Quebec values charter: Religious minorities face fight-or-flight choice

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The choices for Quebec's observant religious minorities now seem to boil down to fight or flight with the release of details of Quebec's proposed charter of values.


It bans religious symbols from the public service and would forbid employees from wearing such garments as the hijab, turban and kippa.

Compliance is another option, but not for Diaa Quarmauch, a Muslim woman who came to Canada from Morocco. Forget about asking her to remove her hijab.

"I will never change," the 34-year-old said Tuesday. "I will never take it off. I think the Muslims will leave Canada before they take off their veils."

Although religious minorities are open to debating the charter, the tone was more defiant on Tuesday.

Demonstrations are slated for later this week and a Muslim leader said his group is ready to go to court if necessary.

"I promise you, if this becomes law, we will help anyone to challenge this law all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to," said Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal.

The so-called "values charter" announced by the government would impose broad restrictions, unique in North America, on religious clothing for employees in all public sector institutions including schools, hospitals and courts.

While the cross above Montreal's Mount Royal and the crucifix in the legislature are OK because they are considered part of the province's heritage, government employees wearing a crucifix would have to conceal it. Religious headgear such as hijabs, burkas, kippas, veils and turbans would also be forbidden.

Written By: Nelson Wyatt and Peter Rakobowchuk
continue to source article at ctvnews.ca

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    • In reply to #1 by Katy Cordeth:

      Fight.
      Absolutely! And then, once having won the right to cover up, Islamic woman can go on to fight for further concessions to religious tolerance. Such as the right to be beaten by their husbands; the right to be considered only half as reliable as a male witness in court; the right to receive only half the inheritance that a man is entitled to; the right not to be allowed in the mosque or to fast when menstruating; or the right to marry their daughters before puberty. (After all, if it was good enough for the prophet, peace and blessings etc, who are we to complain). Yes, and that’s just a small sample of the many worthy causes that the Islamic sisters have to struggle for in the repressive West.

  1. It bans religious symbols from the public service and would forbid employees from wearing such garments as the hijab, turban and kippa.

    Compliance is another option, but not for Diaa Quarmauch, a Muslim woman who came to Canada from Morocco. Forget about asking her to remove her hijab.

    “I will never change,” the 34-year-old said Tuesday. “I will never take it off. I think the Muslims will leave Canada before they take off their veils.”

    Nobody is forcing her to take a Canadian government job! If she does not like the working conditions she will have to work in other employment, where there is no dress code – unless she wants to go back to Morocco where it seems she would have no problem being dressed as she wishes, but might find other employment conditions rather different!

    http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2011/09/8883/moroccan-women-in-the-workplace/

    Women’s attainment of economic independence and the role of women as financial providers are still opposed by traditional views. Interconnected is of course also men’s view of their role as the sole provider. Islamic instructions dictate that the husband/father serves as the provider of the family, regardless of his wife’s possible wealth; ingrained in culture and tradition, using his wife’s money can be considered humiliating and shameful.

    Unfortunately these women face many inequalities once they enter the workforce; the most pertinent issue being the significant salary gap Moroccan women continue to earn, on average, which is 40 percent less than men with similar degrees and positions. Women in urban areas often work for less than the minimum wage or work longer hours than recorded.

    One of the professional areas where women occupy a particular low status is in the realm of Moroccan mass politics. In 2008, the UN Development Program Gender-related Development Index placed Morocco 146 out of 158 countries, shown by objective measurements of international institutions.

    So as an immigrant she can work to Canadian conditions or choose Moroccan conditions back in her homeland!

    • In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

      Nobody is forcing her to take a Canadian government job!

      Did you even read the article?

      The so-called “values charter” announced by the government would impose broad restrictions, unique in North America, on religious clothing for employees in all public sector institutions including schools, hospitals and courts.

      Diaa Quarmauch doesn’t say what her chosen field of employment is, but if she happens to have trained as, lets say a schoolteacher, and is currently gainfully employed in this capacity, should she have to give that up and take a job schlepping hamburgers in some Quebec branch of McDonalds?

      So as an immigrant she can work to Canadian conditions or choose Moroccan conditions back in her homeland!

      Yeah, why don’t Diaa and those like her just fuck off back to Bongo Bongo Land?!

      They’d be doing us all a favor!

      It’s the government way or the highway, Ms Quarmauch!

      Like it or lump it!

      Sorry, your excessive use of exclamation marks seems to be catching!

      There we go, that’s better.

      How anyone can fail to be chilled to the marrow by something that goes by the Orwellian-sounding name Charter of Values is a mystery to me.

      • In reply to #4 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

        Nobody is forcing her to take a Canadian government job!

        Did you even read the article?

        The so-called “values charter” announced by the government would impose broad restrictions, unique in North America, on religious clothing for employees in all public sector institutions including schools, hospitals and courts.

        Yes I did read it, and unlike some, I actually understood it!

        Sorry, your excessive use of exclamation marks seems to be catching!

        I suppose (like the discussion on Syria ) when you have no understanding of the issues, a few knee-jerk emotional outbursts and comments on formatting will suffice!

        That is the point about western civilisation. It can’t be preserved if immigrants from backward areas import their backwardness with them, and are allowed to impose their backwardness on the more civilised host populations.

        If an immigrant likes Moroccan working conditions, let her work in Morocco! If she wants to adopt a new life in Canada – adapt!

        Civilised countries do not need to import inflexible backwardness into their government services!

        • In reply to #13 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #4 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

          Nobody is forcing her to take a Canadian government job!

          Did you even read the article?

          The so-called “values charter” announced by the government would impose broad restrictions, unique in North America, on religious clothing for employees in all public sector institutions including schools, hospitals and courts.

          Yes I did read it, and unlike some, I actually understood it!

          Yeah, okay, I’ll give you that. Working for the government suggests to me something other than the entire public sector, but I appreciate that is how many if not most people interpret it nowadays. I guess I’m so used to your comments entirely missing the point that I jumped in without thinking. :)

          You didn’t seem to understand alaskansee’s comment at #27, which I think makes us even. He was asking what those Muslims who were born in Quebec should do. Should they apply for asylum in Morocco, perhaps?

          Do you really think it’s right that indigenous professionals working as teachers, doctors, nurses etc should be forced to choose between the career they may have spent years training for, and possibly becoming an apostate and being ostracized from family and community?

          What part of you thinks this is in any way acceptable in a liberal democracy?

          I suppose (like the discussion on Syria ) when you have no understanding of the issues, a few knee-jerk emotional outbursts and comments on formatting will suffice!

          It’s not about formatting; it’s about style. Excessive use of this punctuation mark betrays a lack of confidence in what one is trying to convey to others, which I suppose in the case of certain commentors is understandable.

          Go and get one of your copies of The God Delusion and open it at a random page. Then count the number of exclamation marks on that page.

          I’ve written quite a few comments about the issue of banning symbols of religious faith over the past few days, mostly on this thread. Instead of making snide comments about my ‘not understanding the issue’, why don’t you try refuting what I said over there.

          I’m afraid you lost any and all credibility on the Syrian issue when you wrote on this thread:

          It looks like the old “chemical weapons story”, has been revived to justify further propagation of civil unrest and civil wars in Syria etc.!,

          and then went on to defend the Assad regime even before all evidence about who was responsible for the chemical attacks on his enemies had been gathered.

          Do Christian conservatives believe in the First Amendment

          And frankly your oft-repeated claim that revolutions never bring about any good is ridiculous.

          • In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

            It’s not about formatting; it’s about style. Excessive use of this punctuation mark betrays a lack of confidence in what one is trying to convey to others, which I suppose in the case of certain commentors is understandable.

            This is quite comical. I have been accused of many things by those whose ramblings I have deconstructed in the past, but the claim of “lack of confidence” in my evidence is a first!
            It is unfortunate that where I have used bold highlighting to pick out key points, or used punctuation to express surprise at strange unsupported claims, you have missed the points but chosen to comment on the formatting”.

            I’m so used to your comments entirely missing the point that I jumped in without thinking.

            Check up on psychological projection!

            I’m afraid you lost any and all credibility on the Syrian issue when you wrote….

            Perhaps you should catch up on events since I made those comments, and perhaps read the additional quotes and links to evidence I put on those threads. Fortunately the governments have followed my views, rather than yours. Throwing more bombs around will not make life better for the people where they are being exploded! Particularly if later investigations show blame has been wrongly placed and the innocent parties bombed by interfering foreign powers.

            As for the various questions @38, my answers should be clear from my earlier posts.

            Your exaggerated misquoting of my claims, simply illustrates the lack of comprehension of my comments and the issues, accompanied by knee-jerk jumping in without thinking!

            Unthinking support for rebels against legal governments does not improve lives or harmony within communities.

          • In reply to #44 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

            Your exaggerated misquoting of my claims, simply illustrates the lack of comprehension of my comments and the issues, accompanied by knee-jerk jumping in without thinking!

            Déjà vu all over again.

          • In reply to #44 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

            It’s not about formatting; it’s about style. Excessive use of this punctuation mark betrays a lack of confidence in what one is trying to convey to others, which I suppose in the case of certain commenters is understandable.

            This is quite comical. I have been accused of many things by those whose ramblings I have deconstructed in the past, but the claim of “lack of confidence” in my evidence is a first!

            Why do I get the feeling I hit a nerve?

            I confess I haven’t noticed you deconstruct other users’ ramblings. I’ve seen you bluster and bully. Is that what you meant?

            It is unfortunate that where I have used bold highlighting to pick out key points, or used punctuation to express surprise at strange unsupported claims, you have missed the points but chosen to comment on the formatting”.

            That’s me: always missing the point.

            I’m afraid you lost any and all credibility on the Syrian issue when you wrote on this thread:

            It looks like the old “chemical weapons story”, has been revived to justify further propagation of civil unrest and civil wars in Syria etc.!,

            Perhaps you should catch up on events since I made those comments, and perhaps read the additional quotes and links to evidence I put on those threads. Fortunately the governments have followed my views, rather than yours…

            I’m loath to be the one to break it to you, Alan, but I think it’s generally accepted now, at least by most non-conspiracy types, that chemical weapons were used against Bashar al-Assad’s opponents.

            Which are ‘the governments’ you believe followed your views, by the way? The British government’s position certainly seems at odds with France’s; the Russian govt. has been at loggerheads with the US government. They can’t all be in agreement with you. If you’re going to lay claim to a comprehensive understanding of the Syrian issue, you’ll at least have to try to speak in specifics. I think at least a few ‘governments’ agree with me.

            …Throwing more bombs around will not make life better for the people where they are being exploded!

            Any strikes will/would have been directed at those places launching chemical attacks. No, it probably wouldn’t make life better for any Assad forces stationed at such places; but for the intended targets of these weapons, I think not dying should be included under that catch-all term.

            …Particularly if later investigations show blame has been wrongly placed and the innocent parties bombed by interfering foreign powers.

            What the deuce is that supposed to mean? They’d be just as dead. How could later investigations showing that blame has been misplaced possibly make their situation any worse?

            Unthinking support for rebels against legal governments does not improve lives or harmony within communities.

            But unthinking support for legal governments against rebels does?

            Your exaggerated misquoting of my claims, simply illustrates the lack of comprehension of my comments and the issues, accompanied by knee-jerk jumping in without thinking!

            Yeah, anyone who doesn’t agree with what you have to say lacks comprehension, hasn’t thought things through and is only capable of knee-jerk reactions. The possibility you might be wrong is unthinkable.

          • In reply to #70 by Katy Cordeth:

            I confess I haven’t noticed you deconstruct other users’ ramblings. I’ve seen you bluster and bully. Is that what you meant?

            You really must have some very good bias blinkers! Have you checked out psychological projection yet?

            That’s me: always missing the point.

            Yep! Regularly as at present.

            Perhaps you should catch up on events since I made those comments, and perhaps read the additional quotes and links to evidence I put on those threads. Fortunately the governments have followed my views, rather than yours…

            I’m loath to be the one to break it to you, Alan, but I think it’s generally accepted now, at least by most non-conspiracy types, that chemical weapons were used against Bashar al-Assad’s opponents.

            Just like when you made up your claim that Syrian rebels were fighting for “liberal democracy” against Islamification, you do not read and comprehend posts or links for an evidenced view.
            Allegations have been made of the government and the rebels using gas weapons, and various politicians and media have made up hype. The facts remain, that no independent criminal investigation has determined who used gas weapons where, in Syria.

            Assigning blame for the attack in Ghouta was not part of the UN inspectors’ remit.

            Any strikes will/would have been directed at those places launching chemical attacks.

            Presumably using your crystal ball to determine who to bomb and shoot at, and from where the attacks were launched – with the perpetrators still sitting there weeks later, waiting to be bombed.

            Yeah, anyone who doesn’t agree with what you have to say lacks comprehension, hasn’t thought things through and is only capable of knee-jerk reactions.

            Not just “anyone”, but there is a strong case for some. You really should check out evidence and read comments carefully, before posting.

            I am not going to derail this thread with a petty spat, so I will not comment further here on the potential for further Islamification in Syria.
            The linked thread is still open for comments.

          • In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

            I’m not sure I fully understand that part about the public sector. I think it means that they’re part of the government, technically, (for instance, public schools as opposed to private schools), but I’m not entirely sure.

            Also, I see where you’re coming from about the dress code issue and about forcing people to choose between employment and community, but I think it depends on to what extent they actually push the dress code and to what extent resisting it can be excused. In an office environment, say, I don’t think it really matters what you wear so long as you do your job, as opposed to working on a construction site that requires safety gear. I mean, if it was something like a crucifix that could be tucked under a shirt, or a turban, I don’t think they need to clash. I’m not so sure if a person insisting on defying a dress code despite policy is so innocent, though only if the dress code has a good reason behind it.

            I mean, take this quotation from the article:

            Isham Singh, who was born in India and raised in Quebec, agrees the issue needs to be debated. He said it would be better for the government to promote inclusive values and teach Quebecers about different religions.

            “Definitely the neutrality of the state is important, definitely equality between men and women is of the utmost importance but unfortunately we feel that the means by which the Parti Quebecois intends to achieve the claimed neutrality is not appropriate,” said Singh, a 25-year-old lawyer.

            “There is a distinct difference between a person’s ideology and the way they look. Just because someone wears a cross or a kippa or a turban doesn’t mean they will be partial to one person or another.”

            I definitely see and agree with his position, to an extent, but then how to reconcile that with a secular aim? I’m not sure to what extent merely wearing religious clothing can be said to be endorsing it or otherwise taking a non-neutral stance for it. A crucifix could simply be jewellery, i.e. personal choice.

            TL;DR: I can’t make up my mind. I’m all for secularism, yes, but I’ve never been sure how exactly this issue over clothes is supposed to work within that paradigm. Even after reading this, I’m still not sure.

          • In reply to #46 by Zeuglodon:

            TL;DR: I can’t make up my mind. I’m all for secularism, yes, but I’ve never been sure how exactly this issue over clothes is supposed to work within that paradigm. Even after reading this, I’m still not sure.

            A dress code along religious grounds in order to promote harmony for all employees in Northern Ireland is well understood.

            The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998

            The Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987

            Because of that legislation all sorts of things have been banned in the workplace for fear of offending the sensibilities of an other. Sports shirts, jewelry, tattoos….flags and emblems.

            In 1989 the Fair Employment Code of Practice first recommended that employers, in order to advance equality of opportunity, should aim to:

            “promote a good and harmonious working environment and atmosphere in which no worker feels under threat or intimidated because of his or her religious belief or political opinion”.

            “There are some individual emblems and symbols that, through their history and associations, and whether intended or not, have come to have a significance that has the potential to make those of a different identity feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. In this category are likely to fall a variety of symbols and emblems with the potential to cause disharmony, and especially those that have been directly linked to community conflict in Northern Ireland and/or to local politics. These include:

            • Football shirts, e.g. Rangers and Celtic

            • Badges and insignia linked to paramilitary or political organisations,
            e.g. buttonholes, tattoos

            • Badges and insignia, e.g. Easter Lillies, Orange symbols

            • Posters, displays, tracts, emblems, screensavers, ringtones etc.
            linked to the above

            This list is not exhaustive but indicative of the types of emblems that have been problematic in the past. Once more, any current decision must acknowledge individual circumstances.”

            It does note this however…

            “The very restrictive nature of a “neutral” environment may give rise to other problems for employers. As one example, if an employer has a policy that is so rigid that it prohibits workers from wearing marks of religious observance of the sort that believers commonly wear (such as crosses, kippot, turbans or Muslim veils), then that may indirectly discriminate against persons of a particular religion,
            or who are members of particular racial groups. The risk of this will be particularly high where employees are genuinely obliged by the tenets of their religions to wear such emblems and so find themselves in a dilemma as their religious duties conflict directly with the conditions of their employment.”

            It is a minefield for employers and employees alike, not to mention the authorities that have to deal with the thousands of compensation claims being made because of a perceived offence being taken.

            Religion Poisons Everything.

        • In reply to #13 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #4 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

          Nobody is forcing her to take a Canadian government job!

          Did you even read the article?

          The so-called “values charter” announced by the government would impose broad restrictions, unique in North America, on religious clothing fo…

          Oh, you sneaky devil. I can’t believe you suckered me in like that. You did say a Canadian government job, not a Canadian government job!

          A Canadian government job as far as I’m concerned is a job in the Canadian government or one of its satellites. I withdraw the first part of my previous response, and repeat my assertion that you misunderstood the thread.

        • In reply to #13 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #4 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:
          I suppose (like the discussion on Syria ) when you have no understanding of the issues, a few knee-jerk emotional outbursts and comments on formatting will suffice!

          Almost always a reliable indicator of the futility that awaits in exchanges with certain select regular commenters.

      • In reply to #27 by alaskansee:

        In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

        So as an immigrant she can work to Canadian conditions or choose Moroccan conditions back in her homeland.

        And for the non-immigrants who wear such garb?

        AltText

        The wearing of burkas and hijabs comes with a package of other baggage, which citizens may not want in their country!

        • In reply to #35 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #27 by alaskansee:

          In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

          So as an immigrant she can work to Canadian conditions or choose Moroccan conditions back in her homeland.

          So no answer to my question, what about the locals who like bags?

          The wearing of burkas and hijabs comes with a package of other baggage, which citizens may not want in their country.

          As the question is about the ones in the country your answer and irrelevant photo seems to make your case even weaker. It’s also about small jewish hats too…

          • In reply to #53 by alaskansee:

            So no answer to my question, what about the locals who like bags?

            I think there are probably not very many of them, but in any case the same mental baggage would apply if their fixations on this sort of compliance with Sharia are ingrained. The problem of potential ghetto-formation would be if anything greater, if this has persisted in generations since immigration.

            … and irrelevant photo seems to make your case even weaker.

            The photo @35 illustrates the stupidity – women even trying to swim in a black sack! My daughter has seen women doing this and thinks it is comically ludicrous!

            The UK example I give @49 shows the sort of nonsense which is encouraged if a religion card is allowed to trump laws or employment conditions.

          • In reply to #57 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #53 by alaskansee:

            So no answer to my question, what about the locals who like bags?

            I think there are probably not very many of them, but in any case the same mental baggage would apply if their fixations on this sort of compliance with Sharia are ingrained. The problem of potential…

            Thank you for you belated reply. And I agree there are indeed not many of them so probably no need to make them illegal.

            As horrible as living in a bag is there are not many of them so picking on everyone, except the christians, is clearly not the answer. We know what the problem is, and it’s not women in bags.

  2. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think it is probably unenforceable. According to the article, the burka is already prohibited, and the smaller items, Kippa, turban, and hijab, and certainly the neck crucifixes are mostly unobtrusive. It’s hard to think this will get much traction. While I generally support a fully secular public service environment, the ‘lesser’ displays of religion don’t bother me much and I suspect they don’t much bother the average Quebeçois.

  3. It is a typically cynical attempt by the provincial govt to play wedge politics. In the end we can disagree with what people believe as long as they do not harm others or force them to do likewise (an argument could be made that kids are adversely affected as they have no choice in such matters). Why not let people dress any way they like. At least they’ve made others aware of any potential issues. Better that one knows in advance that there may be problems in future. Forewarned is forearmed, etc.

    • In reply to #7 by obzen:

      Stupid move.

      So as an immigrant she can work to Canadian conditions or choose Moroccan conditions back in her homeland!

      Nice.

      Well, I don’t know. In Morocco, two Christian guys were thrown into prison because they had sandwiches at lunch on the construction site where they work, during Ramadan. In Morocco again, a (deemed!) Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man. And so on.

      They’re really not shy about imposing all sorts of rules on everyone in that country, obviously. Not even very reasonable rules, I would say. What about some reciprocity? It would be nice for a change.

  4. I have no problem with a person wearing whatever religious clothing and paraphernalia they wish. HOWEVER, if it interferes with their work (safety or otherwise) or is against whatever dress code their employer has in place, then they should have no special entitlement to not comply.

    I think the current “values charter” is a very heavy handed approach to the issue. Not sure if Canada has legislation covering health and safety in the workplace in relation to clothing. If not, then I think it’s a much more robust and sensible way of ensuring all people (religious or otherwise) have the same rules in place.

  5. I live in Montreal, so I’m following this very closely. The charter has several flaws: it’s a bad attempt to correct some real, serious problems. I wonder what should be done. Here’s the link to a piece in support of the charter, from “The Globe And Mail”:

    Why a secular charter is good for Quebec

    Interesting paragraph:

    “To illustrate, consider the following scenario: a teenage girl from a Muslim family is in difficulty because of conflicts with her parents who find that she is taking too many liberties for a girl of her age. Perhaps they want her to wear the veil, but she does not want to. Or perhaps the cause of the conflict is some other issue. Suppose that she arranges to see a social worker in a community health centre and, as luck would have it, the social work is wearing a Muslim veil. Even if the social worker’s competence, impartiality and counselling skills are beyond reproach, her appearance labels her as a symbol of religious partisanship and cannot help but render the teenager ill at ease and probably incapable of discussing her problem. Allowing the social worker to wear the veil harms the teenager by preventing her from availing herself of a government service.”

    • In reply to #9 by Fouad Boussetta:

      I live in Montreal, so I’m following this very closely. The charter has several flaws: it’s a bad attempt to correct some real, serious problems. I wonder what should be done. Here’s the link to a piece in support of the charter, from “The Globe And Mail”:

      Why a secular charter is good for Quebec…

      That seems like a good example but can be solved by the person asking for a non-muslim. I know it’s a hurdle but if she’s about to discuss her faith/cultural issues with a stranger this isn’t the problem. It’s just too heavy handed for such little gain.

      Proselytizing should continue to be illegal and punishable by dismissal. Looking like a visible deluded member of society shouldn’t be problem and from the graphically illustrated sheet cross ear rings are still allowed so it appears to be more about something but not christianity. If a muslim was forced not to wear a headscarf then a small crescent moon would have exactly the same effect as a full bag.

  6. Yeah, I think “can’t wear” is going a bit far. Should be more “must remove when required” for safety or security reasons; drivers license and passport photos, working in a dangerous environment (whether a hospital (patients may endanger you or themselves) or a construction site or whatever), that sort of thing. The clothing law should be equated with hate-speech laws: if the clothing in-and-of itself (not just what it represents) is offensive, then there is a problem.

    • In reply to #10 by ShadowMind:

      Yeah, I think “can’t wear” is going a bit far. Should be more “must remove when required” for safety or security reasons.

      I agree totally, or else it’s gonna torpedo my business opportunity. Religiously appropriate garments, but also, compliant to health and safety regulations? A turban / safety helmet. A beard protector to keep your beard fresh and clean when working on sawmills and dusty building sites. T-Shirt with cross and necklace imprints where it’s just too dangerous to hang Jesus around your neck. I’m gonna make a fortune.

  7. This is a tough one. How does one take a stand? One the one hand, we’re only talking about fabric and jewellery – so what, get over it. On the other hand, the hijab, burka and veil give many western people the heebee-geebees. We (some of us) aren’t stupid. We know what these garments represent. They are symbols of misogyny and oppression. We cannot have people wearing just anything, ya know; there have to be limits. For instance, picture a man window shopping in a mall while holding on to a link chain attached to a collar around a woman’s neck and she’s gagged with her hands bound behind her back. All flesh is covered to legal standards. But it’s all good because… it’s all HER idea! Is this OK?! Is it acceptable? Intent is everything, and the intent has to be communicated in a way that is not threatening to those who are outside the religious (or fettish, or whatever) circle. Communication would be the job of those who want to wear religious (or other) attire that fall outside the norms of a given society, and it’s up to a free society to provide a safe platform in which communicate said intent.

  8. Fouad, Although I understand the problems this can cause on a personal basis, I also believe enforcing a ban will cause more harm than good. I would much rather have a society where these kind of changes occur by personal choice rather than by force. If someone wants to wear that thing on their head, for whatever reason, then so be it. If they don’t want to, then more power to them. And it is also the government’s responsibility to defend the right of that person to do either.

    I’ve been there to some extent. I’ve been baptized (against my will!), I’ve had to endure tedious catechism every Wednesday, go to mass on Sundays, I’ve had my communion and I’ve been confirmed (against my will as well!), hell I still have the giant candle, the bible and the white robe somewhere. And I just don’t know how I managed to live through it all.

    • In reply to #14 by obzen:

      Fouad, Although I understand the problems this can cause on a personal basis, I also believe enforcing a ban will cause more harm than good.

      I see what you mean, and I guess you’re possibly right. But I find it hard to weigh the pros against the cons in this story.

      I’ve been baptized (against my will!), I’ve had to endure tedious catechism every Wednesday, go to mass on Sundays, I’ve had my communion and I’ve been confirmed (against my will as well!)

      Ha ha ha! I’ve been luckier than you here. I was baptized “just to be safe” by my superstitious mother and grandmother in a Russian Orthodox church. In secret from my Communist grandfather, a war hero of the battle for Stalingrad. He had to deal with the “Gott mit uns”-belted charming Christian soldiers from Nazi Germany, so he would have been really pissed off if he learned about this religious imbecility. I didn’t have to deal with churches much after that, except as a tourist.

  9. The current situation is that people can claim religious accommodation to bypass laws that apply to all citizens. They can wear what ever religious item to promote their faith, while it is illegal to wear any item to promote your political affiliation when working for the government.

    This creates two class of citizens, a majority that is less equal than a minority.

    More over this creates a deeper problem, imagine a Muslim teenager that has issues with her family that goes to meet a representative of the government to seek help because of her parent are disproving her way of life that does not meet their religious standards and ends up with a woman wearing the veil. Do you think that this young girl will be at ease talking her issues with this woman who obviously shares her parents views on religion… Or does she really?

    The problem with the religious item wore by state employees carry a set of values and clearly state that their judgment is impartial, even if they can do their job impartially, these item state otherwise. And as a state employee they have to be impartial, in opinion, actions and clothing.

    Politics are not impartial, this is why no one can wear political symbols when representing the government.
    Religions are not impartial, this is why no one should wear any religious symbols when representing the government.

    • In reply to #16 by Veritek:

      imagine a Muslim teenager that has issues with her family that goes to meet a representative of the government to seek help because of her parent are disproving her way of life that does not meet their religious standards and ends up with a woman wearing the veil.

      I think you’ve read the same article in “The Globe and Mail” as myself! Check my post above at #9.

  10. Couple of comments:
    1. Uniforms for all public servants. You want the job, this is what you wear.
    2. Imagine a Teacher or civil servant coming to work with a cauldron over their head- all in the name of religious freedom.
    I think everyone would be upset.
    3. As a visitor or resident in another country other than my culture, I/m expected to conform to local sensibilities and customs. Imagine going to Pakistan or Morocco wearing a cauldron and explaining why. You’d be charged with blasphemy befor you could take the damn thing off. jcw

    • In reply to #19 by kaiserkriss:

      1. Uniforms for all public servants. You want the job, this is what you wear.

      First thing first, this will also apply to kids going to school, yes? The point is not what to wear and what not to wear, but why.

      Imagine a Teacher or civil servant coming to work with a cauldron over their head- all in the name of religious freedom.

      No, that would be trolling. I take the amusing factor of wearing a colander over your head on a passport photo, in the name of ‘religious freedom’, but really, it’s nothing more than a prank to make a point.

      Imagine going to Pakistan or Morocco wearing a cauldron and explaining why. You’d be charged with blasphemy befor you could take the damn thing off.

      Canada is not Pakistan for several reasons. Blasphemy laws, and the right to offend, I would like to think, would be part of it. You want to wear a cauldron and be a bit of a prat, then have fun.

      I just think this whole situation is overblown. Was there even a problem in the first place? Maybe I’m too accommodating for some around here, but I’m sticking with it.

      • In reply to #23 by obzen:

        In reply to #19 by kaiserkriss:

        Was there even a problem in the first place?

        I would say probably no. It’s just politics from a government that cannot fix roads, hospitals and education, so let’s do like the French do (who, by the way, can fix roads, hospitals and education). And this from an atheist provincial prime-minister!

    • In reply to #20 by LaurieB:

      Assimilate.

      So in other words the minority must submit to the majority.

      This is where I want to reclaim the idea of Jeffersonian Libertarianism (I want to distinguish between the inbred, retarded offspring in current US right wing politics), the idea that government should be minimal and not overly intrude. I don’t care if the Christians want to wear their t’s or the Muslim’s whatever. It’s all pointless so it seems kind of pointless to fight it. Fighting it makes it seem relevant. Unless there is a health risk let them wear what they want.

    • In reply to #20 by LaurieB:

      Assimilate.

      I’m not sure if you’re for this or if you’re slyly suggesting the authorities in Quebec are behaving like these guys rdf richard

      If it’s the former, then can I just say that I really don’t get why so many people want their own environment to be so dull and homogenized. This is Canada, for goodness’ sake. It’s known for its blandness. You’d think some diversity would be welcome.

      Come to London, it’s probably the most multicultural place on Earth, and it’s fantastic. As is New York, and all other places where citizens of the world come together to make a life for themselves away from their insipid, provincial hometowns.

      Why the hell would anyone want everyone else to be just like them?

  11. As a resident of Quebec, I’m actually not in favor of this charter for several reasons:

    1. It’s a silly, botched, hastily put-together document which is a mere 20 page long (!!!!)
    2. It’s rife with double-standards: kippas and hijabs: bad. Crucifixes: good
    3. It addresses only the least important things, namely the “religious symbols” (read clothing) at work
    4. It doesn’t even begin to address the really important issues like government funding of private religious schools for eg.
    5. Et j’en passe…

    It’s a watered-down version of what was supposed to be the “Charte de la Laicité” but the name (and most of its original content) was changed last minute in a pathetic attempt to please everyone and their grandmother. End result: It pleases no one. Its constitutionality will be rejected by the supreme court and end up costing the Quebec taxpayers money that could have been better spent elsewhere (like our lacking health care system for eg.)

    Thanks to our Prime Minister (who incidentally does not speak one word of English), the government has wasted an opportunity to bring about a REAL secular charter. This will make the introduction of a valid charter next to impossible politically because it has put all the religious minorities on edge.

    Bravo Madame Marois. It’s no secret she doesn’t care because she knows those minorities will never vote for the Parti Québécois anyway.

    • In reply to #26 by NearlyNakedApe:

      As a resident of Quebec, I’m actually not in favor of this charter for several reasons:

      I totally agree with your points. The PQ party can’t pass it anyway without support from another party. So what I’m hoping for is for a heavily corrected version to be passed with the support of the CAQ party, whose stance seems to me reasonable. If there are small gains from all this, I still think they’re better than no change at all.

  12. An aside on dress codes: What really makes my flesh crawl is not so much the burqas themselves, it’s the men in jeans and t-shirts who accompany them. These men can wear modern western clothes, but not their cattle. I mean women.

    I’d have less concern if the men also wore traditional garb. Lawrence-of-Arabia outfits, that would look great.

    Though, when I have seen men in such garb (at Abu Dhabi Airport, for instance), the men wore comfortable looking cool white, and their women were clad in black. Under the sun. So, still not fair.

    On the example of a schoolgirl going to a counsellor, to find she’s wearing her religious affiliation openly, well, wouldn’t that be better than meeting one who still has a religious agenda, but is keeping it undercover. At least the girl knows to terminate the discussion before it starts. So in that case, I think I favor freedom-of-dress, (subservient of course to safety codes, including the need for CCTV to get an identifiable mug shot – just in case that burqa hides a machete, or a trio of murderous pervert dwarves, or something worse).

    (NO offence was intended to law-abiding dwarves.)

  13. Oh and also…. not a word in the charter about forbidding prayer in the municipal assembly. The famous case of Mayor Tremblay of Saguenay who begins every session with a catholic prayer. Is that part of what Mme Marois means by Quebec’s traditional values?

    About the big-ass crucifix hanging on the wall of the National Assembly (Quebec Parliament):

    The government says it should stay because its part of Quebec’s cultural heritage. Actually, the crucifix was put up on that wall in 1936 during the time when Maurice Duplessis was PM. Its known fact that he was “good buddies” with the clergy in those days and actually let them censor books by certain authors (Voltaire, Diderot, Balzac, Stendhal, Nietzche, Spinoza, etc) in exchange for political favors.

    Priests used to preach sermons in church exhorting people to vote for Duplessis’ party (Union Nationale- blue logo) and not vote for the “bad party” (Liberal Party – red logo). They used to tell the faithful: “Le Ciel est bleu mais l’Enfer est rouge” (Heaven is blue but Hell is Red).

    So this is the “cultural heritage” that Mme Marois is trying to preserve?

    When the government was asked what they would do about the crucifix, they replied that “it’s under study”. Of course, there was not enough time to “study” it before they published that silly rag they call the “Charter of Quebec values”

    What a JOKE!!!

  14. As an anti-theist in Ontario, I can see the need for visibly secular government dress codes in Canada’s very multi-cultural society, but why should “the cross above Montreal’s Mount Royal and the crucifix in the legislature be OK because they are considered part of the province’s heritage”? The majority Catholic population can claim they are “part of the province’s heritage too….”

    To be consistent, the government courts, buildings and schools should have to remove all religious symbols and names – which is especially common in Quebec. They would have to change most school names, and remove a lot of crosses from provincial properties, which would ruffle many feathers – despite the fact that Catholicism is vanishing at a rapid rate in Quebec.

    Much as I would personally like to see these things happen, I don’t see it coming about in the near future, and the non-christian religions that would be most affected will become far more indignant and aggressive than Canada is used to…. Mac.

    • In reply to #32 by CdnMacAtheist:

      As an anti-theist in Ontario, I can see the need for visibly secular government dress codes in Canada’s very multi-cultural society, but why should “the cross above Montreal’s Mount Royal and the crucifix in the legislature be OK because they are considered part of the province’s heritage”? The majority Catholic population can claim they are “part of the province’s heritage too….”
      To be consistent, the government courts, buildings and schools should have to remove all religious symbols and names – which is especially common in Quebec. They would have to change most school names, and remove a lot of crosses from provincial properties, which would ruffle many feathers – despite the fact that Catholicism is vanishing at a rapid rate in Quebec.

      And, tabernac, they’d have to stop swearing.

  15. What is asked of the minority religion has already been ask to the catholic church in the 1960′s, to which they agreed without protesting. If the majority religion agreed over 50 years ago to let go their religious symbols when representing the state. Do we have to understand that these people cannot accept to accommodate us as we have accommodated them before? Do we have to understand that they are extremist ready for martyrdom for their religion? Are these people that much disconnected for their logical brain that they believe that they will betray whatever god they believe in because they do not wear some “magical” scarf?

    The charter might not be perfect, but at least it’s a beginning, it’s a step in the right direction on a road to a secular society.

    Ps.: The charter is bound to fail if it is contested in supreme court, the supreme court will declare it illegal and it is one of the objective of the current charter to show that Canada will prevent Québec from managing itself. The original charter was a charter named “Charte de la laïcité”. Because any secular charter under current laws is illegal in Canada and any religious group may ask for any accommodation and take it to court to get it forcibly applied.

    Never forget that the constitution of Canada mentions God.

  16. Just wondering if Diaa Quarmauch would feel so strongly about wearing a hijab if she’d grown up with the freedom to wear whatever she wanted.

    Speaking as one who was denied the right to dress as I wished,wear my hair as I chose, and having been robbed of activities and childish pleasures that most youngsters take for granted I cannot help thinking how wonderful it would be for all youngsters to grow up without needless compulsion to comply with a stifling (in more ways than one) dress code.

    Although I now wear what I choose to, I am still constrained by the old conditioning and find it very difficult to wear clothing that is ‘revealing’. I generally wear a unitard to swim and scuttle in and out of the pool as fast as I can.(By the way, swimming was a no no, in my youth)

    I have noticed a trend (amongst muslim women) to jazz up their black costumes with rhinestones.Quite a lot of rhinestones which shimmer with a rainbow of colours.This saddens me as it seems like they are tired of unrelieved black.

    So, how much is it conditioning and how much is it a genuine love of the hijab and is it fair for new generations to be forced into these ugly garments because their mothers wore it and ‘that’s how it was always done’ Hijab without end, Amen.

  17. I think this is brilliant news. Go Quebec! When in Rome, as they say, do as the Romans do – and the sooner Rome is totally secular and everyone has to keep their pathetic symbols of their pathetic beliefs hidden, the better. Oh, if only our government were as brave and decisive….

  18. In reply to #20 by LaurieB:

    Assimilate.

    I’m not sure if you’re for this or if you’re slyly suggesting the authorities in Quebec are behaving like these guys rdf richard

    If it’s the former, then can I just say that I really don’t get why so many people want their own environment to be so dull and homogenized. This is Canada, for goodness’ sake. It’s known for its blandness. You’d think some diversity would be welcome.

    Come to London, it’s probably the most multicultural place on Earth, and it’s fantastic. As is New York, and all other places where citizens of the world come together to make a life for themselves away from their insipid, provincial hometowns.

    Why the hell would anyone want everyone else to be just like them?

  19. In reply to #41 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #40 by Katy Cordeth:

    Why the hell would anyone want everyone else to be just like them?

    Easier to talk to, I guess… ?

    Comment 40 disappeared so I’ve posted it again. Apologies to the mods if it was they who removed it. I don’t think it contravened site rules, but I’ve been wrong about that before.

    Edit: I don’t think I edited it before reposting. I just pasted it back in. Is something weird going on with the site today? I click to see who has liked a particular comment and the screen just goes dark.

    Edit no II: the liking thing works fine now.

  20. Wearing a burqa, niqab, whatever for a woman is probably quite a good idea if you happen to live in an environment where women get pestered outa their minds by men who think they are entitled to take liberties with them and treat them as mere possessions. The same men who do the pestering are likely to think all men do it and so insist their women cover up.

    In balance the women probably don’t need that much coercion in order to make them cover up since the black all in one tent signals that they are unavailable and they can avoid unwanted attention. If they don’t like it then their husbands, brothers cousins etc can beat the crap out of them until they do.

    In an oppressive culture its not hard to see why women may actually want to wear one and hard to think why they’d go to the trouble if they didn’t have to. Choice as a cognitive function is actually costly since it carries the risk of making bad judgements however it implies a degree of variation i.e. there is something to be choosy about. How people can say women are making their own choices when they only have a choice between covering up or a good hiding is unbelievable.

    Their menfolk don’t have to and well what do you know? Nobody seems to want to pester the crap out of them in public.

  21. It seems that in the UK, the law is still pussy-footing around with those who think they are a law unto themselves.

    Muslim woman must remove veil to give trial evidence – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24112067

    A Muslim woman can stand trial wearing a full-face veil but must remove it to give evidence, a judge has ruled.

    Judge Peter Murphy made the ruling at Blackfriars Crown Court in London where the woman is due to stand trial accused of intimidating a witness.

    The 22-year-old woman, from Hackney, has refused to remove her niqab and reveal her face in front of any man.

    The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing.

    The judge’s ruling means that if the woman, who started wearing a veil in May 2012, refuses to comply during her trial she could be jailed for contempt of court.

    The only part of a niqab-wearer’s face that is visible is a narrow section across the eyes.

    The judge said he would offer the woman a screen to shield her from public view while giving evidence but that she had to be seen by him, the jury and lawyers.

    At other times during the trial the woman will be allowed to keep her face covered while sitting in the dock.

    ‘Elephant in courtroom’

    In the ruling Judge Murphy said: “The ability of the jury to see the defendant for the purposes of evaluating her evidence is crucial.”

    Referring to the woman as “D”, he said he had “no reason to doubt the sincerity of her belief” and his decision would have been the same if she had worn the niqab for years.

    He said that “the niqab has become the elephant in the courtroom” and there was widespread anxiety among judges over how to tackle the issue.

    He added he hoped “Parliament or a higher court will provide a definite answer to the issue soon”.

    So are we going to have masked bandits on the UK streets and in the courts, with witness intimidation if they are identified?

    • Bank robbers should now be able to take their balaclavas to court. Providing they remove them to answer questions.
      If this is a special religious allowance then the bank robber would just have to convert to Islam first. Of course it may only be allowed for women.

      I see the defendant started wearing the full veil last year. Perhaps someone knows if the usual age to start wearing the full veil is 21 years.

      In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

      It seems that in the UK, the law is still pussy-footing around with those who think they are a law unto themselves.

      Muslim woman must remove veil to give trial evidence – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24112067

      A Muslim woman can stand trial wearing a full-face veil but must remove it to giv…

    • In reply to #49 by Alan4discussion:

      It seems that in the UK, the law is still pussy-footing around with those who think they are a law unto themselves.

      Muslim woman must remove veil to give trial evidence – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24112067

      A Muslim woman can stand trial wearing a full-face veil but must remove it to giv…

      Someone please find a colander big enough to hide ones face! We could all share it when we are in a similar position.

  22. It’s important to note that many women from Muslim families actually would LOVE a ban on religious symbols at work. It would give them an excuse NOT TO WEAR the veil. The peer pressure to wear it outside work is often just incredible, so they just wear it to avoid problems.

    • In reply to #50 by Fouad Boussetta:

      It’s important to note that many women from Muslim families actually would LOVE a ban on religious symbols at work. It would give them an excuse NOT TO WEAR the veil. The peer pressure to wear it outside work is often just incredible, so they just wear it to avoid problems.

      Fouad, this is true and we saw that play out in France where girls and young women in High School were relieved to have the Gov. step in and defend them.

      Here’s another take on this – Moderate Muslim families (yes there are such a thing.) will be relieved when their own radicalized daughters will be prevented from parading around in the uniform of jihadism with holier than thou attitudes and dispensing Koranic judgement and pious edicts to their own parents, siblings, neighbors, cousins, uncles and even to their American feminist atheist infidel auntie!

      Young people like my Algerian niece in Montreal are being radicalized in the Mosques there against the traditions of their whole families. That hijab that my niece insists on “her right” to wear represents to her family and community everything that they suffered to escape from that was happening in Algeria in the 90′s. What do her parents, sister, five American cousins think when they see that hijab and hear her blabbing on and on about her stupid religion? We all think about the 200,000 dead victims of the FIS Muslim Fundamentalists that rampaged through the North African Maghreb for more than a decade. We won’t forget all the women who were raped and killed by these psychopaths, whether they wore a hijab or not.

      It’s sickening to hear Muslim women explain that hijab represents respect that their culture has for women. It’s the Fundamentalists who imposed that alien garment on them and it’s Fundamentalists who rape and murder women and coerce them into the dark corners of life.

      I hope the French and the Canadians eradicate this disgusting religio-political symbol. Taking down their stupid crosses is a small price to pay.

  23. In the UK at the moment there’s a woman on trial accused of intimidating jurors, who refuses to reveal her face to the judge and jury for reasons of religious belief, which the judge has ruled goes directly against British judicial custom and practice, in which those questioning an accused person must be able to see their face in order to reach as fair a verdict as possible.

    The judge has suggested a compromize, in which the accused can be questioned behind a screen where only those questioning her can see her face.

    Tolerance requires reciprication and it’ll be interesting to see the outcome.

    Whoops! I just scrolled through the thread and discovered that my observation has been dealt with by Alan4discussion.

    I enjoyed the exchange between him and that chap Katy Cordeth though.

    • In reply to #52 by Stafford Gordon:

      In the UK at the moment there’s a woman on trial accused of intimidating jurors, who refuses to reveal her face to the judge and jury for reasons of religious belief, which the judge has ruled goes directly against British judicial custom and practice……….

      Latest is, the jurors must be able to see her face while she gives evidence. A rather sensible requirement.

      • If the defendant is non-religious do they get the same option to choose what they wear in court? Can they also choose to cover their face when not actually giving evidence to avoid public identification? Should this freedom only be accorded to the religious? If so, why?

        Could an accused murderer choose to wear his ski mask?

        In reply to #58 by Vorlund:

        In reply to #52 by Stafford Gordon:

        In the UK at the moment there’s a woman on trial accused of intimidating jurors, who refuses to reveal her face to the judge and jury for reasons of religious belief, which the judge has ruled goes directly against British judicial custom and practice………….

        • In reply to #61 by Marktony:

          If the defendant is non-religious do they get the same option to choose what they wear in court? Can they also choose to cover their face when not actually giving evidence to avoid public identification? Should this freedom only be accorded to the religious? If so, why?

          This could obviously lead to farcical situations.

          Prosecutor: to testifying victim:– ” Is your attacker/ the robber, present in the court?”

          Victim: ” I don’t know. – It might be one those people sitting on the benches peeping through eye-holes with a bag on their heads!”

          The idea of someone facing criminal prosecution, playing a religion card to dictate terms for the conduct of the court to the judge, seems bizarre in the extreme!

        • In reply to #61 by Marktony:

          If the defendant is non-religious do they get the same option to choose what they wear in court? Can they also choose to cover their face when not actually giving evidence to avoid public identification? Should this freedom only be accorded to the religious? If so, why?

          This is partly why jurists in the UK still wear horsehair wigs and flowing robes. It makes them less identifiable when they’re outside court environs.

          There are myriad instances in which the identity of a witness or defendant has been kept from the public.

          • In reply to #81 by Katy Cordeth:

            This is partly why jurists in the UK still wear horsehair wigs and flowing robes. It makes them less identifiable when they’re outside court environs.

            Researched evidence??

            Serving on a Jury in England and Wales- What should you wear? There is no specific dress-code, although ‘smart-casual’ is probably the best advice. Remember you are going to be seated for most of the day, so bearing that in mind, wear something comfortable.

          • In reply to #83 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #81 by Katy Cordeth:

            This is partly why jurists in the UK still wear horsehair wigs and flowing robes. It makes them less identifiable when they’re outside court environs.

            Researched evidence??

            Serving on a Jury in England and Wales- What should you wear? There is no specific dress-co…

            I’m gonna leave this one and see if anyone else would care to tell you where you’ve gone wrong.

          • In reply to #84 by Katy Cordeth:

            This is partly why jurists in the UK still wear horsehair wigs and flowing robes. It makes them less identifiable when they’re outside court environs.

            I’m gonna leave this one and see if anyone else would care to tell you where you’ve gone wrong.

            A Jurist is not a member of the jury, but…“One who has thorough knowledge and experience of law, especially an eminent judge, lawyer, or legal scholar.”

            You’re still wrong in your assertion as to why they wear wigs and gowns though. Formal dress can be dispensed with at the courts discretion. Also, wigs and gowns are not worn at lower level courts such as magistrates courts. The wigs and gowns is all about tradition and nowt to do with disguise.

            Furthermore….

            There are myriad instances in which the identity of a witness or defendant has been kept from the public.

            This debate isn’t about the keeping of a witness or defendant incognito from the public, but from the jury, a different thing entirely. The jury should be able to see the defendant or witness in order to judge the sincerity in their deposition. I’d have thought that obvious.

            As Judge Peter Murphy ruled…

            “It is unfair to ask a witness to give evidence against a defendant whom he cannot see. It is unfair to ask a juror to pass judgment on a person whom she cannot see. It is unfair to expect that juror to try to evaluate the evidence given by a person whom she cannot see, deprived of an essential tool for doing so: namely, being able to observe the demeanour of the witness; her reaction to being questioned; her reaction to other evidence as it is given. These are not trivial or superficial invasions of the procedure of the adversarial trial. At best, they require a compromise of the quality of criminal justice delivered by the trial process. At worst, they go to its very essence, and they may render it altogether impotent to deliver a fair and just outcome.”

          • In reply to #95 by Ignorant Amos:

            A Jurist is not a member of the jury, but…”One who has thorough knowledge and experience of law, especially an eminent judge, lawyer, or legal scholar.”

            I missed that one!

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurist

            A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American and Canadian English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage.

            It must be an English thing! Two nations divided by a single language!

            Anyway here’s the basis for an identity parade! http://www.atheistmemebase.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/076-Muslim-School-Photo.jpg

          • In reply to #95 by Ignorant Amos:

            In reply to #84 by Katy Cordeth:

            This is partly why jurists in the UK still wear horsehair wigs and flowing robes. It makes them less identifiable when they’re outside court environs.

            I’m gonna leave this one and see if anyone else would care to tell you where you’ve gone wrong.

            A Jurist is not a member of the jury, but…”One who has thorough knowledge and experience of law, especially an eminent judge, lawyer, or legal scholar.”

            Bravo.

            You’re still wrong in your assertion as to why they wear wigs and gowns though. Formal dress can be dispensed with at the courts discretion. Also, wigs and gowns are not worn at lower level courts such as magistrates courts. The wigs and gowns is all about tradition and nowt to do with disguise.

            From Wigs, Coifs, and Other Idiosyncrasies of English Judicial Attire by Charles M. Yablon, Professor of Law:

            …On a more practical note, a second major justification was that the wig and robe served to disguise the appearance of judges to a considerable degree, making it difficult for criminal defendants and other litigants to identify them outside the courtroom context.

            By the way, I never said that this sort of attire was mandatory in all UK courts of law.

            There are myriad instances in which the identity of a witness or defendant has been kept from the public.

            This debate isn’t about the keeping of a witness or defendant incognito from the public, but from the jury, a different thing entirely. The jury should be able to see the defendant or witness in order to judge the sincerity in their deposition. I’d have thought that obvious.

            What seems obvious doesn’t always correspond with what’s true though, does it?

            Can I suggest you read my comment #90 if you haven’t already. We’ve already talked on this thread about the issue of blind or partially sighted jurors. The link How to Spot a Liar in Four Easy Steps shows the dangers inherent in trying to determine the veracity of someone’s testimony by observing their physical demeanour.

            As Judge Peter Murphy ruled…

            No blind jurors in Judge Murphy’s courtroom, I’m guessing. I hope the sight-impaired community gets all up in his face for this asinine defence of his ruling.

          • In reply to #97 by Katy Cordeth:

            From Wigs, Coifs, and Other Idiosyncrasies of English Judicial Attire by Charles M. Yablon, Professor of Law:

            Interesting article, thanks.

            …On a more practical note, a second major justification was that the wig and robe served to disguise the appearance of judges to a considerable degree, making it difficult for criminal defendants and other litigants to identify them outside the courtroom context.

            Whether some jurists used to believe this or not, it is debatable. It was not, and isn’t, the reason for said get up and it is still a ridiculous assertion…any corroboration on this source?

            By the way, I never said that this sort of attire was mandatory in all UK courts of law.

            I never said you did…my point was to show the fallacy in the disguise assertion. The Magistrates Court remand the defendant to the High Court and therefore shoulder similar risk a High Court jurist making the need for disguise moot. In any regard, Jurists are well known outside the court room as can be seen from the government lists posted on line and from other work they engage in outside the courts…making a disguise moot again.

            There are myriad instances in which the identity of a witness or defendant has been kept from the public.

            What seems obvious doesn’t always correspond with what’s true though, does it?

            Perhaps, but in this case, it is. The identity of the defendant is not the issue. Keeping that identity is not the issue. Keeping her identity and demeanor from the public because of some made up rule based on religious nonsense in an attempt to influence the courts is the issue.

            Perhaps the silly bag should’ve considered all avenues before she went about placing herself in said position in the first place.

            Can I suggest you read my comment #90 if you haven’t already. We’ve already talked on this thread about the issue of blind or partially sighted jurors. The link How to Spot a Liar in Four Easy Steps shows the dangers inherent in trying to determine the veracity of someone’s testimony by observing their physical demeanour.

            I have, and I know the pitfalls. No one is saying the system is perfect, but it appears at the minute to be the best we’ve got. I’m well aware that, for example, an underage young women crying rape after being picked up by a drunk in an over 25 nightclub might show up to court in her school uniform influencing the jury. But then it is the defence’s job to undo that image. Like wise, other visual evidence deserves to be scrutinized by those with reasonable sight, as does audio evidence to the hearing, as does scientific evidence to those with a bit of nous, and so on, through forensics, and so forth.

            “The prosecutor and defense may dismiss potential jurors for various reasons, which may vary from one state to another, and they may have a specific number of arbitrary dismissals, or unconditional peremptory challenges, that do not require specific reasons. The judge may also dismiss potential jurors.”

            I think it is safe to say that if the evidence on a particular case was visual reliant, a visually impaired jury member would be dismissed by either the defence, the prosecution, or the Judge.

            No blind jurors in Judge Murphy’s courtroom, I’m guessing. I hope the sight-impaired community gets all up in his face for this asinine defence of his ruling.

            Hmmmm…asinine in that it doesn’t support your premise. Do victims have no rights in your worldview Katy or is it all about Muslims and the Islamic religion?

          • Blind people are allowed to serve on juries because the idea is for juries to be sampled from the whole of society. That doesn’t mean they can fulfil the function as well as someone with sight. I expect a blind or partially sighted juror would require extra help, probably someone would be appointed to help them for instance with descriptions of items of evidence. If the case was likely to involve a significant amount of visual evidence I expect the lawyers would have a case for removing the juror. Also, the blind person would presumably be only one of the jury. By covering the defendant’s face you effect the communication with all the jury.

            Does anyone seriously claim that they gain nothing in communication if they can see the other’s face. People will pay more for video conferencing because they gain something. Sometimes employers may conduct an interview over the phone but if the candidate shows promise they will almost always be invited for a face-to-face interview.

            On the point of blind people owning televisions – if you conducted a survey, what percentage of those blind people would agree that sight would improve the experience?

            Is the religious person’s choice to cover their face important enough to justify the reduction in communication with the jury? That’s a matter of opinion – in my opinion it is not.

            In reply to #81 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #61 by Marktony:

            If the defendant is non-religious do they get the same option to choose what they wear in court? Can they also choose to cover their face when not actually giving evidence to avoid public identification? Should this freedom only be accorded to the religious? If so, why?…

          • In reply to #88 by Marktony:

            In reply to #81 by Katy Cordeth:

            Blind people are allowed to serve on juries because the idea is for juries to be sampled from the whole of society. That doesn’t mean they can fulfil the function as well as someone with sight. I expect a blind or partially sighted juror would require extra help, probably someone would be appointed to help them for instance with descriptions of items of evidence. If the case was likely to involve a significant amount of visual evidence I expect the lawyers would have a case for removing the juror. Also, the blind person would presumably be only one of the jury. By covering the defendant’s face you effect the communication with all the jury.

            A blind or partially sighted juror might indeed be assigned someone to describe for them information they would otherwise be unable to comprehend due to their impairment.

            That doesn’t mean this aide’s services will be required at every moment of the trial. When testimony of a purely verbal nature is introduced, the juror will be expected to interpret it herself. The aide won’t be sitting next to her describing the body language of the individual testifying… “He’s sweating now,” “He’s looking a bit shifty,” “His eyes darted from side to side when he was asked that question.”

            Does anyone seriously claim that they gain nothing in communication if they can see the other’s face. People will pay more for video conferencing because they gain something. Sometimes employers may conduct an interview over the phone but if the candidate shows promise they will almost always be invited for a face-to-face interview.

            The problem is that information gained by observing someone’s face when they’re speaking is subject to misinterpretation.

            From How to Spot a Liar in Four Easy Steps:

            …So, is it impossible to tell if someone is lying to you?

            According to the research, it really is impossible if you are focusing on visual cues.

            Looking for visual cues, it turns out, is absolutely the most unreliable way to spot a liar.

            This was demonstrated by research done across the globe by a psychologist from TCU, Dr. Charles Bond. Turns out that it was the myths above that actually prevented subjects from spotting a lie.

            However, there is hope. It turns out the best way to spot a lie is to use your ears.

            It is all about what a person says and how they say it.

            In fact, it has been demonstrated by Richard Wiseman Ph.D. (a pretty famous researcher and author of a book you simply have to read “Quirkology”) that people without deception training are much better at detecting deception when listening to a tape recording of a liar than when watching a video.
            So even without training, your unconscious mind is able to do a half way decent job of detecting a lie if you don’t focus on visual cues…

            Your high-powered businessman may come to rue the day he forked out for video conferencing software.

            We all imagine ourselves to be completely impartial and free from prejudice, but it just isn’t true. Many of the comments on this thread for example are so bigoted, one imagines that were the individuals responsible called upon to perform their civic duty and the defendant was Muslim, this person’s fate would be sealed the moment they entered the courtroom, particularly if deportation were to follow a guilty verdict.

            If you asked these posters whether they were intolerant xenophobes, the answer would be a resounding ‘no’. And they’d believe it too.

            This is one of the disadvantages of a jury system: the biases and baggage we all come equipped with.

            Studies have shown that attractive defendants are much more likely to be acquitted, which suggests justice would be better served if everyone whose testimony a jury was expected to evaluate did so out of the sight of them.

            On the point of blind people owning televisions – if you conducted a survey, what percentage of those blind people would agree that sight would improve the experience?

            I’ve no idea, and it’s not important. What percentage of those people would say their condition means they are unable to understand the plot of a movie or television program or follow the proceedings of a trial?

            Is the religious person’s choice to cover their face important enough to justify the reduction in communication with the jury? That’s a matter of opinion – in my opinion it is not.

            Hypothetical scenario: A horrible, violent crime is committed, and the only witness is a devout Muslim woman, a visitor to your shores, who wears the veil. She reports the crime to the police, can identify the party responsible, and is eager to testify against him and see justice done. She then learns she’ll be required to remove her veil for much of the trial’s proceedings. This is a horrifying prospect: the only men who have ever seen her adult face are her husband and father. So she gets on a plane and is never heard from again; and the attacker goes free.

            Courts of law are intimidating enough places at the best of times. Especially to people who aren’t familiar with them. It’s essential that those called upon to give evidence are comfortable at such times.

          • When testimony of a purely verbal nature is introduced, the juror will be expected to interpret it herself. The aide won’t be sitting next to her describing the body language of the individual testifying… “He’s sweating now,” “He’s looking a bit shifty,” “His eyes darted from side to side when he was asked that question.”

            You seem to be making my point, if the aide is not there some communication is lost.
            If you were a juror in such a case, that body language would be part of the communication you received. How you interpret it is up to you, but if you are blind you have missed it.

            The problem is that information gained by observing someone’s face when they’re speaking is subject to misinterpretation.

            Are you claiming that information gained by listening to someone’s voice (with or without seeing them) is not subject to misinterpretation?

            So, is it impossible to tell if someone is lying to you? According to the research, it really is impossible if you are focusing on visual cues.

            Then it’s best not to focus on just one, but to use all your senses. Anyway, it’s not all about detecting a lie.

            We all imagine ourselves to be completely impartial and free from prejudice, but it just isn’t true. Many of the comments on this thread for example are so bigoted, one imagines that were the individuals responsible called upon to perform their civic duty and the defendant was Muslim, this person’s fate would be sealed the moment they entered the courtroom, particularly if deportation were to follow a guilty verdict.

            I don’t think many people imagine themselves to be completely impartial – I certainly don’t. Not sure to which comments you are referring – people can have strong views regarding subjects such as the veil but that doesn’t mean they would be so biased as to automatically bring a guilty verdict.

            Studies have shown that attractive defendants are much more likely to be acquitted, which suggests justice would be better served if everyone whose testimony a jury was expected to evaluate did so out of the sight of them.

            I don’t think it’s news to many that attractive people are at an advantage in life. We can’t all go round in veils!

            I’ve no idea, and it’s not important. What percentage of those people would say their condition means they are unable to understand the plot of a movie or television program or follow the proceedings of a trial?

            I was responding to your point about blind people owning televisions. I agree it is not important. You are still missing my point, I’m not saying they can’t follow the plot of a television programme, but they would inevitably miss some visual clues – what’s that revolver doing in the conservatory, he’s looking a bit shifty. I think the extra information gained from being able to see someone’s face is important and a juror should be able to see the face of a defendant or witness unless there is good reason otherwise – eg. children giving evidence or issue of security.

            Hypothetical scenario: A horrible, violent crime is committed, and the only witness is a devout Muslim woman, a visitor to your shores, who wears the veil. She reports the crime to the police, can identify the party responsible, and is eager to testify against him and see justice done. She then learns she’ll be required to remove her veil for much of the trial’s proceedings. This is a horrifying prospect: the only men who have ever seen her adult face are her husband and father. So she gets on a plane and is never heard from again; and the attacker goes free. Courts of law are intimidating enough places at the best of times. Especially to people who aren’t familiar with them. It’s essential that those called upon to give evidence are comfortable at such times.

            This hypothetical person had probably been intimidated all her life, by the people who brainwashed her so much that she is horrified at the prospect of merely exposing her face in public. Perhaps another hypothetical devout muslim would be thankful for a law banning the veil in certain public situations – perhaps she doesn’t want to be covered up but hasn’t got the confidence (or is scared) to test the reaction from her family and community.

            In reply to #90 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #88 by Marktony:

            In reply to #81 by Katy Cordeth:

            Blind people are allowed to serve on juries because the idea is for juries to be sampled from the whole of society. That doesn’t mean they can fulfil the function as well as someone with sight. I expect a blind or partially sighted juro…

      • In reply to #58 by Vorlund:

        In reply to #52 by Stafford Gordon:

        In the UK at the moment there’s a woman on trial accused of intimidating jurors, who refuses to reveal her face to the judge and jury for reasons of religious belief, which the judge has ruled goes directly against British judicial custom and practice………….

        Latest is, the jurors must be able to see her face while she gives evidence. A rather sensible requirement.

        This must be why the blind and partially sighted are excused from jury duty in the UK. If they can’t see the face of the person giving testimony, they can’t be expected to form an adequate opinion as to the veracity of what they’re hearing.

        It also explains why no blind or partially sighted person anywhere in the world owns a television; and why the telephone never really took off.

          • In reply to #74 by Vorlund:

            In reply to #66 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #58 by Vorlund:

            Interesting asides but these instances are hardly comparable.

            Why not? If blind and partially sighted individuals are allowed to serve on juries, that must mean it isn’t necessary for a juror to see the face of the one giving testimony. Try looking at it from the other side: if you were on trial and you noticed a jury member was blind, would you feel this might potentially compromise your chances of receiving proper justice?

            We communicate all the time without being able to see the other person’s face. That was why I mentioned the telephone. And blind people do own televisions.

          • In reply to #80 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #74 by Vorlund:

            In reply to #66 by Katy Cordeth:

            In reply to #58 by Vorlund:

            Why not? If blind and partially sighted individuals are allowed to serve on juries, that must mean it isn’t necessary for a juror to see the face…

            I don’t entirely disagree with you however…..the real difference here is that while blind people have probably acquired some facility in listening carefully to auditory clues sighted people also rely heavily on visual cues and can detect quite accurately other persons emotional states and intentions. Preventing them from seeing her face is ironic. While this young woman is ‘making her stand’ for whatever reason she thinks fit, she risks putting the jurors in a situation where they are unable to connect with or empathise with her, probably to her detriment.

      • In reply to #58 by Vorlund:

        Latest is, the jurors must be able to see her face while she gives evidence. A rather sensible requirement.

        If she refuses the judge’s requirements she is likely to be jailed for contempt of court – and could well be discussing prison uniforms and prison hair-cuts with prison officers.
        If she is convicted of witness intimidation, it could happen anyway!

        Maybe contemplating this will help focus the mind?

  24. I’m also reminded of this story a while back…

    Garda force ‘is not racist’

    24 AUGUST 2007

    THE Garda Commissioner has claimed the force is not being racist in refusing to let a Sikh reserve recruit wear his traditional turban.

    Sikh refused permission to wear turban in Garda Reserve

    In a defence of Garda policy, commissioner Noel Conroy said he believes Irish people do not want the traditional Garda uniform to be changed to allow for religious clothing such as turbans.

    Instead, the public should be presented with an impartial police force where religious identity is not an issue, a Garda statement said yesterday.

    The comments come after an ongoing controversy where a Sikh member of the Garda reserve was not allowed to wear his turban while on duty.

    A number of other police forces, such as the London Metropolitan police, allow members to wear turbans.

    The Irish Sikh Council reacted angrily to the news, saying the comments of the commissioner effectively meant that practicing Sikhs would not be able to join the gardai. They are calling on the Garda to reconsider its position.

    Commitment

    Sikhs wear turbans to cover the long uncut hair worn as a sign of their commitment to their religious faith. The turban is a headdress consisting of a long scarf-like single piece of cloth wound round the head or an inner hat.

    “The Garda Siochana has, historically, been seen as providing an impartial police service, policing all sections of society equally,” the statement said. “By accommodating variations to our standard uniform and dress, including those with religious symbolism, may well affect that traditional stance and give an image of an Garda Siochana which the Commissioner feels the public would not want.”

    The force was trying to retain the “image of impartiality” in the gardai while “providing a state service to all citizens”, according to the commissioners opinion.

    “Within the principles of an intercultural approach, An Garda Siochana are not advocating one religious belief over another, nor are we, in any way, being racist,” continued the statement.

    However, Harpreet Singh, president of the Irish Sikh Council said the turbans could not be taken off and that the move would mean that Sikhs would not be able to join the Garda as a result.

    • Sikhs wear turbans to cover the long uncut hair worn as a sign of their commitment to their religious faith.
      .
      .
      .

      However, Harpreet Singh, president of the Irish Sikh Council said the turbans could not be taken off and that the move would mean that Sikhs would not be able to join the Garda as a result.

      Then the Garda has given them the opportunity to demonstrate that their commitment to the faith is more important than a job in the police force.

      In reply to #62 by Ignorant Amos:

      I’m also reminded of this story a while back…

      Garda force ‘is not racist’

      24 AUGUST 2007

      THE Garda Commissioner has claimed the force is not being racist in refusing to let a Sikh reserve recruit wear his traditional turban.

      Sikh refused permission to wear turban in Garda Reserve

      In a defence…

      • In reply to #65 by Marktony:

        Then the Garda has given them the opportunity to demonstrate that their commitment to the faith is more important than a job in the police force.

        Yep. Everyone is entitled to place their irrational religious observances above the importance of any job and feel free to walk away if the rules and regulations of the job call upon a conflict in a persons religious requirements.

  25. In reply to #64 by godsbuster:

    In reply to #44 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #38 by Katy Cordeth:

    Your exaggerated misquoting of my claims, simply illustrates the lack of comprehension of my comments and the issues, accompanied by knee-jerk jumping in without thinking!

    Déjà vu all over again.

    Godsbuster making a snarky comment about Katy Cordeth because he lacks the courage to confront her directly.

    You’re right, it is deja vu all over again.

  26. I’m uneasy about a ban but, I admit, only because I fear the “persecution” mileage that could be made out of it. It would be handing the veil-wearers and veil-enforcers the moral authority of the persecuted — an authority which they have done nothing to deserve. In my view, wearing a veil is about the most socially hostile clothing choice anyone can make.

  27. To see so many atheists seeing this charter for the xenophobia it is and refusing to be used to promote a racist agenda fills me with pride. Any one can and will tuck their crucifix into their shirt, but a turban or hijab can not be hidden, and essentially people who wear religious head gear will be excluded for jobs in the public sector, adding to issues Quebec’s already dealing with finding jobs for immigrants.

    • In reply to #72 by ArloNo:

      What about visible flesh piercings and tattoos? I see no mention of those in the charter.

      What about them? I’d hate to think I’d missed a whole other religion to think less of, not just a bunch of questionable fashion statements!

      Tell me what values do they speak of in their doctrine and dogma?

  28. I think this goes on the same line as laws against public nudity, drunken conduct and other types of disorderly conduct.
    In some cities you are already not allowed to wear “the hood” of your jacket while inside shops.
    It only makes sense to extend these laws to religion as well.

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