“They say female circumcision is honourable and yet they find piercing your ears reprehensible, wearing high heels reprehensible, laughing objectionable”
Canadian mosque acting less than “moderate.” “Mosque in hot water again,” by Iain Marlow forThe Star, November 17 (thanks to DW, some of the comments are right on the money re FGM):
The Toronto mosque that onceÂ warned its members to avoid wishing others “Merry Christmas,” equating it with murder, is once again pitted in controversy.
And now the Muslim Canadian Congress is calling on Ottawa to strip the charitable status of the Somali Islamic Society of Canada, which owns the Khalid Bin Al-Walid mosque in Etobicoke, founded in 1990 and serving more than 10,000 worshippers.
Congress president Farzana Hassan said postings on the mosque’s website are “in contravention of what a moderate Muslim should stand for.”
Asked for specifics, Hassan cited the site’s “statements about women.” For example, she said, “they say female circumcision is honourable and yet they find piercing your ears reprehensible, wearing high heels reprehensible, laughing objectionable. It’s very disconcerting that their priorities are where they are.”
But the mosque defends its postings, arguing in a statement posted on its website that “different scholars of Islam may have differing opinions on the same subject.”[…]
“We have maintained our web site to reach out to Muslims and non-Muslims alike to provide to them the authentic teachings of Islam,” the mosque’s administration says in the statement. “We do not seek to offend or harm anyone with what is written on our web site.[…]
Perhaps not with what is “written” on your website, but if such statements do notÂ literallyÂ cause “harm” (as for “offend,” they most certainly do), theyÂ leadÂ to the “harm” of others, through the use of, not words, butÂ swords, baseball bats, machetes and metal poles.
It’s not the first time the mosque or its board have been the subject of critical attention from other Muslim organizations that see it as extremist or ill-informed about Islam.Â
In 2002, a mosque employee sent an email to the Khalid mosque’s Internet message service on Christmas Day, warning thatÂ saying “Merry Christmas” was akin to “congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone or having illicit sexual relations and so on.”
Not everyone is ready to submit, not yet:
Quebec demands immigrants sign-off on ‘shared values’
Shaun Best/ReutersSamira Laouni (R) argues with Louise Trudel as a group of Muslim women meet with residents of the Quebec town of Herouxville in this February, 2007 photo.
MONTREAL — Future immigrants to Quebec will be required to sign a declaration promising to learn French and respect Quebec’s “shared values,” the government announced on Wednesday.
In a document with echoes of the controversial code adopted last year by the rural town of HÃ©rouxville, immigrants will be informed that Quebec is a democracy where men and women are equal and violence is prohibited.
“Quebecers have said yes to immigration, but they said yes to immigration on the condition that these immigrants integrate into our society,” Immigration Minister Yolande James said as she announced the policy, which takes effect in January. She added that immigrating to Quebec “is a privilege not a right.”
With Liberal Premier Jean Charest expected to call an election next week, critics denounced the initiative as an attempt to undermine the opposition Action DÃ©mocratique du QuÃ©bec and Parti QuÃ©bÃ©cois, which have both made defence of “the Quebec identity” a battle cry.
“There is a political calculation here that the Liberals want to make sure they have arguments to get PQ and ADQ support,” said Daniel Weinstock, a professor of philosophy at UniversitÃ© de MontrÃ©al. It is aimed at voters in the Quebec hinterland who approved of HÃ©rouxville’s initiative, which among other things informed newcomers to the town northeast of Montreal that it is prohibited in Canada to stone women or throw acid on them.
While the content of the Quebec government declaration is banal enough to be rendered meaningless, Mr. Weinstock said, it sends a negative message to newcomers.
“It’s as if the Jews, the Muslims, the whatever who come here are all indisposed to the equality of men and women, and we have to tell them what’s what,” he said. “It’s cheap symbolism, and I can’t express how depressed it makes me.”
The shared values spelled out in the declaration are: Quebec is a free and democratic society; church and state are separate; Quebec is a pluralist society based on the rule of law; men and women have equal rights; and rights and freedoms are exercised while respecting those of others and the general well-being.
It also stresses that French is the official language of Quebec, as laid out in Bill 101. Signatories will declare their intention to learn French if they do not already speak it.
The Immigration Department plans to bombard potential and new immigrants with messages stressing Quebec values. There will be a section on values added to the immigration forms filled out overseas and an explanatory pamphlet will be distributed. Immigrants will also receive a DVD on shared values and be directed toward a new Web site whose name translates as “shared values of Quebec.” Information sessions on shared values will be offered to immigrants after they arrive.
“Once our new Quebecer has got off the plane at the airport, she will follow a course on how to live in Quebec, how things work here, what the socio-economic realities are,” Ms. James explained.
Victor Armony, professor of sociology at UniversitÃ© du QuÃ©bec Ã MontrÃ©al, said he is disgusted by the government’s approach. Many immigrants to Quebec are successful businesspeople or professionals in their native countries. “They don’t need Quebec society to patronize them,” he said.
He immigrated from Argentina in 1989. “When I came here, I valued democracy perhaps more than many Canadians, because I grew up in a dictatorship,” he said.
Mr. Charest first raised the notion of forcing immigrants to sign a declaration last May when the Bouchard-Taylor commission released its report on reasonable accommodation. The issue of integrating cultural and religious minorities had been an emotional topic in Quebec since late 2006, and it gave the ADQ a boost in the March 2007 election. After a year of research and public hearings, the commissioners did not recommend such a declaration for immigrants.