Does the niqab freak you out? You’re not alone.When I hear people respond with distate to the niqab or even the more radical burka, I get the feeling that those people know a thing or two about Islam, jihad and sharia, unlike our Susie Q, who's an ignoramus on that and other subjects, and who must haul out a "tu quoque" argument that demonstrates unequivocally how utterly out to lunch she is.
The Quebec government’s denial of services to the tiny fraction of women wearing the veil with eye slits has exposed the fault lines in our ethnic and gender landscape.
So now, let me ask, do Botox, plastic surgery and the zillion-dollar diet and cosmetic industries creep you out as much as the sight of a woman with her face covered by cloth?
I’m guessing that those of us who have a hate-on for the niqab haven’t asked ourselves that question. But we should, because we’re probably suffering from good old-fashioned Western-centric bigotry.
I’ll connect the dots in a minute, but first things first.
Women covering their faces for cultural or religious reasons have a right to services. For one thing, there are probably no more than several dozen women wearing the niqab in Quebec in the first place. Compare that to the thousands who will be asking for a female to do the pat-down at airport security. I notice no one’s screaming about “unreasonable” accommodation there.
As it is, reasonable accommodation won’t bankrupt the civil service. In most cases in Quebec’s public sector, niqab-wearing women can just move to the next wicket to get services from a female. So why draft a restrictive law?
What is it about the niqab that’s more disturbing than other fundamentalist restrictions? Many Canadian secular Jews detest the pollution ideologies of ultra-Orthodox men who won’t even look at women, let alone touch them. Should we ban the wigs worn by Orthodox women on the basis that only husbands are permitted to see their wives’ real hair?
To take it a step further, how about all those ultra-religious Christians who think wives should surrender to their husbands – in all things. I don’t see women anywhere in Christianity’s patriarchal paradigm of the father, son and holy ghost. Will we be stopping the faithful from wearing their crucifixes?
When I hear people respond with distaste to the niqab or the even more radical burka, I get the feeling that Islam is being targeted. The niqab is seen as a particularly loathsome symbol, emblematic of rigid Muslim societies where women can’t walk the streets on their own, much less get educated...
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Susie Q's Bollocksy Equation
NOW Magazine's Susan G. Cole, who's definitely in the top five vying for the title Most Useful Idiot in Pierre's Trudeaupia, has some, er, thoughts on how the Islamic facial shmatta is exactly like--wait for it--Botox: