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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Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

Yet another school shooting in America, still nothing done. We are dying.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018: We are all heartbroken to hear about another school shooting.

At Great Mills High School in Maryland, a 17-year-old male is pronounced dead at the scene after shooting two other students and a school resource officer. Just before their first period started, at 7:55 am, Austin Rollins shot one male and one female student with a handgun before being shot by the school's resource officer. While the 16-year-old female is in critical condition, the 14-year-old male is currently stable. This is the 17th school shooting in 2018. That's 17 days out of the past 80 that parents have gone to bed with their children in body bags as a result of gun violence.

I don't care what political party you associate with, gun violence is completely out of control. I am a registered Republican and completely agree with stricter gun laws. Learn the difference between a gun ban and sales control. Concerned citizens are not trying to take away your guns, but are trying to take away the rights from those that are risks.

Could you imagine legally having to send your child to school but never coming back? You've packed their lunch, maybe with a special note, and gave them a kiss before they left for school, not knowing that it was their last. No matter where we go, we are not safe. We can't go to malls, movie theaters, schools, or even churches without having to worry if it will be our last trip. Our homes, our places of worship, and our schools are supposed to be the places where we feel safest and, instead, our children are filled with fear. Instead of focusing on the political views that divide these groups, why don't we focus on what unites us? Why don't we focus on protecting our kin?

Everyone has had an opinion on the walkouts that have been happening around the country. Everyone has had an opinion on the 17 minutes of silence for the 17 children lost in the Florida shooting. I've seen people disgusted that Nickelodeon had 17 minutes of broadcast cut because it "interrupted the only program [I] let [my] children watch".

If your child was shot at school, you wouldn't have to worry about what programs they watch, but rather where to bury them and how to afford their memorial.

I've seen people saying that it's no wonder that Millenials are dumb. They "find any excuse to cut class". Have you thought about the fact that they are genuinely worried about going to school?

Personally, I've experienced both a shooting scare at my high school and a bomb threat at my college. I shouldn't have to worry about my life ending. I'm legally forced to go to high school and get an education or I'm putting myself into a lifetime of debt to get a degree.

We are all too young to stress about gun violence. Our school years are supposed to be the times our of lives, but they're being wasted on worrying about dying every day.

Rest in peace to all of those who have lost their lives in shootings, not only this year, but always. Hopes, thoughts, and prayers go out to their loved ones. One day, we will unite and find a solution.

We need to work together and forget the labels of parties and cliques in school and look out for one another instead. There is no kind but mankind.

Cover Image Credit: Boston Herald

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The Republican Versus Democrat Stigma Needs To Slow Down

We Need To Be Individual Again

We as a society have developed an unnecessary need to place people in a specific party based on what could be a single value out of many. This is a letter for those who do not define themselves as one or the other; for those whose values range between conservative and liberal, for those who feel the unfortunate pressure of society to choose one even though your values do not fit just one.

The political parties at one point generally just meant “these are my basic beliefs, so this is the candidate I will vote for because they most closely represent them.” Party affiliation was harmless. Republicans and Democrats could get along fine, differing opinions not getting in the way of relationships and alignment. More importantly, you did not have to be part of a specific political party to be an active member of society. Your opinions and principles were yours.

Over the years following the last two election races, political parties gained a much more significant and defining meaning in our lives as individuals and as members of society. There is a newly developed stigma behind political opinions. You are almost pressured to feel one way or another about every single topic. If a majority of your values are of the conservative agenda, you must be a heart-and-all Republican. In contrast, if you are more liberal-leaning you are docked as a set Democrat. We as citizens are being labeled according to what may be a few hard-values. And dishearteningly enough, can be ridiculed for what we value. Even if you might not value everything the same as your determined party.

There exists those of us that hold values from both parties. It is possible to value women’s rights and also value a traditional marriage. It is possible to be a gun owner and also active in keeping children safe in school. You do not have to just submit to every belief of one party. You can value aspects of different parties and still be a functioning member of the American society. Do not let the looming obligation to declare yourself as strictly one or the other. You do not have to pretend you agree with everything Democratic or everything Republican; you can have your own values. And you should. Our society is messed up in the way that values are pushed on citizens. We are meant to be free individuals with our private values.

It is not fair to those of us who value different things. Not every American is a to-the-bone Democrat or Republican. It is possible to hold liberal beliefs as a conservative person. And Vice-Versa. We need to stop labeling one another as one or the other, conservative or liberal. We need to stop silencing each other because we have differing views. We need to accept not everyone is perfectly one party, and diversity exists. Open mindedness exists in Americans, despite the seemingly growing generalizations. We need to be able to agree to disagree on certain topics.
Cover Image Credit: LexiHanna

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