Reasonable, ridiculous or racist?

The “debate” over “reasonable accommodation” of minorities in Quebec has hotted up in recent weeks.

The Bouchard-Taylor Commission, mandated by the provincial government in March, aims to report on the extent of so-called accommodation through consultation with the public and institutions, and make recommendations on what is considered “reasonable” – the benchmark being whether it respects common Quebec values.

The commission was set up following wide media coverage and public outcry at such incidents as the internationally reported “Herouxville debacle” and other incidents including the banning of hijabs on the soccer field.

With public forums allowing everyone to have their say, you would expect a fair amount of ridiculousness. But I honestly did not expect public figures to come up with such gems as these.

  • Lise Bourgault, former member of the Canadian Parliament suggested all religious clothing be prohibited in public places
  • The Quebec Council on the Status of Women called for a ban on public employees wearing “ostentatious” religious symbols

And both of these suggestions come in the name of respecting the fundamental Quebec value of equal rights and freedoms for both men and women.

Let me get this straight…

Ms Bourgault wants to ban Christian nuns and monks from leaving the premises of their orders unless they’re dressed like “normal people”? Not even any head coverings.

The QCSW wants public employees to not show their religions because doing so sends a message of inequality of the sexes. Religion therefore is fundamentally unequal by their reckoning. And yet, religious symbols in public institutions do not relate to equality between women and men, according to them.

Does this make as little sense to you as to me? Or have you also concluded that if we were to remove the Christian religion from the equation, it would add up?

6 thoughts on “Reasonable, ridiculous or racist?

  1. I think it is reasonable to ban hijabs from public placing citing the fact that hijabs are associated with Middle-Easterners and the 9/11 attacks.

    People would be less alarmed to think that they’re in the presence of a potential “terrorist-looking” person.

    Fabiola Castillo

  2. Nuns, on the other hand, do not need to be banned from wearing their headgear because they obviously look like nuns from a mile away.

    Fabiola Castillo

  3. Wow RR you are starting to get some seriously honest and scary comments.

    I don’t recall there being one hijab in a cockpit of the planes at 9/11. I also don’t see how a child playing soccer in a hijab in anyway compromises fair play or anyone’s safety.

    As the wife of a yarmulke-wearer, the whole idea of banning religious wear alarms me tremendously. Some of my husband’s larger “pillbox” yarmulkes look Muslim to some people (and not everyone can tell a nun from a mile away.) My husband’s white skin protects him from anything more annoying than an occasional ignorant question. For now.

    Why do I think the wearing of crosses will never go on the hit list?

  4. In my experience white skin + hijab = nasty looks and comments.

    But at least I know why – it’s because I’m a terrorist-looking person.

    I’m deeply saddened (but not surprised) by a women’s council trying to ban hijab.

    For last time, despite whatever you read or saw in Not Without My Daughter and Under/Behind/In/Juxtaposed with/living next door to The Veil and whatever other Orientalist fairy tale you subscribe to, the vast majority of women who wear hijab (especially in the west) do so of their own volition.

    Including me.

  5. I think the wearing of the Hijab is ridiculous but I would not advocate stopping people choosing to wear it.

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