NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice Says He Does Not Like The Niqab

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Stockholm

I was told by an anthropologist friend that women in the Arabian peninsula have been wearing niqab-like garments since long before Mohammed was born and before Islam even existed. Garb that coveres the mouth and nose is commonly worn in these desert and semi-desert areas to keep sand out of ones face and it evolved into being a common cultural marker.    

NDPP

'Why I Intend to Wear A Nigab At My Citizenship Ceremony'  -  by Zunera Ishaq

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/03/16/why-i-intend-to-wea...

"...I will take off my nigab at my oath ceremony without protest so I can be properly identified. I will not take my niqab off at that same ceremony for the sole reason that someone else doesn't like it, even if that person happens to be Stephen Harper."

 

Unionist

Stockholm wrote:

I was told by an anthropologist friend that women in the Arabian peninsula have been wearing niqab-like garments since long before Mohammed was born and before Islam even existed. Garb that coveres the mouth and nose is commonly worn in these desert and semi-desert areas to keep sand out of ones face and it evolved into being a common cultural marker.    

Just curious, sincerely, how your friend explains why men of the same culture and geography didn't and don't wear them.

NDPP
lagatta

There are desert peoples who wear garments that cover the mouth and nose, both men and women, such as the Touareg in the Sahara. The keffieh (many transliterations...) is certainly used by men in this way throughout the Middle East. The main distinction is that here, women are wearing such a garment when NOT in a sandstorm.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Boy,Harpo has lobbed out another epic wedge issue AKA opened a can of worms that is dividing progressives.

That's what you get when you govern for the lowest common denominator.

Here's an idea. Why not ban Muslims from entering Canada? Problem solved,right?

NDPP

 

http://www.culturepattern.com/2014/11/the-tuareg-nomads/

 tuareg men in their magnificant veils.

 

Aristotleded24

Winston wrote:
This whole niqab "issue" is a total non-issue. Just another way for f*ckwads like Trudeau and Harper to paper over their similarities with a false "difference".

What a load of bullsh*t!

Shame on Boulerice and Martin and Dewar for falling into this trap.

You'll notice that no one is talking about Harper and Trudeau's accord on C-51 anymore. Instead, everyone is in a tissy about the handful of women in this country that choose to wear the niqab. A totally thorough and successful diversion from REAL issues has been accomplished!

No wonder people don't vote anymore!

Exactly! I find this whole discussion to be a waste of time, especially since the issue was raised by people not of the Muslim culture. For me, whether or not any particular cultural dress is offensive for women to wear is something for the women of that culture to discuss, especially since the issue of, say, teachers teaching a class, has been brought up largely by others, not from Muslim women demanding the right to cover their faces as teaching. Meanwhile, the snowpack has vurtually disappeared from Winnipeg while it either set or came close to setting record highs over the weekend, Harper continues his assault with Bill C-51, the Greek government continues to struggle to enact the anti-austerity regime it was elected to carry out, Palestineans can continue to expect brutalization regardless of who wins tomorrow's election, there remains much anger in the US about police mistreatment of minorities (having boiled over in the recent shooting of 2 Ferguson police officers) and Ukraine is still being used as a pawn in the struggle for dominance between the US and Russia, and this is by no means a comprehensive list of issues we are facing.

Perspective. Let's focus on the real issues here.

NDPP

Yes and Tom Terrific was in Toronto and didn't even mention C-51...

Debater

alan smithee wrote:

Boy,Harpo has lobbed out another epic wedge issue AKA opened a can of worms that is dividing progressives.

That's what you get when you govern for the lowest common denominator.

Here's an idea. Why not ban Muslims from entering Canada? Problem solved,right?

Harper is a brilliant strategist.

You are right that he knows how to divide the electorate and make things difficult for the opposition parties while always keeping his own conservative base strong in every election.

He also knows that the opposition parties will fight amongst themselves and that the NDP will spend a lot of its time attacking the Liberals rather than attacking him (eg. what we see here on Babble every day).

No wonder he always looks so confident and has that sly smile on his face.  He knows he's on his way to winning another election.

Stockholm

NDPP wrote:

Yes and Tom Terrific was in Toronto and didn't even mention C-51...

umm...he attended a rally against C-51 on Saturday and was a speaker there

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Debater wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

Boy,Harpo has lobbed out another epic wedge issue AKA opened a can of worms that is dividing progressives.

That's what you get when you govern for the lowest common denominator.

Here's an idea. Why not ban Muslims from entering Canada? Problem solved,right?

Harper is a brilliant strategist.

You are right that he knows how to divide the electorate and make things difficult for the opposition parties while always keeping his own conservative base strong in every election.

He also knows that the opposition parties will fight amongst themselves and that the NDP will spend a lot of its time attacking the Liberals rather than attacking him (eg. what we see here on Babble every day).

No wonder he always looks so confident and has that sly smile on his face.  He knows he's on his way to winning another election.

If he can continue to keep the Opposition parties fighting each other,he will win the election and he knows it.

Debater

Stockholm wrote:

NDPP wrote:

Yes and Tom Terrific was in Toronto and didn't even mention C-51...

umm...he attended a rally against C-51 on Saturday and was a speaker there

NDPP's point was that Tom did not mention it at the NDP RALLY.

Michael Den Tandt wrote a column last night confirming what NDPP said above.

Mulcair spoke about 'kitchen table' & 'pocket book' issues.

Mulcair (probably under advice from Brad Lavigne) is trying to follow in Layton's footsteps (and Andrea Horwath's?) and move the NDP away from the left and make it sound more like a conservative platform.

Tom Mulcair enters the battle for Ontario without mentioning niqabs or the anti-terror bill

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/03/15/michael-den-tandt-tom-mulcair-en...

Stockholm

Gee since when did promising a universal child care program and a $15/hour federal minimum wage become "something that sounds more conservative" can you point me to a defunition of "conservatism" that would include policies like that?

Debater

The main focus of discussion here was not the universal child care program.

---

Notably absent was any hint of high-falootin’ idealism, union-boosting, eat-the-rich rhetoric or environmentalist sabre-rattling. This was an unadorned pitch intended to appeal to the basic economic interests of a broad cross-section of Torontonians, solidly working class, with a minimum of fuss and bother.

He has finally, after three years as leader of his party, found an approach, borrowed in part from the Conservatives, that is calibrated to win GTA votes

---

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/03/15/michael-den-tandt-tom-mulcair-en...

NorthReport

Actually here is what the Official Opposition Leader said in Toronto in its entirely, without Debater's Liberal fog and noise.

For the record: Thomas Mulcair tries to win over Toronto

NDP leader Tom Mulcair details his urban agenda

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/for-the-record-tom-mulcair-tries-to-win-...

 

ajaykumar

the Ndp was pretty quiet on Jean Charest's bill 78 in  response to student protest. Hyprocrisy!!!!!!!!

genstrike

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Exactly! I find this whole discussion to be a waste of time, especially since the issue was raised by people not of the Muslim culture...

Perspective. Let's focus on the real issues here.

Agreed.  I thought we as a society dealt with the issue of reasonable accommodation regarding dress codes for religious minorities years ago.  It's been 25 years since the case of the Sikh gentleman who wanted to be an RCMP officer.

Instead of having a huge hullabaloo about this, I propose a simple way of dealing with this problem:

If you go to a government office to renew your passport and are met with a woman wearing a niqab at the counter, instead of having a crisis over it and making it into the most pressing national issue of our time, simply treat her with the same respect as you would treat anyone else.  Problem solved.

There, I just saved us all whatever a royal commission costs.

ajaykumar

The tories have build a base among the Sikh Community, yet many sikh women wear the dupatta, which covers the head , I would know I am a sikh.

Debater

NorthReport wrote:

Actually here is what the Official Opposition Leader said in Toronto in its entirely, without Debater's Liberal fog and noise.

For the record: Thomas Mulcair tries to win over Toronto

NDP leader Tom Mulcair details his urban agenda

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/for-the-record-tom-mulcair-tries-to-win-...

What about your fog and noise?

Considering that you start more threads on this board than any other poster, it can be hard for other people to make their voices heard around here.  But I suspect that's part of your purpose for being here . . .

Anyway, I quoted Michael Den Tandt, who watched the NDP rally.  I didn't write it.

Aristotleded24

genstrike wrote:
I propose a simple way of dealing with this problem:

If you go to a government office to renew your passport and are met with a woman wearing a niqab at the counter, instead of having a crisis over it and making it into the most pressing national issue of our time, simply treat her with the same respect as you would treat anyone else.  Problem solved.

There, I just saved us all whatever a royal commission costs.

Exactly. Talk about First World problems!

quizzical

i don't like niqabs, hijabs, burkas, or dupattas.

 

 oh and i really don't like the red hats of the ladies red hat society either.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I don't like conservatives. Can we ban them from society? Or deport them to Israel.

Brachina

alan smithee wrote:

I don't like conservatives. Can we ban them from society? Or deport them to Israel.

 

 I think the middle east has enough misery, why add to it, when you could send them to Mars instead one way trip.

Brachina

http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/news/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/...

 

 some clarification on the issue of the Niqba amoung other issues.

onlinediscountanvils

As It Happens touched on this issue on Tuesday's program. First, in an interview with the woefully uniformed and outmatched Bill Murdoch, in regard to Larry Miller's comments.

But perhaps more enlightening was Carol Off's interview when a young woman who chooses to wear a niqab. The fear that she expressed for the safety of her own family as well as that of other women is why comments by the likes of Boulerice are not innocuous, and should not get a pass by anyone who wants to oppose racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.

The second interview begins at the 12:06 mark.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-tuesday-edition-1.2998444

Debater

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

As It Happens touched on this issue on Tuesday's program. First, in an interview with the woefully uniformed and outmatched Bill Murdoch, in regard to Larry Miller's comments.

Yes, Michael Den Tandt wrote last night that Bill Murdoch got demolished by Carol Off:

Carol Off is demolishing Murdoch. Painful to listen to.

https://twitter.com/mdentandt/status/577962487418605568

onlinediscountanvils

Aysha Luqman-Pandor: [url=http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/03/19/Niqab-Gave-Me-Voice/]'My Niqab Gave Me a Voice'[/url]

I was told once, a while ago, prior to my decision to wear the veil, that how I choose to dress will give the first impression to others of who I am. It was a statement made by my high school teacher, and it held true. After all, clothing has a great impact on how we feel and how we are seen. We dress in ways to reflect our choices, our beliefs, our attitudes and our mentality.

So, if covering myself makes me feel safe, comforted, spiritually elevated, and an equal in the eyes of those who see me, then what are you saying by asking me to take it off?

I'm not here to state a ruling on whether the veil is mandatory in my faith or not, I'm here simply to say it is mandatory for me, and I choose to observe it.

I find it oddly unsettling that your number one issue with the niqab is that it wasn't expressing a "Canadian" identity.

You never mentioned security, feminist issues or even safety issues in wearing it. Perhaps our foreign affairs, economy and education system would thrive if you put as much energy into those issues as you did in this one. I feel it's belittling of a politician of a high rank to play fashion police.

Ishmael N. Daro: [url=http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/03/20/what-we-really-debate-when-we-de... debate over the niqab is clearly a proxy for larger anxieties about Muslims in Canada[/url]

I have no great affinity for the niqab.

It’s an outgrowth of an ultraconservative iteration of Islam that I am uncomfortable with – and that precipitated my family’s immigration from Afghanistan. My mother was a reformer who fought for decades against such oppressive religious conservatism and I have never seen her wear anything heavier than a loose headscarf, and even then on only a handful of occasions.

But the niqab, as a symbol, is something I will defend.

It is clearly a proxy for many Canadians’ anxiety about multiculturalism and religious accommodation, especially as it relates to newcomers from Muslim-majority countries. And the vociferousness of the attacks against the niqab compel me to speak – because to stay silent on this issue is to excuse a larger climate of anti-Muslim rhetoric that is becoming harder and harder to ignore.

Unionist

It is fortunately possible to fight against racism and Islamophobia and suppression of women and threats to women who choose to cover their faces and invasion of other countries to "liberate" women and girls and against Harperite fascist concoctions of "Canadian identity" and "Canadian values"...

...without kidding ourselves about what it means when a society (not an individual) raises its women and girls, but never ever their men, to cover their faces in public:

Quote:

I have no great affinity for the niqab.

It’s an outgrowth of an ultraconservative iteration of Islam that I am uncomfortable with – and that precipitated my family’s immigration from Afghanistan. My mother was a reformer who fought for decades against such oppressive religious conservatism and I have never seen her wear anything heavier than a loose headscarf, and even then on only a handful of occasions.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

...without kidding ourselves about what it means when a society (not an individual) raises its women and girls, but never ever their men, to cover their faces in public:

WTF!!  What society are you talking about?? The women at the centre of this are Canadian, most by birth. I guess our society fails your test. The young women speaking out almost all come from Canadian families where their mothers were not veiled. I grew up in a "good" Catholic patriarchal family. My mother internalized her own subjegation to the head of the family because that is what she beleved in. She called it faith.

But go ahead keep conflating wearing the veil with proof of the evil Islamic culture. Given that I don't give a sweet damn whether the religion of oppresion is Islamic or Xian or Jewish or Hindu I think attacking the few women wearing the veil is feeding the Harper hate machine.

 

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

WTF!!  What society are you talking about?? The women at the centre of this are Canadian, most by birth. I guess our society fails your test.

You got that right. Our society still treats women as unequal, in a myriad of respects.

Quote:
The young women speaking out almost all come from Canadian families where their mothers were not veiled.

Yeah, so do lots of nuns come from such families. And if you think that an individual woman chooses to express her identity by covering her face in some sort of social and cultural vacuum, then I'll have to disagree with you.

Quote:
I grew up in a "good" Catholic patriarchal family. My mother internalized her own subjegation to the head of the family because that is what she beleved in. She called it faith.

And if she told you that was her "personal choice", we should respect it. But we shouldn't confuse it with a liberated woman in a liberated society. Should we?

Quote:
But go ahead keep conflating wearing the veil with proof of the evil Islamic culture. Given that I don't give a sweet damn whether the religion of oppresion is Islamic or Xian or Jewish or Hindu I think attacking the few women wearing the veil is feeding the Harper hate machine.

I don't give a sweet damn which of these bullshit superstitious dumbass religions oppresses women either. And I have never attacked any woman whatsoever for wearing a veil. Please reflect and question how you can reach such a conclusion. But there's a difference between wearing a veil, and writing theses about how such fashion choices are expressions of personal liberation. I respect people's choices, but I can also recognize self-deception, and/or deception of others, when I hear it. I've heard enough bullshit from the Jews and the Christians about how faith serves humanity. I don't need to hear it from anyone else, thanks very much.

Let me know when some man covers his face to express his individuality, or modesty, or to overcome his shyness, or whatever other reasons have been given by some individuals. At that precise moment, I will celebrate another step forward for equality.

 

 

NDPP

If Stephen Harper Is Serious About Criminalizing 'Barbaric Cultural Practices', Then He Should Arrest Himself For Even Suggesting It. And While He's At It, He Can Lock Up All The Other Western Leaders Who Have Savaged The Muslim World Too  -  by Robert Fisk

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/if-stephen-harper-is-serious...

"...And you can be sure that this same prime minister in his outrage at the barbaric practices of ISIS - and Canadian Muslims - will understandably now be avoiding all talk of a little scandal that must be bothering him quite a bit in private..."

 

Sineed

unionist wrote:
Let me know when some man covers his face to express his individuality, or modesty, or to overcome his shyness, or whatever other reasons have been given by some individuals. At that precise moment, I will celebrate another step forward for equality.

onlinediscountanvils

Unionist wrote:

Let me know when some man covers his face to express his individuality, or modesty, or to overcome his shyness, or whatever other reasons have been given by some individuals. At that precise moment, I will celebrate another step forward for equality.

You've never seen or heard of a beard before?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Meh.  Beards are just eyebrows for your chin.

What about glasses?  They're like 256-bit encryption for your face!

[IMG]http://i62.tinypic.com/25au5xc.jpg[/IMG]

The ultimate disguise!!

Unsurprisingly, our Western double-standard is so pervasive that not only can you wear them in court, some judges do too!

[IMG]http://i62.tinypic.com/2h5rvwn.jpg[/IMG]

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
Let me know when some man covers his face to express his individuality, or modesty, or to overcome his shyness, or whatever other reasons have been given by some individuals. At that precise moment, I will celebrate another step forward for equality.

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Indeed, sometimes people do wear things to protect their face.

[IMG]http://i57.tinypic.com/16k1354.jpg[/IMG]

Know what's one difference though? 

Then they take them off.  Neither the catcher, nor the cops, wears that face covering to go grocery shopping.

Slumberjack

What's so special about the grocery store?  Oh, all the cameras and the security guards, that's right.  It's for that reason the patriarchy would like to decide about how some women should present themselves.  Or is it that the phrase 'grocery store' somehow represents the embodiment of our western, commodified existence.  Too close perhaps to the very core of who we are as a society of freedom loving shoppers to have all of that intruded upon and/or sullied by a foreign presence.  The final straw of our tolerance about to snap at the check out lane?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

I've heard enough bullshit from the Jews and the Christians about how faith serves humanity. I don't need to hear it from anyone else, thanks very much.

In my experience it is not possible to argue against this sentiment. I am gobsmacked at the level and deepth of bigotry on display.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
What's so special about the grocery store?  Oh, all the cameras and the security guards, that's right.  It's for that reason the patriarchy would like to decide about how some women should present themselves.  Or is it that the phrase 'grocery store' somehow represents the embodiment of our western, commodified existence.  Too close perhaps to the very core of who we are as a society of freedom loving shoppers to have all of that intruded upon and/or sullied by a foreign presence.  The final straw of our tolerance about to snap at the check out lane?

No, nothing special.  Just an example of being out in public.

lagatta

Odd, a specific grocery store (the Loblaws at Parc and Jean-Talon, rebranded as "Provigo le Marché") is the only place I"ve ever (and rarely) seen any women in niqabs. So I'd probably have chosen that random example as well.

Well, we do live in a capitalist society. I'd choose something a bit more bling to describe a commodified existence, as, far as I know everyone has to shop for groceries.

How on earth is it "bigoted" to have an aversion to religions, as long as it is all of them? Odd, perusing online forums (for example, at the Guardian) there are a lot of actual bigoted people with an animus towards Islam and the Qoran, thinking it is uniquely violent and bloodthirsty. They obviously haven't read the Bible! The Abrahamic monotheisms are closely related.

Slumberjack

Mr. Magoo wrote:
No, nothing special.  Just an example of being out in public.

You mean religion being out in public, like this:

Or this:

 

So in this long running debate we've gone from inconvenient comparisons to religious symbolism presiding over the everyday routine of public life in this country, including holidays set aside to celebrate religious events, all of which people don't like to mention very much when we're comparing in-your-face religious symbols, to problems now with citizenship oaths, driver's licences photos, that sort of thing.  If we're going to outlaw the Niqab, it all must go, starting with the dominant symbols to set the example of what type of society people say they want.  As far as I can tell the whole debate around the niqab is not really about secularism though, nor is it about anyone's rights.

lagatta

Yes, I think we (in Québec) should get rid of the damned crucifix in the National Assembly, absolutely. Not only because no particular religion should be on display there, but because it was a "gift" from none other than Maurice Duplessis.

And not much love for the British crown around here, whether or not it contains a cross. However I don't think historic flags that contain crosses or Muslim crescent moons are necessarily incompatible with secularism - officially secular Tunisia and Turkey have the latter, and the Nordic countries with their asymmetrical cross flags aren't particularly pastor or priest-ridden. Here in Québec, I'd far prefer the secular, republican drapeau des Patriotes though.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
You mean religion being out in public, like this

No, I just meant regular old "out in public".

Quote:
If we're going to outlaw the Niqab, it all must go, starting with the dominant symbols to set the example of what type of society people say they want.

I wasn't aware that Canada was planning to outlaw the Niqab on some kind of secularism grounds.  Harper is proposing a strictly secular Canada now?  How's that going to play to his religious base?

Quote:
As far as I can tell the whole debate around the niqab is not really about secularism though

I would agree.  If you can't wear your Niqab for your driver's licence photo, it's not because it's affiliated with a religion, it's because it effectively obscures your identity.  If it helps, those riot cops in your photo surely aren't allowed to wear their helmets in their driver's licence photos either.

lagatta

Neither is the catcher, a goalie or a fencer.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

 

Here is what the perp who molested me was wearing. Get back to me when that symbol of oppresion is banned from Canada. In the meantime if we can have people looking like Jesuits after what they did historically what gives us the right to judge other culture's symbols of religious oppresion.

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:
In the meantime if we can have people looking like Jesuits after what they did historically what gives us the right to judge other culture's symbols of religious oppresion.

No, not "culture".

Aysha Luqman-Pandor wrote:
It has me a little furious that you would refer to my religion as a culture. Also, that you use your platform to put down many intelligent, hardworking and devoted women who follow this religion willingly and observe the niqab happily.

It's religion. Otherwise, it would be difficult to defend under the Charter and human rights legislation. "Cultural" preferences don't get a pass in Canada on human rights grounds.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Religions are defined by the cultures of the people who practice them. The expression of any faith can be cultural while also a being a personal religious belief. 

I find your obsessive attacks on women of faith to be very paternalistic and condescending. I guess I don't think that as a first world white man it is my right to insist that brown women of faith stay within the bounds of the comfort zone of the Harperite faithful.  But you seem to believe you have that privilage.

lagatta

Funny how similar those garments are. Really, not a hell of a lot of difference between the most hardline forms of the various strains of Abrahamic monotheism.

That said, there are also huge numbers of such Abrahamic monotheists who are just middling decent human beings, and shocked by exploitative or murderous excesses. I'm thinking for example that there were several orthodox Jewish families who had opened up their homes to the abused children in that strange ultra-Chassidic sect from Boisbriand, after the call for kosher-keeping,  Yiddish-speaking foster families.

lagatta

I guess Tunisian women are brown, and Sicilian women are white, although when I was there they seemed to be pretty much the same hue? I understand that race (which doesn't really exist; all that exists are skin colours, facial feature types and some other markers such as dominant blood types) is culturally determined, but so is privilege.

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