Wearing niqab in France could cost up to $2,200

The French parliamentary report on the wearing of niqab and burqa in France is now online.

The report estimates there are 1,900 niqabis in France, of which:

  • 50% are under age 30
  • 90% are under 40
  • 66% are French citizens, half of which are 2nd and 3rd generation French
  • 25% are converts to Islam
  • 41% are Salafis

The report also:

  • repeats the myth that the niqab is a non-Islamic practice
  • attempts to study interpretations and evidences of niqab
  • suggests the wearing of niqab points towards identity issues and is a sign of radical movements
  • admits many young women wear the niqab by choice, primarily for two reasons: “the search for purity in practice of a more austere worship” and secondly “to create distance with a society considered to be perverted.”

There’s also an entire section on Salafism.

The report spends quite a bit of time studying niqab in various countries (north African as well as in the West), including Canada.

“In Canada, we have seen, this issue prospers on the exploitation of the judicial theory of ‘reasonable accommodation rights.’ We have noted though that this judicial notion is being questioned more and more in this country.”

It also discusses Quebec’s Bouchard-Taylor commission on reasonable accommodation and the Ontario court ruling on whether a woman can testify in court wearing niqab.

There’s a discussion on possible punishment for niqabis. The ideas discussed are:

  • a maximum fine of 1,500 euros ($2,245 Canadian) for the first offence and a maximum of 3,000 euros ($4,480 Canadian) for repeat offences
  • a mandatory course on “rights, history of the Republic, history of feminism and on religions”

Near the end, they try to figure out how they’re actually going to enforce prohibition. In the worst case scenario, if a niqabi refuses to identify herself, thus making it impossible to fine her, she could be taken to a police station and ordered to submit fingerprints and be photographed. If she refuses, she could be found guilty of an offence and fined 3,750 euros ($5,600 Canadian) and be thrown in jail for 3 months.

Tip: If you need translation help in reading the report, try Yahoo Babel Fish. It worked best for me.

UPDATE: The panel behind the report couldn’t agree on whether to call for a total ban on niqab or just ban niqab from public buildings and services, according to Reuters.

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Exclusive: Haitian Muslims seek refuge in mosques; “Everyone there has lost somebody”

Abdul Latif Veras, a resident of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is at the forefront of the Muslim relief effort for Haiti. He updates me on how Haitian Muslims are coping with the disaster and what’s being done to help them. He’ll be heading out to Haiti tomorrow (Thursday) once again with aid.

Interview with Br. Abdul Latif

There are an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 Muslims in Haiti.

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Heart disease alert for young people and South Asians

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has just released a report entitled A Perfect Storm of Heart Disease Looming on our Horizon (click for report in PDF). It says that the face of heart disease in Canada has changed and says there is an impending crisis.

Among the new high risk groups are young adults (in their 20s and 30s) and ethnic populations, such as South Asians.

The report on young Canadian adults:

Over the past 15 years, Canada has seen significant increases in overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. It used to be thought that like heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, were “diseases of aging.” These increases will translate into an explosion of heart disease in the next generation.

“There are more than 250,000 young Canadians in their 20s and 30s with high blood pressure. That’s something we could have never imagined a decade ago. It’s almost a doubling in 15 years,” says Stephen Samis. “The real tragedy is that this is largely preventable.”

On ethnic populations:

Research has shown that Canadians of South Asian and African-Caribbean descent are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke because of higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes. South Asian Canadians may be at particular risk as evidence suggests they may develop heart disease 5 to 10 years earlier than other ethnic groups. Provinces that currently have significant visible minority populations, such as B.C. (25%), Ontario (23%) and Alberta (14%) — and in particular major metropolitan, urban centres such as Vancouver (42%), Toronto (43%), Montreal (17%), and Calgary (22%) — are going to face a tremendous growth in the need for cardiovascular prevention and care as these growing populations age.

Time to cut down on the oil, ghee, salt and sugar.  Take it seriously folks.
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BBC’s verdict on 7/7 conspiracy theories

I happened to be watching BBC World News last evening and fell upon a rerun of a show called the Conspiracy Files. This episode was about the July 7, 2005 transit bombings in London.

“The programme sees how conspiracy theories suggest four British Muslims were framed by the government, play on the fears of the Muslim community and spread a highly divisive and damaging message.

“The Conspiracy Files: 7/7 examines the evidence in an attempt to separate fact from fiction.”

Although some or a lot of the reporting may be factual, it’s clear the BBC is on a mission to refute an Internet documentary entitled 7/7 Ripple Effect. The problem is that by showing a clear bias, the BBC sheds its own credibility on the issue. Most inquiring minds who at least partially believe that something could be amiss won’t likely be convinced by hearing denials or clarifications from the very people who are involved or implicated.

This type of reporting does no good. The doubters continue to doubt and their mistrust has likely grown (including for the BBC), while those who believe the conspiracy theorists are nutcases have their belief reinforced.

It’s true that the BBC had little to go on. But it could at least acknowledge some of the points of the conspiracy theorists without blowing off an aroma of total contempt, instead of simply offering the other half of the story 7/7 Ripple Effect missed.

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Welcome

It’s been over four years since I stopped actively blogging. That happened after I discover my 180,000 words of blogging over eight months had virtually allowed Google to index my life.

Hopefully, that won’t happen again.

As the famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) goes, “Actions are judged by their intentions.” Thus, my intention in starting this blog is to make a positive contribution to the many discourses that are either going on or should be going on, by sharing knowledge, insights, feelings, tidbits or anything else that can be of some sort of benefit to myself or to readers.

If I feel this blog is doing more harm than good, I’ll shut it down.

Thanks for stopping by.

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