Daggers are In, Flutes are Out!

God's Messenger, it may be hard to believe, was even more straight-laced than his Mentor, whose prudishness is legendary.

Virgil Gheorghiu author of La vie de Mahomet tells the story of how when the Prophet Muhammad first arrived in Medina and discovered that date bearing palms were artificially pollinated, he was scandalized and ordered the practice stopped. He re-instituted the practice the next year after date production plummeted, but insisted it be done when he was not around.

The Prophet was even worried about flutes as phallic symbols. He warned the believers about the seductive power of musical instruments that resemble a man's penis, such as a flute, into which you blew or used your fingers to coax out a tune. He banned the playing of such salacious music making devices, which brings us to the kirpan and the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board (Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys) of Montréal (45,000 students).

The Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board was the board that was compelled by the Supreme Court of Canada to allow children to bring concealed weapons to class. They fought the good fight, but it cost them dearly.

The Board learned its lesson. When Muslim parents asked that their children be excused from music classes and musical representations involving most wind instruments from piccolos, clarinets to didgeridoos, they readily acquiesced.

Prior to the Supreme Court decision on daggers in school, the school board would never have caved in to parent’s prejudices and irrational fears. However, the cost of fighting lawsuits brought on by religious fundamentalists has made most school boards just give in.

Also, if the Supreme Court says it’s okay for children to bring concealed weapons to class, what chance do they have of winning an argument against religion’s more outwardly benign demands.

Bernard Payeur

A Dagger is Drawn