How Canada let Aqsa down

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We have this week two news items of tragedies involving girl victims. Both will serve to reinforce the belief of many Canadians—count me in—that the alliance of feminism with multiculturalism has created a two-tier sisterhood.

The top tier, Western women, have achieved full equality rights. Any and all male aggression against a top-tier woman triggers a public outcry and a million lit candles. The second-tier women—those from other cultures—are not so fortunate. Feminists exploit multiculturalism to justify their moral abandonment of the women who most need them: girl victims of dysfunctional or socially unevolved cultures.

We begin in Australia, and the trial results of a 2006 rape of a 10-year-old aboriginal girl by a group of nine aboriginal men and adolescents. District Court Judge Sarah Bradley gave all of them probation or suspended sentences—no jail time and no criminal records. Bradley concluded that the victim “was not forced and she probably agreed to have sex with all of you.”

This girl had been a sexual pawn since the age of seven. She is the kind of human wreckage that should have inspired amongst anguished feminists a mass demonstration with candles, white ribbons and demands for life sentences for her attackers.

But the judge was a woman, the girl and her attackers from a minority culture, creating the perfect ideological storm.

How could any woman get it so wrong? It’s like this: Indoctrinated in multicultural feminism, Judge Bradley is a moral and cultural relativist. Any sexual aggression against her own daughter would be anathema, but the cultural values of the Other are sacrosanct, and must be respected.

Thus, that judge didn’t see a 10-year-old girl. She didn’t see an individual. She saw aboriginal Others engaged in behaviours particular to their culture, and she assumed it would be wrong to impose her standards on them. Believe it or not, I am sure she thought she was being sensitive to their “difference.”

Back to Canada and, if appearances turn out to be reality, Canada’s first honour killing. Sixteen-year-old Mississauga teenager Aqsa Parvez died on Tuesday of wounds suffered in an attack on her on Monday—allegedly by her father. (A brother is also charged with the crime of obstruction.) Friends of Aqsa painted a picture of a young girl eager to integrate into Canadian society, in ongoing conflict with her conservative Pakistani father who insisted she wear the hijab, the Muslim symbol of sexual modesty.

Multiculturalists would have us believe that the hijab is merely a religious symbol, like the Sikh kirpan or the Christian cross, freely embraced by the girls wearing them. It isn’t, as many Muslim commentators, including Tarek Fatah and Farzana Hassan in these pages yesterday, have frequently explained. The hijab is rather a public sign of supervised sexual modesty, and marks those wearing it as chattel, leashed to their fathers and brothers as surely as if they were wearing a dog collar.

But you’ll never hear a feminist murmur a word of complaint about these girls’ lack of autonomy, for the same reasons the judge in Australia couldn’t imagine that an aboriginal girl should be treated with the dignity and respect her own daughter would take for granted.

I have argued before in these pages that the hijab, however benign-seeming, is still one end of a female-submissive spectrum that ends in the burka, a garment virtually all Canadians find antithetical to our values. If public schools, which are supposedly secular, had banned hijabs as France did, along with all other religious paraphernalia, in order to create a level social Canadian playing field, Aqsa would have had Canada on her side.

Aqsa’s father in turn would have had to accept the fact that his family lived in a country where women are not forced by any man to wear uniforms that define them as property or symbols of their family’s “honour.” And she might be alive today.

How many thousands of other Aqsas hate the hijab but wear it without complaint because they fear their fathers’ and brothers’ wrath? How many girls in minority cultures are sexually mutilated or degraded without intervention or censure?

Feminists and multiculturalists would rather not go there: Where the suffering of girls in other cultures is concerned, our feminists and multiculturalists adhere to the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

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