This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rejecting Canadian Values

"If after review, policies/protocols are amended to require identification verification of all visitors, that would also mean removal of face coverings [as for example Muslim women wearing niqabs] for comparison against the ID being presented."
"As I'm sure you can appreciate, especially given the events of almost one year ago, the safety and security of all visitors, staff and parliamentarians is our top priority."
"Hence the integration of our security services and the aforementioned review of current policies and protocols."

Jacqui Delaney, spokeswoman, office of Senate Speaker Leo Housakos, Parliament

"[The typical profile of a woman in niqab] may be a bit of a youth movement [and] a lot of it is done in the spirit of defiance."
"[Typically a woman in niqab] is that of a married foreign-born citizen in her 20s to early 30s who adopted the practice after arriving in Canada."
Study: Women in Niqab, Concordia religion and Islam professor Lynda Clarke

"The reason I am starting the niqab is that I am seeing in society that there is an over-sexualization of women and women's bodies. Once I started [wearing the] niqab, I felt more comfortable, and it was a sort of barrier to stop the advances."
Ottawa woman

"I personally know of no woman who would not co-operate in lifting her veil momentarily when needed and necessary."
Niqab-wearing enquiry respondent 

"The reality is that we recognize that from time to time, we must not hide our identity. We do that for reasonable reasons and it's necessary to have legislation, it's supported by the population, we want to encourage equality between men and women in Canada."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper

"My perception of Canada is that it is the country where everybody has freedom of religion, where everybody respects each other, where we can live freely, peacefully, very openly. But now the situation has been turned around for me. I don't understand how this issue [refusing to remove her niqab during a citizenship ceremony] has taken so much attention."
"I am feeling oppressed now, in this situation."
Zunera Ishaq, 29-year-old Pakistani national, Canadian permanent resident
Getty Images

Zunera Ishaq speaks of everyone respecting everyone else, typifying her understanding of Canadian society. Yet she has deigned not to respect the prevailing culture of openness within Canadian society by wearing a face covering that effectively hides her facial expressions denoting emotions, to ensure that she cannot be personally identified. She states that to wear the niqab has been a decision she has made on her own. It is, in fact, a symbol of female subjugation in a world dominated by men, one common to her country of origin.

The study undertaken by Concordia religion and Islam professor Lynda Clarke led her to conclude that the wearing of a niqab appears to represent a studied and deliberate rejection of norms in society by a younger generation given to defiance of the common social contract. In Canada that common social contract is a covenant of openness and equality. And Zunera Ishaq, a resident of Canada since 2008, has rejected that social contract in favour of a medieval-type of garb hostile to social interaction.

It is her choice and she may do so if she wishes. But it is not, as she and her defenders assert, a symbol of her religious faith, since her religion has no such official tenets, only calling on women to be modest in their demeanour and their dress; no specific dress code has ever been written into Sharia law, according to all the experts on Islam. But Islam does engender among its male contingent an attitude of superiority toward women, where by tradition women are exhorted to remain hidden in the home and when they venture outside the home to be covered in shapeless garments hiding all but the eyes.

Zunera Ishaq's legal and popular social battle to have a government and a general population that opposes the niqab worn at official occasions when identity must be verified, bend to her will is not an attitude typically expressed by most immigrants to Canada who wish to become citizens and integrate into Canadian society. Her feelings of oppression express her egotistical focus on her insistence that she be treated differently than anyone else in society. It is Canadian society that must defer to her, not she to Canada.

"It has always been my choice", she says, of wearing the niqab. But her choice does not reflect the manner in which relations in the social arena are exchanged in Canada, and nor does 'her choice' reflect what is acceptable in formal relations when an important ceremony is being conducted reflecting a covenant between Canada and immigrants that it welcomes into its society. This woman has demonstrated clearly that she is not prepared to meet the most basic of Canadian values.

That the courts have thus far supported her under the screen of constitutional rights in religious freedom is merely another instance of an activist court manipulating matters of governance that they have usurped for themselves and in so doing demonstrating their own arrogance as unelected authorities whose decision-making the Canadian public is at odds with.

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