Seg­re­gated or in­te­grated

The Daily Courier - - LETTERS -

Dear Ed­i­tor: We all have a po­lit­i­cal/cul­tural bias; it de­fines our cul­ture as dis­tinct from oth­ers. Whether it is a ra­tio­nal dis­cern­ing bias with ref­er­ence to a moral com­pass, or one of emo­tional blind faith ex­trem­ism, is an en­dur­ing con­cern. Ex­trem­ism pro­motes prej­u­dice and di­vi­sive­ness, where the end jus­ti­fies the means; you are ei­ther for or against; bully pres­sure de­ter­mines right. How­ever, as with ba­nal ag­gres­sion, it may be jus­ti­fied as “self-de­fence” to es­cape recog­ni­tion.

We clearly see the emo­tional blind­ness of the ul­tra-right and the “Trump Dy­nasty”, a blind­ness that says “ugly is beau­ti­ful” and “truth is fake news” and that sells lies as truth.

On the other hand, time for some self-re­flec­tion.

Our “holier-than-thou” at­ti­tude has led to strangely favourable views of ul­tra-left ex­trem­ism; as if “two-wrongs-make-a-right”.

The Que­bec ban on the niqab brings this con­cern to the fore­front; leg­is­la­tion seeks to re­quire full fa­cial dis­clo­sure when seek­ing pub­lic ser­vices, court at­ten­dances, vot­ing, etc.

Now we have the ul­tra left ex­trem­ists colour­ing this as “racism”. Is it re­ally?

Be­fore de­cid­ing let us care­fully con­sider the facts;

1. We are a so­ci­ety built upon face-to-face con­tact in so­cial/busi­ness/gov­ern­ment. Much of the sin­cer­ity of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is mea­sured by iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of per­son, pur­pose and at­ti­tude, with eye con­tact and a con­firm­ing hand­shake.

2. The niqab in­volves a full cover of a woman’s face, ex­cept for an eye slit. It is a for­eign cus­tom, part of the ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive doc­trine of Sharia law, where women have long been re­garded as prop­erty.

3. Sharia law is not rec­og­nized in any Western demo­cratic so­ci­eties be­cause of its dra­co­nian dis­re­gard and op­pres­sion of women’s rights.

4. A dozen or more coun­tries, in­clud­ing Nor­way, France and Ger­many, have adopted sim­i­lar bans as that pro­posed by Que­bec.

5. Many Mus­lim women are sound­ing warn­ing (Globe & Mail, Oct. 24)

To quote The Globe ar­ti­cle: “Re­cently I talked with (R.N.), a Mus­lim from Bangladesh, who de­scribes the grow­ing em­brace of the niqab in Que­bec and else­where as an enor­mously re­gres­sive trend.”

“It fights in­te­gra­tion,” she says. She ar­gues that guilt rid­den fem­i­nists just don’t get it. They do not know what the niqab means and they should not be fight­ing for the right of women to self-op­press. And make no mis­take: ‘the niqab means that men should not hear your voice.’”

6. Just be­cause the law af­fects one group more than oth­ers, does not make it re­li­giously op­pres­sive; wit­ness our civic hol­i­days, and our Fri­day, Satur­day and Sun­day shop­ping laws.

You de­cide. Do we want a seg­re­gated or an in­te­grated so­ci­ety? Ian Royce Sisett


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