-determination, is also speaking from a position with a sharp solidarity and sympathy with Ahmed's otherness and exclusion which doubtless exceeds yours.

You think my only quibble with Shakir is her ignorance of Québec's right to self-determination? Did you actually stop to read her diatribe?? How about this:

Uzma Shakir, from her perch in Ontario wrote:
Well there goes our long history of feminism, Charter of Rights and Freedom and our famed multiculturalism.

She's talking about Québec, which never signed on to "our" Charter (we have our own, Ms. Shakir), and which does not share some Liberal Party of Canada (or was it Joe Clark's community of communities!?) notion of "multiculturalism". This is ignorance and arrogance of the first water. But she doesn't even slow down to take a breath:

Uzma Shakir wrote:
For Quebec feminists to support this in the name of women's rights is an insult to women across Canada and the globe and just shows how compromised a strain of Western feminism has become to the new imperial project which is based firmly in aggressively subjugating, invading and waging war against those deemed inferior to our "cultural values." What is it that Bush said: "they hate us for our freedom"? No -- you are quite capable of becoming hateful all by yourself and as for freedom -- it is after all merely a word -- as is amply exemplified in the double talk of neo-liberal gobbledegook parading as Western Liberalism.

What is this? Explain to me how rabble can even tolerate a blanket attack on "Québec feminists" - and accuse them of insulting women "across Canada and the globe"!?

If this is where some battle lines are being drawn by this rather angry individual, well, I'm very comfortable sitting where I am. And reading carefully, and between the lines, one may understand better the often exaggerated urgency among Quebeckers to counterpose gender equality and secularism to "our famed multiculturalism". This is not helpful.

Catchfire wrote:
I might also question why, if both Québec and the ROC enjoy such a stark separation in national politics as you assert, why you deem yourslef capable of commenting on the politics of Ottawa at all. I, of course, have no problem with you doing so, but perhaps you are suffering from an interior conflict you should resolve.

I know you, and I respect you, but your condescending and insulting comment above sounds for all the world like those who call for the Bloc to be excluded from federal party financing, or even from taking their elected seats, because they call for the destruction of Canada. Have you grasped that I am a Quebecker, a Canadian, a Jew, the child of immigrants, a worker, and much else besides - and that I will not await anyone's "permission" before speaking about, and yes, on behalf of, all those constituencies when and how I choose, and no matter how many contradictions that may require me and my (few) listeners to resolve?

Why are you talking about me like this, Catchfire, instead of just dealing with the issues I bring forward? I asked you this before.

j.m.

I do disagree with the islamophobic sentiments in this law, but I won't get alarmist over its implementation in terms of producing exclusion of people who wear niqabs: legislation does not guarantee that the stipulated conditions will be met in all instances. It is very clear that service provision for immigrants often happens through networks of ethnic groups (family doctors, shelters, welfare services, settlement services, etc.) and thus accomodation issues emerging from transcultural interactions do not unfold that often in these instances (power relations DO apply, however, and how!).

I believe that despite this law, there will be ways that women in niqabs navigate social services while still being accomodated. It appears that it most certainly happen in any place where individuals pre-select service providers (by choosing the right queue) or pre-determin them (by making an appointment with the right person using knowledge from existing networks). I don't think this law can totally exclude someone unwilling to budge on unveiling, but it will certainly make receiving services more difficult, particularly ESL/FSL.

The case of ESL/FSL classes is quite different than other service provisions, and I am not surprised that the issue has emerged out of such complaints. My understanding of some ESL/FSL classes is this: the 'local' or acculturated professor interacts with a number of students from different parts of the world. There are sometimes racist exchanges and suspicion of other cultures, and sometimes people mesh fairly well with little or none of the former. Some professors also berate students for having accents and others use more encouraging techniques, too. There are both frustrated and hopeful immigrants trying to learn the language. The experience and their success is not determined, but influenced by these professors. Some professors send students running to other institutions, or are catalysts for their withdraw from the program, and some give them reasons to return. 

I am already suspicious that there are much larger issues with the consistency of ESL/FSL provision, which are much larger than the unveiling issue.  I find Unionist's and remind's positions much more agreeable when I consider that newcomers do have agency and will find ways to navigate situations that they find to be disagreeable on personal grounds. In reality, I don't think this is the biggest issue for those concerned about exclusion to be taking on. There are many different ways that exclusion and oppression already work in social services (some within communities, and some outside of communities). What does concern me is the islamophobia inherent in this policy, and that it does not frame the issue around the types of discrimination that  Unionist and remind have articulated.

remind remind's picture

Apparently some still do not get the fact that the minute the state allows  segregation  based upon divisions  that can compromise equity rights because of private "personal belief" in 1 area, it becomes automatic in all areas?

 

Or perhaps they do....

JimWaterloo

I can not believe this has gone on for so long. 

j.m.

remind wrote:

Apparently some still do not get the fact that the minute the state allows  segregation  based upon divisions  that can compromise equity rights because of private "personal belief" in 1 area, it becomes automatic in all areas?

 

Or perhaps they do....

I get it, and it will be an issue when those who want to exercise their private beliefs do so in an exclusionary way. Those who want to use social services with personal beliefs dictating how services are to be offered will have to put in extra efforts, and it will be an inconvenience to them. In some social services this will be an issue (e.g., renewing a health card, getting a passport). In others (e.g., visiting a family doctor of one's choice, a settlement counsellor, etc.) it won't.

Merowe

Unionist wrote:

Merowe wrote:
If any of us pitched up in a place where the local custom dictated we go about naked from the waist down, most would require some period of adjustment. The more timid among us might never grow comfortable with the practice.

Nonsense. How long could you be "timid" if everyone went around naked? People emigrate to a new society, they quickly adopt the habits of that society. That's the way of the world, all over the world. They even learn to speak new languages! That's tougher than adopting a new dress code.

Quote:
Niqab as instrument of patriarchal oppression?

Don't know, and not really that interested. People can practise and wear what they want, as long as it in no way interferes with the freedoms the society has fought for and is fighting for. No one comes here and seeks to impose gender separation beyond the ills that we already know. I'm referring to Québec. People may feel "timid" around drag queens too. The best advice I can give them would be to suck it up - or do better research before coming to live here.

Heh. My first thought on hearing of this was to wonder what the woman in the niqab was making such a fuss about. Lift the damned veil, honey, and let the teacher properly monitor your articulations, you want to learn the language or what? Seriously, of the tiny number of immigrants who maintain the custom here on arrival I am sure some soon abandon it, entirely through a natural process of acculturation. Perhaps their husbands insist they maintain it. I don't know.

But if we are to legislate against all silliness and irrational belief, we would soon lose heart. (We'd certainly need a new government.)

I take your point on the niqab and patriarchy - what seems clear enough to a modern at first glance unfolds into intimidating complexity and...I'll leave it for now because I don't think it is central to the matter, Remind's enthusiasm for it notwithstanding. All I would note is that the 'freedoms' our culture permits women do not exhaust the form, are not the 'End of History' on the subject IMHO.

It is just that I thought I sensed an element of Islamophobia in some of the fuss about this and it was that I wanted to flag.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

People can practise and wear what they want, as long as it in no way interferes with the freedoms the society has fought for and is fighting for.

 

How does someone's wearing a niqab interfere with your freedom?

Caissa

A total ban on wearing burkas in public could be illegal and violate human rights, France's highest administrative body has concluded.

Such a ban on the full-body garment often worn by Muslim women risks violating the French Constitution as well as the European human rights convention, the Council of State said in a report released Tuesday.

Even a limited ban would be difficult to enforce and should be avoided, reported the council, which advises the French government on proposed legislation and studies public policy issues upon request.

However, the council did say that rules requiring the face to be uncovered could be justified in some situations, for security reasons or when knowing the age or sex of the person is important.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/03/30/france-council-veil-ban.html#ixzz0jfwyZS0R

mahmud

 

Merowe wrote: "Lift the damned veil, honey, and let the teacher properly monitor your articulations, you want to learn the language or what?"

This bubble has been poked by the very people who advanced it: They advised her to pursue her course online. Who said bigots are the most intelligent creatures?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

It is very strange Unionist when the discussion turns to Quebec you start to sound like an Israeli apologist.  Not that Israel is like Quebec but that your response is similar.  Any and I mean even the slightest hint that Quebec might be talked about in a negative light and you go into full attack mode.  Your jumping immediately to ranting about anti-French sentiments on this board sounds familiarly like claims of anti-Semitism for talking negatively about Israel.

You are wrong Unionist because you refuse to provide freedom for everyone.  You are being Islamaphobic when you think that our society cannot accommodate a few women who want to practice modesty in the tradition they were raised in.  Growing up in N. Ontario I didn't see any long term effects of having all those Italian and Ukrainian women always wearing headscarves to cover their hair.  I actually think they use the same scriptures to justify the practices. Unaccommodated rights are not rights at all.  Your saying not an iota of accommodation is saying they do not have an individual right unless it is approved by the majority. Your arbitrary lines are not consistent.  

Maysie Maysie's picture

Is this thread over yet?

What's this thread about again?

How many more threads on this topic are possible, without the voices of Muslim women living in Canada? Don't worry, that's just a rhetorical question.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Actually, Maysie, there was a voice of a progressive South Asian woman raised in a traditional Muslim household in this thread, and she was denounced as an ignorant racist.

Unionist

Kropotkin, I'll answer any points you have once you stop saying I sound like an Israeli apologist.

Catchfire, what that person said about Québec feminists was ignorant, and what she said about Québec was racist and xenophobic. I actually don't care where she was born or what religion she was raised in. She is accountable for her written opinions. I quoted her vicious blanket attack on "Québec feminists", and I didn't hear your reply, so here it is again:

Uzma Shakir wrote:
For Quebec feminists to support this in the name of women's rights is an insult to women across Canada and the globe and just shows how compromised a strain of Western feminism has become to the new imperial project which is based firmly in aggressively subjugating, invading and waging war against those deemed inferior to our "cultural values." What is it that Bush said: "they hate us for our freedom"? No -- you are quite capable of becoming hateful all by yourself and as for freedom -- it is after all merely a word -- as is amply exemplified in the double talk of neo-liberal gobbledegook parading as Western Liberalism.

Here was the racist xenophobic part:

Uzma Shakir wrote:
Quebec culture and identity is firmly grounded in Catholicism -- including the huge crucifix donning the parliament building...

You can comment on that too if you care to call her "progressive".

Oh, I want you to have full information, so this is what I posted as a comment to her rabble article:

Unionist to Uzma Shakir wrote:

"Quebec culture and identity is firmly grounded in Catholicism" - and your proof is the crucifix.

I'm sorry, but that's a very ignorant and racist statement. Québec culture and identity is grounded in a decades-long struggle to throw off the shackles of organized religion, emancipate women, fight national oppression, fight for workers' rights in the face of draconian right-wing Church-backed dictators...

We need no definitions of our identity from you, and we need no lectures on how to march backwards in the fight for the emancipation of women.

"Gone are the days when Quebec was cited as the beacon of progressive thought and action in Canada. The torch has gone off long time ago! I think it is Ontario that can now take up that challenge"

Excellent. Perhaps you can preach your cause in Ontario, where Catholic schools are fully financed by the state. Ontario may be more open to introducing misogynist obscurantism than Québec is. I don't think so, but you can always try.

Maysie, if you want to invite some Muslim women to comment here, go right ahead. In the meantime, we'll just have to make do with the posters we have.

 

Xander Sly
mahmud

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It is very strange Unionist when the discussion turns to Quebec you start to sound like an Israeli apologist.  Not that Israel is like Quebec but that your response is similar.  Any and I mean even the slightest hint that Quebec might be talked about in a negative light and you go into full attack mode.  Your jumping immediately to ranting about anti-French sentiments on this board sounds familiarly like claims of anti-Semitism for talking negatively about Israel.

You are wrong Unionist because you refuse to provide freedom for everyone.  You are being Islamaphobic when you think that our society cannot accommodate a few women who want to practice modesty in the tradition they were raised in.  Growing up in N. Ontario I didn't see any long term effects of having all those Italian and Ukrainian women always wearing headscarves to cover their hair.  I actually think they use the same scriptures to justify the practices. Unaccommodated rights are not rights at all.  Your saying not an iota of accommodation is saying they do not have an individual right unless it is approved by the majority. Your arbitrary lines are not consistent.  

I agree. It is very unfortunate that Unionist deemed it appropriate to qualify Uzma's statements as "racist" and what have you. I got so disturbed by his unwarranted attack that I didn't feel like continuing reading his comment on her article.

mahmud

Caissa wrote:

A total ban on wearing burkas in public could be illegal and violate human rights, France's highest administrative body has concluded.

Such a ban on the full-body garment often worn by Muslim women risks violating the French Constitution as well as the European human rights convention, the Council of State said in a report released Tuesday.

Even a limited ban would be difficult to enforce and should be avoided, reported the council, which advises the French government on proposed legislation and studies public policy issues upon request.

However, the council did say that rules requiring the face to be uncovered could be justified in some situations, for security reasons or when knowing the age or sex of the person is important.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/03/30/france-council-veil-ban.html#ixzz0jfwyZS0R

I did in another thread challenge anyone to provide a legal reason why the niqab shoud be banned or why public services should be denied to niqab wearing women. All sorts of thetorics were presented and no one could come up with something grounded in law. Heck, we do not deny public services to criminals, but we want to deny them to law abiding women. The canard about niqab being imposed on women by their menfolks (tarek Fatah's favourite argument), is hogwash. To pursue such line of logic, one can also say that Tarek Fatah imposed on his daughter not to wear a hijab. His daughter would deny that Mr Fatah did so, then Mr fatah imposed on his daughter to deny.. WHy should we disbelieve these women and believe Tarek Fatah and those who follow his BS?

Unionist

mahmud wrote:

I agree. It is very unfortunate that Unionist deemed it appropriate to qualify Uzma's statements as "racist" and what have you. I got so disturbed by his unwarranted attack that I didn't feel like continuing reading his comment on her article.

You "agree" that I am Islamophobic, that I sound like an apologist for Israel, and so you didn't feel like reading my whole comment. I'm truly sorry that my expression of my sincere views offends you so deeply, but rest assured I will not call you names.

I will, however, ask you how you would characterize this statement:

Quote:
Quebec culture and identity is firmly grounded in Catholicism -- including the huge crucifix donning the parliament building...

You may not actually be reading this post, so I will invite others to explain to me why it is not ignorant, racist, arrogant, and regressive.

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