Joke's On You, Quebec, Your Discriminatory Niqab Ban Will Only Hurt Your Economy

Joke's On You, Quebec, Your Discriminatory Niqab Ban Will Only Hurt Your Economy

Tell me, Quebec, is this the "religious neutrality" you had hoped to achieve?

When my friend first told me she was relocating to Canada after her wedding, we both were excited because unlike the States, where our neighbors elected a president who fails to condemn a domestic terrorist attack on a mosque, Canada's prime minister has not only condemned the mosque attack that occurred in his nation, but he also assured Muslim Canadians that authorities "will work hard to find those responsible." Canada had become our ideal land of the free and home of the brave... Then, Quebec had to go and ban the niqab (Islamic face veil).

Honestly, what is it with people and their need to control what women can and cannot wear? On one end of the spectrum, societies around the world tell women to stop dressing like they're "asking for it," and then they leap onto the next extreme and tell women it's unacceptable to be fully clothed at the beach. And you, Quebec? You're now on my where-not-to-travel bucket list, right under France.

Quebec's bill 62 was actually passed in October, and while it only bars face coverings when the person is receiving a public service, the term "public service" can be broken down to all cases of government service and jobs, thus forcing bureaucrats, teachers, police officers, doctors, health center workers, dentists and even bus drivers from covering their faces. It even shockingly includes the average person out and about on any form of public transport and may extend to students and other areas besides the working field. This is the "religious neutrality" Quebec enforces. I'm sorry, but who in Quebec is even covering his or her face besides the mere three percent of Muslim women whose career paths and job opportunities have been thrown to the wolves?

It's already so incredibly hard for Muslims to score a job interview once HR spots a Muslim name among the pile of resumes, and even if you make it past that stage, some interviewers choose to prioritize maintaining the "company image" to appeal to their mass audience and source of income: the white mass of Quebecers — 76 percent of who back this controversial niqab ban. Overqualified Muslims like taxi driver Karim, who was continually rejected by companies despite obtaining a master's in management at Quebec's Laval University, is just another member of the 17 percent of unemployed Muslims struggling to make ends meet in Quebec. And for Muslim niqabi women, we know it's already going to get worse — all in the name of appealing to the discriminatory public.

Quebec's niqab ban clearly restricts veiled Muslim women from using public services or ever hoping to pursue (let alone obtain) a public service job. This ban will not only banish niqabi women from public transport and from using basic public services like attending school or going to a hospital, but it will also weaken Quebec's economy by a great deal. Quebec's economy just recently began to recover with a record low six percent unemployment rate since May 2017, but there's no guarantee the number won't abruptly rise now with the passing of the niqab ban.

So, while I understand why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defers to fact that Canada's "federal government has an obligation to accept the fact that the provinces have a right to pass their own legislation," I cannot understand why the people of Quebec fail to comprehend that it is they who will suffer the most, economically and socially. It is Quebecers who ward off overqualified, well-educated, practicing Muslim women from being able to give back to their own community. It is the Quebecers who force niqabis to avoid public transport and from using most public services that show little to no regard for their religious right to practice.

Tell me, Quebec, is this the "religious neutrality" you had hoped to achieve?

Cover Image Credit: Instagram / Andini

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Humans: Not for Sale

I refuse to look the other way when others are suffering.

The flourishing life is something that most people thirst and strive for, but never actually feel satisfied in attaining. This is because their interpretation of the flourishing life does not align with reality. Many do not know, want to believe, or understand that a relationship with the one, true living God is integral to their flourishing as human beings. The best way to explain the flourishing life is by expounding on the Hebrew word “shalom”. Shalom means peace and it originates from a root signifying wholeness and completion. It is the deep longing for the best of another. Shalom is the way God intended things to be, so the flourishing life involves shalom. As God’s beloved creation, every human being has intrinsic value.

We are all image bearers of our Creator.

From the very beginning, God created us in His image and poured His love into us. Yet, as a result of the fall, we have disregarded who we are in Christ.

Humans have been marred and have forgotten this intrinsic value that comes from being made in God’s image. Evidence of this is how some people are dehumanizing others through human trafficking. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery where human beings are controlled and oppressed for profit. Offenders often use force or deceptive coercion to ascertain power over their victims. Even though human trafficking is defilement to both national and international laws, it remains a booming criminal industry.

According to the International Labour Organization, this disturbing business typically generates about $150 billion profits per year. Sexual exploitation and forced labor are the two most commonly known forms of human trafficking. Sex trafficking is a profitable sex act that occurs by use of force, fraud, or oppression; including the sexual exploitation of minors. Women and young girls make up a shocking 55% of victims of sex trafficking and a one in five are under 18 years old. Forced labor is any instance in which the victim is forced to work because of a threat of punishment with little to no pay.

One of the most disturbing facts is that both of these instances occur in plain sight. Many victims in the United States are underage girls who have a poor home life, run away, and eventually become involved with prostitution. After years of existing in the negative environment of prostitution and drugs, the girl’s self-worth is systematically broken down to the point of non-existence. Some victims do not even understand that they are being trafficked. They are deceived into believing they will get a better, brighter future if they stay in captivity. But these are all lies; instead of providing a refuge, their pimp takes their profit and threatens to kill them if they try to escape, leaving them no option but to stay in the life of trepidation and agony.

In fact, according to the International Labor Organization and the End It movement, there are about 48 million people worldwide who are victims of human trafficking. Of these people, 68% of the individuals are exploited in private labor, 10% for state work and 22% for sex trafficking.

This problem continues to grow and, because of the hidden nature of the issue, it is hard to get an exact number of the victims.

The Christian community in America should be fighting on the front line against human trafficking because it is directly opposed to the way God intended life to be. For the souls who are trapped in this filth, the opportunity to have a flourishing life is ripped from their hands, along with their identity, decency and opportunity to live a normal life.

Human trafficking violates fundamental human rights; every human being is an image bearer of their creator and deserves to be treated as such. The fall has taken this from us and has caused others to negate human worth, but that does not contravene the truth that human beings are image bearers and have intrinsic value. The victims who are trapped in this wheel of injustice have no voice, identity, or hope.

The Bible specifically instructs Christians to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves in Proverbs 31:8-9. It is our job to defend those who have no rights, speak for those with no voice, free those in bondage, and stand up for those who cannot stand on their own.

Human trafficking is a very dark, universal issue that sometimes may feel almost impossible to change. Luckily we serve a God who specializes in the impossible. Whatever efforts made to bring about a change in this issue will bring glory to Him. I steadfastly believe that the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness in the beginning of time has the power to shine light on this horrific darkness today.

"You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know." — William Wilberforce

* * *

Works cited:

Geoffrey Rodgers, “THE PROBLEM.” US Institute Against Human Trafficking , October, 2005/April 26, 2017, http://usiaht.org/the-problem/

Guy Ryder, “Statistics and Databases.” International Labour Organization , 1996, April 27, 2017, http://www.ilo.org/global/statistics-and-databases...

Geoffrey Rodgers, “What is Sex Trafficking?”U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking , October, 2005/ April 26, 2017, http://usiaht.org

Samantha Ferrell, “End It Movement.” Choice Ministries , August 2016/ April 24, 2017, https://enditmovement.com/index.html

Cazzie Reyes, “Forced Labor.End Slavery Now, April 19 2015/April 24, 2017, http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today/f...

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Being A Girl Is Pretty Damn Hard

Girls have numerous daily struggles that often go unnoticed.

The alarm clock goes off two hours before you actually need to leave the house. Why? You’re a girl who has to get herself ready instead of a boy who can simply roll out of bed, get dressed, brush his teeth and get out the door.

While this extreme may only be true for the girls that need to do their hair, pick the perfect outfit and apply a face-full of makeup, all girls have a similar struggle. With long hair comes a longer shower. Boys don’t understand how much longer it takes to wash out the soap from the extra locks and to apply conditioner, something they rarely need to do.

Being a girl can be pretty damn hard sometimes.

Along with having the long hair, girls are also expected to dress and act a certain way. Boys can wear shorts every day. Here in Wisconsin, boys wear shorts year-round—even when the temperature is below zero. Girls are “supposed” to dress cute and girly, which includes dresses, skirts, uncomfortable jeans and everything in-between.

Athletic clothing is frowned upon. I’ve seen many posts and comments on social media referring to workout clothes and their place in everyday use—which is limited to the gym. “Workout clothes are for the gym, and the gym only.” Although these clothes are arguably the most comfortable, and for many the ones they feel most confident in, it is judged if girls choose to dress this way every day.

But it gets worse.

Each month girls are forced to suffer through a period.

This can last for a week or longer and brings with it many nasty side effects. Cramps, bloating, cravings, overall uncomfortableness—these are just some of the symptoms. We suffer through this, all while listening to the constant jokes and remarks made at our expense.

Did I mention how expensive tampons are?

All of this is only added to as girls age and become women. Women are expected to take care of the house and kids, to cook and to clean—all while holding some type of job. With all these tasks, women have little time to themselves. They selflessly put the needs of their families before their own needs.

After all of this is pointed out, it is easy to see that being a girl can be hard. We have many daily struggles that often go unnoticed by those around us.

Next time you think about making fun of someone for “acting like a girl” or “being on their period” just remember: being a girl can be pretty damn hard, and your joke isn’t funny.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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