Post-Post-9/11 bigotry in Kanada: Burqas on Ice?

When global goes local
Feb 08, 2009 04:30 AM
Haroon Siddiqui

Hardly a week goes by without a reminder of the domestic implications of global issues on Canada.

You could say that was always so. Historically, immigration and refugee waves to Canada followed upheavals elsewhere – the Irish famine; the Russian anti-Jewish pogroms; the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia; the apartheid era in South Africa; the racist madness of Idi Amin's Uganda; the Islamic revolution in Iran; the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans; the return of Hong Kong to China; and the wars in Somalia and Sri Lanka.

But these days the impact of geopolitical developments is felt across a wide range of Canadian political, legal and social fronts.

There's the spillover of the war on terror: Maher Arar, security certificates, terrorism cases in Toronto and Ottawa, Omar Khadr, etc.

On the Iraq war, there was a solid consensus against it. On our Afghan mission, there's deep division. On the Arab-Israeli conflict, there are angry arguments.

On integrating new peoples and cultures, Canada has led the world in defining "reasonable accommodation." But post-9/11, we've been getting tripped up by bigotry (as in the silly bans on the hijab in soccer and taekwondo tourneys, thereby reducing such girls' participation in healthy community activities). Or we are mired in confusion, as in the arguments over the niqab.

Take the case of the woman ordered by a Toronto judge to remove her face veil while testifying.

Some people are mixing up religious and secular law.
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