Monday 19 December 2011

Muslim Dress, Genital mutilation, etc.

At least some of the discussion on the niqab and the burka rests on a false premise, in my opinion. To claim that denying women the right to wear either garment, when swearing the oath for citizenship or when testifying in court, is in no way to violate freedom of religion, for several reasons:

a) the most important is that neither garment is mentioned even once in the Kuran, as anyone with Google Books can verify almost instantly;
b) the second most important reason is that state law always takes precedence over religious law: that is the fundamental premise behind the separation of church and state, and to dispute this premise is to refuse to participate in Canadian culture, and to revert to your own culture instead;
c) the third reason is that in Canadian courts of law, one must have the right to view one's accusers. Without this, a witness could wear a KKK hood to court and testify that this or that black-Canadian was guilty of this or that crime, claiming to have been witness to it, completely without rebuttal.
d) I would go further, and say that one ought not to be allowed to enter a bank so masked. I think it has already occurred that several bank-robbers have dressed in this way, in order to pull bank robberies. Those apprehended turned out to be male, without exception, implying that such masks not only prevent identification but also sex-identification.

I am most willing to accept the right of women to dress this way when at home or at the mosque or even when walking down the street. All this is OK by me. But when it involves citizenship, testimony in court, or transactions in a bank or similar institution, this is flatly unacceptable. What good would cameras in a bank do if everyone entered dressed similarly? Anyone with access to eBay can purchase either of these garments quite readily, from dozens of vendors, and any potential bank-robber or home-invader would be well advised to do so. Time was, a ski-mask would suffice, but now such a miscreant can also mask his or her sex. 

I would go further than the existing immigration laws, and require as a clause of the citizenship ritual, an explicit agreement that where one's traditions violate Canadian laws, Canadian laws take precedence, at all times and in all situations. Thus, honour-murders, female circumcision (and I would also include male circumcision, although I am fully aware that certain groups within Canada do not appreciate the extreme violence of this act, typically performed on male children before they can utter a word, but I stand my ground on this point). Either female or male circumcision ought to be permitted, once one has experienced, shall we say, the natural experience; that requires a modicum of adulthood, but after that, one is old enough to realize that assent means acceptance that the action is irreversible, for both sexes. There is no Edit | Undo command in this branch of "medicine" (to use the term very loosely -- what ever happened to "Thou shalt cause no harm?")

I expect that if anyone reads this, I will fall afoul of several different groups, and am prepared to accept their venom. I use that word carefully, because I am confident that there are no rational objections to my take on this. Assault on one's genitals, whether one is female or male, is a far worse crime than rape. On the scale of sexual violence, it is perhaps second only to honour-murder.

No comments:

Post a Comment