‘Feminist’ Trudeau under attack for attending gender-segregated event at Ottawa mosque

Awkward. Valid to raise questions about appropriateness.

While in general, always better to engage and be present, PMO needs to think more about the guidelines when accepting such invitations or choosing locations. Respect should be mutual, while I can understand women MPs covering their hair as a sign of respect, the mosque should have allowed the women MPs to enter by the front door, not the side door, equally as a sign of respect.

And that would allow the PM to support those within Muslim communities who wish for more egalitarian mosques:

Canada’s self-styled feminist prime minister was praised Tuesday by one of the world’s most powerful women for his commitment to gender equality even as he was taking it on the chin from other women for appearing at a gender-segregated event the previous day.

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde told reporters at a Parliament Hill news conference she was “appreciative” of Trudeau’s commitment to a government that was “gender-equal.” Trudeau had just told Lagarde the next Canadian representative to the IMF would be a woman, a first for the country.

Yet, Trudeau’s appearance Monday morning at a gender-segregated mosque in Ottawa brought criticism from some of the same women who had admired his work toward gender equality.

 “Right now we have these political leaders — ironically, politically liberal leaders — who are just putting blinders on their eyes about their values,” Asra Nomani said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who describes herself as a liberal, is the author of Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.

“That’s the big differential for liberals, they fancy themselves as honouring the women’s body and yet the segregation by its very definition hyper-sexualizes women’s bodies. That’s the great irony.”

 Trudeau was at the mosque Monday to mark Eid al-Adha, considered the holiest of feast days for the world’s Muslims. Three female MPs accompanied Trudeau during his brief remarks, though they had to arrive by a side door and stand with their heads covered. They did not address the mosque.

Worshippers at the mosque are separated by gender. Men were on the main floor where Trudeau spoke. Women and girls were in a balcony or in other parts of the mosque. Nomani said that recent surveys indicate about two of every three mosques separate men from women, but that is up from a decade ago when only about half did.

“I will meet with Canadians regardless of where they are in Canada,” Trudeau told reporters Monday afternoon. “I will speak to inclusive growth, help for the middle class. I will talk about gender equality. I will talk about the rights of the LGBT community. We will continue to promote the values which bring us together.”

Source: ‘Feminist’ Trudeau under attack for attending gender-segregated event at Ottawa mosque | National Post

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to ‘Feminist’ Trudeau under attack for attending gender-segregated event at Ottawa mosque

  1. Pingback: Why MPs should visit mosques – and other places of worship too – Anita Vandenbeld | Multicultural Meanderings

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