The Conservatives' Loss of Sephardic Jewish and Muslim Votes over Women's Head Scarf
Some would argue that the conservatives running this country are bubbling on the top one hundred ignorant politicians in the world. The reality is that ignorance is used as an exit strategy in their unfolding controversial policies. Although it may appear that the conservative politicians are totally ignorant about the culture and history of both the Jewish and Muslim communities, there is no good reason to believe that their top advisors are ignorant as well. In the following discussion, the reader can have a perfect example that demonstrates how the conservatives exploit religious communities for partisan reasons. Some would disagree with us saying "partisan reasons" as they argue that there are "eschatological" reasons behind the conservatives' policies generated by our religiously devoted prime minister.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander signed an e-mail explaining the conservatives' opposition to wearing the Niqab while taking the citizenship oath. The e-mail starts :".. our conservative government strongly opposes the wearing of a Niqab or any face covering that would stand in the way of reciting the oath". The same e-mail ends with :"it is why we filed a notice to appeal this week's court decision allowing people to wear the Hijab while taking the oath". Knowing that deception is a common tactic used by the conservatives who know exactly the difference between Hijab and Niqab, it is important that ordinary citizens understand the following:
- The Niqab is part of a tradition that existed before Islam in ancien Mesopotamia. Neither Muslim nor Jewish scholar are able to form a concensus on its religious foundation. Niqab is observed by some sects in Islam and some others in Judaism. The wearing of Niqab covers all the body and face of a woman with some variations regarding the eye and the hands covering.
- The Hijab wearing is an old tradition with the purpose of covering women's hair. It can be found in Islam, Judaism, Christianity and other religions. Scholars from various religions where Hijab is a tradition cannot form a concensus on its religious foundation.
The Conservative Party of Canada tells you that women should uncover their faces to take the oath in the beginning of a letter. At the end of the same letter they tell you that they want them to uncover their hair. Something similar to them saying they will protect the Lybian people at the beginning, and at the end they handed Lybia to ISIS. It is also similar to them saying they will help parents with an additional $ 100.00 per month for their kids under six in the beginning of the year, and at the end, parents receive a slip stating the $100.00 *12 per child is a taxable income that moved them from being taxed 15% to 25%. The conservative deception list is a long one.
Knowing that women wearing Niqab are extremely rare and do not seem to have caused an issue of compliance with the immigration authorities in the past, we tend to believe that the women targeted here are largely Muslims and Sephardic Jews. Bringing an issue like this prior to the elections is like a political suicide. The PQ's historical defeat in Quebec does not seem to be a good enough lesson for Stephen Harper not to play the religion card in a multicultural society. The attempt to ban the scarf, the Hijab or even the Niqab while taking the oath is not what will make Jewish and Muslim women vote against the conservatives. It is the social tension created by the ill debate that will hunt Sephardic Jewish and Muslim women in the work place, at school, in hospitals and universities. It is the fear of Jewish and Muslim women wearing a head scarf to be fired by a devoted conservative evangelical boss that will make these women vote for other parties.
While I do not see other motives besides the political that make the conservatives engage in such debates. Many citizens expressed their fear that there are eschatological reasons behind the policies of our devoted evangelical protestant prime minister. Some concerned citizens expressed in the social media their belief - to which I do not subscribe - that the devoted Stephen Harper may be planning to create a social climate using Canadian Jews and Muslims in events that will lead to the fulfillment of some biblical prophecies. The conservatives are not only losing the votes of religious women, but the surfacing sectarian and mystic image of the conservative party will certainly lead to their decline.