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Friday, January 29, 2010

Not banning the burka is the right move

The Conservative government has made it clear that they have no intention of banning the practice of Muslim women wearing burkas. It is heartening to hear the government promising not to interfere with at least this much individual liberty.

Personally I find the burka to be unsettling. Not because it is a symbol of Muslim faith, it isn't really. The burka is unsettling because it is often a symbol of feminine oppression. It is a way to keep women isolated from the rest of society. It is a way to keep them subservient.

Yet it isn't the place of the government to combat this particular travesty. As Liberal MP Marlene Jennings said:

"Canadian women have the right, if they want, to wear a burka. As a woman, clearly it makes me a little uncomfortable. But then there are other practices that are perfectly legal and acceptable that make people uncomfortable."

It may seem contradictory to accuse the burka of being oppressive and say that people should have the choice to wear it, but it isn't really. Some women may legitimately prefer to wear the burka. They may do it for cultural, religious, or any other personal reason. In such a case the woman chooses her own isolation.

The harm comes from when a woman if pressured or forced to wear it by their husband or father. The general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Nathalie Des Rosiers said it well when she said:

"It goes without saying they should not be subjected to pressures from their communities, but neither from their government."

The issue of the burka is an issue that we should face as a society. It is not an issue for the strong arm of the state.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on January 29, 2010 | Permalink


Good comments. The burka bothers me a lot and I think is wrong and a dangerous sign of what may be happening. Yet the problem is not the burka itself and banning them is just wrong and would make things worse anyway.

Posted by: TM | 2010-01-29 9:02:03 AM

So then it should be permitted to allow one's face to be concealed on driver's licenses, passports or working in security such as airport security.

The suicidal concept of multiculturalism of course sees no problem with the idea that people coming here simply transplant their culture and language to a different geographical area. Keep in mind that some of these cultures believe strongly in and practise oppression of women, forced marriages (including child marriages) honour killings, killing homosexuals and those either converting to a different faith or rejecting all religions. Furthermore, burkas are a product of culture and not Islam.

Simply banning the burka will do little without a clear and strong policy for integrating immigrants into the host culture and society.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-01-29 11:51:59 AM

Muslim women should be free to wear their garb signifying sexual dhimmitude. And non-Muslims should be free to show scorn, wear Muhammad-head-bomb tea shirts, insult the "feelings" of Muslims, and or discriminate as they see fit in exercising their own property rights. Anything less is self-imposed Shariah.

This retrograde religion that indisputably leads to theocracy has inoculated the West. One can avoid thinking about the demographically inevitable cultural colonialism, but one can't avoid the anti-liberal ticking time bomb. As Pat Condell would say, Peace.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-01-29 1:59:56 PM

Simply banning the burka will do little without a clear and strong policy for integrating immigrants into the host culture and society.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-01-29 11:51:59 AM

Ask any 10 year old what it means to be Canadian and you will get a blank look because they have no idea. Ask most adults and they will probably tell you how inclusive and accepting we are.
We bend over backwards to please every minority that has no interest in our history or intention to reform to our established traditions. Multiculture canadians means what ?. It certainly does not mean "when in Rome do as the Romans do".
In less than 40 years European decendants will be a minority and Islam will be the majority at the rate we are breeding today. Food for thought. What will it mean to be Canadian then ?.

"The issue of the burka is an issue that we should face as a society. It is not an issue for the strong arm of the state."

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on January 29, 2010 |

Maybe it should be.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-01-30 12:23:16 AM

Bare breasts were ruled non - obscene in 1991 at least in stodgy Ontario . Guess what - no bare tits on the street - damn it .. I`d guess that the burka will meet the same fate- not a sexy issue because a bunch of old white guys in black robes ruled them as boring and not particularily shocking [ although they are ] . Until the day comes when someone lights one of them up , inadvertently or not or someone gets killed from wearing one of these tents , then the law will step in for safety reasons . I wonder about the reaction if someone wore a Klu Klux Klan outfit to a NAACP event . Then of course all hell would break loose.

Posted by: daveh | 2010-01-30 6:34:46 AM

peterj, that is why I said it will take much more than simply banning the burka in order to integrate immigrants. The concept of multiculturalism and its fellow travellers (women studies, gender studies, Native studies et cetera) has much to do with our history not being taught. What is taught is revisionist history where every group (minorities, women, Natives etc.) is considered valid and a victim while the culture, values and traditions of those who founded and contributed to Canada's once greatness are demonised. Without an understanding of what it means to be Canadian (other than not being American) and of the blood, sweat and toil that made it possible, Canada becomes simply a piece of geography and there is nothing for immigrants to assimilate into. Is there any wonder why we now have immigrants and their descendants opting for a 7th century ideology with its culture and values while expecting to benefit from 21st century advances.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-01-30 11:08:28 AM

"with its culture and values while expecting to benefit from 21st century advances."

Posted by: Alain | 2010-01-30 11:08:28 AM

I believe we are on the same page, but we have to start somewhere , and burkas seems like a modest step to show some willingness to adapt to the host country and a new life.

I'm not sure the KLU KLUX KLAN outfit would fall into the same catagory simply because it has a hard definition as to what it stands for. Good points though. The freedom to wear what you want is the same and in a free country it should be allowed. Of course we are no longer a free country. What applies to the KKK should also apply to the Burka even if the definition is softer or only a custom. Much like a RCMP member wanting to join the Indian police force and insisting on his right to wear a stetson hat rather than a turban. Countries have rules of acceptance, if you dont like the rules then go back home. When in Rome do as the Romans do.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-01-30 1:30:00 PM

Alain, I agree completely on your point of view regarding multiculturalism.
The real question, however, has to be: is it too late to save our Canadian culture or has too much time passed and the revisionists have done their work too well?

Posted by: Ed Ellison | 2010-01-30 1:34:38 PM

Peterj...I think the crux of our problem is that people should not have the right to be not offended.
This idea and all of its offshoots has fragmented and identified all possible groups that participate in life in Canada.

Posted by: Ed Ellison | 2010-01-30 1:53:37 PM

Mark Steyn has discussed the weak horse versus the strong cultural differences as related to Islamification of the West. The West is now not unlike the North American Indians during the colonization / defeat from Europeans in that Islam represents a much stronger, confident, fecund, aggressively colonial culture than our post Christian mult-culti nullity. Western culture and tolerance won't currently accept statist actions (a la Israel) aimed at limiting / containing the borg(Islam) therefore handing over ultimate dominance through demographics. Ergo silent surrender. The left libs have all but surrendered and are awaiting assimilation.

The state is currently on board with the Islamification of the West by preventing the politically incorrect and intolerant civil censure that needs to be brought to bear on the borg. Very few want to contemplate an environment where Muslims don't feel safe, respected and welcome but until that environment evolves, I think we all know the three alternatives to Islam under a Caliphate: slavery, beheading or conversion. If any of those so-called moderate Muslims want to rewrite their scriptures to reform into a modern religion that doesn't rule by the sword but by moral suasion, then a third option may be possible. But unless the West forces it, they get their Caliphate eventually just by demographics (their Imams will keep them in line and unreformed).

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-01-30 6:06:00 PM

"groups that participate in life in Canada."

Posted by: Ed Ellison | 2010-01-30 1:53:37 PM

I agree. Say what you want against our American neighbors, but I believe the "melting pot" concept does far less damage in the long run. Immigrants are expected to adapt and become "Americans". We expect nothing and that's what we get.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-01-30 6:13:30 PM

John, it seems you are correct. Ed, I still think it is possible to turn things around here, but the results would not appear overnight. That said I am no sure we have the necessary will to do so, certainly there is no indication where our "authorities", "leaders" and politicians are concerned. I think a first and necessary step is to send the whole political correctness crowd packing, since they are the enablers allowing Islam a supremacist and privileged status in that it is the only group/ideology/religion that is untouchable. This has yet to occur however.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-01-30 6:20:27 PM

Ban religion. Problem solved. Of course I'm kidding. Religion will die on its own. Education and reason will eventually win out. How many burkas do you see in Canada? Not very many. The only issue I have is when they insist on wearing them where it is not safe, such as a bus driver, or if the job requires facial recognition. Otherwise, tent up if you want. It is a symbol of being dominated by your religion and husband, but if that is how you want to be seen, power to you.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2010-01-30 6:56:55 PM

Actually Steve, the problem isn't religion, it is culture.
The socially "progressive" experiment of a mosaic rather than melting pot has backfired on the West in a rather large way. Much larger than was ever envisioned, certainly.

Posted by: Ed Ellison | 2010-01-30 7:29:29 PM

Well if its culture, don't worry, in a generation or two, you won't see burkas at all. The new arrivals kids will be just like every other Canadian.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2010-01-31 1:55:34 AM

The new arrivals kids will be just like every other Canadian.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2010-01-31 1:55:34 AM

Wish that would have been true of Omar Khadr.

Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2010-01-31 7:06:52 AM

"The issue of the burka is an issue that we should face as a society. It is not an issue for the strong arm of the state."
"Actually Steve, the problem isn't religion, it is culture."

Of the 4 groupings in these two quotes above, religion, state, society and culture, only the last two would be remotely comparable and neither are comparable to the first 2, in fact the primary difference between Islam and the World of War (what Islam views us as) is that Islam combines all 3 or 4 and has stagnated in all areas for 14 centuries as a result. We have a reformed religion, a state unshackled from an unreformed religion, but bound by the stout chains of the common law and as a result society itself has been free to create it's own culture, free of these insane 'laws' that religion creates given control of the state, as is the case with muslims sharia law.

The fact that burkas and niqabs and other modesty coverings are mentioned only in passing in their holy books (as a demand for dressing modestly)does not stop many muslims from requiring their women to self identify as the property of some supremacist slaver.

Western culture has cast aside slavery, possibly for the first time in human history, and PC multi-culture would allow it to gain a toehold.

I do wonder if Liberal MP Marlene Jennings knows who Geert Wilders is and why his upcoming trial is so important to elected officials.

Posted by: Dana | 2010-01-31 7:41:25 AM

Wish that would have been true of Omar Khadr.

Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2010-01-31 7:06:52 AM


Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2010-01-31 12:46:42 PM

Steve the point made I believe is that the new arrivals' kids do not necessarily turn out like typical Canadian kids. In fact, the majority of terrorists in the West are more often Muslim kids born and raised in the West finding no strong and clearly defined culture into which to assimilate, they opt for the strong and clear ideology of militant Islam.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-01-31 3:53:08 PM

Thanks for clarifying, Alain. Couldn't have put it better.

Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2010-01-31 4:58:13 PM

Ah, i see. Well we live in a fucked up world. Things like that happen. Omar lived in a fucked up family. With a fucked up religion to package it all up into the child that we have before us. But I think that the great majority will assimilate. We have people like that in our culture as well. Wait till things really go into the tank, then we will see more of them.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2010-02-01 2:00:15 AM

Steve, the facts simply do not back you up in your claim that the great majority will assimilate. That used to be true, 40 to 50 years ago before the teaching of our history and culture was thrashed. Now that we have no clear concept of our history, traditions and culture having allowed them to be replaced by a nebulous mush, there is no culture into which they can assimilate. The great majority reject loss of any moral compass, which is why they tend to embrace Islamisn.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-02-01 6:50:24 PM

1) We need to expose and riducule Islam constantly, so people (including Muslims) learn something about this hideous religion. Then it might slowly die out, just like Christendom.

2) Islam should not receive any special favours whatsoever. E.g. all identification cards, driver's licenses, etc, should and must clearly show the face. Sharia law (and behaviour), i.e. oppression, should and must be outlawed.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2010-02-02 10:43:04 AM

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