Will Muslim refugees change the face of Canadian society?
Is the influx of Muslim refugees the changing face of Canadian society in more ways than one?
Canada once boasted of a firm sense of its own identity— that of being morally conservative compared to its giant neighbor to the south. The land was rooted in biblically based morals and high standards, and an obligation to set an example of civility and uprightness for the rest of the world. That has all changed, with Canada joining the moral decline of North America, vitiating its citizens’ sense of identity and history. By trampling on its own sense of “Canadianness”, the nation has created openings that are going to be filled up eventually with dogmas of its own.
Being historically reflective, Canada was founded under the slogan “peace, order and good government,” whereas settlers in the U.S. were spurred on by religious freedom, as well as economic opportunity. In the last 35 or 40 years, so many long-standing traditions, standards, morals, policies, and laws have become relaxed.
Now with President Trump’s 90-day ban on entry to the U.S. to those leaving seven majority Muslim countries, Canada has once again revealed her caring side by opening her arms to welcome the fleeing refugees. As of January 2017, 40,000 Syrian refugees have arrived. What are Canada’s expectations once the refugees become established and are free from any form of persecution? Would the nation be focusing on the most glaring issue at the risk of moral values that define it as a society?
Under Islamic marital jurisprudence, Muslim men are allowed to practice polygamy; that is they can have more than one wife at the same time, up to a total of four. Canadian immigration officials are letting polygamous men into the country as long as they arrive with only their first wife and promise not to have a harem afterwards. Under Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which deals with the legality of a Canadian law, polygamy is a criminal offence.
From a prophetic, pathetic, or at worst oddly frenetic stance, and with no covert anti-refugee sentiment, Canada may find herself in the not- too -distant future coming face to face in a legal battle with the very same refugees whom she has welcomed with open arms. The relevance of Section 293 would also grow as religions and cultures where some degree of polygamy is tolerated come to Canada.
Herein lies the crux of the matter: how could Canada, considered a self-consciously liberal society continue to criminalize a form of marriage that has existed the world over for millennia, while at the same time she has already legalized a completely new form of marriage between individuals of the same sex. Better stated in politically correct terms, why should monogamy continue to be so important, if heterosexuality is no longer socially, morally or legally relevant to marriage.
The jury is out regarding the fact that the laws of Canada have already departed from the principle that it is a heterosexual, monogamous marriage that is essential to social stability. While serving as Minister of Justice, Pierre Elliot Trudeau introduced the Criminal Amendment Act of 1968-1969, often referred to as the omnibus bill because it contained multiple legislative changes to Canadian society that eventually became law. Canada legally redefined marriage and family in 2005. Since the 1940’s Fundamentalist Mormons in Bountiful, in southeastern British Colombia have successfully managed with little legal recourse, to get away with openly practicing polygamy, believed to be an integral and necessary part of their faith.
Canada has been called a multicultural country, which means that individuals are free to pursue their own religion, and that no one culture is superior to that of another. It has been argued that this is a myth, as Muslims are in no sense at liberty to practice their religious laws, with the prohibition of polygamy and divorce Muslim style. The recent shootings of six Muslim men in a Quebec City mosque, opened the floodgate, underscoring a problem the Muslims claimed they have encountered for years—difficulty in finding burial space. This lamentable state of affairs was remedied with provision made for the opening of a special cemetery in Quebec City, joining St. Johns Newfoundland, Toronto and Nova Scotia with already established Muslim cemeteries. It is impermissible under normal circumstances, to bury Muslims alongside non-Muslims, or to bury non-Muslims in a land where Muslims are buried. Together when living and giving, but differently set at the time of death.
Canada appears to be struggling with multiculturalism and assimilation, as it applies to the Muslim refugees, whose voices and votes I prophesy will signal an unprecedented chapter come next election. Welcome may be the forerunner of what will-come .