Quebec Gov't Tells Veiled Muslims "Go to the back of the line"

I started a thread in GD recently entitled “Another Niqab Controversy”. My contention was that there’s some deep seated xenophobia in Quebec, particularly as it is reflected by the government, that is responsible for expeling a Muslim women from a language course for refusing to remove her veil.

I was certainly challenged on my position.

Well Quebec is at it again. This time, following a ruling by a provincial human rights commission, Quebec’s health insurance board availed itself of the opportunity to announce that they will no longer accomadate veiled Muslims by allowing a choice to be served by a woman, particulary for photographic services to get a health card.

Why? Just fucking tell me why? Maybe this issue comes up only 10 times in a year and you’ve got to make a major fucking policy change that’s going to piss off a whole lot of people ? This is so ironic, given that it is the law in Canada, all the way out to British Columbia, that all federal government institutions must accomadate francophones in their language. Is there a word for accomadation in French? :rolleyes:

For some perspective, consider the Ontario policy

As far as I’m concerned this is all indicative of a sick society trying to use their government to control their “fragile” culture. The problem with that is no one knows exactly when they cross the line and challenge their own humanity

I’m not feeling the outrage - veiled Muslim women want to be prejudiced against men, and the government is not supporting it - I’m okay with that. I don’t see it the same as the requirement for federal offices to accommodate both official languages.

I’m probably missing something in the bigger picture here, but I don’t see the BFD either.

What if my church dictates that I can only be serviced by a white employee? No one would be crying for special accommodations to be made for me.

Crazy example aside, is there any other group that is accommodated in a similar way? That’s a legit question- genuinely curious.

So, as another poster put it, Muslim women are prejudiced against men, but we’re supposed to be OK with that, otherwise we’re the ones who are prejudiced? Bullshit.

You know, there are some who defend wife-beating and female circumcision because it’s part of their culture. Surely we can make reasonable accommodation for that, too?

So I’m all ho hum about making special allowances for ID photos. I can’t see it as a big deal that can’t be accommodated.

However, as a practical matter wouldn’t a Muslim female have to remove her veil to be properly ID’d in any case - check the ID photo, check the face?

This boils down to the fact that having your face fully covered in a photo ID that’s supposed to identify your based on your facial features, makes the ID completely worthless. I don’t really get how anyone would assume they’d be able to get away with using an identity photo like that.
Some countries have the option for photoless health insurance card. If that’s the case in Canada too, refusing to serve veiled women would count as discrimination. But if a photo is required, I don’t really see a problem with this.

It’s not just that they won’t serve her. They won’t serve her because she’s demanding to be photographed by a woman.

As I see it, the issue isn’t that they won’t allow an unveiled picture to be taken, it’s that they insist on having women only take the picture. Any time I’ve interacted with a government clerk, it was with whatever clerk was available; I can only imagine how it would have been received if I had insisted on a white clerk, or a Chinese clerk, or whatever (i.e. they would have looked at me like I had grown a new head and told me to do my business with the clerk that was available).

While I’m not personally a fan of niqab-wearing, I don’t see this request by niqabis as quite the same sort of thing as a veiled woman hiding her face only from male students in a French class.

As I said in the other thread, I think we should accommodate niqab-wearing women who can’t avoid being in public spaces while going about their private business. Getting a health card is definitely a necessity even for people restricting their activities to their own private business, so I would give niqab-wearers a pass on this one. (I think an agency might reasonably require, though, that people with special requests about dealing with only certain agency personnel should give advance notice or be prepared for a longer wait.)

My take on it is: Voluntarily participating in a free society’s public sphere where we’re expected to treat all people with equal respect? Take off your veil. Merely complying with unavoidable legal or practical requirements affecting your own private life? I don’t mind if you keep the veil on.

Flip this around - what if a man refused to speak to a woman that worked at a government service because he didn’t think women should be out in the working world? Is it cool to accomodate him?

reads the article properly this time :o

Right. For some reason I thought the woman was demanding to have her niqab on in the photo. Still, she might have to show the health card to a male clerk at some point, which still makes the card useless.

My personal opinion is that freedom of religion should guarantee your right to believe and worship however you like (or not to), but not guarantee you special treatment. You get the clerk who is available at the moment.

Correct me if I’m wrong (be gentle, please), but why does this type of ‘confrontation’ seem to be so much more frequent in French-speaking places? This particular one is happening in Quebec (and there are others there, too) and I’m sure you’ve heard about the similar brouhahas in France. Is this just my imagination or is this type of intolerance genuinely more common in French-speaking areas?

My sense is that among all the more common major languages, French is the most insular. In other words, TPTB in French-speaking areas seem to make a point of resisting the inclusion of words from foreign languages into contemporary French. Instead, French equivalents are devised and their usage ‘enforced’. In a similar vein, in Quebec at least, public display of foreign languages (e.g. on signs, labels) is officially prohibited or severely restricted.

What I am getting at, of course, is that whether its language, niqabs, or yarmulkes, French speaking peoples seem unduly close-minded. YMMV.

Because they probably believe, rightly or wrongly, that their culture has positive benefits for the people that live within it and see no need for negative change. That other cultures may not have practices that will add to, or at least remain neutral, to that culture, and are willing to take a stand against ancient practices designed around keeping women as property. They probably believe that such practices actually harm their society.
Now I believe that cultures change over time whether you like them to, or not. Fighting against that change is almost impossible, but we should take a stand against practices that are discriminatory by their very nature. You want to wear a gimp suit on your own time? Sure. Want me to fund this activity through taxes in some manner or expect us to cater to your prejudices? No. Not on your life.
Quebec has this one right.

I think the point is that they do have to uncover their faces to have the ID photo taken, and they don’t want to expose themselves to a man outside their family. (Although Isamu’s objection is a good one.)

As I understand it, it’s somewhat analogous to a woman not wanting to be patted down or strip searched at the airport by a male, or only wanting to be examined by a female doctor.

This reminds me of a case here in Minneapolis. Cab drivers were refusing to take passengers at the airport who were carrying liquor, sometimes several cabs in a row would refuse. Cite

I was quite alright with cabs refusing to serve people being forced to go to the end of the line by the airport.

And I am also quite alright with a woman refusing to be served by a man to have to go back to the end of a woman’s line.

Ok, I’m going to go all “hur hur” redneck for a minute.

Look, part of the decision to immigrate to a new country involves an appreciation for the culture and value system that you’ll be immigrating into. If you can’t fucking handle it… don’t fucking immigrate there.

This is like a gay immigrating into Saudi Arabia and then being shocked and dismayed that he’s about to get stoned to death for kissing a guy in public.

Well the National Post has always been good for crafting semi-clever cataclysmic headlines. Not really good at giving context or details but catchy headlines are right up their alley.
How about this one from the Montreal Gazette - Remove niqab to get medicare card, Quebec commission rules.

The RAMQ had been accommodating veil wearers until complaints led them to consult the Human Rights Commission. Critics must have busted their asses since there seems to have been only 10 requests for accomodation out of 146,000 heath card applications in 2008-2009. Now if xenophobic, Muslim hating bigotry was really pervasive in Quebec you’d think that those 10 accomodations wouldn’t have happened. Quebec - land of the xenophobic nut bars. :rolleyes:

Quebec Human Rights Commission for those with time on their hands.

And we should just accept that ?:rolleyes:

Dude, are you okay with your country being Saudi Arabia in this scenario? You think that’s something to emulate?

From whose perspective?

The guy that voluntarily immigrated into that society? yes, absolutely
As some outsider passing judgment from afar? knock yourself out in not accepting it, and by all means try to affect change, but it’s probably a futile effort.