Justin Trudeau visits gender-segregated mosque, Eiynah calls him out

According to the Toronto Sun, on Monday Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited the mosque of the Ottawa Muslim Association, where men are segregated from women—who listen from the back of the bus. The Sun also reports that the imam of the mosque has connections to a group identified by the UAE as a terrorist organization.

I don’t know much about the imam, Samy Metwally, but I do object to Trudeau giving his imprimatur to this type of gender segregation, nor would I approve of his visiting an orthodox Jewish temple that had the same type of segregation. Remember, Trudeau appointed Canada’s first cabinet that consisted of at least 50% women, and yet here he endorsed, even implicitly, the subjugation of women.

Listen to ex-Muslim Eiynah “Nice Mangos” take apart Trudeau (and gender segregation in mosques) in this 12½-minute podcast. Click on the screenshot below to listen.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-9-58-33-am

Here’s Trudeau at the mosque. Note that, as reader Taz mentions in the comments below,

Three female MPs accompanied Trudeau during his brief remarks, though they had to arrive by a side door and stand with their heads covered.

58 Comments

  1. Posted September 14, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that JT was there, but this is the Sun, which is something like Fox, so I would like to see some other verification of the terrorist connection.

    • Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Or whether the “connection” is one of those “O’Reilly style” ones or not, too.

    • Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I’m not going to investigate the terrorist connection,and so just repeat what the Sun said. My concern, which is about the undisputed fact that Trudeau visited a gender-segregated mosque, is the main point of this post.

      If others want to dig into the “terrorist” claim, I welcome them to do so and report in the comments here.

    • Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      He did make special mention of the women upstairs or behind the window or whatever it was. That has to be worth something.

      JT gets some things wrong for sure and deserves criticism. Not sure how I feel about this.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Making mention of the women upstairs is not enough. To me it’s a slap in the face. As a feminist he should stick to supporting mosques where women are treated as equals. By choosing to attend this mosque as part of the Eid celebrations he is holding Muslims to a lower standard than other Canadians. I bet he wouldn’t support Christians at Easter by attending a church where women are required to cover their hair and remain silent (and those are more numerous than you may realize).

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 14, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          I’m actually even more radical in this his respect in that I don’t think a head of state in a secular country should. E visiting any religious places. I’m pretty sure his father never did this. It seems to be a new trend.

          Would Trudeau visit atheist groups? I doubt it.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted September 14, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            Good point. I understand why he did it in the current environment though. It could help with acceptance of a group that is on the margins. They have to make an effort too imo, and showing support for those that embrace more secular values would send a signal.

            Were there many Muslims in Canada in Pierre T’s day? In those days in NZ Muslims were a curiosity – people were friendly and interested because they were different and there was no international threat environment as background noise, so there was no issue.

            • Lars
              Posted September 14, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

              A longtime presence – the oldest mosque in Edmonton goes back to the 1940s, I believe – but until recently a small minority, and not conspicuous. I can recall little if any evidence of a large public Muslim presence back in PET’s day.
              There’s some geographical variation in distribution as well. Here in Calgary there is a large community, I believe because of the predominance of the oil industry and its involvement with the Middle East.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted September 14, 2016 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

                Interesting. Thanks. 🙂

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted September 15, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

              What is interesting is Trudeau, a Catholic, has no problem telling off the Catholic church when they tried to shame him into his stance on abortion but then he visits a mosque where women are treated like that? It seems a bit inconsistent but we all know the truth: he said that thing to the Catholic church to impress us with his progressive abortion stance and he visited the mosque to look like he’s supporting Muslims.

              I think he probably harmed himself all around: liberal Muslims are not going to be impressed, non-liberal Muslims will probably see his visit as pandering, conservatives will definitely see this as pandering and the rest of us will just be suspicious and/or offended because of how the women were treated. It certainly results in lack of trust. I’m sure it will blow over though. The press attacks him for so many insignificant things that I’m sure this will lose significance as a result.

              One thing with PET is he didn’t visit any churches other than his own for his own worship. PET believed strongly in the separation of church and state though it was under PET that the ideology of multiculturalism flourished and to this day, many immigrants that came to Canada under PET, vote liberal because of that.

            • Posted September 16, 2016 at 5:46 am | Permalink

              I do not think it will help acceptance of Muslims. The reaction of Islamophobes is likely to be, “Oh again a politician we have elected pushing Islam down our throats”.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted September 16, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

                You’re right about the bigots of course. I think there are a few people on the margins though who find the idea of Muslims in general a bit scary and this might help with them – or at least it would have if he went to a mosque that treated women as equals. I feel like this is feeding an anti-Muslim narrative because of the mosque he chose.

          • Posted September 15, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

            Yasir Naqvi (Ottawa area MPP) did attend a CFI event once (though CFI is a secular rights/science/skepticism group, etc.)

          • Posted September 16, 2016 at 5:46 am | Permalink

            + 1

  2. Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    This is the sort of thing that happens when you try to pander to everyone.

  3. Steve Gerrard
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I’m not buying that visiting a mosque constitutes endorsing all of its practices, or giving them an imprimatur. It is quite possible that it is “constructive engagement,” which can be a good thing. It is rather like hosting a controversial speaker, for example.

    • Taz
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      From the National Post story linked by Mark Reaume below:

      Three female MPs accompanied Trudeau during his brief remarks, though they had to arrive by a side door and stand with their heads covered.
      ——
      While Trudeau, in his remarks at the mosque did indeed speak about growth and the middle class, he made no mention of LGBT rights nor did he make any mention of gender equality.

      Pretty weak engagement if you ask me.

      • somer
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I disagree, and I’m with those speakers, like Dawkins and Krauss, who simply refuse to address a gender segregated audience (in this case at universities). I see it, yes, as endorsing those practices.

      Would you address an audience segregated by color, so that blacks had to sit in the rear of the audience? If not, why not?

      • Cate Plys
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Jerry. Trudeau should obviously be ashamed of himself. Even if you want to make a case for going to that mosque as constructive engagement, despite its subjugation of women, this does not excuse a) that Trudeau allowed (or even required) the women officials to be humiliated by being required to enter by a side door and cover their heads; and b) that he didn’t mention that he disapproves of gender apartheid. As always, if you picture this scenario with the subjugated group being anyone other than women, it would not be accepted for a second. Frankly, in my opinion, the women officials should also be ashamed of themselves for going along with it.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        Would you address an audience segregated by color, so that blacks had to sit in the rear of the audience?

        The one distinction I see is that there were nearly no black folk anywhere so brainwashed by Uncle-Tom-ism and the bible as to claim they were voluntarily being treated as second class citizens (or second-class members of the umma, as some Muslim women are apparently wont to do).

        That’s not to say that Trudeau should’ve gone to this mosque; he shouldn’t’ve. He should’ve found a mosque that didn’t so discriminate if he wanted to reach out to the minority Muslim community. Or, failing that, he should’ve accepted the invitation only with the express proviso that he’d be free to speak his mind on such invidious sex discrimination.

        Rare, however, is the politician with the gumption to risk insulting his or her hosts, or to chance alienating a potential voting block, especially if he or she plans someday to stand for reelection.

        • Posted September 16, 2016 at 5:51 am | Permalink

          Maybe politicians should be given a message that they cannot have the votes of every block, and must choose (in this case, between feminists and conservative Muslims). I suppose this was the way civil rights won in the USA, or who would risk alienating the white supremacists?

    • eric
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      There’s an easy way to do constructive engagement with sexists without bending to sexism: invite the leaders of that community to visit you, rather than you visiting them in a place where sexist rules are in place. That would’ve also allowed Trudeau to talk with some of the women of the community, by asking that they be included in the delegation.

      • Diki
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Something similar was tried but this time it revolved around alcohol when the French and Iranians wanted a meal together. Alcohol was not off the menu so the Iranian delegation refused the invitation to dine with Monsieur Le President. Good for the frenchies I say. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/irans-european-tour-french-officials-cancel-diplomatic-lunch-with-visiting-president-hassan-rouhani-a6838181.html

        • eric
          Posted September 14, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          If you invite and they decline to meet because your house isn’t following their rules, then that pretty much answers the question of whether the engagement was likely to be constructive or not without even the need for a meeting. 🙂

        • Scote
          Posted September 14, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink


          Something similar was tried but this time it revolved around alcohol when the French and Iranians wanted a meal together. Alcohol was not off the menu so the Iranian delegation refused the invitation to dine with Monsieur Le President. Good for the frenchies I say.”

          I remember being happy that the French refused to change their culture for that of their guests given that surely the Iranians would not return the favor in kind and add wine to a dinner in Iran to cater to the tastes of French guests.

          However, I do wonder about whether I’m being consistent. For instance, I do think that it would be rude to, say, invite Jews or Muslims to an entirely pork-based state dinner. Or, perhaps, even to a dinner where everybody but them will be served pork.

          As to the main topic, though, I do think that Trudeau was wrong to allow women to be forced to go thorough the side entrance. If, for some reason I can’t fathom, he had to attend the mosque for a speech, Trudeau should have gone through that same side entrance out of solidarity.

          • Posted September 16, 2016 at 5:55 am | Permalink

            I agree. Including the point about the Iranian guests. Personally, I wouldn’t invite Muslims to a dinner including alcohol, be it private or official. I think the West has plenty of other battlefields to stand its ground against Islamist regimes.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        Problem there for a politician is that having the mountain come to Muhammed (so to speak) doesn’t provide the same rich photo ops or allow the officeholder to press the flesh of the rank-and-file faithful. It’s the same reason politicians are always photographed eating at ethnic restaurants while campaigning, but rarely call in to have such take-out food delivered.

    • ChrisB
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I have to disagree, Steve. It would be like hosting a controversial speaker if there was going to be an open exchange of ideas. But they didn’t even mention gender segregation. Furthermore, they complied with the imam’s retrograde ideas by having the women in their own party enter by a side door with their heads covered. That’s capitulating to the imam, not constructively engaging him.

    • peepuk
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      You think Trudeau might have a cunning plan to let the Muslims think he is one of them but secretly he tries to undermine these old Islamic habits?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      It’s not like hosting a controversial speaker because there’s no debate. He is tacitly supporting the situation. There are mosques where women (and LGBT people) are treated equally, and those are the ones he should be supporting. They are controversial within Islam and need all the support they can get.

    • somer
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      As Enya says the reason for the segregation is that men are taught that women are defined by their awrah – sinful sexuality which tempts men – and if women were amongst the congregation the males may not be able to control their lust. It both dehumanises women and excuses men as the supposed victims of temptresses behaving unsubmissively

      Apparently this happens in two thirds of the mosques in Canada. If Trudeau cared about the hypocrisy he would only visit mosques that are not segregated

    • Steve Gerrard
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 3:08 am | Permalink

      I’m a bit late getting back to this.

      I do think there is a difference between this and say speaking to a racially segregated audience, and that difference is that this is a religious practice, apparently widely practiced in Canada by members of this religion.

      I can’t imagine a political leader on a public relations visit to a religious group would speak out against one of their particular beliefs or practices in the manner some have suggested.

      It is really the problem of religion, and the special status it gets, and the white-glove treatment it so often receives. Politicians still need to “make nice” with religious groups, whatever their personal views might be.

      Trudeau was just doing his job, which does not include slamming Islam, at least not on this occasion.

  4. Mark Reaume
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Asra Nomani was also criticizing this, via an interview in the national post:

    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/feminist-pm-defends-attendance-at-gender-segregated-event

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Good on her.

  5. nwalsh
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    He takes a fine selfie though.

    • Somer
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      Im being snide but I’d rather he fronted a boy band!

  6. Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Is that Tom Cruise!? 😉

  7. Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    So why is it that other women have to stand on the balcony, but the three visiting MPs were allowed on the floor? Allah exercises fine levels of discretion. Shows the whole thing for the nonsense it is. The three should have called the Imam’s bluff: balcony or nothing: which is it to be. Missed opportunity.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      That’s the part that bothers me the most.

      • eric
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Its a huge concession! Enormous! Just typical of infidels – these good Muslims bent over backwards to treat these infidel women practically half as good as men (instead of the evil things that they are), and is the infidel delegation grateful? Do they acknowledge the sacrifice these good Muslim men made? No! They just demand more, more, more.

        No wonder constructive engagement is impossible – you non-Muslims refuse to compromise!

        [/snark]

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          Yes – uppity western women!

  8. Jonathan Dore
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it would be appropriate for the PM to publicly denounce the practice once he was there, but he could certainly have set things up differently from the start: when the visit was being organized, he could have insisted that the congregation not be gender segregated when he addressed them. I suspect the imam would have agreed rather than pass up the photo-op, but even if he didn’t, Trudeau could have offered to meet the congregation outside the mosque, again unsegregated. If they refused even that, he could simply have said “Thanks, but no thanks”.

  9. Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    sub

  10. MP
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    That’s the problem with Canadian Liberals – don’t have the guts to criticise the “minorities” lest they lose the vote to NDP. So all societal ills are acceptable under the guise of multiculturalism.

    Ontario’s Premier – a lesbian with a partner and kids – wore a “dupatta” while visiting a mosque last year and had no problems going without her spouse and standing in a separate women’s section.

    At least Canadian conservatives try to be honest – by showing their bias.

    • Cameron
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Sad but true. The Liberal Party (not to be confused with American “liberals”) are the ultimate panderers. That’s why they have been in power for most of Canada’s history. I may have to vote “Turd Sandwhich” for the next election.

  11. Geoffrey Howe
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Not surprising really. Both he and the Mosque agree that whats in someones pants is very important when making decisions about whom to let in.

    They just disagree on what to do with this vital genital information.

  12. Posted September 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    As there are only 4 mosques in the entire country that aren’t gender segregated, I have a hard time jumping down Trudeau’s throat about his visit from a feminist perspective. And he did acknowledge the women while he was there

    • Cate Plys
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      But why could he not pick an unsegregated mosque? Even if there was only a single unsegregated mosque, Trudeau had the ability to visit a mosque without visiting one that practices gender apartheid. Normally, admittedly, I do hate these kind of SJW terms, but I also believe the segregation of women is the equivalent of apartheid and needs to be called what it is. Otherwise, we’re agreeing to an Orwellian universe. As for Trudeau’s mention of the women in the balcony: It’s worse, to me, that he so casually refers to the fact that the women are kept segregated in a separate space with no recognition that they are being discriminated against. Again, were these people of any other group, we–and Trudeau–would be horrified.I can only picture the courtroom scene from To Kill A Mockingbird when I imagine it.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Yes!

    • Scote
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      “As there are only 4 mosques in the entire country that aren’t gender segregated, I have a hard time jumping down Trudeau’s throat about his visit from a feminist perspective. And he did acknowledge the women while he was there “

      He “acknowledged” them as if it was ok to segregate them and as if segregation counts as “diversity”.

      If there are, in fact, 4 unsegregated mosques in Canada then that’s 4 mosques he should visit to endorse actual diversity over segregation.

  13. Filippo
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  14. Adrian Calderon
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Justin Trudeau is not your friend:

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/09/justin-trudeau-unions-environment-arms-saudi-arabia/

    • Posted September 15, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed – the arms dealing and a few other things are very much as they were under the Conservatives (and the Liberals in the Martin/Chretien years, of course).

  15. Mike
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    If the three female MPs accompanying Trudeau had to enter by a side door , then he should have immediately got back into his car and left with the women. Not doing so is pandering to and appearing to give approval to Islams denigration of Women.


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