Minister Kenney deserves our applause for taking a bold stand against one of ultra-orthodox Islam's most pernicious symbols: The face veil.Heads are exploding at CBC headquarters at this very moment.
Indeed newcomers to Canada must embrace gender equality as a core Canadian value. In recognizing the patriarchy behind the veil, Kenny acknowledged that women must make choices freely in an atmosphere of equality and transparency. The face veil must be removed, not just to ensure the integrity of the oath-taking ceremony, but also to affirm the equality of the sexes. And despite what third-wave feminists and multiculturalists assert, the burka is both oppressive and anti-feminist, steeped in patriarchy and control.
It is nonetheless the muticulturalists' love affair with the "exotic" that prevents them from seeing the larger picture about the burka. Their view is obviously predicated on moral relativism that regards all cultures--even the horrendously patriarchal ones--as equal. Third- wave feminists, in particular, assert that women should be free to define their own femininity even if it includes donning the veil. But can a choice be deemed feminist if one adopts a practice that is clearly the result of patriarchal religious edicts?
Regrettably, contemporary feminists continue to support a woman's right to wear the burka. According to them, women have chosen this path of femininity for themselves. Their choices must be respected and any contradictions in their stance must be accepted. To deny a woman the right to wear the burka would mean imposing someone else's standards of equality and freedom.
And herein lies the fallacy. Women who purportedly choose practices that stem from patriarchal interpretations have in fact not defined their femininity. Burka adherents have most certainly taken their cues from chauvinistic and patriarchal religious interpretations and embraced them without question. That women must accept polygamy, that they must veil before strange men, that they must restrict themselves to domestic roles are the result of patriarchal conditioning, rather than women defining these roles for themselves.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The veil is not a choice
Farzana Hassan, past president of the Canadian Muslim Congress, wrote today in the Huffington Post (!) that she fully supports Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's decision to prohibit women from covering their faces during citizenship oath-taking ceremonies. This should be required reading for all those who worship at the altar of political correctness and can't decide what's the more important shibboleth: feminism or multiculturalism.