Accommodating sexism?

In the Fall 2013 semester, a York University student asked to be exempt from taking part in a workshop with fellow students because some of them were female and his religion practiced gender apartheid:
‘“One of the main reasons that I have chosen internet courses to complete my BA is due to my firm religious beliefs, and part of that is the intermingling between men and women,” he wrote, adding “it will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women (the majority of my group) to complete some of these tasks.”’
The professor thought about it, consulted an Orthodox Jewish scholar and two Islamic scholars (all three thought the accommodation was not required), talked it over with other faculty members, did a ‘hypothetical’ survey on it in another class… and ultimately decided he could not institutionalize sexism and explained his reasoning to the student:
‘After getting wind of the resolution — as well as Mr. Grayson’s stated refusal to honour his accommodation — the student cheerfully backed off.

He attended the group session without protest and even wrote a memo to Mr. Grayson thanking him “for the way you have handled this request.”

“He’s a reasonable guy,” said Mr. Grayson.’

In a reasonable world, that would have ended the matter, non?
But, York University dean/administration is not in a reasonable world
‘Nevertheless, the rejection incensed university brass. According to Mr. Grayson, on October 18, he received a letter from the Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies ordering him to accommodate the student’s wishes.
In an October 18 email, the Dean specifically told Mr. Grayson that if he was worried about the “course experience of our female students” he would make sure they “are not made aware of the accommodation.”’
In other worlds, it’s OK to marginalize girls women as long as you don’t worry their pretty little heads about it, right?!?!?
There has been a lot of discussion of this – and guesses about the unnamed student’s religion.  Professor Greyson himself consulted Orthodox Jewish and Islamic scholars and, given the Canadian demographics, it’s dollars to doughnuts he hit the bulls-eye.  But, there is a big difference between the teachings of Islam and Orthodox Judaism:  Orthodox Jews must adhere to their religious laws regardless of where they live while Muslims must only adhere to their religious laws while they live in an Islamic country.
And, since the student accepted the professor’s explanation that the requested accommodation could not happen under Canadian law happily and cheerfully and submitted to the secular law without any problems – I believe this student is a Muslim.
This is something that is very important, but, which is not really being brought up in any of the discussions of this case that I am aware of.
A little background:  when I came to Canada in my teens and was in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class, I became best friends with Neda.  She came to Canada with her family from a Sharia adherent country.
Her father, a pious, Mosque-attending Muslim, explained it in the following way:
In Sharia-adherent countries, women are treated like cattle (that was the word used – it shocked me when I heard it).  He did not want his daughter to be treated like that, he wanted her to grow up as a free and equal human being.  But, that would not be possible in an Islamic country.
In his wisdom, Mohammed taught that when Muslims are in a non-Muslim country, they are bound by the laws of that country.  If the laws of that country transgress against Sharia, a good Muslim must still try to follow Sharia.  BUT, if this would be difficult or if it would make the Muslims look bad in the eyes of the non-believers, then, Allah is merciful and he revealed that the Muslim may break the rules of Islam in order to get along/fit in/conform.
Even if it were to drink alcohol or eat pork, if no transgression was intended, then none was incurred!
So, by bringing his daughter to Canada, she could integrate into Canadian society and live a life as a free person, and as long as no transgression is intended, none is incurred and she would not be punished and go to hell!!!
Back to the York situation:  it may be that this student (if, indeed, he were a Muslim) did exactly that!  He asked for an accommodation because he was trying his best to follow Sharia in a non-Islamic country.  When the accommodation was refused, he was happy to comply with the Canadian law that prohibits discrimination based on gender – as per Mohammed’s teachings.
The student did his best to follow Sharia, but could not – and thus he did not transgress!
In my never-humble-opinion, many Muslims who do not wish to live under Sharia but  are still believing Muslims live in our country precisely because of this specific rule:  if the country they live in is not Islamic, not following the strict rules of Sharia is not a transgression.
Really.
It is only the Islamists, the ones who are trying to change the laws of Canada, who demand accommodation and refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer, that are the problem – and by insisting on accommodation even in violation of Canadian law, they commit apostasy.  Only the Islamists, who wish to change Canada into a Sharia state will not obey Mohammed’s command to obey the laws of the non-believers countries when there!
It is precisely from these people that Muslims like my friend came to Canada to get away from.  We must not fail them now by accepting Islamists as the ones who speak for Canadian Muslims!!!
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3 Responses to “Accommodating sexism?”

  1. juggernaut Says:

    Agree. Religion is no grounds to justify sexism. And it’s even worse that people who don’t even identify with Islam are trying to speak on behalf of muslims. The university wanted to make the accommodation to avoid bad press for sure. In the end, we all want to pass the buck and avoid the controversy. But it’s just a sad sight to see…

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