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Everyone is talking about Muslims, Muslim culture and especially about Muslims practicing their faith within a secular, pluralist Western society. Journalists, editorialists, politicians, casual observers are all struggling with some questions about our relationship to this significant minority. Environics Research even asked Muslims about their relationship to Canada. Their report was the top of the morning news on February 13.
What makes this remarkable are the convoluted questions they ask. Actually, the questions we all, in our secular, pluralistic society, have to ask.
Photo source: Tolerance.org
Take, for instance, the issue of the hijab, the head-scarf that many Muslim women wear. Environics, CBC News and others ask how people feel about them. How do Muslim women feel about them? It’s not trivial: France has forbidden women to wear them in schools, and other countries have taken stands against or for them.
There’s a deep conflict that’s difficult to resolve. On one hand, we feel that people should be free to wear what they want and worship as they wish. On the other hand, wearing the hijab is not optional for many Muslims. Even in Western countries, some women feel pressured and intimidated into wearing them. So there’s the conflict.
One of the most interesting aspects is the logical somersaults that politicians, journalists and commentators make about this, trying to stand up for both sides of the issue at once. Let’s see how convoluted they get.
How do you feel about this? Should Canada ban the hijab, or legislate some way to protect those who do not wish to wear them? What about veils covering the face – should they be outlawed? What about turbans?
Are we even asking the right questions? Tell me what you think.