Another Niqab Controversy [Quebec "defense" of French too far?]

Actually, the French “u” is the same as the German umlauted “u”. So yeah, the issue of how you use your mouth to shape vowels is relevant, and when I studied French, my teacher certainly paid attention to that.

I’m not concluding that this incident can’t have been influenced by any anti-Muslim or anti-niqab prejudice, but I do think that the general point that it’s helpful for a teacher of spoken French to be able to see the student’s mouth is valid.

Additionally as a large percentage of communication is non-verbal, it can be hard to tell meaning when you are talking to a person hiding in a tent.

It has been pointed out to me that perhaps the central point of this thread is the regional issue–or, at least, the issue of the “defense” of Qubecois culture. Therefore, I am withdrawing my comment, here.

HOWEVER, if the debate is actually to be about the need or right of Quebec to impose on its immigrants, then everyone is to treat that point as an actual debate topic without the snide comments that have already been posted.

I am modifying the title to reflect this change.

[ /Moderating ]

I’d say the issue has less to do with the ole’ problem of **language **(French/English) and more to do with generalized culture. Quebec is a culturally unique nation within Canada, one that has historically taken great steps to preserve it’s own unique identity and place within Canada. Traditionally this has been manifested in the publicized fight to preserve the dominance of French within the province, however language isn’t always the most relevant cultural issue de jour (just the most prominent).

Taking this into account, we must realize that Quebeckers will be more protective and sensitive to cultural issues then the Rest of Canada (ROC). The ROC also has a “nativist” streak, but they deal with such things in different ways. Also the ROC are able to absorb more foreign immigrants and are more accustomed to foreign immigration then Quebec. However, this is not just a Quebec issue, it’s just that Quebec is probably more sensitive to these cultural issues.

If I had to draw an American parallel… think of the rural/nativist tension that brought the"tea-baggers" movement into the spotlight. Such things are being played out in the homes of Canadians.

Yeah…ok, fascinating insight.

Basically it looks like this woman is a twit. Mixed gender CEGEP, mixed gender class and she appears unwilling to bend at all. I mean if the report is right, she was allowed to make a oral presentation facing the wall. :dubious: Good lord, why should any student be able to insist that a class structure be altered to ensure they’re sufficiently hidden from other students? What the hell?

The easiest answer is that she needs to attend a single gender CEGEP but as far as I know there isn’t one in Quebec.

You seem to suggest that the issue is a personal one for this woman. I suggest that the whole weight of her religion and culture bears down on her behavior.

She certainly wouldn’t be a twit back in Egypt. In fact, I would expect that single gender education would be easily available to her if not mandatory.
The school is clearly bullshitting here . Its xenophobia and you can make all the excuses for it , but its still xenophobia. Hérouxville does come to mind.

The only possible problem with the instructor not being able to read her lips would be compromising the best outcome that woman could achieve in her course.

The most relevant part of their history, in the context of this story, is probably the complete 180 from Catholicism to secularism during la Révolution Tranquille, including the rise of a strong, vocal feminist movement that continues to be at the forefront of many Canadian gender issues today. Quebecers made a swift, dramatic change in the way religion and the Church was (or wasn’t) allowed to rule their lives and dictate morals – and now they are unhappy that some people are happy to backslide, replacing the Church with Allah.

More to it, I know, but the shift to secularism was drastic and recent enough that I still think it has an affect on Quebecers’ perception of religion.

In other words: A personal one. Because in Canada you can tell your culture and religion to piss off.
Makes me wonder why she lives in Canada at all?

sigh - I could submit that the turbin/RCMP issue years ago is a damning inditement of an anglo-canadian mindset mired in Queen and Empire. I’d be about as right as you are.

The fact of the matter is that she was fully aware that St. Laurent is a mixed gender CEGEP. She applied to go there (or I remember applying when I went to CEGEP) and so was fully aware of the nature of the schooling she would recieve. The failure of the CEGEP to completely accommodate her is a failing of their budgets and resources. The failure on her part is either her inability to adapt her person values to a broader social context or her expectation that the world would adjust to her.

Okay, picture this. You are teaching someone a foreign language. That person expresses the fact that she would prefer to cover her face during class. Your options are:
[li]Okay, but you do realize this may make it harder for me to correct you during pronunciation exercises. This means you may not get everything out of the course that you would if you did not cover your face, and in the end it may well lead to a lower score.[/li][li]No way! You are expelled![/li][/ol]

Unless this kind of pronunciation exercise (and pronunciation exercises are the only time you would need to see a mouth) is a mandatory part of the grade structure as denoted on the syllabus, expulsion does not make sense. Just like the person who shies away from speaking in class or does not turn in their homework, this would be a situation that might harm the grade but probably would not lead to failure, much less expulsion.

She did not ask for anything other than to remain covered. That would have cost the CEGEP $0.00 .

Consider your statement in the context of a civil rights advocate living below the Mason Dixon line pre 1950s.

The only entity that was asked to adjust was her. She did not ask the school to adjust. There was no rule or dress code that precluded her wearing the niqab. This ruling was targeted on her and by extension her kind.

I would imagine being allowed to do an oral presentation facing a wall instead of an audience is an accommodation. But overall I really don’t care.

Allowed ?

More like forced to me.

“Take off your top and bra or face the wall if you want to learn French !”

No dude, that’s just you seeing that anyone besides this woman was “targetted” for anything.

Doubtful at best. From the OP:

She wears the niqab so people cannot see her. She turned her back so people cannot see her. This was her action, and her own reason. The school didn’t make her turn her back to the class, she did it because the class wouldn’t turn away from her, is how I read it. If you have more information, please share it.

Cake please!

The idea that it was necessary for her to turn to face the class when making oral presentations or that it was necessary for her to remove her veil so that the instructor could see her mouth to ensure that she was pronouncing things properly are both put to paid by the offer for her to take the class online. Presumably no one will be seeing her speak if she’s behind a computer.

Countries in the west are going to have to understand that there are women who are going to wear veils. There just are. We can accept that and stop treating them poorly, or we can marginalize them and make all of our alleged freedoms and religious liberties nothing more than lies.

Not necessarily - we have lots of prohibitions on actions and behaviours. It’s now a discussion about what is and is not acceptable. There’s no obligation to put up with people that refuse to show their faces. An interesting experiment would be to see institutional reactions to students veiled for religious or cultural reasons vs. those veiled for no particular reason at all. Personally I think veils are stupid and that they act as an impediment to interpersonal interaction and so slow the development of trust between groups. Whether or not that is sufficient to not allow them is likely up for debate. :smiley:

Wearing a mask in an educational setting strikes me as totally unacceptable. If I were a teacher, I wouldn’t tolerate it. If schools can prohibit the wearing of hats inside the building, you’d think they could do the same with masks.

Well said. This decision to have her expelled is clearly a case of the faculty being stubborn over a prejudiced teacher’s decision to give her a hard time and none of the given justifications are supported by the presence of an online option for the course.

So in the huge list of things that might create distrust between groups, a veil is of greater importance than denying somebody their religious freedoms?

As a teacher I don’t see why I would shit my pants over a veil or a hat (I doubt hat-restrictions are common in college btw). If she did 2 out of 3 of doing her work, showing up to class, or participating regularly I would feel lucky to have her.

Doesn’t that suggest that she should stay in Egypt? If she wants to live in Quebec, she should accommodate herself to Quebec/Canadian culture.