Muslim Teachers in Quebec Support No-Veil Law

The following video features an interview with three Muslim schoolteachers in Quebec who support the recently passed law prohibiting public employees from wearing hijab. What distinguishes these three women from the zealous proponents of the veil is that they’ve been living in Quebec for a much longer time.

Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   Those three Muslim teachers who have been living in Quebec
00:04   for years are very set in their opinions
00:08   concerning wearing a headscarf. —Good day. —Come in.
00:12   Thank you for coming. —My name is Jamila Dar. I teach
00:16   French in the [unintelligible] of Laval and I have lived in Montreal
00:20   for twenty years. —My name is Leila Ben Salem. I come from
00:24   Algeria. I’ve lived in Quebec for thirty-seven years.
00:28   Right now I’m a substitute teacher in a secondary school in Montreal.
00:32   My name is Leila Lesbeck. I’m technician in special education.
00:36   I’m originally from Algeria, and I’ve lived
00:40   in Quebec for eighteen years. —You are Muslims.
00:44   You are in education, but you don’t wear the veil. Why?
00:49   Because it’s not part of my convictions, and
00:53   when teaching , I have always thought
00:57   that we are role models for our students, and that
01:01   it’s not the type of role model that I would like to provide for them.
01:05   I was a teacher in Algeria, and this headscarf
01:09   never existed, therefore it has never been part
01:13   either of our culture or — even less — of our religion. When we were going to school,
01:17   to university, we were without the veil. So the veil
01:21   arrived with the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
01:25   Therefore I am…
01:30   It makes me smile a little about such an identity
01:34   that is born with a political movement.
01:38   This headscarf, what does it represent, exactly? —The headscarf, for me
01:42   and for women who want to become independent, for free women
01:46   and feminists, is the flag of the International Muslim Brotherhood.
01:50   It’s an Islamist ideology, it’s fascism.
01:54   For me it’s really the standard-bearer of the Islamists.
01:58   Because it’s closely associated with the Islamists.
02:02   All the places where they arrived, all the regions they colonized,
02:06   trying to install themselves, it was their first demand
02:11   directed at women. —How do you react to precisely this sentence:
02:15   “The headscarf is our identity; we won’t remove it.” —It’s not the veil that
02:19   will give you identity. It’s what you are, it’s
02:23   what you desire to convey to your students, that’s what’s important.
02:27   Is it necessary to arrive with this law, here in Quebec? —I think that
02:31   it’s very important that when I’m at school
02:35   children don’t have to know what my
02:39   religious beliefs are, what my political beliefs are,
02:43   what my spiritual beliefs are. Absolutely not.
02:47   Is this project of Law 21 is going far enough for you?
02:51   Is it really a good thing to adopt? —In fact for me it’s
02:55   an extremely important project, because I think that
02:59   it’s the result — finally — of the peaceful revolution
03:04   of the ’60s. —I would say that it doesn’t go far enough.
03:08   But I find that the government was
03:12   rather moderate, rather intelligent
03:16   to say: “All right, it’s a minimum basis;
03:20   we will reach an understanding and we will work for that.”
03:24   I think that this project has to go further than that. Because
03:28   he put private schools aside. I’m sorry, even in private schools
03:32   children have to be protected. Not only concerning
03:36   the headscarf, but concerning how religious schools are being run.
03:40   For me, as a teacher in school, there’s neither synagogue
03:45   nor mosque nor church.
03:49   The school sanctuary is the BRAIN. —Secularism:
03:53   what is it for you? —It’s to allow the best integration possible,
03:57   simply because it’s thanks to this neutrality
04:01   of the state and its employees that we can learn
04:05   to coexist without any distinction. And then religion,
04:09   well, it’s a part of the private sphere. —There shouldn’t be an intrusion
04:13   of the ‘religious’ into state affairs. — Everything that is
04:17   an institution should be staffed with people who
04:21   don’t put their religion on display. There’s the majority?
04:25   Well, go! You have the majority;
04:29   it’s now or never!

2 thoughts on “Muslim Teachers in Quebec Support No-Veil Law

  1. If, repeat, if, Islamic women were given a sound education and knowledge of the Western world, would they submit as often to Islam’s dictates?

  2. This is a very funny video of Gammal Nassar reporting to the Egyptian parliament his conversation with the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was demanding all women be veiled.

    Unfortunately, once the density or numbers of Muslims increases sufficiently, these women for reasons of self-protection, will not be so frank about their secularist views.

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