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Home » 3 Faiths Together


17 November 2017 No Comment


Father John Walsh
The old doers that are open and people ae walking through are the doors of scepticism, intolerance, the relativism of diversity, and the door that leads to awkwardness. The use of the Niqab leads many non-Muslims to be sceptical about the arguments used by Muslims to justify the wearing of Niqab by Muslim women. The scepticism arises because the Niqab is not essential to the faith of Islam and is optional for Muslim to wear or not wear. Those who decide to wear the Niqab do it for their own personal reasons such as modesty, being cut off from the fatal attractions of modernity, and to express their exclusive dedication to their husbands. To wear the Niqab is a freedom of choice decision and non-Muslims see that as the creation of a mountain out of a molehill. The Niqab is not something worth dying for; faith is worth dying for. Intolerance is a two-sided coin: Intolerance is experienced by Niqabi women when non-Muslims reacts with comments that belittle their choice or when there is actual physical pushing of Niqabi women aside. The other side of the coin is the intolerance non-Muslims sense the Niqab creates a lack of respect for certain norms of society which are to be respected by all members of society, such as to be identified visually so that exchanges are made with the correct person in mind, to be different but within generally accepted markings and clothing (today almost everything goes with tattoos and zombie clothing) a certain conformity with forcing distinctiveness on the whole population, and also in Quebec where religion was said to be imposed upon the majority Catholic population, intolerance rises to the fore when a new religion is being imposed upon Quebeckers. Two wrongs don’t make a right but call for greater dialogue, a challenge beyond religious accommodation. The Niqabi women reflect what may be called the relativism of diversity when the real diversities are deeper and more far-ranging and could be seen as theological. Christians, Jews and Muslims have, over the past decades, created mutual friendships and dialogues that were not experienced until rather recently in Quebec, in Canada and world-wide. The element of the “new” is precisely what Niqabi women are asking all Quebeckers to integrate into society. It is the greatest and hardest challenge when any group, any society, is in itself in transition. The “new” may be hard to reconcile but there is something special when religious people believe that the “new” is of God. Finally, we are at a stage of awkwardness and it happens in many circumstance when things happen for the first time. The first of everything in life is awkward. We only have only to look at our own experience when as a teen-ager you had your first kiss. The reality of the Niqab is not to be feared but embraced. It is always easier to explain our scepticism, our intolerance, the relativism of diversity, and our awkwardness when we know the other person is really and wholeheartedly listening. The eyes behind the niqab can see our behaviour and the ears under the Niqab function very well. Then turning to the disciples Jesus said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Luke 10:23-24)

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