Samira Laouni (R) argues with Louise Trudel as a group of Muslim women meet with residents of the Quebec town of HerouxvilleÂ
Billed as “the first veiled candidate” to run for federal office in Quebec, Samira Laouni got a rough ride Wednesday afternoon at the hands of a provocative radio talk-show host.
* Intolerable. Why do we allow these morons to contaminate our society? Which Westerner would ever get a chance to run for public office in a Muhammedan country?
BenoÃ®t Dutrizac invited the hijab-wearing NDP candidate for Bourassa to his studio for a frank chat.
* Some ratherÂ exhilaratingÂ moments in this interview:
The scene was the Place Bonaventure studios of 98.5 FM , which is part of the Toronto-based Corus Radio network. Laouni was accompanied – off-air, watching her from the control booth – by Thomas Mulcair, the NDP’s sole MP in Quebec.
The interview got off to a jousting start.
“It’s very cute, your veil, the Islamic veil – it’s very sexy,” Dutrizac told the candidate.
“It’s my headscarf,” Laouni corrected him.
“No, but it’s beginning to become sexy for us. Men in the West, miscreants like me, we’re starting to find that sexy – be careful!”
“Oh, well, all the better, if you find it sexy, that’s good,” Laouni replied lightly.
After asking why she’s running for office, the radio host then remarked that she’s married with three kids and that her husband supports her.
“So you’re at his mercy, then, ” Dutrizac told the candidate, who has a doctorate in economics from the Sorbonne but does not work in her profession here in Quebec.
“Watch out – if he divorces you and kicks you out, you won’t have a penny left.”
“He won’t divorce me,” she said.
“Oh, so he finds it sexy, too, the veil?”
“He loves me so much that he’d never separate from me – of that I’m sure.”
Dutrizac asked her whether Islamic law limits women’s rights, and she said yes, in dictatorial countries, but not democracies like Canada.
“I left Morocco (because) when I wanted to put on my headscarf in the 1970s, I was put under police observation – all right?” answered Laouni, 47, who immigrated to Canada 10 years ago. “Here, I have freedom of choice.”
“Madame Laouni,Â if there’s one thing that makes me scream, it’s seeing young girls, 10 years old, wearing the veil. It’s not a choice. People are conditioned to make choices…It’s intimidation.”
Then he took her to task for observing Ramadan, the Muslim’s month of fasting, which coincides with the current election campaign.Â Dutrizac said Ramadan hurts the most vulnerable of Muslims – schoolchildren who go hungry and weak during the day and find it hard to concentrate or do gym on an empty stomach.
“You don’t think we should get religion away from the kids, whatever religion it is, including yours?” he asked.
Keeping the tone light, Laouni replied that parents are mature enough to look after the interests of their children. But Dutrizac wasn’t giving up.
“We have breakfast clubs at schools to make sure kids arrive at school with their stomachs full and their minds able to concentrate. Your religion imposes Ramadan on kids. My question is simple: Why won’t you keep children out of your religion?”
“You can’t remove anything,” she replied. “Everybody has their right to believe.” And in any case, she added, any child who’s suffering from fasting is given something to eat or drink to get them through the day.
Dutrizac moved on to handshakes. Shaking hands with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse or a close relative is considered by many devout Muslims as “haraam,” or forbidden, because it could lead to temptation.
As a Muslim candidate, why does Laouni shake men’s hands when she’s out campaigning, Dutrizac asked.
“Normally, we don’t shake hands, but I don’t see anything inconvenient about it,” she replied.
“You didn’t get all worked up about it, when I shook your hand (at the start of the interview)?” Dutrizac asked.
“No, not at all,” she replied.
“I think you even liked it, shaking me hand,” he said. “I saw a little sparkle in your eye.”
“I’ve shaken lots of hands,” she replied with a laugh. “You’re younger than I am.”
Dutrizac changed the subject. What does the candidate thinks of gays and atheists and “adulterous women” who don’t like her religion? “Will you represent them, too?”
“I represent everyone, Monsieur Dutrizac,” she replied calmly. “I go by the principle that everyone will be judged by his own actions. It’s none of my business what the other person does.”
* As a Muslimah she knows how to lie, as she must…
After a short break, Dutrizac went on the attack again. Can a “good Muslim woman” have sex with different men? Can she drink wine? She’s free to make her own, choice, Laouni replied. Would she herself consider such a woman a good Muslim? “It’s not up to me to judge anyone,” she said.
What does she think of SaÃ¯d Jaziri, the outspoken north-end Montreal imam who was deported to Tunisia last year on an immigration violation? “He was an agent provocateur,” she said, distancing herself from him.
* Just like her…
Is she a member of the Canadian Islamic Congress? No, and she never was, she replied – she only volunteered for the organization on community outreach efforts, such as a visiting HÃ©rouxville during the reasonable-accommodation crisis in 2007.
Since joining the NDP, she has suspended ties to the Congress and any other Muslim group, including the Canadian Federation of Muslim Women, where she sat on the executive. The rule with the NDP is that a candidate can’t be connected to any organization “that has problems with people,” Laouni said.
“I deplore all violence, all extremism, whatever it is,” she said.
* Except when it is violence committed by the soldiers of Allah. Then its okay..
Did she know that under Muslim sharia law, “if I were to rape you here today, you’d need witnesses to testify that you weren’t consenting?” Dutrizac asked. “I don’t want to do it,” he added.
“I hope so,” Laouni said, getting a bit exasperated. “It’s neither the time nor the place.”
“It’s never the time nor the place, I think,” Dutrizac said.
In any case, Laouni said, “I am not in favour of the sharia, because – and I can say it loud and clear – it isn’t the real sharia; it’s an interpretation by men, there are lots of mistakes in it, and women should take it back and re-interpret the sources in our own way and stand up for the rights God gave us.”
What’s more important, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Qu’ran, Dutrizac asked. As a citizen, the Charter; as a private person, the Qu’ran, Laouni replied. Would she support the opening of a gay bar in her riding? “No problem,” she said.
Did she ask her husband’s permission to run for the NDP? “I didn’t have to ask his permission. I consulted him,” she answered.
Summing things up, Dutrizac asked: “So, you’re the new face of Islam?”
“I’m not the new face of Islam. I’m the true face of Islam,” she said.
And with that, the interview was over.
To hear Dutrizac’s full interview with Laouni, go towww.985fm.ca/emission_dutrizac_apres-midi.php