Thursday, October 01, 2015

Stephen Harper and the Niqab

Please click THIS LINK to see the latest installment of my video blog. This week's topic: The niqab and the election.

Stephen Harper and the Niqab

Our present Prime Minister is opposed to women wearing the niqab when taking the oath of citizenship.  I agree.  I have to bite my lip as I write these words as Stephen Harper to me symbolizes doom and darkness, not only for women, but for the earth itself.  I personally believe that Mr. Harper would pump and drill the earth to utter destruction if he had his way, lock half the population in prison and drop as many bombs as possible on people unknown and unknowable to him.  And surprise, surprise, Harper doesn’t like woman one bit.  For instance a little something that for me, at least, symbolizes Harper’s idea of women…he had the words “women’s equality” erased from every document within the Canadian Status of Women ministry. The Status of Women is now a joke.

Margaret Wente wrote a great article in the Globe and Mail “Why the niqab matters, now and in the future” (Sept. 29, 2015).  Wente points out there is a difference between how Quebecers view the niqab and the views of the rest of Canada.  She writes: “It’s a tale of two solitudes.  Inside Quebec, feminists and progressives are dismayed by the niqab.  They see it as an attack on the collective right to be free of religious symbols.  In the rest of Canada, feminists and progressives are enraged at the Conservatives’ attack on a woman’s right to choose”.

Harper knows the sensibilities of Quebecers around the niqab better than his challengers and is using this to the 9th degree in Quebec. And Harper’s polls have risen since the niqab debate in Quebec and Quebec is so important in this election.  Isn’t it bizarre?  That a man obsessed with his own misogynist religion and who thoroughly dislikes women is making gains as a protector of Canadian women against the threat of the symbols of another misogynist religion? He succeeds because the Muslim symbols of the Islamist religion are strange and frightening to the people of a province that was “priest ridden” for so many years, and where the people were held hostage to the power of the Catholic Church.  It stands to reason that Quebecers would be more sensitive to the power of religion and religious symbols. And there is another reason that we all should take note of.
As Margaret Wente asks in her article when speaking of the limits of tolerance: “How far are we prepared to go to accommodate religious and cultural difference?  At what point must newcomers be prepared to accommodate themselves to Canadian society and values?”  Yes.  Where exactly is that point?

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