Instrument of Oppression, Innocent Modesty or Cultural Jihad?
"It's the symbolism. It's a symbol of radical Islam, a radical Islam that is trying to take root in Quebec."
Nathalie Roy, CAQ [Coalition Avenir Quebec] critic for secularism, Quebec
"If our society tolerates in the public place this obvious manifestation of the oppression of women, it confirms that this oppression is acceptable and accepted."
"We have a declared enemy, the Islamic State, which recruits people here to set bombs. Our only choice is to debate the prohibition of the burka. BEFORE a jihadi uses one to hide his movements for an attack, or AFTER."
Jean-Francoise Lisee, PQ Charter of Values architect
"[The Charter was associated with] a shift from a predominantly positive perception of inter-community relations to a predominantly negative one, particularly among women, immigrants and ... cultural or religious minorities."
"This is how ordinary violence insinuates itself into the very midst of normal life, taking a variety of subtle forms."
"Clearly, building a foundation for living together in harmony from which both immigrants and the host society would benefit still represents a major challenge for present-day Quebec."
Quebec research study: Transcultural Psychiatry journal
|Express: right: burkini; left riot in Corsica when three Moroccan men reacted to scantily-clad French women on a beach they insisted they were dedicating to Islamic principles outlawing the presence of swimsuits other than burkinis.|
Clearly, hostility to any form of garb or symbol of religious affinity rankles in Quebec. The Charter that was developed by the former government of Quebec led by the Parti Quebec to promote Quebec values of secularism, was pretty well designed after France's promulgated secular values-driven effort to dissuade French Muslims from flaunting the much-despised veil seen as dismissing de rigeuer French culture in enlightened France.
And, to be certain, the sight of women dressing in all-encompassing black from head to toe, eyes only permitted to be bared to the world, all normal body and full-face language-expression denied to those they pass does unmistakeably personify total alienation, a message that whoever you are, you are not part of the universe these women inhabit. On the other hand, Muslim women who effect modesty whose expression is the hijab, or head scarf do not erect an impassable wall.
This is their preferred mode of dress and it should be disturbing to no one. The issue newly aroused in Quebec of social affront taken should a Muslim woman decide to go to a beach wearing what has been named a "burkini", a swimming costume designed with the religion's admonition to women to be modest in their attire, simply represents a piece of clothing that these women are comfortable in. Their faces are not hidden.
It is the face, and its emotive features hiding behind a niqab (face veil) or a burqa that is offensive in Western society. All the more so when women move behind a dense curtain of anonymity and alienation from any Western society to which they have migrated; it represents a dismissal, a distrust, a distaste of the prevailing society, since that totally covered body and partially disguised face represents a cultural, patriarchal-driven agenda.
The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the 'constitutional' right of a Muslim woman to wear a burqa even while swearing the oath of citizenship. This does represent an affront to Canadian values and the Canadian way of life. A Muslim woman wearing a headscarf symbolic of her belief that Islam requires this of her can be overlooked and accepted with a modicum of respect. The burkini can be seen in the same light; the only thing such an outfit hides is a woman's contours, not her identity.