Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

What time is that you ask? Election Time of course!

Usually we are hounded with ridiculous attack ads and broken promises. But this year, all that jolly good stuff is drowned out by the debate on Muslim womyn. Yes, muslim womyn.

Now usually I would say "YEAH! Womyn are making the issues during election time!" but alas, not this time around. Instead, there has been a hell storm of a recent decision by Elections Quebec to allow Muslim womyn to keep their faces concealed while going to the polling stations. This inflamed o'le Stevie Harper and he shot back that it was against Parliamentary rules, it reduces the democratic process, same rules for everyone, etc.

He claims that his biggest beef is that everyone else has to show proper ID and so why the preferential treatment? Well, apparently Mr Harper isn't totally aware of the rules himself because you can vote through the mail, which obviously doesn't require that you show your face, right? So when it comes to this issue, Harper is obviously not wanting to keep the rules equal for everyone, he's just not content with lady folk. Muslim lady folk in particular.

However, believe it or not, this isn't my issue here. What strikes me the most is that this story is everywhere. Everyone and their neighbour (and their neighbour's blind dog) is getting in on this story, reporting it like crazy. Yet hum... anyone think of asking Muslim womyn what they think? Well after hunting and hunting, it was the beloved institution that is the Canadian Broadcasting Commission that came through for me.

Sarah Elgazzar, spokeswoman with The Council on American Islamic Relations Canada says only a small number of Muslim women wear the niqab or burka, and they have never asked for special treatment, Elgazzar said.

Afifa Naz, an engineer in Montreal, wears a niqab but uderstands there are situations in which she must unveil. "This is not something we demand," she told CBC News. "We can accommodate the needs of society while practising our religion." Naz said she's always taken off her niqab to identify herself before voting, and also removes it when passing through airport security or border crossings.
Oh and the best of all,

The majority of Muslim women in Quebec don't wear niqabs, and none are on record as asking Elections Quebec for the right to vote without showing their faces.
So let me get this straight: Muslim womyn who wear burqas and niqabs, the womyn in question in this situation, had no problem with the status quo but everyone else apparently felt like their opinion meant something. Apparently, the white man knows more about Muslim womyn's needs than Muslim womyn themselves. So they created a shit storm that is now affecting everyone but helping no one.

My head hurts.
I never thought I'd say this, but I miss tacky attack ads. At least their lunacy and lack of importance was blatant.


Ren said...

All I can add is...



Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this...this actually came up in a class of mine the other day.

To play devil's advocate, when the group was just agreeing that this was a great thing for everyone, I said "yes, but these women need to show photo i.d to vote". Then I was justly schooled with "what about mail-in votes?" by the prof.

Hence why I am not a prof yet. LOL. All that to say that it's an interesting issue, and apparently one that the women themselves weren't arguing for (Kudos to you for pointing that one out).

Which begs the question, "what are the real issues (in Quebec and the rest of Canada) that this red herring is covering up?". And the answer to that one remains a mystery.


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Adele Nieves