Six In The Morning: Surly On Monday

1 DON’T THEY HAVE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO? The Harper Stupids have decreed that Muslim women taking the oath of citizenship shall not wear their niqabs or burkas. What a bunch of goofs. I’m having flashbacks to the RCMP/Sikh turban wars of the late 1980s. And while we’re at it, here’s some information on just how loyal (hint: not very) American Christians are to their country compared to Muslims. The problem isn’t Muslims.

2 MEANWHILE, SAUDI ARABIA EXECUTES A 60-YEAR-OLD WOMAN CONVICTED OF SORCERY No word on whether she was wearing a niqab when they killed her.

3 OH, AND SYRIA IS HOLDING ALLEGED ELECTIONS TODAY But turnout is expected to be low, as many Syrians are surly about the army occupying cities and killing people and stuff.

4 DURBAN MEET PRODUCES AN INADEQUATE CLIMATE TREATY Sure, whatever, I guess it’s something. But we should have been aggressively slashing carbon emissions 20 years ago at the latest. Well, at least Regina will have warm weather in November as the planet’s climate goes berserk causing staggering damage to civilization.

5 SPEAKING OF CIVILIZATION, IT SAYS TERRIBLE THINGS ABOUT THE VALUES AND PRIORITIES OF THIS COUNTRY THAT CANADA’S BEST ART SCHOOL HAS MONEY TROUBLE The legendary Nova Scotia College of Art and Design is in financial trouble. Because it’s underfunded. Because nothing matters in Canada except business, business, business, business.

6 IT’S CITY BUDGET DISCUSSION DAY Council debates the proposed budget tonight. I think they should up that 3.9 per cent property tax increase to a cool five per cent Regina has more cash to do stuff that needs doing. Ha! What do you think of THAT?

BABY BATS ARE CUTE Don’t even think about arguing with me.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

31 thoughts on “Six In The Morning: Surly On Monday”

  1. Are you back to putting your foot in your mouth, Stephen? So a religion that marginalizes women is suddenly sweet as a nut in your book?

    You and your magazine have 99 problems, but Christianity shouldn’t be one.

    Le sighhhhhhh…..

  2. Glad to see you back, Sean!
    In our culture, people who cover their faces are assumed to be up to no good. That is why it’s an offence to commit a crime with a mask on. If I go to Saudi Arabia to live, there are certain behaviours I must follow; why not vice versa?

  3. Yep, burka’s & turban’s. should they prevail over laws? ( bike helmet v turbans )I smoke pot, I’m a Rastifari, I’m just showing freedom of expression.
    Why wear a seatbelt?, back in the pre-seatbelt law days… all was fine. 100 mph highway speed too.

  4. Hi there, Barb! I never left! I’m here everyday, lurking. But, today, I had to put down my eggnog to roast and post.

    Muslims are anti-women, anti-gay, anti-anything other than the Nation of Islam. This magazine and it’s staff are hypocrites and cowards when it comes to pointing out the many outrages that are perpetrated in the name of Islam, everyday, but have no problems saying the most hateful and disgusting things about Christianity.

    Keep standing mute, Prairie Dog. People like me and Barb are much easier targets.

  5. One last thing, Stephen….Canadian and American Muslims are the problem, in that there is no real outcry from the communitiy at large.

    What kind of religion finds honor killings, and infidel killings acceptable?

  6. I’ve never lived, or even visited, a country with an Islamic majority population, so I personally don’t feel qualified to write critically on Islamic fundamentalism.

  7. Holy cow you guys.

    1.) Brian: comparing a niqab to a “hanky” makes you sound ignorant and intolerant.

    2.) Seanbot: Hello. My 99 problems and I are not going to debate the miscellaneous merits and madnesses of Islam here. I am quite confident my opinions on religious extremism in all its delicious flavours are clear. My point, which I made quite clearly, is that this new policy is a frivolous, mean-spirited, intolerant, bogus and deliberately antagonistic change that doesn’t accomplish anything except stir up the cranky corner of the Tory base (and maybe distract from today’s PBO report).

    It’s not about you or Christianity. The rule is stupid and unworthy of Canada. Don’t be so thin-skinned.

    And I agree with Barb that it’s nice to have you back.

    3.) Barb! Saudi Arabia SUCKS. They execute alleged witches there. AVOID THE CRAZY PLACE. Canada is better and should be more tolerant.

    4.) Ron: Someone else can weigh in on turbans and bike helmets and safety if they care to. I’m not going to get into that because such discussions are usually disingenuous covers for bashing non-Christian religious garb (and no, I’m not assuming that’s what you’re up to. You’re not, are you?).

    Back in the day, the anti-turban lobby was mostly fixated on Sikhs who wouldn’t wear RCMP hats. The “debate” about their safety and well-being was phoney-baloney. It was just an angle bigots used to get away with spewing their intolerance in public. I was there and my head still hurts from the arguments.

  8. A woman in a veil going into a courtroom is more ignorant than my comment. It disrespects the courts and this country. It has all the credibility of you Whitworth showing up in traffic court wearing a Rey Mysterio wrestling mask. The veil has always stuck me as repressive. if this women are so repressed stay in your home country!

  9. I think that you shouldn’t act like the Cons are going around kicking other peoples culture out the door and planting theirs in its place. The niqab is not a religious garment, but a tool used to subjugate women. Indeed, there is no mention of burkas or niqabs in the Koran.

    If a woman chooses to wear it as an expression of their identity or belief, then that’s fine. But why as a society can we not say that it is not acceptable to wear it in certain circumstances?

    Next time you go to court, Stephen, wear your fedora in the courtroom. Same difference.

  10. Brian Mouland, I suggest you educate yourself on the Muslim faith if you actually believe that “Muslims are anti-women, anti-gay, anti-anything.” I know feminist women who practice the faith and could argue you into the shameful corner you should stand in, in a heartbeat. And I am shocked the Dog allows your racist, sexist comments to remain on the site. But then, the Editor and I have differing ideas about what constitutes sexism.

    Barb Saylor, have you ever stopped to question your own mine? Your analysis never ceases to amaze me.

  11. # 8 @bit #4

    Yer right Steve,I’m not gonna bash a specific religious culture / however stupid it is.

    I hate all religions equally.

  12. Canada is indeed more tolerant, but there is a line, and we draw it when other cultures’ practices conflict with our law or generally accepted mores. We prosecute those who practice clitoridectomy, who beat their wives and children, who murder their female relatives out of “honour” concerns. We strongly discourage sex-selective abortion. We require drivers to drive on the right-hand side of the street/road.

    Face coverings are regularly removed when the wearer applies for a driver’s licence or renewal, meets airport security, and, in Quebec, votes, so why cavil at the citizenship oath?

    Safety requirements trumped religious headwear at the Supreme Court level; you can look it up (hard hats on worksites).

    Greg: you’re not an artist or a woman, yet you write regularly on art and on feminism. Interesting logic.

    It’s often hard for people to distinguish between what is “cultural” and what is “religious”, and what is essential to the latter. Take the Christmas concert, and all the kefuffle it engenders each year. It is cultural, not religious, and is fast losing even its cultural significance. Christianity neither suffers nor disappears when the concerts are called by another name, or done away with altogether. The niqab and burka are not essential to Islam, and I write that with a well-read copy of the Qu’ran close by.

  13. @Seanbot: By conflating two different controversies to bolster your point you’re unfairly ascribing me an opinion I don’t have. I clearly, specifically wrote about the government being assholes to niqab-wearers taking the Canadian citizenship oath. I did not mention the niqab-wearers-testifying-in-court case that’s going on right now, which is actually a difficult issue because different rights (religious freedom and the right to fair trial) might be in conflict.

    I’m not trotting out my squawking stick over that one.

  14. Stephen, the only thing I disagree with you about in this thread is that idea that ‘Canada is better’.

    Most of the comments on this thread, the recent widespread response to the Aboriginal reserve catastrophe in the North, Canada’s pull out from Kyoto, the election and subsequent craziness of Rob Ford, and the very existence of commentators like Barb tell me differently.

    But yeah, we win on not executing ‘witches’.

    I’ve never been more disappointed in my country.

  15. Gosh, my very existence is a problem? And here I thought I was a voice of reason, comparatively speaking.

  16. Rey Mysterio wrestling masks? So the discussion here is up to the usual levels of sophistication one can expect on issues like this.

    My understanding of the hijab is that it is a form of dress worn out in public. But in private around other women, keeping the face and head covered isn’t required.

    Really, I think this is more a question of modesty and not of religion or custom.

    So, instead of the idiotic comparison to a wrestling mask, a still imperfect but closer analogy would be if women from North America were asked to strip upon entering a country while men were not. I know! Sounds crazy! But that’s exactly what’s expected if you travel to Ferenginar. And while it’s their custom and there’s nothing wrong with them adhering to it, you have to admit most of us, male or female, would feel a little uncomfortable stepping that far away from our clothing norms and we’d probably show up wondering why can’t there be a “Bikini Clause” just for us.

    Anyway, back here in Canada, if having everyone faces-out when they’re joining the country is so important, seeing as we’re such a bastion of sexual equality, setting up regular ladies-only citizenship ceremonies shouldn’t be a problem.

    There, problem solved. Good thing we don’t have any problems with sexism here!

    Plus, a citizenship ceremony is a little different than a trial or driving exam. With the latter two, knowing the identity of the participant is pretty important — to make sure the testimony given is by the right person and to ensure that the person taking the test is the person who’ll be using the license if they pass.

    The citizenship ceremony, though…. it’s not magic. It’s not like, everyone is finished reciting the Loyal Canuck Pledge of the North, or whatever it’s called, and then someone in the crowd throws off a burqa and shouts, “Ha ha! Canadian fools! It is I! Carlos the Jackal. I knocked out Mildred StereotypicalArabName, stole her clothes, and now I, a notorious international terrorist, am one of you! Mua ha ha ha ha ha!”

    The person who filled out the paperwork becomes the citizen. It doesn’t really matter who actually attends the ceremony. So if they want to do it in a Rey Mysterio wrestling mask, that’s fine by me.

  17. Dammit Stephen Harper, you diabolical genius!!

    I was going to write a comment about the Page report, but instead I wound up writing this long screed about the hijab!

    Our PM’s scheme to distract me from the out-of-whackitude of Conservative budgeting by manufacturing an unnecessary controversy about Islam is totally working!

  18. Paul: no one on this page is disputing the hijab, which is a head covering. The issue is with the niqab and burka, which conceal identity. It’s really important to get the terms straight.
    Citizenship ceremonies – and I’ve been at several, my husband’s included – is a serious step in new Canadians’ lives. It displays respect for the country and for the participants, many of whom have made great sacrifices to start a new life here. It should never be treated flippantly. I’m surprised at you, actually.

  19. Good points as usual Barb always thought the veil oppresses women but I guess the fringe left and the feminists have been shockingly silent in this matter.I just cannot see how any woman wearing a veil is empowered to be anything more than her husbands toy.Finally, Happy Holidays to you and yours. I would have said Merry Christmas but didnt want Whitworth having a cow.

  20. My understanding was that hijab was the general term for all styles of modest muslim dress with head scarves, niqab and burka being subsets therein. I went with the word hijab so I wouldn’t have to keep typing niqab and burka.

    Apologies for not being clear.

    As for citizenship ceremonies, my point was only that they aren’t magic and that there is no real reason why the law should have to step in and impose a No Burkas or Niqabs dress code.

    I agree, there are lots of things that shouldn’t be treated flippantly. (Remembrance Day, for instance.) But I also tend to err on the side of freedom of expression on most things.

    A certain amount of inappropriate flippancy is the price of democracy, or something like that.

    Bri-Bri: FTR, I agree. The burka and niqab contribute to the oppression of women.

    I’ve also read convincing arguments saying the same about the bra.

    While I don’t think either should be mandatory elements of dress, I also believe that women can wear whatever they want.

    Men, however, need to start wearing proper head attire.

    Speaking of….

    Seanbot: Steve doesn’t wear a fedora. It’s a pork-pie hat.

  21. And a very Merry Christmas to you, Brian!
    The hijab, like the nun’s wimple, derives from regular female attire common to the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe in the early and late middle ages. I see a very big difference between the hijab, and the niqab and burka, for reasons already gone into.
    Oh, bring back the fedora! Better yet, the Borsalino.

  22. I can see women in Africa & the middle east wearing extra clothing. It’s almoost always sunny, and you dom’t get a sunburn.

    If all women who immigrate to Canada, want to integrate into Canadian culture / society, there is no need to cover yer face.

  23. I can see women in Africa & the middle east wearing extra clothing. It’s almost always sunny, and you don’t get a sunburn.

    If all women who immigrate / emigrate to Canada, want to integrate into Canadian culture / society, there is no need to cover yer face.

  24. Well, Brian, you and the fringe right have it wrong. Again.

    If you would take a moment to talk to a Muslim woman instead of spewing the rhetoric your fed, you’d not make such as a$$ of yourself in public forums.

    Just sayin’…

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