Hijab. Habib. Whatever, you're still screwed.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Last week Canadian school board member Gordon Gilchrist created quite a brouhaha up north with his plain spoken letter to the editor regarding immigration.
In the letter, Mr. Gilchrist stated ‘most’ immigrants do not bring even a modest understanding of Canadian history or values and added many bring old country feuds and hatreds that are re-fought on Canadian soil. He also mentioned seom of the 800,000 Muslims who now call Canada home, are extremists; Indian immigrants who blow up aircraft in order to settle old foreign scores; gun-toting Jamaicans who prefer to settle scores by bullets on the streets rather than by Canadian law in the courts; Sri Lankan Tamils who use Canada as a source of funds for homeland rebellion; and Canadian passport-carrying Lebanese residents who demand the country save them when their homeland goes up in flames.
I read the entire text of this letter last week (although I can't find it now, of course) and being a nut about words I noted the use of the word habib in a context that clearly meant hijab. I did not know what this word habib meant. Hah! Now I do. And no surprise it has people's turbans in a knot... Read on, possums.
In the letter, Gilchrist writes "or what about their low regard for women and their 'eastern' Sharia law beliefs that allows a father to kill his daughter for not wearing a Habib?"
Al-Makadma said Gilchrist should perhaps do more research before pontificating public opinions on immigrant groups. "A habib is not a hijab, which is what he intended to say," Al-Makadma said. "By saying 'habib' in the Arab language, it means having sex, which is very funny."
Once the laughter in the room subsided, Al-Makadma said he highlighted the quote to make the point that the letter was just inappropriate. "I could say swear words about Mr. Gilchrist's comments, but it would be inappropriate," he said. "I could argue freedom of speech, but it is still inappropriate."
When he came to Canada a little less than four years ago, Al-Makadma said he didn't speak a word of English.
(And based on his scorn, al Makadma has evidently never misspoken since. How nice for him...)
In case you're curious, here's the list of knotted turbans and lib pantywaists calling for Gilchrest's head so far. Figuratively, of course. Although with the Moslems you're never really 100% sure of that, are you? (I mean, c'mon just look at the numbers! Or the Koran even! ;^)
Calling for Gilchrist's resignation: the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association, the Northumberland Community Legal Centre, the Social Planning Council of Peterborough, the Peterborough Community Legal Centre, the New Canadian Centre, Peterborough Coalition Against Poverty along with many parents, teachers and concerned community members, Ma said.
The board hasn't booted him yet but they have CENSURED him and it sounds like they are going to force him into attending "ANTI-OPPRESSION TRAINING and DIVERSITY INSTRUCTION.
The plucky Mr. Gilchrst's response.
"They missed the whole point (of the letter)," Gilchrist said. "Even the motion to censure me was wrong. They can censure my letter, but they can't censure me as a racist because I'm not (a racist) and I never have been.
"I guess I should form my own group called 'Canadians Against Superficial Thinkers.'"
Along with demanding his resignation, Ma said he will be calling on Gilchrist to take anti-oppression training. "This is a red flag that the board should take very seriously," Ma said. "(Board chairwoman) Diane Lloyd spoke very highly of the board's diversity instruction.
"Those resources are available to him. So perhaps he should enrol and take part."
Hey. Habib may mean having sex but in the end it makes perfect sense to me. If you are forced to wear a hijab to satisfy the dictates of the Islamic he-man-woman-haters-club you are well and truly screwed.
Posted by Dinah Lord at 12:15 PM