The introduction of the bill in the federal parliament against “barbarous practices” on November 5th will be mistaken for grandstanding, appealing to niche political audiences, and various cynical re-election manoeuvres. While it may be all of these things, that is irrelevant. The bill is the sign that the government has a firm grip on popular sentiment. Moreover, it is a sign that a significant western government is prepared to assert that the domestic culture trumps Islam.
Everybody realizes this; and everybody quietly agrees. The muted public reaction is a sure sign that Canadians have had this discussion, have been talking about it for years, in fact, and have quietly come to agreement that Muslim practices against women are not acceptable.
It makes one think we might have a non-Islamic future. Rebecca Bynum makes the following point:
We in the West are denying to ourselves one essential element of self determination, that of segregating and expelling that which does not conform to Western cultural standards. There are some things that the West cannot tolerate and expect to survive. Certainly the inequality of women under the law, including polygamy and enforced dress, is one of those things. But there is so much more in the alien and hostile creed of Islam which cannot be assimilated, not tolerated, by a Western society that wishes to remain intact. (p.67)
The quiet with which this bill has been greeted is not some illusion or failure to notice; it is the quiet sigh of a nation saying: “about time”.
We are starting to enforce our culture, and I applaud the Harper government for it. We may yet live in freedom, as we and not Islam define it.