Little Mosque on the Prairie

Swimming Upstream

What is the lie this week? That Muslim women’s alleged yearning for privacy from men, even when performing aquatic exercises in a regulation swimsuit in a municipal swimming pool, has to do with modesty. It’s a variation on the theme of The Barrier where self-describe feminist Rayyan covers her hair to avoid flaunting her sexuality.

In Swimming Upstream, the believing women of Mercy want a women-only exercise class under the supervision of a woman at the local pool for more or less the same reason: modesty.

Don’t believe it. It is because an insecure, puritanical, misogynous God and His equally handicapped self-appointed Messenger demands it. That a real feminist would take orders from such an odd couple is absurd.

A much quoted verse:

24:31 And tell the believing women to cast down their eyes and guard their private parts and not show their finery, except the outward part of it. And let them drape their bosoms with their veils and not show their finery, except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, their women, their maid-servants, the men-followers who have no sexual desire, or infants who have no knowledge of women’s sexual parts yet. Let them, also, not stamp their feet, so that what they have concealed of their finery might be known. Repent to Allah, all of you, O believers, that perchance you may prosper.

When you see believing women, or men, demanding segregation of the sexes it has nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do with modesty, but everything to do with Islam's odd couple's instructions that women and girls be invisible except to other women, the man to whom they are married, or to men to whom they are closely related. The seclusion of women and girls first under their fathers then their husband's roof being the logical and inevitable result of such an admonition.

When the believers ask for a separate this and a separate that, it is also to put some distance between the community of believers and non-believers.

Canadian courts and Human Rights Tribunals have gone to ridiculous length to accommodate this new separatism and this has many Canadians worried. This was the central, misunderstood point of the Hérouxville Declaration which requested that the Québec Charter of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights be amended to stop the courts and judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals from imposing artificial divisions within Canada that threaten, not only to destroy the traditions on which our country was founded, but the country itself.

Bernard Payeur, February 12, 2007