Thursday, March 25, 2010

Showing our face.

Update October 21 2015. It needed a whole new blog post.

This post keeps evolving as new arguments appear in the chatter sphere. But now I am done. A woman of Muslim background who knows whereof she speaks totally validates my original 2010 stance, and my unease with the whole P.C. liberal media coverage. She gets the first word. Please do read her blog. 

Brief excerpt for those who are busy:
Dear liberal media, I did not expect to be betrayed on such a basic level….I thought the concept of gender equality and working towards it was something firmly entrenched in the Western mindset. Clearly I was mistaken. I see your 'humorous' articles about the wonderful ‘snarky’ hashtag mocking PM Harper, but what you don’t realize is that you are trampling on us for your story…

And please don't misunderstand me, do stand up against anti-muslim bigotry, but learn to recognize it first. My family is Muslim, my wonderful loving parents are Muslim and it hurts to hear that some bigots will burn mosques to hurt our community, they will tell us to go 'home', when this ishome....that is bigotry. Asking everyone to abide by the same rules is not. Inclusivity and diversity do not include misogyny. Tolerance of other cultures does not include tolerance of intolerance. 

Earlier I posted this.
It is now the spring of 2015. National debate rages around the right to wear the Niqab, the face veil, at a citizenship ceremony. This is after identification has been made prior to entering the room. Security is therefor not an issue. The Federal Court supports the wannabe niqab wearer. The government is appealing the ruling. 

PM Stephen Harper is doing a masterful job of manipulating the issue and people are falling for the diversion. This is an election year. We have a government that is privatising the commons, destroying what is left of the social safety net, turning peace loving Canada into war mongering Texas, and what are we talking about? Muslim women's faces. The idea of Stephen Harper as a champion of women's rights is so laughable it doesn't even bear discussing. 

Nevertheless, even though this will not change my vote one bit, on this one topic I find myself in agreement with the PM. Enough is enough. If you come to this country, you do some adapting, OK? 

The Nice Mangos blogger was responding to this article.

Next came an interview on CBC's "The Current", my all time favourite radio program after "Dr. Bundolo's Pandemonium Medicine show". In this program several young, rather cool and certainly not oppressed Muslim women explained why they choose to don the face covering, sometimes in the face of opposition from men in their families. 

I still stand by what I wrote on the topic in 2010. However, I am starting to believe that legislation is not the way to handle the issue. Young people and people of a certain contrary temperament thrive on defying laws they consider unjust. (I should know.) Add religion and expect a flood of young women choosing to don the face veil who might otherwise not have considered it. Outrage, especially when it concerns group identity, is a delicious drug. Flirting with a degree of martyrdom, especially in the context (for how much longer?) of a safe country, appeals to the religious mindset. 

The more attention is given to this issue the more traction it gets. Besides, that is exactly what Harper is hoping for. Throw a cultural issue into the ring and watch everyone scramble all over it while the basis of our democracy is being dismantled.

Meanwhile, I find myself at odds with the small l liberal crowd I usually hang with. I admit it. Niqabs irritate the h out of me. I wish so-called progressives would stop falling all over themselves to support the veil chosers, just to prove how PC they are and because mister Harper is attacking them. 

It is OK to defend your own culture now and then, flawed as it is. It is OK to ask new citizens to make concessions to what they find in place. We would not condone wearing short shorts when sight seeing in Mecca. It is a matter of respect, and should it not go two ways? 

Also: Why is "It's my religion" even an argument? 
I am a pagan. My religion demands public orgies in the park on Beltane. Maybe it is time to start testing the idea?

 Anyway, here is my piece from more than 4 years ago

I would love to see comments.
Quebec just tabled a law that asks a small concession of some people of a certain religious persuasion.
We are not talking about stringent measures like those taken in France, where the state is pugnaciously secular and girls are banned from wearing head scarves to school.

In Quebec women remain free to wrap themselves in layers of black fabric without a stray hair or a glimpse of ankle showing if that makes them happy. But a line is being drawn at the niqab, the face veil.

Quote from the National Post (not my newspaper, but that's what Google yielded):
Jean Charest, the Liberal Premier, said the bill establishing guidelines for the accommodation of religious minorities is aimed at "drawing a line" to demonstrate that gender equality is a paramount Quebec value.


GingerMonkey21 said...

First I have to say you made my day with this line..."I am a pagan. My religion demands public orgies in the park on Beltane. Maybe it is time to start testing the idea?" :) I agree that people do jump on board that otherwise would not.
We all have laws that we don't really like or that doesn't really pertain to me individually but I still have to follow them if I wish to live where I am. Many have a choice to move/leave-yes many would argue but they shouldn't have to but the world laws/countries laws are not going to be perfect for everyone. Besides I think a lot of the controversies are started to distract from other issues that leaders want to slid under the radar from us or bring about changes that they want that no one would ever vote or agree with otherwise. (yes I think many things are conspiracies for power). :) but that's just me personally. I think there are going to be many opinions on the issues & not everyone is going to end up happy about it. That's how it always goes no matter what the issues are.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

You nailed it Renee, these social issues are total diversions! And the reaction of many self styled liberals. Including Margaret
Atwood who should know better, is typical either/or thinking.