SEPT 8,  2005    QUEEN’S PARK    Elka Ruth Enola

 

As I look out, I am struck by the diversity of the crowd.  That diversity is both our strength and our weakness.

 

The strength was recognized by the original formulation of Multiculturalism, which was an attempt for foster greater integration and mutual acceptance.

 

It is our weakness, because multiculturalism has been distorted into a weapon to create divisions and separation and to emphasize differences rather than similarities. 

 

Multiculturalism as practiced isolates communities from each other, creating an atmosphere of we/they, instead of a sense of us.

 

This is especially evident in the schools, where from an early age, children are isolated from other groups by religion, culture, language and economic class.

 

 We cannot build a unified society if our children are separated from each other.  They cannot grow up in an environment of understanding and mutual support if they have virtually no positive contact with each other.

 

Multiculturalism when applied to the school system is a weapon of great destruction.

 

I would like to see all children attend the same public school system from 9 AM to 2:30 PM each day.  I would want all schools to be co-ed although I would accept that for some classes boys and girls might be separated. 

 

From 2:30 to 4 pm, children could remain for optional programs in the public school, or they could attend a private academic, language, religious, sports, arts etc school of their choice.


The application of Sharia as supported by Syed Mumtaz Ali,  the guiding light of the thrust towards Sharia in Ontario, would not allow for such a program.  His view is that Sharia as expressed over a thousand years ago must be understood literally and is immutable. 

Under such an interpretation, girls and boys do not go to school together, nor do they get the same education, since boys will be responsible for looking after wives and  for all aspects of family life;  while women will only be required to serve the needs of their husbands and children.

 

The introduction of Sharia to the Arbitration Act is the thin edge of the wedge.

 

The next step  will be to demand that the province  fund Islamic schools.  They will claim that the existing public schools are contrary to the religion of Islam and to the requirements of Sharia.  They will claim that to do otherwise would be discriminatory and contrary to Multiculturalism.

 

I would like to close with a poem that I wrote called, “Saudi Women”

 

Saudi Arabia is an immensely wealthy country that could afford to educate its women to the highest possible levels. 

 

Instead, they have enforced Sharia in a most repressive environment whereby a woman  cannot appear in public unless she is covered from head to toe and is accompanied by a male relative.

 

I expect, just about every one in the audience to object claiming that using such an extreme example is out of place in Canada.  It just could not happen here.

 

Perhaps.  But I would remind you, that the Jews of Germany said, “Germany is the most sophisticated, cultured and integrated society that the world has ever seen.  It couldn’t happen here.”  But it did.

 

 

SAUDI  WOMEN    

 

It’s the lack of faces

the missing mouth

the absent smile

 

How do we distinguish

her  from her

 

Will she ever know

she is different

can climb mountains

       discover a gene

 

It’s the lack of identity

 

Any one will do

 

No bloody difference

 

At home

undressed

by owner / husband

used and abused until she is

too old

and is

discarded

 

just another woman

faceless