Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Town to immigrants: you can't kill women

Town to immigrants: you can't kill women
By David Ljunggren Wed Jan 31, 8:45 AM ET
OTTAWA (Reuters) -

(NOTE ** All emphasis and comments purely mine)

Photos - BBC
Immigrants wishing to live in the small Canadian town of Herouxville, Quebec, must not stone women to death in public, burn them alive or throw acid on them, according to an extraordinary set of rules released by the local council. The declaration, published on the town's Web site, has deepened tensions in the predominantly French-speaking province over how tolerant Quebecers should be toward the customs and traditions of immigrants.

"We wish to inform these new arrivals that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here," said the declaration, which makes clear women are allowed to drive, vote, dance, write checks, dress how they want, work and own property. Therefore we consider it completely outside these norms to ... kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them etc."

No one on the town council was available for comment on Tuesday. Herouxville, which has 1,300 inhabitants, is about 160 km (100 miles) northeast of Montreal. Andre Drouin, the councilor who devised the declaration, told the National Post newspaper that the town was not racist.

"We invite people from all nationalities, all languages, all sexual orientations, whatever, to come live with us, but we want them to know ahead of time how we live," he said.

The declaration is part of a wider debate over "reasonable accommodation," or how far Quebecers should be prepared to change their customs so as not to offend immigrants. Figures from the 2001 census show that around 10 percent of Quebec's 7.5 million population were born outside Canada.

Earlier this month the Journal de Montreal newspaper published a poll of Quebecers showing that 59 percent admitted to harboring some kind of racist feelings. The Herouxville regulations say girls and boys can exercise together and people should only be allowed to cover their faces at Halloween. Children must not take weapons to school, it adds, although the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled that Sikh boys have the right to carry ceremonial daggers.

Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, said the declaration had "set the clock back for decades" as far as race relations were concerned.

"I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion ... in a public document written by people in authority who discriminate openly," he told Reuters.


Last year a Montreal gym agreed to install frosted windows after a nearby Hasidic synagogue said it was offended by the sight of adults exercising. Newspapers say a Montreal community center banned men from prenatal classes to respect Hindu and Sikh traditions and an internal police magazine suggested women police officers allow their male colleagues to interview Hasidic Jews.

Montreal's police force is investigating one of its officers after he posted an anti-immigrant song called "That's Enough Already" on the Internet.

"We want to accept ethnics, but not at any price ... if you're not happy with your fate, there's a place called the airport," the officer sings.

The Herouxville declaration is available, in English and French, at the "avis public" section of the town's Web site,

And of course, the follow-up damage control...

Montreal police officer could face disciplinary action for writing a song urging immigrants in Quebec to assimilate. Police spokesman Yan Lafrenière insisted the song does not represent values upheld by Montreal police. The song — currently circulating on the internet — is called That's Enough Already, and suggests Québécois culture is being denigrated by a wave of new immigrants who insist on practising different religious traditions. The song berates immigrants for expecting Quebec to bend over backwards and accommodate their differences, and suggests that those who don't like it should hitch a ride to the airport.

The song was posted on a site called Humour Québec.

Police launch internal investigation

The 37-year-old officer, a 15-year veteran of the police force, will appear in front of a Montreal police disciplinary committee Monday, amid protests from his union. There's no reason to discipline the officer, who has a clean track record and maintains good relations with his colleagues, said Yves Francoeur, president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood.

The force intends to pursue the enquiry until it establishes the officer's real motive, said spokesman Yan Lafrenière Sunday.

"For us, it's a main preoccupation, to see what the intention of the officer [was], why he did that, and was it his own opinion, or was it a song, by itself," he said. "Is it because of a possible root of intolerance? It is important for us to find that out."

SHOCKING!!! "A possible root of intolerance"!!!! Mai Oui............

Lafrenière insisted the song does not represent values upheld by Montreal police. But that kind of message is still damaging, according to Fo Niemi, co-founder of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations.

Fo Niemi, co-founder of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, worries about the effects of the lyrics.Fo Niemi, co-founder of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, worries about the effects of the lyrics.

"The effect of this kind of lyric is to legitimize this kind of xenophobic remark, and eventually it's going to be used by many other people to tell immigrants if they don't like it here, they should go back to where they came from," he said.

Uh... What's Your Point?

'Code of conduct' debate

The song appeared on the internet as the debate on "reasonable accommodation" was snowballing across Quebec. On Saturday, a small town near Shawinigan, in the Mauricie region, made headlines after its city council drafted and approved a "code of conduct" outlining appropriate behaviour for all residents, including new immigrants. The code of conduct in Hérouxville declares women have the right to drive a car, sign a cheque and dance, and should uncover their faces if they teach in schools. The guidelines were a response to what town leaders deem "excessive" accommodation to other religious beliefs, said Hérouxville municipal Coun. André Drouin. Mr Drouin said most e-mails were supportive of the new declaration.

Muslim groups have repudiated the code of conduct, calling it divisive.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest said Monday the code does reflect a more generalized feeling of anxiety among Quebecers, but he doesn't anticipate other towns to follow suit.

Well, at least the Quebec Premier seems to find some justification...

"I can't see how the situation in Hérouxville will have any repercussions elsewhere. I don't expect other municipalities to pursue this line of action," he said Monday.

I haven't been able to find the song yet, but I'm sure YouTube will have it up - at least for awhile...the Humour Québec site maybe has it, but I couldn't locate the song there.

I think they are on to something here. Let our poor, tired and hungry know up front what the rules of living in a civilized country mean. These are the THINGS YOU MAY NOT DO. Simple. Fuck Shari'a.