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Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas

29 mars 2010

par Tarek Fatah, journaliste et membre du Congrès musulman du Canada

In May 2005, the province of Quebec showed leadership in Canada when its legislature voted unanimously to pass a motion against permitting Sharia law to be used in the province’s legal system.

Moving the historic motion in the Quebec National Assembly, Muslim member Fatima Houda-Pepin said, "The application of Sharia in Canada is part of a strategy to isolate the Muslim community, so it will submit to an archaic vision of Islam ... These demands are being pushed by groups in the minority that are using the Charter of Rights to attack the foundation of our democratic institutions."

Four months later Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty would ban the use of all religion-based tribunals in the province, thus ending all hopes Islamists had of creating a beachhead for sharia law in North America.

Now, Quebec has taken another bold and courageous step to stall the inroads being made by Islamists in Quebec society : The burka is to be banned.

In a bill that will soon become law, Quebec will refuse all government services, including education and non-emergency health care, to Muslim women wearing facemasks known as the niqab or burka. Premier Jean Charest, the Liberal Premier, said the bill is aimed at "drawing a line" to demonstrate that gender equality is a paramount Quebec value.

"If you are someone employed by the state and you deliver a service, you will deliver it with your face uncovered," he told reporters in Quebec City. "If you are a citizen who receives services, you will receive them with your face uncovered."

As a Muslim Canadian, I am thrilled at this development, and welcome the rescue of all Muslim Canadian women who were being blackmailed, bullied and brainwashed into wearing an attire that has no place in either Islam or the 21st century.

Muslim women — my wife, mother, sisters, daughters and friends — were deeply angered that cowardly Islamists were using their faces and heads as the flag of Islamism. Their faces were never the property of hateful, joyless men who wish to consign women into dark, mobile prisons. If faces of Muslim women are a source of sexual tension to these men, it is these men who must shut their eyes and lock themselves in permanent prisons.

The burqa is not just a piece of clothing : It is a symbol of Islamofacism and a rejection of the West and its cherished value of gender equality. The cruel reality is that the burqa implicitly castigates women as a source of evil (a’wra), condemning them to a life of isolation away from the gaze of men.

Once veiled, they are marginalized, denied equality and made subservient to men. This leads to economic dependency, intimidation, violence and emotional abuse. Under the veil, the woman has no civic or secular identity. Her rights to make civic and political decisions are controlled and usurped by men, and by extension the hierarchy of the organized groups

Therefore, in this debate about face coverings, it is of utmost importance to understand why Quebec is right in listening to the call of liberal and progressive Muslims who asked for a ban on the burka. These included :

Security : A face covering is a security breach especially in today’s climate, when thieves and terrorists have been known to hide behind a niqab or a burka.

Safety : Anyone who has tried on a burka knows that there is minimal peripheral vision with the face covered. Accidents occur because of this lapse in vision, resulting in hazards for people on the road.

Health : Doctors have provided evidence for vitamin D deficiency leading to serious health problems due to face coverings.

Gender Equality : The argument made by supporters of face masks is that a ban will marginalize Muslim women who wear them. Well, it seems that they are marginalized DUE TO a face mask and not without. Will a woman wearing a niqab work as a bank teller or a teacher ? In both instances, the face as the identity must be seen.

To the Islamists and their apologists who argue that Canada’s position on the niqab should be based on Canadian values of equal citizenship, rather than assimilative French values, I simply say : Canadian values are themselves based on French and British values. They did not fall from the sky.
Furthermore, if importing ideas from France is so suspect, then smuggling the values of tribal monarchies and theocracies into Canada is far worse. We would rather embrace France’s equality than the institutionalized misogyny and polygamy of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The question is this : How long will Premier McGuinty wait this time to follow Quebec’s lead ?

- The National Post

- Tarek Fatah is the author of The Jew is Not My Enemy : Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism that will be published by McClelland & Stewart in October 2010

On Sisyphe, March 30, 2010

Tarek Fatah, journaliste et membre du Congrès musulman du Canada

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