We have another conflict that has arisen between non-discrimination laws and religious practices. In Canada, a woman has challenged the decision of a Halifax aikido school to protect a Muslim man from having contact with females and relieving him of the need to bow in adherence with the traditions of the martial art. Just last week, we discussed another story out of Canada where a university ordered such an accommodation for a Muslim man who did not want to have contact with female students despite the requirements of the curriculum. This decision was reportedly supported by Nova Scotia human rights commission officials. [Photo does not show any of those involved in this story]
Sonja Power, 17, objected to the decision of the of Halifax’s East Coast Yoshinkan Aikido to bar contacts with the man. Notably, the school meets at the Community Center, which is presumably government property. That has been a key issue in controversies in the United States where discriminatory groups like the Boy Scouts have been banned from public property.
Power says that the sensei (teacher) at the school “put all the women on one side and then offer a side for the Muslim man so there wouldn’t be any problems.” The man also refused to shake the hands of women, which is part of the tradition after class. He would also refuse to bow — telling the sensei that he only bowed to Allah.
Islamic scholars have challenged the view of the man, noting that the Koran does not bar contact with women and that, unless the sensei was claiming to be God, there is no reason why a Muslim cannot engage in the act of respect. Notably, such scholars also questioned the religious basis for the demands of the university student in the earlier story out of Canada. Yet both the martial arts school and the university imposed segregation rules in deference to religion.
Power says that the man also passed out Islamic literature speaking of the need to beat wives for serious “misconduct” and how woman who show their bodies simply want “attention and possibly much more.”
Notably, the sensei says that his decision was supported by both the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and the Halifax Recreation Administration. He says that Canadian officials told him that segregating the class was.“prudent, lawful and correct.”
Source: National Post