A Conference on the effect of globalization of political Islam on women’s rights, in question with polygamy, neqab and honor killing took place in Toronto today, organized by the International Campaign Against Sharia’s Court in Canada. The speakers raised disturbing issues about blatant violations of individual rights in Canada in the name of multiculturalism and freedom of religion.
Azar Majedie, the first speaker, founder of the Organization for Women’s Liberation – Iran, talked about the treatment of women in religions, Islam in particular. She supported the banning of the burka in several European countries on the grounds that it diminishes the dignity of women. That garment turns women into faceless entities and it’s nothing short than abuse. In addition to that, in her opinion the veil (hijab) should also be banned for children under 18.
The inability of the West to deal with these problem comes from the policy of cultural relativism, which was intended to combat racism and promote cultural acceptance. However, in reality, it created two sets of rights and made possible the support of archaic customs, which are abusive to women and children. It is difficult to fight that phenomenon, because many people are afraid to be branded racists, if they oppose the oppressive cultures.
Tarek Fatah, the prominent author and columnist, stated that despite the progress of the industrial society, the religion is still a major factor in many people’s lives. In order to prevent its interference, we have to impose a full separation of church and state, which will ensure equal treatment of all types of opinions and weaknesses. It is important to deal with religious fascism, whose purpose is to enslave the minds of people. That is difficult, because sometimes the oppressed themselves perpetrate the extreme ideas (like many women in the Muslim world).
We have to create an alliance to defeat the militant Islamism. Unlike the traditional terrorism of the West (like the Red Brigades and Baader-Meinhoff gang) which did everything in the name of a future just society, Islamism offers nothing but destruction of the West. The so-called war on terror was not successful: despite the enormous amount of money spent, no result has been achieved, the world of Islam is even more dangerous now. For example, in Pakistan it was revealed recently that over 1,000 nuclear scientists are missing, probably working for some dangerous groups.
The Muslim militants are much more flexible now. They don’t require full obedience, they consider useful anybody who hates America. The whole struggle against Islamism is complicated by multiculturalism, which is skilfully used to perpetrate racism and religious bigotry.
The third speaker, Homa Arjomad (on the right), was the courageous woman who played a major role in defeating the sharia court implementation in Canada. In the spirit of her previous work, she revealed the injustice she is fighting now: the polygamy in Canada. She gave as an example the case of “Farida” (not a real name), a Muslim woman who became a victim of polygamy.
Farida was born in Canada in a Pakistani family. She was always under strict religious control by her family. She was not allowed to socialize with children from other religions or get into any un-Islamic activities. At the age of 14 her parents took her to Pakistan and she was forced to marry a man in his late 40s as his second wife. She spent there 9 years and was beaten and tortured by her husband, although she gave him two children.
She came back to Canada with her children (temporarily) because her father was ill. At this point she got the courage to defend her rights. Although women’s organizations and social services are trying to help her now, her situation is nothing short than desperate.
Her complaint is a disgrace to her family, which will suffer as well. Her brothers are shunned by the Pakistani community and her sisters would not be able to get married.
The Canadian judicial system betrayed her as well. When her parents took her out of the country and returned without her, the immigration authorities never asked where their child was. Her school never asked where she was after she simply disappeared. On top of that, her husband can’t be charged with wrongdoing because he is not a Canadian, while she might be forced to return to Pakistan with the children, otherwise she will be charged with kidnapping. Once back in Pakistan, she will be harshly punished – either by cutting off her nose and ears or by honor killing.
This case exposes the disgraceful treatment of individuals under Canadian law in the name religious tolerance. The government never applied the Child Protection Act to her, although the way she was treated was child rape. The total silence about “offending” religious communities just enforces the repression that has been going on there for decades.
There are also many cases of honor killings in Canada that are not treated with the attention they should be. In the same row of abuses fall the burka and the hijab, as tools to get more concessions from the Canadian government, which will not ask about the opinions of the women who are forced to wear those garments.
The issue in the basis of all that is the multiculturalism, which creates ghettoes of people united by supposedly a “great” culture, which totally ignores the rights of an individual under the Canadian law.
A great addition to the conference was the comedian Steve Scholtz, who tried his best to make honor killings and burka part of his comedy. And he was very successful at doing it.