Religious Symbols, Liberalism, and Laïcité in Quebec

In December 2021, a Muslim woman in Quebec, Canada lost her teaching position because she refused to remove her hijab in the classroom. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, despite his personal disagreement with the law that cost her a job, would not intervene in this “touchy subject,” as the bill under discussion was voted in democratically. This is the latest from a multi-year saga of the formation of the law aptly titled, An Act respecting the laicity of the State. [1] It is important to challenge the very premise that laïcité is a force for a just and plural society.  Continue reading Religious Symbols, Liberalism, and Laïcité in Quebec

Can European Muslims Resist Assimilation?

The Charter of Principles of French Islam declares the religion to be compatible with France’s particular brand of secularism, laïcité, and its attendant values; in other words, it represents the subjugated and heavily privatised form of the religion that President Macron wishes to see. In January, a close advisor to Macron warned that Muslim organizations which refused to sign the charter would “see their operations inspected very, very closely by our services.”[1] The French Republic cannot tolerate Muslim difference: it aims only to homogenize and assimilate. Continue reading Can European Muslims Resist Assimilation?

Paranoia of Islam in Literary Orientalism

As Islamophobia pervades the world, invading minds and infecting intellect, Muslims have arisen as a target for collective crucifixion and condemnation. It’s a tradition of hate with a hoary past, the complexities of which can be navigated through a sustained investment in critical thinking. Amidst the tumult of the Lebanese Civil War and the Iranian Revolution, the Islamist uprising in Syria, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, emerged Edward Said’s groundbreaking work: Orientalism. The book unmasks how Western literature and scholarship have created a civilizational binary through the presentation of the Orient (the East) as the cultural antonym of the glorious West. Continue reading Paranoia of Islam in Literary Orientalism

Reimagining Politics Amidst the Global Pandemic

As someone allergic to what government authorities have to say, I felt an unexpected change of heart during my three dedicated years of life in studying Public Policy and Management at university. Much to my surprise, I found widespread apolitical behavior in the presumably political environment of the faculty of Social and Political Sciences at my university. Although I saw tragic events like racially-charged police shootings bring about the rise of political expression on social media, political disengagement among the youth is the norm in our everyday lives. What could be the driving force? Continue reading Reimagining Politics Amidst the Global Pandemic