Victory on the back of division and fear

We’re on a very slippery slope when our only way to win the next election is to play the racist card. Giles Duceppe and Stephen Harper taste victory in

Quebec by fueling the flame of prejudice against Muslim religious symbols.
Polls say it’s working and the strategy will likely be successful for this election as the Liberals and the NDP so far have refused to go into the gutter for a win ‘at any cost’.  The long-term consequences of such a strategy, however, are much more daunting.

Harper needs to look beyond this one-time election and think about what he is actually doing to the fabric of this once great nation. Let’s remember in Quebec they are not only prejudice against Muslims, they are probably just one provincial election away from banning all religious symbols including those related to Catholics and Protestant Christians.

No election victory win is worth promoting prejudice because prejudice doesn’t go away after the votes are counted. It continues to fester and only becomes bigger.

France’s public policy denied Muslim children born of foreign workers citizenship and they have a huge racist problem today.

The United States chose to treat their foreign workers (illegal immigrants from Mexico) as disposal slaves and today they have a huge immigration and ‘another’ major prejudice problem.

Prejudice is in each and every one of us to a certain degree, but when politicians and governments promote and use prejudice to keep or gain power, this strategy eventually erodes the most powerful nations in the world.
This week a pregnant woman was roughed up and pushed down in Quebec and sent to hospital with injuries because she had a scarf (hijab) on her head–not a niqab (full face veil).

A clear example of how flaming the fire of racism leads to unintended consequences. That’s just how things got started in Germany during the early 1930s and we know how badly that ended.

We have religious sects in Alberta today where women dress modestly and wear scarves.

Given the current trend to dress teens and pre-teens in soft porn styles, it may behoove us to learn something from cultures of modesty rather than fear them.

It is just over 50 years since most women stopped covering their heads in churches across Canada. But still today in all Catholic and the lion share of evangelical Christian churches, women cannot be the priest or lead pastor, elders or serve communion.

All great religions including Hindu, Christian and Muslim are patriarchal (male ruler) and from the beginning of time every religion has had a minority that plucks a juicy “power verse” and uses it to their personal advantage rather than in the context of the entire teachings of the religious text.

As a Muslim, Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Neshi, has said the majority of Muslims do not believe in the niqab, but he also warns of the dangers of government-sanctioned racism.

Religious freedom, however offensive we personally may find it, is a fundamental charter right that we want to keep.

It’s a little rich for Harper to be talking about how a small fundamental sect of Muslims treat their women when juxtapositioned against his government’s dismissive or lack of policies to help murdered and missing aboriginal girls, single mothers, pregnant teens, homeless women, gays, widows, Muslims, and working mothers, or the attitude towards women that has prevailed in his church of choice for centuries, and still exists in many ways today.

About the author

ECA Review