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Tarek Fatah

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Burka Ban Triggers Feminist-Islamist Hysteria

Posted: 12/15/2011 11:19 am

The banning of the burka and niqab in Canada's citizenship courts has elicited some bizarre and hysterical reaction from Islamists, their leftist allies, and the liberal media.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's words had barely echoed across the country when the usual apologists of the Muslim Brotherhood agenda in Canada were churning out press releases denouncing the minister. The liberal media joined in with the Toronto Star falling just short of labelling Minister Kenney a bigot, referring to his action as "bigotry."

However, the Toronto Star's hysteria was mild compared to the reaction of a prominent Calgary cleric and a feminist academic from Kingston. First the cleric. Imam Syed Soharwardy is better known as the man who locked horns with then-publisher of the Western Standard Ezra Levant, and lost.

Reacting to Minister Kenney's announcement, Imam Soharwardy, who leads the grandiose-sounding Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, implied the minister was an Islamophobe and likened his action to that of the Nazi treatment of Jews in Germany. CTV News reported him as saying:

Muslims are going through that situation right now that the Jews faced before the Holocaust. Because intimidation of their faith, bad mouthing of their faith, bad mouthing about their book, bad mouthing about their beliefs. That was going on in Germany before the Holocaust, same thing is happening now about Muslims. So this is absolutely an alarming situation that a few Islamophobes are winning.

Soharwardy's outlandish statement drew a quick rebuke from the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. CEO Avi Benlolo, expressing "outrage," said in a statement:

Soharwardy has debased the memory of six million slaughtered Jews with a facile comparison to a new rule with which he, but not all Muslims, disagrees. To draw a parallel between a government decision requiring new immigrants to respect a basic value of this country - a decision supported by many Muslims, including the Muslim Canadian Congress, and the horrific experiences of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazis, demonstrates a complete insensitivity to and total lack of comprehension of the genocidal intent of Hitler's Final Solution. Sadly, the Canadian media seems to have given him a pass instead of confronting these outrageous statements.

If Imam Soharwardy invoked the Holocaust to denounce Minister Kenney, feminist professor Bev Baines, of Queen's University, was not far behind when she accused Kenney of "undressing" Muslim women to deny them citizenship of Canada.

Appearing on the SUN News Network's show Byline, Baines defended wearing the burka or niqab as an act of feminism. She told host Brian Lilley, "Minister Kenney wants to undress them." As a visibly shocked Lilley repeated her words, Baines reiterated her position, saying, "Absolutely. When you take off their niqab, you undress them."

Listening to this feminist defence of the burqa and niqab simply floored me. Was this the same Baines who had once warned that the intrusion of religion in public policy would dilute gender equality?

Back in 2006, in a research paper titled "Equality's Nemesis?" that appeared in the Journal of Law and Equality, the same professor who was defending the Islamist niqab had warned against what she referred to as the "threat" religions would pose for "women's equality rights."

An extract of her paper, available on the Internet, says:

The feminists who fought to strengthen the guarantee of sex equality in section 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms never suggested that the state was the only threat to women's equality. We were concerned that the multiculturalism provision might be interpreted to limit women's equality and this concern led us to lobby for the second sex equality provision that ultimately became section 28. However, I don't think we fully grasped the threat that the major religions - Christianity, Islam and Judaism - would pose for women's equality rights.

How can an Imam who only last week was celebrating Hanukkah with a Rabbi show such insensitivity towards the Jews? How could a feminist who only recently warned of the threat religious law posed to women's equality, support the niqab?

It seems we are living in an era of mediocrity where the merging of leftist and Islamist narrative has numbed our ability to see the obvious contradictions this unholy alliance poses to our civilization. How long will this era continue? Will Minister Kenney find allies from across the political divide?

One day I hope to see the Liberals and New Democrats join the Conservatives to say out loudly that they find the niqab to be a medieval monstrosity that is a manifestation of misogyny that has no place in Canada and that this ghastly attire is not a religious requirement, but a political statement thumbing its nose at Canada and its Western allies. Quebec has produced such cross-political consensus against the burka and niqab. Will Canada?


 
 
 

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