Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No stoning please, we're Canadian

Immigrants wishing to move to the town of Herouxville, Quebec have been warned: the town council has created an ordinance against the stoning, burning, or circumcising of women. Furthermore . . .

We consider that men and women are of the same value. Having said this, we consider that a woman can; drive a car, vote, sign checks, dance, decide for herself, speak her peace, dress as she sees fit respecting of course the democratic decency, walk alone in public places, study, have a job, have her own belongings and anything else that a man can do. These are our standards and our way of life.

However, we consider that killing women in public beatings, or burning them alive are not part of our standards of life.

Other sections of the new "Standards" document inform immigrants that in Herouxville, there are no laws preventing female medical professionals from treating men, or male medical professionals from treating women. Likewise, members of emergency services, such as police officers or firefighters may also help members of both genders.

You wouldn't think such a statement would be considered controversial, would you? But apparently it is.

[T]he president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, Salam Elmenyawi, condemned the council, saying it had set back race relations decades.

He told Reuters news agency: "I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion."

The new community standards say nothing about Muslims or Islam at all. It mentions religion in two sections: one on education where it states that schools do not have places set aside for prayer or incantation, and another on "fesitivities," which reads in part:

We listen to music, we drink alcoholic beverages in public or private places, we dance and at the end of every year we decorate a tree with balls and tinsel and some lights. This is normally called “Christmas Decorations” or also “Christmas Tree” letting us rejoice in the notion of our national heritage and not necessarily a religious holiday. These festivities are authorized in public, schools, and institutions and also in private.

The Standards document closes by informing prospective immigrants that the document is intended to help them decide whether or not they wish to make the decision to move there, while making it clear that if anyone does wish to modify their habits and customs, there is a referendum process.

So what is Elmenyawi's concern? The document makes no specific reference to Islam or any ethnic or religious group, and covers much more territory than just the treatment of women. So if it's true that Islam does not mistreat women, then Elmenyawi should feel right at home in Herouxville.

Perhaps if there was not already concern about Canadian Muslims attempting to establish Shari'a courts in Canada, community regulations like the ones in Herouxville might never have had to be written.

Download a copy of Herouxville's "controversial" document here.


Post a Comment

<< Home