Quebec & The Clash

The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilization. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between rationality and barbarity.

It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on one hand and the violation of these rights on the other. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings …

Wafa Sultan, outspoken Syrian-American woman during a debate broadcast on Al-jazeera.

Get That Man A Niqab!

Threats against Charlie Hebdo

Since its publication of a cartoon of Tariq Ramadan, death threats have come flooding in. In its latest edition the satirical weekly shows the theologian’s pants distorted by a huge erection and proclaiming: "I am the 6th pillar of Islam."

Asked about the drawing, Riss (the cartoonist) argued, on Europe 1, that Tariq Ramadan presented himself as "an Islamic scholar", which is why the drawing refers to the "6th pillar of Islam (...), jihad".

The five pillars of Islam are the foundation of the Islamic way of life: the profession of faith, prayer, zakat (alms), fasting during the month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime by those who have the means.

Jihad is considered the sixth pillar of Islam by a minority within Sunnism although it does not have official status.

Let Point, (my translation), November 7, 2017

Tariq Ramadan is the eminent salafist scholar and Oxford University professor and lecturer on everything Islamic who has been accused of raping young females who sought his counsel. You may also remember him as the man who exhorted believing women living in the West to “invade” the public space dressed in traditional Islamic garbs as a way of promoting everywhere a religion that hates them! You could say that Ramadan is largely responsible for our current disagreement over face coverings in the public space of which Bill 62 is emblematic.

It was Tariq Ramadan's mother, Wafa al-Banna, the daughter of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, who instructed her son in the salafist theology which guides the actions of Islamic State and which her son would see propagated worldwide, assisted by the non-threatening example of females on parade to conceal the encroachment on the secular of an intolerant, misogynous and brutal ideology.

What a believing woman wears in public is often indicative of the radicalism of her faith with the hijab and the shayla representing the mildest form, the niqab and the burqua the most intense. This generalization does not apply to countries like Afghanistan where what a woman wears may have nothing to do with the depth of her religious convictions but simply a way of surviving another day.

The Curtain That Became A Veil

My interpretation -- and it's very personal -- is that my niqab is my portable curtain.

Warda Naili, October 22, 2017

33:53 O believers, do not enter the houses of the Prophet, unless you are invited to a meal, without awaiting the hour; but if you are invited, then enter; but when you have eaten, disperse, without lingering for idle talk. That is vexing to the Prophet who might be wary of you, but Allah is not wary of the truth. If you ask them (the wives of the Prophet) for an object, ask them from behind a curtain That is purer for your hearts and theirs. You should never hurt the Messenger of Allah, nor take his wives in marriage after him. That is truly abominable in the sight of Allah.

Women who wear the niqab are not only reminding the people around them who know the story of its origin about a failing of their hero but, that they too may be the property of a jealous owner.

Allah's warning to men to keep their distance from His Messenger’s wives after His spokesperson has left this world on route to a better one would appear to confirm that the Prophet was a jealous, obsessive man, a man who would seek to control the lives of his widows from beyond the grave.

For Muslim women, having sex with a man other than their husband is flirting with a stoning and an eternity in agony. The interdiction against taking “his wives in marriage after him” is equivalent to condemning the Prophet’s young wives to never enjoying being intimate with a man again after his passing.

Who should be ashamed? You decide!

Politicians should hide their faces in shame over the niqab ban.

Ottawa Citizen Editorial, October 20, 2017

A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.

Jean-François Revel

"We shouldn’t be ashamed of our values. We shouldn’t be afraid to defend them,”

“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity”

“The burka is not a sign of religion … the head-to-toe Islamic garment for women is not a symbol of religion but a sign of subservience for women … a sign of subjugation, of degradation of women”.

Nicholas Sarkozy

First of all, it is not a niqab ban. It is just the Ottawa Citizen being its disingenuous self on a matter about which the Capital's most read newspaper has consistently betrayed a bias. Bill 62 does not banned the niqab, it's not even mentioned. The law simply requires that citizens availing themselves of a public service show they face, and that applies to everyone. The response from George Apostolou of Athens, Greece to the editorial:

Muslims are a minority with a particular potential to change the face of this country in a hurry. Precedents abound. Quebec is making a clear and reasonable statement that it will not submit to ideologies, religions or foreign cultures. The requirement to show one's face is hardly onerous. People seeking a new and privileged life in an open and free society, should expect that they will have to accommodate the community they are joining, not the other way around.

Religious masks and head-to-toe body sacks are provocative, defiant and clear signals of a desire and intention to live apart from, rather than as a part of, our western society. I mean please, some common sense; should anyone be surprised that such deliberate oddity elicits distrust, dislike, scorn and other negative reactions? It invites them.

The hard lesson from countries like the UK is the importance of integrating Muslims into the larger society, rather than allowing their natural inclination in the opposite direction to prevail.

Vivre le Quebec.

Rights v. Rights

Quebec passes bill banning niqab, burka while receiving public services

Nicole Filion, coordinator of the Ligue des droits et libertés, a human-rights defence group, warned that the law will “have a discriminatory effect on religious groups who are targeted, in particular women.”

Ottawa Citizen, October 18, 2017

Muhammad: If there is one idea that illustrates the depth of depravity and lack of scholarship of the Greek philosophers it is this idea … imagine a philosophy that claimed that humans have rights simply because they are human beings – that they have human rights. The Prophet, the peace and blessings of God be upon him, reminded us that we have “no rights” except those that Allah, The Generous One is willing to grant us.

From the Fractured Nation Interviews, Boreal Books

Human rights and religious rights, especially where Islam is concerned are not complementary but conflicting. These rights could also be defined as man-made rights and god-made rights. The first gives you the right to choose over and over, the second only once and depending on how you choose your right to choose is extinguished forever.

33:36 It is not up to any believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have passed a judgement, to have any choice in their affairs. Whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger have gone astray in a manifest manner.

If human rights and religious rights are mutually exclusive society must decide which it values most for one must inevitably triumph over the other. Defenders of human rights who do not make this distinction are fooling themselves and us, and enabling alleged gods and their self-proclaimed mouthpieces to again impose their tyranny, to the detriment of women in particular.


Québec's Defense of Secularism

Quebec crackdown on violent extremism reopens secularism debate.

The government presented legislation Wednesday in the National Assembly amid calls for calm from the four political parties in the house. But even the simultaneous introduction of two bills with divergent goals – one to promote secularism, the other to fight terror, both clearly aimed at Muslims – reopened divisions.

The Globe and Mail, Jun. 10, 2015

Allain Finkielkraut author of The Unfortunate Identity (my translation of L'identité malheureuse) argues that if we are to avoid the disastrous religious conflicts of Mark Lilla's The Stillborn God we must work towards a secular society where everyone learns to think for themselves. Quebec is on the right track to avoiding a disaster, where biblical will be inadequate to describe the devastation, with its defense of secularism.

Goldwater on Fighting Extremism with Extremism

Substitute "secularism" for "liberty" in the following and see if you don't agree with Québec's modest approach to stopping those who would enforce "their own version of heaven on earth."

Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies.

Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice ... Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

From Senator Barry Goldwater’s acceptance speech as the 1964 Republican Presidential candidate.


Mainstream Media Misinformation

Quebec values charter takes a beating at opening day of public hearings Globe and Mail Headline Jan. 14

Don’t believe it! Three of the first five witnesses on the first day of hearings spoke in favour of the Charter. This is not the first time the Globe & Mail ignored the facts where Québec is concerned.

Quebec's view on niqab creates fault line: English-speaking Canada assails province's opposition to headwear Globe and Mail, March 19, 2010

An online poll taken at about the same time on the same subject will not get readers to agree with the paper's misleading headline even when nudged in that direction by a loaded question (the questionable phrase is in italics):

Do you support Quebec's movement to expel the niqab from much of civic life, which some in English Canada have called pure intolerance?

Official results: Yes: 79.5% (12,410 votes) No: 20.5% (3,216 votes)

Sanctimonious Outrage

Quebec religious symbols ban proposal roundly condemned

Charles Taylor, a well-known political philosopher who co-presided over Quebec's commission on the accommodation of minorities, expressed outrage at the policy.

CBC August 20

The Bouchard-Taylor Report on reasonable accommodation was roundly condemned, and rightly so, in the Québec press for its flawed conclusion that more accommodation for religious beliefs was what was needed, not less. The self-righteous English media should be wary of quoting Taylor’s condemnation of Québec’s proposal to limit in-your-face display of religious symbols in the public sphere.

Québec has gone the furthest of any province, at great risk for the the future, in promoting religious diversity in the public school system and should be given the benefit of the doubt that when the legislation is introduced, it will attempt to strike a reasonable balance.

Tempest Beneath a Chador

Houda-Pepin on the Charter of Values and more.

It's About Religion, Not Race!

Globe and MailA photograph, published by the Globe and Mail, of people opposed to Québec's Charter of Values. Canadian-style multiculturalism makes it easy to confuse race, culture and religion may be partly to blame. In Canada, raise an objection to the granting of an exemption under the law for Muslims for example, and you risk being accused of racism, as if Islam was a race not a religion.

Bernard Payeur