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Author Topic: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban  (Read 901 times)

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Offline SariaTopic starter

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I didn’t see any existing topics on this issue, so I decided to make one.

On October 18 the Canadian province of Québec passed Bill 62. Among other things, it bans anyone from giving or receiving public services with their face covered. Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée has already confirmed this includes anyone taking a bus, entering a school, or going to a hospital, and that it includes hoods, bandanas, scarves, and sunglasses.

To be clear, right now, in Québec, if your face is covered, you cannot:
  • enter a government building
  • use public transit
  • enter a (public) school
  • enter a park
  • enter a library
  • enter a hospital
And having your face “covered” means anything that covers your face. Including sunglasses, no matter how bright it is; a hood, no matter how rainy it is; or a scarf, no matter how cold it is.

The government has changed the explanation for the ban (and its precise nature) several times. Originally it was a “religious neutrality” bill, but now the justification is security and safety.* However, it is widely understood to be specifically targeting the Muslim minority. (I tried to find a good link for that claim. However, every single article that talks about the bill makes the connection, so I couldn’t pick just one. I think the evidence will be clear enough in every other source I link to.)

* The title is still: Loi favorisant le respect de la neutralité religieuse de l’État et visant notamment à encadrer les demandes d’accommodements pour un motif religieux dans certains organismes (“An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies”). And the purpose stated in the Bill is all about religion.

Several Canadian governments outside of Québec have released statements (this is still fresh news, so some either haven’t responded yet, or if they have I haven’t heard; I will add more as I see them) condemning the ban:

Several Canadian organizations dedicated to human rights, civil liberties, or secularism have condemned it:

And even Québécois are protesting:

But what do you think, E?

Offline WindFish

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 08:20:25 PM »
Women should be able to wear whatever the fuck they want. This law is nothing short of discrimination based on Islamophobia.

The fact that such a law passed in Canada disturbs me as a Canadian.

Hopefully this gets taken to court soon.

Offline DominantPoet

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 08:45:12 PM »
I'm from Ontario, so I've heard about this already myself, been able to ponder over it a bit and all.

I'm not exactly against it because I understand the main point behind it - after all, one of the favorite things for potential criminals to do is cover their face and whatnot. And religiously, there are people who would otherwise wear things covering their heads, making them difficult to identify if needed. We live in a world of security cameras and surveillance now, after all. And this only applies to another that is government based/run/presided over, after all. Doesn't apply to any privatized things, nor does it apply to public streets in general either. (unless they're going through a park, but I'm inclined to think they mean national parks, not your run of the mill corner parks).

Still, it's areas that generally would/will have surveillance. Hopefully, as well, any enforcement of this law would be minimal (refusal of service/entry, fine for public disturbance if said individual persists/makes a scene).

How they're going to enforce it, as far as I know, is still being talked about.

I mean, I remember when passport photo rules were changed so you couldn't smile anymore, that seemed outrageous back then, it's pretty normal now, however. Cameras everywhere seemed outrageous back in the day, seems pretty normal now too. Depending on how this is implemented and enforced, may end up being the same way.

Having said all that - I understand the main issue here is religious garb, and the beliefs of those who wear head coverings, and that they do not wish to remove them aside from very specific situations due to their religion. That's all well and good - until it conflicts with laws and the like. We had some kerfuffle about a woman who was upset she was forced to remove her head covering she wore for religious reasons while in court...last year I believe.

One of the arguments I saw a lot was that in her country, she wouldn't have been forced to do this (she was an immigrant, yes). All well and good, again - Canada is not her country of origin though. Canada is the country she came to, we're an open and accepting country, you can have your religious beliefs...but there are times the rules of our country may impede on them. I have to follow them same as everyone else, religious beliefs, to me, should not be a cause for an exception from anything that is law in Canada.

Or anywhere, really. Y'know, I'm not going to go live in Dubai and start breaking their laws (say, about drinking) and then claim it's unfair because, in Canada, we don't do that. That's how I see this, myself.

Plus...on the whole "anyone should be able to wear what they want" thing...they still can. Nothing clothing wise is being banned here. And, do keep in mind - we do have laws specifically stating we HAVE to wear clothing outside of our own houses and homes. And even inside them too, depending on who can see into them, of course.

Offline Oniya

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 09:30:09 PM »
And even inside them too, depending on who can see into them, of course.

Dang, when I lived in Virginia, we learned that if you are inside your house, you have an expectation of privacy.  If your neighbor complains about you vacuuming in the nude, it's on them for being a peeper.

Offline DominantPoet

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2017, 09:40:21 PM »
Dang, when I lived in Virginia, we learned that if you are inside your house, you have an expectation of privacy.  If your neighbor complains about you vacuuming in the nude, it's on them for being a peeper.

I was more thinking of guys accidentally exposing themselves to young ones or what not through walking around in the nude in their house or in front of windows and someone else seeing it and flipping out and making a whole big thing of it...because honestly, that really wouldn't surprise me much in this day and age. -.-

One would hope that you could have privacy in your own home and not be peeped on, but still. We do live in a world where parents have had their children taken away because they dared to let them play outside unsupervised...totally off topic, I know, just mentioned it to explain why I said what I said to begin with that you quoted. :D


Offline SariaTopic starter

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2017, 10:13:03 PM »
I'm not exactly against it because I understand the main point behind it - after all, one of the favorite things for potential criminals to do is cover their face and whatnot.

The balance between freedom and security is always a tricky one. Sometimes you really do have to give up some freedom for a little more security. But I think it's pretty uncontroversial to say that freedom should never be taken away for useless security; if freedom is going to be lost, the security we get in exchange should at least be worth it.

As you've already noted, the Bill doesn't ban covering your face in general. It only bans covering your face when giving or receiving public services. It sounds like you think this is a good thing... but it really just makes the whole "security" purpose of the ban completely impotent.

You can still walk around in public with your face covered. And you can still walk into any store or bank with your face covered. If the private business has a rule against face coverings, fine... but of course, if you actually do have criminal intent, by the time you get to that point you're already in the store with your face covered.

So you could get on a motorcycle with a helmet that completely obscures your face, ride to a bank, walk in, rob it, walk out, and ride away on your waiting getaway vehicle. And the ban does nothing to help in that situation.

It wouldn't even really help all that much if the target was not a private bank, but rather a government office. You could still travel all the way to your target without even raising an eyebrow in suspicion, and the only point at which there'd be a problem is when you're inside the government office. You know, the one you're there to rob anyway. At that point... what help is the ban? It would be a very Canadian criminal indeed who obligingly took off the helmet because of the law at that point.

So what situation would the ban help with security?

Well, I suppose it would help prevent criminals from taking a bus to a bank robbery.

Or, you know, it might help if the place they wanted to rob happened require passing through a government building en route to the target.

I'm just not seeing the trade-off is worth it. If I'm going to give up some freedom, I want a much better promise of security that this for it.

Anyway, I think it's a little disingenuous to actually believe the government's line that this has anything to do with security. The history of Bill 62 is very, very public. We all know exactly why it has the form it currently has. And nothing of it has anything to do with "security".

(unless they're going through a park, but I'm inclined to think they mean national parks, not your run of the mill corner parks).

Oh, it includes city parks, too. Stéphanie Vallée was specifically asked about that, and she said it include all municipal public services and spaces too. That's why the news has been all about bus transit, and why Montreal mayor Denis Coderre is so pissed (because he doesn't want to have to enforce it).

We had some kerfuffle about a woman who was upset she was forced to remove her head covering she wore for religious reasons while in court...last year I believe.

I think you might be referring to the case in Quebec where a judge refused to hear a woman's case because she was wearing a hijab. That judge was way out of line, and lawyers and judges across Canada criticized her for it. She also flagrantly ignored an earlier Supreme Court decision on niqabs in court (that decision was actually about testifying with a niqab, and the ruling was that it was cool provided a certain test was passed... which was clearly passed in this case, so the niqab should have been allowed).

But I think a more relevant case is the case of the woman who wanted to wear a niqab for her citizenship oath. The Harper government tried to fight it, and took it to court... and lost at every single level. They lost at the Court of Appeal unanimously. They were going to take it to the Supreme Court, but then the lost the Election, and the Trudeau government dropped the challenge.

Or anywhere, really. Y'know, I'm not going to go live in Dubai and start breaking their laws (say, about drinking) and then claim it's unfair because, in Canada, we don't do that. That's how I see this, myself.

If I went to live in Dubai, and there was a stupid, unnecessary, unfair, or unjust law, I would object to it. And if I were a citizen of UAE, I would expect to have that right... doesn't matter whether I was an immigrant or tenth-generation Emirati.

The same thing applies here in Canada. If someone's objection to some law or custom in Canada is legitimate, then I don't see it as a legitimate dismissal to say: "Oh, you're new here, you have no right to complain."

Offline Missy

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2017, 01:06:44 AM »
Well I mean it's not that I think all men should be castrated, it's just that I think women shouldn't have testicles either.

Offline RedRose

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2017, 03:35:01 AM »
Sunglasses? Now that's insane, even though maybe Québec doesn't need them ;)

Many countries have a similar ban though - France, for ex. Also some North African countries. They see it as fighting against not Islam, but Islamism/extremism. Whether it helps, I don't know.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2017, 09:51:38 AM »
More and more, I become convinced that Quebec is essentially Canadian Texas.

1) Regarded memetically within its home country as 'the place crazy s*** happens' (though the US has since moved that honor to Florida).
2) Best-known for its prominent separatist movements that still crop up from time to time.
3) And apparently, the refuge for bigots who conceal religious discrimination under concerns about 'Security'.

Offline DominantPoet

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2017, 09:53:10 AM »
The same thing applies here in Canada. If someone's objection to some law or custom in Canada is legitimate, then I don't see it as a legitimate dismissal to say: "Oh, you're new here, you have no right to complain."

Kind of the problem though, because legitimacy is subjective. I'm not religious in any way, shape or form, so personally, I don't see the big deal in taking any religious wear off to receive public services. However, quite clearly, many people do. But I also think a lot of the outrage of it is more about the potential abuse of such laws and in the enforcement of them, which I do agree with could be a problem. Keyword there though, could. There is a lot of potential for abuse and the like, that's why I'm more curious to see how, exactly, they plan to enforce any of this.

So what situation would the ban help with security?

Well, it would certainly help identify people who are adamant about keeping their identities covered up pretty quickly. If it's the law to remove any head coverings and someone strolls into a hospital or government building and ignores all requests to do so - pretty big red flag right there. Could end up being someone protesting said law, or it could help to quickly identify people who went there to do some kind of heinous act.

It's a deterrent, basically - not unlike someone putting up a "this property has 24-hour surveillance" sign in their window, despite the fact they do not actually have anything.

Anyways, I will point this out - the mass amounts of security cameras that now exist in this world, which people were (and still are) blaming for a lack of privacy and what not, do not help to eradicate crime entirely either. Nor do they always help catch criminals caught on them. They help more so in that they are a deterrent. While it's unlikely criminals will let that stop them if they're absolutely adamant in their belief they can get away with it (or get out of the city/country fast enough after the fact), surveillance does deter a lot of people none the less.

This may well do the same thing - or it may not. Ultimately, the public does have the right to vocalize their displeasure with anything like this, and they may ultimately get them to change their mind - or they may not. If it becomes law, people should be prepared to either obey it or protest it (and deal with any consequences of such as well).

If I went to live in Dubai, and there was a stupid, unnecessary, unfair, or unjust law, I would object to it. And if I were a citizen of UAE, I would expect to have that right... doesn't matter whether I was an immigrant or tenth-generation Emirati.

I wasn't talking about objecting, I was talking about blatantly breaking them, and only after the fact, complaining about it. Which is why I brought up the cases I did. I agree with what the Quebec judge said to the woman wearing the hijab - "The same rules need to be applied to everyone. I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding." Religious beliefs should not exempt people from laws.

As for the woman who took her oath regardless, she did still have to remove it before she took the oath anyway to an official in order to confirm her identity. So, to me, that was kind of a splitting hairs thing in the end anyway.

Offline Oniya

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2017, 12:28:06 PM »
Going by what I know about the traditional purpose of the headscarf, and the women who choose to wear it voluntarily, being made to remove the scarf in front of a non-related man is about like being made to open your blouse.  For instances like 'confirming identity in a court', I would hope that the court official was at least female.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2017, 07:20:32 PM »
Women should be able to wear whatever the fuck they want. This law is nothing short of discrimination based on Islamophobia.

Hiding your face has always been considered suspect. The very concept of the salute is thought to go back to the simple gesture of revealing your face.

No religion, ideology or cultural practice deserves immunity from criticism. I could quote Napier on the practice of sati. I could also reference why even Islamic countries are banning face coverings.

Worse, labeling a distaste of a cultural practice as 'Islamophobic' does not diminish such distaste. Rather, you broaden this practice as being representative of Islam - which it is not.

Islamist defenders of the practice want it to be about Islam. There is no reason for us to cave to such.

What did Muhammad do, when his cousin Al-Fadl could not stop gaping at a beautiful woman who was questioning him?

Hint: He did not tell the woman to cover herself.

Offline SariaTopic starter

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2017, 10:37:27 PM »
But I also think a lot of the outrage of it is more about the potential abuse of such laws and in the enforcement of them, which I do agree with could be a problem. Keyword there though, could. There is a lot of potential for abuse and the like, that's why I'm more curious to see how, exactly, they plan to enforce any of this.

I think that's the least of most people's concerns right now.

I have not heard anyone concerned about Quebec rolling out Saudi-like morality police to check the dress code (though I have heard people bringing up the idea to mock the law's absurdity). What I have heard a lot of concern about is the way this law legitimizes anti-Muslim bigotry.

That's because: because this is now a law, and it is the duty of every citizen to not only uphold the law but also to take action when they see the law being broken, Quebec has basically handed out posse badges to every anti-Muslim bigot who wants to publicly harass niqab-wearing women. I can't believe bigots will content themselves with merely reporting violations; they are going to step in and try to enforce it themselves... they were already doing it even before it was a law, after all.

Even if a city like Montreal decides it won't enforce the ban (as they've hinted they will), it's still open season for bigots to harass a niqab-wearing woman on the bus, because the law is still the law even if the local municipality isn't bothering to enforce it. You may argue they would have (and probably did) harass niqab-wearing women before... but this is different, because now they have a legal excuse. Before, if they harassed a woman, that was just harassment, no defence possible. Now they can do the same harassment... and argue they were standing up for the law. And just like if they were standing up to someone smoking on the bus or doing anything else illegal on the bus, they will be protected by the law for harassing the offender (up to a point). The most you can accuse them of at that point is going about it the wrong way or going too far... but ultimately what they were trying to do was right.

(They'll still get charged if they actually assault the woman. But now merely yelling at her take it off is perfectly legit, whereas it wasn't two weeks ago.)

So Quebec took what is already arguably Quebec's most vulnerable population - the population that already faces the most targeted hate of any minority in the province - and put a big ol' bullseye on them, granting a free pass to harass them just for being Muslim in public.

That is what the concern is, so far as what I've been hearing goes... not that this will lead to draconian enforcement or that this is a slippery slope to everyone else losing their rights and freedoms.

Well, it would certainly help identify people who are adamant about keeping their identities covered up pretty quickly. If it's the law to remove any head coverings and someone strolls into a hospital or government building and ignores all requests to do so - pretty big red flag right there. Could end up being someone protesting said law, or it could help to quickly identify people who went there to do some kind of heinous act.

Or it could be someone who is hiding their identity to avoid stalkers or unwanted recognition, like a celebrity, someone who has informed on criminals, or someone who has an abusive stalker trying to trail them....

Or it could be someone who has a medical condition and needs to keep their facial skin or eyes protected for a while....

Or it could be someone on their way to a protest that doesn't want their employer or family to know they went to it....

Or it could be a victim who has just had the shit beat out of them and just wants to get to a safe space without becoming a spectacle or dealing with anything or anyone else....

Or it could just be someone trying to hide the fact that they have pink eye or a huge goddamn zit.

You can't make the leap from "it could be a criminal" to "it might be a criminal" without a lot of evidence and reasoning to back it up. Doing that is extremely dangerous - for example, I could argue that someone who is wearing a track suit and running shoes out in public could have chosen that outfit because they intend to commit a crime and it will make it easier for them to run away and escape... therefore I should treat anyone in a track suit and running shoes as if they might be a potential criminal. (If you think the track suit example is silly, then consider that the two deadliest shootings in Quebec were both carried out by extreme right wingers. So does that mean everyone wearing a MAGA hat should be treated like a potential mass shooter?)

As silly as that sounds, it's no joke at all when you add systemic racism to the mix. Because as dangerous as it is to go from "could be criminal" to "might be criminal" in general, when you add being a visible minority, things get downright deadly. One of the things Stéphanie Vallée made a point of saying the ban covers is a hoodie that makes your face difficult to see. You think there's no harm in assuming someone who is walking around in a dark hoodie with the hood up might be up to "some kind of heinous act"? Ask Trayvon Martin how he feels about that.

And it can't be ignored that being a visible minority is almost certainly going to be a factor with this ban.

Going by what I know about the traditional purpose of the headscarf, and the women who choose to wear it voluntarily, being made to remove the scarf in front of a non-related man is about like being made to open your blouse.  For instances like 'confirming identity in a court', I would hope that the court official was at least female.

That's the way it should be done. There are rules set out by the Supreme Court about how to handle those kinds of situations, and when it is okay to allow a woman to wear a niqab in court versus when it's not. The Judge who refused to hear the case of the hijab-wearing woman (note: it wasn't even a niqab (which covers the face), it was just the headscarf) was just flouting the rules.

No religion, ideology or cultural practice deserves immunity from criticism.

Absolutely true... however, the government should not be the one doing the criticizing. The job of the government is to keep the country running smoothly, and to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens. It is not to express opinions on what is kosher and what is not, and certainly not to use its power to repress things merely because it finds them icky. Every government in Canada has a duty to be religiously neutral. If any ideology or practice represents a real threat to society, fine. But you'd be hard-pressed to argue that there's any real threat to Quebec society posed by the few dozen women who wear niqabs.

I could also reference why even Islamic countries are banning face coverings.

I think you'll find that in every one of those cases, there is either a legitimate security concern - as in, there are actually active terrorist groups in the area - or it's simply one sect's intolerance of another sect. The former case is not true in Quebec (or anywhere in Canada), and the latter doesn't even deserve to be dignified.

If ever there were a Quebec franchise of al-Shabaab active in la belle province, I would support a niqab ban. Until then, it seems entirely specious.

Islamist defenders of the practice want it to be about Islam. There is no reason for us to cave to such.

What did Muhammad do, when his cousin Al-Fadl could not stop gaping at a beautiful woman who was questioning him?

Hint: He did not tell the woman to cover herself.

I find that direction of discussion to be distasteful. It's not only irrelevant, it's utterly pointless. I have no time for imams who say "Islam requires so-and-so", and even less for apologists who say "so-and-so is not Islamic". Because all they're ultimately saying is their particular interpretation of Islam requires this or doesn't include that. That's about as useful as their opinion of which is their favourite Pony.

For every hadith you can find of Muhammad closing gapes and saying, "Stay chill, bro", someone else can trot out a different hadith or Quran verse suggesting that women are the problem, and thus they should cover up. And then you just get tied up in a pointless theological debate.

Don't trust anyone who talks about "Islam" as if it's just one thing. There are as many flavours of Islam as there are Muslims to lick.

I see it as a simple equation: Some Muslims believe the veil is mandatory. No, I don't care whether their Quranic support for that belief is sound or not. They believe it. The end.

And I don't see how anyone can dispute the fact that they do really believe it. In fact, in the case about wearing niqabs in court, the original judge made an argument that the woman didn't really believe the niqab was mandatory because she'd taken it off for some ID photos or something. But after the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court and came back to him, he'd changed his tune, basically saying: she was so serious about her niqab that she took it all the way to the Supreme Court... yeah, okay, clearly her belief is pretty damn sincere. Bearing in mind that women who go out in public in a niqab do so knowing full well they will probably face harassment (and it's undeniable that they do; just look at how much harassment these researchers racked up in one month), it's hard to argue that they're not serious about the belief.

So some Muslims believe the veil is mandatory. In Canada, that means if you want a law to take it away, that law has to pass the Oakes test, which basically asks if the law is necessary (and if so, if a compromise could be made, and so on). There is no way a face covering ban like this will pass the Oakes test.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2017, 05:37:07 AM »
Absolutely true... however, the government should not be the one doing the criticizing. The job of the government is to keep the country running smoothly, and to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens. It is not to express opinions on what is kosher and what is not, and certainly not to use its power to repress things merely because it finds them icky. Every government in Canada has a duty to be religiously neutral. If any ideology or practice represents a real threat to society, fine. But you'd be hard-pressed to argue that there's any real threat to Quebec society posed by the few dozen women who wear niqabs.

...and what are Canada's hate speech laws for, exactly?

Of course the government has a role and a decision to make regarding what is appropriate behavior.

And it's not just 'icky'. You cover your face at all times and you are forcing yourself into the other. There are legitimate sociological concerns for normalizing that sort of behavior.

Quote
I think you'll find that in every one of those cases, there is either a legitimate security concern - as in, there are actually active terrorist groups in the area - or it's simply one sect's intolerance of another sect. The former case is not true in Quebec (or anywhere in Canada), and the latter doesn't even deserve to be dignified.

Quebec does have a history with Islamic terrorism. I'm not sure what you are trying to claim there.

Quote
If ever there were a Quebec franchise of al-Shabaab active in la belle province, I would support a niqab ban. Until then, it seems entirely specious.

It would also be after the fact.

Quote
I find that direction of discussion to be distasteful. It's not only irrelevant, it's utterly pointless. I have no time for imams who say "Islam requires so-and-so", and even less for apologists who say "so-and-so is not Islamic". Because all they're ultimately saying is their particular interpretation of Islam requires this or doesn't include that. That's about as useful as their opinion of which is their favourite Pony.

But you'd be totally fine with this interpretation if it was brought up in reference to honor killings. Or hell, of Wahhabi-Salafism in general which is one of the leading drivers behind the niqab. If not the leading.

Quote
For every hadith you can find of Muhammad closing gapes and saying, "Stay chill, bro", someone else can trot out a different hadith or Quran verse suggesting that women are the problem, and thus they should cover up. And then you just get tied up in a pointless theological debate.

And if that is the argument, why should it be respected?

My understanding is the only justification for this comes from Muhammad's wives covering up because they were getting harassed.

Quote
Don't trust anyone who talks about "Islam" as if it's just one thing. There are as many flavours of Islam as there are Muslims to lick.

I see it as a simple equation: Some Muslims believe the veil is mandatory. No, I don't care whether their Quranic support for that belief is sound or not. They believe it. The end.

That reminds of my general criticism of Abrahamic faiths. It gets used as a rubric to justify a person's own cognitive biases rather than break them.

Doesn't change the fact that it is tribal in origin and not remotely universal to the religion.

Quote
So some Muslims believe the veil is mandatory. In Canada, that means if you want a law to take it away, that law has to pass the Oakes test, which basically asks if the law is necessary (and if so, if a compromise could be made, and so on). There is no way a face covering ban like this will pass the Oakes test.

Probably not.

But it isn't what I am arguing.

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2017, 12:32:50 PM »
Bigots don't need a reason to vocalize their point of view aside from their personal desire to impose their will on others, much like bank robbers don't need a reason besides their desire for financial gain. They'll do it regardless whenever they feel they have the opportunity to get away with it, or if they simply don't care about the consequences of doing as such. Despite it coming from a fictional character, the phrase "criminals aren't complicated" is pretty applicable, I think.

Or it could be someone who is hiding their identity to avoid stalkers or unwanted recognition, like a celebrity, someone who has informed on criminals, or someone who has an abusive stalker trying to trail them....

Or it could be someone who has a medical condition and needs to keep their facial skin or eyes protected for a while....

Or it could be someone on their way to a protest that doesn't want their employer or family to know they went to it....

Or it could be a victim who has just had the shit beat out of them and just wants to get to a safe space without becoming a spectacle or dealing with anything or anyone else....

Or it could just be someone trying to hide the fact that they have pink eye or a huge goddamn zit.


In literally all of these scenarios, said person would (and should) logically vocalize this to any authority figure who is requesting they follow the law that would be in place. I specifically said someone who ignores all requests to do so - this would include not vocalizing why they would wish not to. That really should be obvious.

Lastly, as I've said, how they plan to even enforce any of this is still unclear, and I think until the guidelines come out (which apparently isn't even due until July) there's plenty of time for people to vocalize their desires to their government through official channels, and anyone who is worried about such things, can certainly (and should) do this. Let us also not forget, this is Canada - while we have racists, and bigots, and the like, they are an infinitely smaller minority than in other countries of the world, thankfully.

Personally, if I see someone giving someone else undue grief or otherwise harassing said person, I will step in and offer my assistance, or barring the inability to do that, call the authorities. I like to think the vast majority of people in my country would do the same as well. Quebec, or otherwise.

Other than that, I've said my feelings and views on this in general here. Just keep in mind as well, this law, should it come into effect and all, applies to literally every single person. Not just those with religion.

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2017, 06:43:45 PM »
...and what are Canada's hate speech laws for, exactly?

That is a very good question to which far too many people don't know the answer, or think they do but are wrong. What they are for, exactly, is protecting people from harm. As with all Canadian laws worth defending.

Hate speech is not defined as "speech that is offensive", no matter how "offensive" it gets. I know that's a myth that is widely believed, but it just isn't true. That has been tested time and again in court, when absolutely foul speech was found to not be hate speech, simply because it didn't imply harm. For something to be hate speech, it has to be actually calling for murder - genocide, actually - or it has to be something that a reasonable person would interpret as a calling for it. You can come to Canada and say the most disgusting and abhorrent things about other people or groups as much as you want... and so long as you make sure to do it in a way that cannot be considered incitement to violence, you're protected.

For the niqab to be analogized to hate speech, you would have to argue that someone wearing the veil harms people around them, or encourages other people to cause harm. I can't see that argument holding water. If the veil doesn't threaten anyone else, then - just like nasty opinions that aren't inciting to violence - it will be protected.

And it's not just 'icky'. You cover your face at all times and you are forcing yourself into the other. There are legitimate sociological concerns for normalizing that sort of behavior.

Merely not making something illegal is not normalizing it. By that logic, the Canadian government is normalizing licking the floors of public bathroom stalls. It's not illegal, after all.

States should not be in the business of making things illegal merely because the majority finds it offensive. That was the case for being gay for years, and it was wrong.

States should also not be in the business of making things illegal merely because it represents something "sociologically concerning". Spending too much time on the Internet and not enough making real life friends is sociologically concerning, but it should not be made illegal.

Quebec does have a history with Islamic terrorism. I'm not sure what you are trying to claim there.

Are you talking about the 2014 car attack? That didn't involve a niqab, or even a hijab, or even a woman. Why should women be punished for that?

Anyway, one incident does not illustrate a pattern, and it certainly doesn't suggest a "legitimate security concern" or "active terrorist groups in the area"... both of which are the things I actually said, not merely that there is a "history", because you don't make a law to protect people from something historical, you make a law to protect them from actual security concerns. What other incident has there been in Quebec?

But you'd be totally fine with this interpretation if it was brought up in reference to honor killings. Or hell, of Wahhabi-Salafism in general which is one of the leading drivers behind the niqab. If not the leading.

I'm sorry... what? I don't think you understood what I said. I said that arguing over the "proper" theological justification for niqabs (or anything) is pointless. It is not the job of the government to decide what the "right" way to read the Quran is, which hadith count as official, and which dictates override which. Whether something is "truly Islamic" or not shouldn't matter... if it threatens the rights of others, it should be banned; if it doesn't, it shouldn't.

And the same is true for honour killings or anything else. It doesn't matter if a practice is "properly" justified in the religious sources or not. All that matters is whether the practice interferes with the rights of others (which honour killing obviously does, and niqabs - assuming they're being worn by choice - obviously do not).

To put it another way, pretend for a moment that the niqab is clearly required by the Quran. How would that change anything?

For me, it doesn't; I don't care whether it's justified by the religious texts or just a figment of the imagination of believers (like pretty much everything else). It's still stupid, degrading, and oppressive... but it's also still no threat to anyone else's rights, and in a free country, people are allowed to make stupid choices so long as they don't interfere with the rights of others.

Bigots don't need a reason to vocalize their point of view aside from their personal desire to impose their will on others....

Yes, that's pretty much the same thing I said myself. But you missed the whole point. The point is not just that "bigots will be bigots". The point is that now bigots can be bigots... and get away with it. In fact, they can even be rewarded for it. Because before the law, harassing a niqab-wearing woman on a bus to take off her niqab was just that... harassment. Now it's a civic duty.

To illustrate just how messed up this is: Just this May in Portland, two people were stabbed to death for defending a hijab-wearing woman who was being harassed by a bigot. It's a tragic story, and the two people who died were rightfully hailed as heroes.

However... do you realize that if that happened right now in Quebec - instead of months ago in Oregon - (and if it had been a niqab instead of a hijab)... those two heroic victims would have been accessories to a crime?

Let that sink in for a second.

You mentioned you'd step in yourself if you saw that kind of harassment. Are you sure? With this law in place, if you were in Quebec, and you stepped up to defend a helpless niqab-wearing woman being harassed by bigots... you would be an accessory to her crime, and you could be guilty of obstruction of justice.

In literally all of these scenarios, said person would (and should) logically vocalize this to any authority figure who is requesting they follow the law that would be in place.

Except in literally all of those scenarios, they shouldn't have to. Forget the law for a moment; what you were arguing is that merely walking around with one's face covered should warrant investigation. But none of those scenarios is particularly bizarre. Every single one of them could be happening somewhere in Canada right now as you read this. (Including, depressingly, the one with the abuse victim.) Those things happen so regularly that they completely eclipse the very, very small possibility that they're up to something nefarious.

This is not the same kind thing as, say, walking around with a rifle in an urban area. While there are possibly scenarios where someone could have a legitimate excuse for walking around town with a rifle (you just bought it and are carrying it home; it's not a real rifle, it's a prop/novelty item; etc.), they are all incredibly unlikely. They're so unlikely, they don't dwarf the possibility of something nefarious. So it's completely reasonable to be suspicious, and investigate.

And you know this, too. If you saw someone walking around town casually or getting on the bus in a niqab or even a balaclava (in hot weather), you might think, "huh, that's weird"... but I guarantee you it would never occur to you to call 911 or report it at all - not even if you happened to run into a cop around the next corner. But if you saw someone walking around with a rifle... you probably would.

Let us also not forget, this is Canada - while we have racists, and bigots, and the like, they are an infinitely smaller minority than in other countries of the world, thankfully.

Are you sure? (And that link is from 10 years ago, before the Muslim panic. For a more current example, just consider that the same day they passed Bill 62, Quebec also finally announced that it would hold consultations about all the racism in the province.)

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2017, 06:56:31 PM »
Update!

I have to post this here because I don't think I can edit the opening post.

After a week of widespread confusion, the Quebec government finally called a press conference to "clarify" the law.

According to Stéphanie Vallée, you can get on and ride the bus with your face covered. The only time you need to show your face is when you're using a photo ID. So, for example, if you want to use a discount card with a photo ID on it, you'd have to show your face... but once your identity is confirmed, you can put your face covering back on and ride out the rest of your trip like that. And if you're just paying the fare (or using a pass without photo ID), you don't need to show your face at all.

So now it sounds like the law only requires showing your face when you need to identify yourself... which is not what the law actually says, and anyway that was always required even before the law was passed. So it's still not really clear what the law does.

But the question of banning face-covering in a manner similar to what Bill 62 actually says (and what it was taken to mean before the "clarification") is still valid, and apparently there are people on both sides.

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2017, 06:31:43 PM »
See, I agree with the clarification and with Wynne (holy crap I agree with Wynne, will wonders never cease?). If you need to use ID for some reason, yes, I would say to have your face uncovered. If you're receiving a service that has no need of being identified (being on a bus, going to a park), if you would let a kid in a halloween mask do it, leave people the hell alone. It wasn't a problem before now and it doesn't need to be a problem now.

Honestly, there has never been an attack that I know of on Canadian soil perpetrated by someone who was wearing any sort of face covering. Again, that I'm aware of. I welcome the chance to be proven wrong, of course.

Then again, and my apologies if this offends anyone on a personal level, but I've always found it quite concerning the types of things that Quebec normally does. Most of it seems to be pointless belligerence. Mind you, there could be all kinds of cultural reasons for this. Quebec has always had their own culture apart from the rest of the country.

Also as far as hate speech goes, I was always under the impression that the existence of an inanimate object was found not to be considered in any case to be hateful. Once more, however, I welcome the chance to be proven wrong.


In regards to the assertion that racism isn't a problem in Canada, however, I would like to point out two things. 1. That's literally everyone's excuse to say that racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and any other sort of phobia or -ism isn't a problem anymore and that people need to stop bothering with it. The truth is that those incidents are either cherry picked, willfully ignorant or simply woefully out of touch. Simply because it doesn't bother a person to see it happening or to have it happening to them, doesn't mean it isn't a problem. I think the #MeToo campaign has pretty much demonstrated what I would say about that.

2. - https://nowtoronto.com/news/white-supremacy-is-the-law-of-the-land/
- http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/white-supremacy/
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Heritage_Alliance
- https://globalnews.ca/news/3670776/white-nationalist-groups-canada-on-the-rise/

The insinuation that there is no racism in Canada (or the idea that it is somehow not a problem, comparatively)tends to make one side of my family froth at the mouth. Because this is my country. Mine. I mean, mine and a whole host of other tribes, but this was our place first. Still, somehow I'm being told that if I don't like what Canada has given to me and other "Indian cunts" (yes, Indian. We're still on that... *sigh*) that I should leave their country.  An old friend of mine is Maori, but is consistently misrecognized as being of Arabic descent. And those who do the faulty recognizing are often the same people who will blame him for the economy, of all things, and 9/11. He was twelve that day, by the way.

Do you remember when Cirillo made his way down the HOH? My one and a half year old little boy was called a "Muslim mongrel" before it was clear what had happened at the capitol. I was told to take my "bastard raghead and get out" of MY country.

And let's not forget the Cold Lake mosque. Yes, there were those who came together to support and heal. They would not have had to if it hadn't first happened.

Now, I'm not about to sit here and claim that it's as bad here as some places. I'm not going to pretend that the efforts of the helpers and healers means nothing. But I am going to point out that we, too, have struggles that legislation like this will turn problematic. Assuming that a challenge is laid to the legislation, a court will be forced to recognize heretofore clear incidents of racism as a valid interpretation of law. Once that is established, precedent will take over from which there will be a slew of similar cases.

In my son's class in kindergarten is a sweet young boy who loves my little Boo-beast's puppies. He walks very kindly with his older brother and two sisters. And his mother, in full coverings. They were among the refugee families from earlier last year. The idea of her and her beautiful children being harassed because they had happened to settle in Quebec where legislators have deemed it appropriate to open the door for state-sanctioned harassment? As a woman it makes me sad. As a mother, it incenses me. As a human being, it disgusts me. As someone who has gone through it, it terrifies me. As a non-caucasian, it looks suspiciously like the writing on the wall.

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2017, 08:25:36 PM »
Honestly, there has never been an attack that I know of on Canadian soil perpetrated by someone who was wearing any sort of face covering. Again, that I'm aware of. I welcome the chance to be proven wrong, of course.

Sadly, I can think of one example - a very ironic one.

Alexandre Bissonnette wore a ski mask when he shot up the mosque.

That really only makes targeting Muslim women with a law like this that much more reprehensible. And in any case, Bill 62 wouldn't have helped in the least to stop the mosque shooting; it's not like Bissonnette walked into a library with his mask on before going to the mosque, after all.

The insinuation that there is no racism in Canada (or the idea that it is somehow not a problem, comparatively)tends to make one side of my family froth at the mouth. Because this is my country. Mine. I mean, mine and a whole host of other tribes, but this was our place first. Still, somehow I'm being told that if I don't like what Canada has given to me and other "Indian cunts" (yes, Indian. We're still on that... *sigh*) that I should leave their country.  An old friend of mine is Maori, but is consistently misrecognized as being of Arabic descent. And those who do the faulty recognizing are often the same people who will blame him for the economy, of all things, and 9/11. He was twelve that day, by the way.

Being an Indian cunt myself - like, Indian as in from India - I've been mistaken for Muslim several times. My family's background is all Hindu, by the way. And even when I haven't been mistaken for Muslim, I've still had to deal with people telling me I should shut up with any criticisms I have of Canada and be grateful, or telling me they don't have a problem with "good immigrants" like me who have integrated well. I was born here, of course, but I suppose I appreciate the "compliment"?

Even if we didn't have the undeniable evidence of a province pandering to the worst of it, that the idea that there isn't much racism in Canada is ludicrous. If anyone doubts that, they really should ask a person of colour. You may be surprised.

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2017, 12:51:51 AM »
Good call. I, for whatever reason, never remember that. I think because the only information that I got about it was via American media, so it all felt kinda bizarre. Thanks for correcting me.

Offline RedRose

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2017, 07:30:05 AM »
I do agree that terrorists don't care about laws. If they want to cover their face, or use a gun, they'll do it. Despite both being banned in my country, my area has seen attacks against mosques, synagogues, churches, Asian people, gay people, girls in shorts...

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2017, 11:57:37 PM »
The point is that now bigots can be bigots... and get away with it. In fact, they can even be rewarded for it. Because before the law, harassing a niqab-wearing woman on a bus to take off her niqab was just that... harassment. Now it's a civic duty.

That's an assumption and a fallacy. Harassment is still harassment, those laws haven't changed. You could claim the same thing for people who look out for jaywalkers, but if said person goes too far in attempting to lecture/correct/punish or what have you, then it becomes harassment of said jaywalker. Same would go here. I can't imagine anyone being rewarded for being an obnoxious ass, people who do that with existing laws tend to get shut down pretty quickly in most cases in my experience.

As for the whole aiding/abetting thing, same goes for that too. You're assuming this "crime" of wearing a face covering would carry some severe gravitas here, when in fact, it seems more like it will be enforced akin to jaywalking...aiding/abetting is typically something that comes up with severe crime. Murder, robbery, extortion, things like that.

Forget the law for a moment; what you were arguing is that merely walking around with one's face covered should warrant investigation.

No I'm not. I'm speaking within the contexts of this being a law, nothing more. And if it is a law, then yes, they should have to. And it's not like it would take all that much effort to do so either.

Are you sure?

Yes. And considering the survey you linked polled a whopping 2,228 people and surveys, in general, are flawed because they apply the answers of a few to the population at large...well. That really shouldn't require elaboration as to why it shouldn't be worrying. After all, we have no clue who they polled, where, how, when, etc etc. Montreal alone has a population of 1.7 million. Just under half of a group of 2k people being varying degrees of racist (and potentially not even vocal ones at that) doesn't really negate what I said, don't you think?


Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2017, 12:19:15 AM »

Yes. And considering the survey you linked polled a whopping 2,228 people and surveys, in general, are flawed because they apply the answers of a few to the population at large...well. That really shouldn't require elaboration as to why it shouldn't be worrying. After all, we have no clue who they polled, where, how, when, etc etc. Montreal alone has a population of 1.7 million. Just under half of a group of 2k people being varying degrees of racist (and potentially not even vocal ones at that) doesn't really negate what I said, don't you think?

While not agreeing with everything else you said, criticizing the survey based on its size would show a poor understanding of how random-sampling works. Google says Quebec has a poulation of roughly 8.1 million. Briefly playing around with a sampling calculator app says that a 99%|2.8 confidence of that population would demand a sample of 2,120. Or in other words, randomly sampling 2,120 people out of that 8.1 million will mean your results are 99% likely to be within 2.8% of their true value. If 59% of Quebecers in said survey say they are some degree of racist, it is 99% likely that the true percentage of Quebecers who are racist likes between 56.2% and 61.8%.

No, you can't automatically assume that random sampling was done properly. It's done poorly as often as it is done correctly, often unintentionally. But you also can't reflexively dismiss the results if you don't like them by assuming it was improperly done either.

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Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2017, 12:24:48 AM »
While not agreeing with everything else you said, criticizing the survey based on its size would show a poor understanding of how random-sampling works. Google says Quebec has a poulation of roughly 8.1 million. Briefly playing around with a sampling calculator app says that a 99%|2.8 confidence of that population would demand a sample of 2,120. Or in other words, randomly sampling 2,120 people out of that 8.1 million will mean your results are 99% likely to be within 2.8% of their true value. If 59% of Quebecers in said survey say they are some degree of racist, it is 99% likely that the true percentage of Quebecers who are racist likes between 56.2% and 61.8%.

No, you can't automatically assume that random sampling was done properly. It's done poorly as often as it is done correctly, often unintentionally. But you also can't reflexively dismiss the results if you don't like them by assuming it was improperly done either.

Random-sampling is a poor way to apply statistics to a general population. Regardless of how well it's done. You can't take the opinions and answers of a few thousand and turn around and claim millions upon millions automatically have the same beliefs as those few. It's illogical, stupid, and has always been utterly absurd in my eyes, quite frankly. I don't know why it continues to be used or taken seriously in any way, shape or form, and my opinion on that is not ever going to change honestly.

Offline Oniya

Re: Québec’s Bill 62: the “religious neutrality” face-covering ban
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2017, 01:18:15 AM »
Random-sampling is a poor way to apply statistics to a general population. Regardless of how well it's done. You can't take the opinions and answers of a few thousand and turn around and claim millions upon millions automatically have the same beliefs as those few. It's illogical, stupid, and has always been utterly absurd in my eyes, quite frankly. I don't know why it continues to be used or taken seriously in any way, shape or form, and my opinion on that is not ever going to change honestly.

Never mind the three centuries that statistics has been used for scientific advancement.