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All posts for the day February 3rd, 2016


Barka

 

I read the news today… oh boy.

Once again it reads like the preamble to a joke: ‘A Muslim woman wearing a burka walks into a shoe store the day before Groundhog’s Day…’, a column in the Calgary Sun online February 1st, 2016 describes. [1] Appearing in the paper on Feb. 2nd, the story is neatly positioned between several other articles that discuss such things as: convicted killer Natalie Pasqua, a shooting at the Ten X nightclub, and a knife attack suffered by gang leader Nick Chan. The burka article overshadows them all, with bold typeface and a photo of the shoe shop entrance, slightly blurred and off centre, looking like the scene of a crime, like a pedophiles home. The article is obviously very important, for it falls within the category of heinous true crime.

It’s the kind of article Canadians have become accustomed to reading, and I can practically lip sync the words without skimming more than the first sentence. I feel the familiar anger once again building within me. Burka-clad Sarii Ghalab, it seems, went into Edmonton’s Shoe Repair in Northgate Centre and was refused service due to her attire. The shoe shop, apparently, has a strict no mask policy, complete with several signs, indicating that facial coverings are not permitted within the store for security reasons.

Poor Sarii was asked not to touch anything within the store and her business declined before being ushered unceremoniously from the premises by the retailer. Later, Sarii made an attempt to make amends. She returned to the shoe shop with flowers and a letter explaining the rationale behind her outlandish attire. Once more, the shopkeeper escorted the woman off the premises, refusing the flowers and ignoring the letter. I got a lump in my throat reading the sad story, a tear escaped my eye.

Am I missing something here? I must ask myself. The same situation occurs on a daily basis in the summertime when shirtless, barefoot patrons shuffle into Mcdonald’s. It’s similar to when punk ‘Anonymous’ teens walk into a liquor store on Hallowe’en clad in masks or carrying ersatz weapons. A restaurant or store is a private establishment and thereby the proprietor can reserve the right to refuse service to whomever he or she pleases. End of story.

But this is Canada, sanctuary to Syrians and haven to the infirmed and oppressed. This is not a Country, or a place with cultural distinctiveness or a uniquely unified nation of any kind… it’s a haven, didn’t you know? And we’ve got to file down the underpinnings of society… we must erode cultural solidarity. So sayeth the liberal media bosses, at least. Therefore, the story needs to become more… much more. Sarii Ghalab, it appears, could potentially be the victim of racism. Oh, the horror… the horror. [2] Ghalab goes on to allege that the store proprietor, Ryan Vale, told her that “serving her would go against his ethical beliefs”, a statement that Vale refutes making. Vale stated “this is the way it’s always been” and that his policy goes for “white people, black people, dogs, anything”, that he insists that his patrons revealing their identity has everything to do with safety and nothing to do with race or cultural peculiarities.

Nevertheless, Sarii Ghalab’s sister, apparently, will be filing a human rights complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Of course she will. I’m sure the AHRC are thrilled to finally have such an incident to pursue and another insipid immigrant victim of discrimination to defend. The AHRC apparently have never had a case involving a burka or niqab come to light before… how exciting!

We surely can’t have Canadians discriminating against religious attire, in spite of the fact that it falls within the sub-category of identity concealment can we? After all, a Muslim can now swear the Canadian Citizenship Oath in full disguise. Forcing the hand of a lowly shop owner should be a simple matter, Ghalab’s sister and the AHRC probably assume.

And undoubtedly they are correct. Canadians will most likely bend to her agitation, compromising yet again. As Charles Bronson used to say, “this isn’t over” [3].  We need only look to other recent complaints made by other minorities who have felt somehow marginalized to begin understand where this farce will likely lead.

An example of a similarly flavoured incident could be taken from Hallowe’en 2015. First Nations activists expressed indignation that they had discovered so-called ‘Indian headdresses’ being sold as a crude costume. These were no mere get-ups, they contended, these were specialized religious apparel, reserved solely for spiritual uses. The headdresses were for high tribal ceremony, not for people masquerading as cowboys and Indians and having fun.

Outraged, many First Nations activists demanded that the headdresses be pulled from the store shelves, from all store shelves, everywhere in Canada, maybe even the world over. To allow otherwise would be an affront to the noble Native People, they contended, their heritage and their beliefs.  Sylvia McAdam, a founder of the “Idle No More” crusaders, was quoted in regards to the issue, as saying: “Racism has become normalized, It’s part of dehumanizing indigenous people. That’s unacceptable.”[4]

I can’t recall if the native indignation extended to costumes imitating Catholic priests or Jesus or other religious icons such as the Pope, but I strongly suspect not. Undoubtedly though, this was an affront to the sanctity of the First Nations religious beliefs and a tomahawking of their uniqueness. It was perhaps comparable to that infamous episode of the Flintstones that poked fun at First Nations people in the mid-1960’s, ‘Droop Along Flintstone’. [5] Like the episode of the cartoon, the headdress had to be banned and removed, and thrown down a memory hole somewhere, the irate natives contested.

Flintstones

It seems somehow incongruous to me that a great many immigrants and minority factions in this country often profess to come to Canada in search of a system of higher values. They apparently seek the protection of our rule of law and our universal acceptance of religion, looking to escape the malevolent beliefs of their own broken lands. They admire our liberty, our tolerance and our freedoms, they say, and wish to share in our way of life and be part of our uniquely Canadian identity.

And yet, all too frequently, we hear these same migrant minorities complaining that our society is too dissimilar to their own, that we are somehow culturally alien (the word ‘infidels’ is often whispered) and that we do not adhere to their arcane beliefs, such as Sharia Law. We allow for religious freedom but do not always tolerate religious expression or practices that herald back to the middle ages. We frown on practices such as public stoning, of female mutilation, of honour killing, and of the bleeding to death of animals during slaughter (how Halal meat is created).

But as the Subway restaurant advertisement used to boast, many immigrants of Canada want it their way, right away. They want the social benefits of Canada, the tolerance, the diversity, the multi-culti twaddle recited by our predominately socialist media, but they feel compelled in no way to join in or assimilate or be subject to Canadian rules themselves. Perhaps Sir Winston Churchill said it best when he wrote: “…But the Mahommedan religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance.” [6]

The fact that Canada compromised on facial coverings during the Oath of Citizenship is a shameful mark on our history as a nation. The fact that we indulge immigrant’s attempts to dissolve our cultural values on a regular basis with the assistance of institutions such as the AHRC and the CHRC is unforgivable. And the fact that we sensationalize these “stories” and give them priority in the media, likening them to murder and gang stabbings, disgusts me.