“No One Will Silence Us”

We posted last week about the testimony being given by ordinary citizens of Quebec at hearings about the proposed “Charter of Quebec Values”, which would ban the wearing of religious symbols and clothing by public employees. Some of the women from the Islamic community who testified in favor of the Charter have been abused, harassed, and threatened by their co-religionists.

A group of women in Quebec made the following video to protest the treatment of these women, and to proclaim their determination not to be intimidated into silence.

Many thanks to Oz-Rita for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:


00:00   We convened this press conference to tell
00:04   our bullies that they do not frighten us.
00:08   No-one will frighten us. We will help
00:12   any woman who comes to us for help.
00:16   Some are not here because
00:20   they don’t dare leaving their house
00:24   they are frightened. They are silenced, not in Algeria
00:28   are they silenced, not in an Islamic country,
00:32   they are reduced to silence today
00:36   in Quebec, in a democratic, free country. “Secular women of Quebec denounce intimidations by Islamists”
00:40   We organised ourselves very fast because
00:44   we want to protect Quebec women from the Maghreb & Middle East who defend secularity,
00:48   who have been denigrated and threatened.
00:52   We know the Islamists and have always confronted them
00:56   on the level of ideas.
01:00   On that level they are always weak,
01:04   and they compensate for this weakness by intimidation
01:08   and by violence. This intimidation that we denounce
01:12   existed before the charter.
01:16   Since the charter it increased, especially towards witnesses
01:20   or towards those who comment in newspapers,
01:24   so.. .women who, because of their testimony
01:28   or their intervention …?…
01:32   or who comment on the internet or newspapers
01:36   or TV, well they are especially
01:40   targeted. I take the case of a woman
01:44   a teacher who displays her religious signs
01:48   e.g. call to prayer, the Koran
01:53   religious calligraphy on the walls
01:57   or her dress, her attitude towards the parents of her students
02:01   when I collect the children,
02:05   and when my husband collects them,
02:09   the difference is she takes off her veil for me,
02:13   but my husband tells me: “each time I get to the door, she puts on her
02:17   veil to return my child to me.” We find this
02:21   very rude. The daily intimidation
02:25   of mainly female witnesses in favour of secularity
02:29   who appear before the parliamentary inquest, the men of their entourage,
02:33   their families here and in their countries of origin.
02:37   The tactics we denounce are
02:41   shaming the person
02:45   via social networks,
02:49   questioning her physical appearance, her words
02:53   insinuations… The shame also reaches
02:57   her family, her community.
03:01   Extracts are taken from the parliamentary commission
03:05   and are sent to Arab networks,
03:09   and within 24 hours this goes viral.
03:13   The person becomes a target,
03:17   the family calls here in Quebec: “what is happening to you…
03:21   “…my girl, my boy, what’s happening?”
03:25   “…there is talk about you in my town
03:29   and in my quarter…”
03:33   “in the name of the whole Muslim community…(male voice prompts “of Quebec”)
03:37   bla-allah-bla-bla (incomprehensible)
03:41   Native Quebecers have been used for some time
03:45   to being called “racists”, “xenophobes”
03:49   “the xenophobic charter” without any proof
03:53   accusations of “Islamophobia” are enough.
03:57   No to Islamophobia all together
04:01   bla-ahlla-bla (incomprehensible)
04:06   allah-hip-hip ? (unclear)
04:10   bla-bla-blallah (unclear)
04:14   It was there before the 20 August already.
04:18   I too was victim of it, but we are not vulnerable
04:22   like the new migrant women
04:26   who just arrived, often from countries
04:30   with communitarian pressures.
04:34   In the Maghreb and Middle East it is very difficult to live as a couple.
04:38   We live in extended families,
04:42   family > extended family > the whole quarter
04:46   is informed and after that the whole town knows.
04:50   It’s worrying, I understand these women
04:54   who today are reduced
04:58   to silence. First psychological intimidation,
05:02   which for me is a form of violence.
05:06   Then follows verbal intimidation.
05:10   The third level is physical violence.
05:14   Do we have to wait until
05:18   these persons get to this third level to denounce them? I say “no”.
05:22   Do we have to wait for the third level to take their act
05:26   seriously? I say “no”. We ask for the protection of witnesses,
05:30   especially women who appear before the parliamentary commission (project law 60)
05:34   so that they do not suffer undue pressures.
05:38   Let’s reassure them that they can present themselves
05:42   to police authorities without being ridiculed
05:47   for it. When one arrives at the police station
05:51   to ask for protection, including from cyber-intimidation,
05:55   it’s banalisation: “But no, Madam…”
05:59   a bit like it was for women in the times of (domestic) violence
06:03   “it’s a question for the private sphere, cope with it…
06:07   …it’s not our business”. The intimidation
06:11   of certain groups of women it is being banalised.
06:15   “Go home, have you had death threats?”
06:19   Some people had death threats, but no witnesses,
06:23   because these threats are not made before witnesses,
06:27   but they have reported them to us. This type of intimidation is only just starting
06:31   in Quebec. We insist in denouncing it immediately,
06:35   so that these doings don’t become
06:39   normal currency in our country.
06:43   Fear of reprisals, systematic intimidations
06:47   via social networks. Pressures
06:51   by telephone,
06:55   people also receive threats by telephone.
06:59   These are systematic communitarian pressures.
07:03   Barely veiled threats,
07:07   some direct death threats. These groups are present
07:11   on social networks. They scrutinise, and spend their days to intimidate and even to publish
07:15   text by those who dare speaking up in favour of the neutrality
07:19   of the State, in favour of secularity. These groups
07:23   are organised, call out to media,
07:27   enlisting them to their cause and seduce by manipulating
07:31   democratic and human rights terminology.
07:35   We consider the action by “the Quebec collective against Islamophobia”
07:39   is very disturbing and aims at nothing less than to reduce
07:43   freedom of speech and to protect religions, especially
07:47   Islam, from any critique. Since the public hearings
07:51   started, intimidations especially of
07:56   witnesses have multiplied on social networks, by telephone
08:00   and on a site whose content is dedicated to
08:04   “Muslim News of Canada”. We demand that they be deleted from this site,
08:08   the pages targetting women, questioning
08:12   the integrity of their testimony and denigrating overtly their comments.
08:16   Who are these individuals who do not sign their texts?
08:20   Who pays these individuals?
08:24   Who directs them? What country teleguides them?
08:32   It’s a democratic debate. The question of
08:36   secularity, neutrality, the wearing of religious signs.
08:40   Must one give in to threats
08:44   (against) our testimony but also
08:48   the democratic process of the parliamentary commission.
08:52   We want there to be more and more
08:56   citizens coming from everywhere in the world
09:00   who participate in the democratic debate in Quebec.
09:04   But we also want that this happens
09:08   with a certain serenity.
09:12   That is, we do not want the witnesses to suffer
09:16   reprisals. We have called this press conference
09:20   to tell our bullies that they don’t frighten us,
09:24   and that no-one will silence us.
09:28   To paraphrase: (name inaudible)
09:32   who says “must one be veiled to be seen?” I say: “Does one have to be veiled today
09:36   in Quebec to be considered a citizen?”

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2 thoughts on ““No One Will Silence Us”

  1. Why should I be told what I can or can’t wear by The State?

    Who gives it authority?

    Ah yes, Problem, Reaction, Solution.

    Feminist Muppets again.

    Just return Free Speech and everything is solved, for in the Capitalist market of ideas, only the strongest survive. Those that are truthful will never perish.

    • So then, as long as it is not the government asking for neutrality in civil service jobs, then does it follow that it is okay by you that a separate, faux multi-culti doppleganger totalitarian subculture exists like a worm coring out an apple from the centre, ensconced within Canadian culture? Does it work for you
      – that such a stealth culture abuses tolerance while it operates under the terms of its own subset of violence based sharia laws,
      – that these women can be forced by husbands, brothers, all relatives, to live thwarted lives, to hide themselves, to never venture outdoors unaccompanied, to be forbidden to drive, to be raped, killed, “honour” killed, to be left to develop rickets beneath suffocating burkas, to do what they are told to do and to wear what they are told to wear, to be genitally mutilated, to have acid thrown in their faces, to hide all of this beneath the pretext of religious garb akin to imprisonment of the soul and body, to be used when children by koranic sanctioned female abuse and koranic endorsed pedophilia and child abuse,…all of this works for you?
      Is your attitude then: “Oh well that is just the culture, right?”

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