Today's letters: Overriding the laws and customs of our country (National Post)

Re: Veiled Swearing-In ‘Not How We Do Things:’ PM, Feb. 13.
How badly does Zunera Ishaq want Canadian citizenship? Not badly enough, it seems, to show the slightest flexibility in the practice of her religious beliefs, even for the few minutes it takes to attend the ceremony and swear the oath of allegiance.
That’s the thing about people with such rigid adherence to their beliefs and practices. Sooner or later they run into conflict with the broader standards and norms of the society which they have opted to join (and been welcomed), but without the grace to respect or accommodate the most trivial of these standards.
Their personal beliefs and practices override everything, no matter what’s at stake, even procedures that are completely non-cultural and of broad social relevance. Small wonder there is so much social conflict throughout the world, much of it based on the inflexible mindsets and practices of people who see no other way but their own.Bill Williams, Richmond, Ont.
Challenging the idea of face-to-face communication, a standard of English criminal law, shows a complete misunderstanding of Canadian values. Surely Zunera Ishaq would be more comfortable immigrating to Saudi Arabia, which treats women exactly as she wishes to be treated.Frank Hilliard, Penticton, B.C.
Is it so hard to establish a few principles? We have freedom of religion in Canada. That means the freedom to worship according to one’s faith. But one’s faith is a strictly private matter.
Canada is a secular country in which a necessary separation of state and church prevails. The state is not obliged to provide the means of observing one’s faith. On the other hand, citizenship is a privilege bestowed by the state on an individual who meets certain criteria. If there is a conflict between the two, the state must prevail.
For an individual to insist the articles of his or her faith and private beliefs override the laws and customs of the state is preposterous, and an arrogant presumption. It is time our judges learned this lesson.Jack E.G. Dixon, Victoria.
Ski masks and niqabs are not welcome in our banks, why should they be allowed while swearing our oath of allegiance? Our federal judges have failed their judicial responsibility and are out of touch with Canadian values. Those responsible should step down and set aside their fat pensions.
Wrong decisions are costly to maintaining order, especially when they contradict laws already enacted. Zunera Ishaq obviously does not deserve Canadian citizenship. We should not condone anything that looks like Shariah law.Madeleine Wannop Ross Salter, Stoney Creek, Ont.
When I am a guest in someone’s home, I respect their customs and preferences.
When I visited the Vatican and other Roman Catholic houses of worship throughout Europe, I wore modest clothing out of respect for Catholic sensibilities and the institution. When I visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, I dressed conservatively and covered my head so as not to offend the beliefs of orthodox Jews. When I visited the Islamic Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, I washed my feet and removed my shoes in deference to Muslim rules.
The fact I don’t share their religions does not absolve me of the obligation to respect them – as long as I am shown the same consideration.
That Zunera Ishaq does not respect the fundamental beliefs of Canadians – that we be able to identify the person we are allowing into our home – is grounds to tell her and her ilk to get out of our house. Her profound lack of respect for our beliefs does not belong here. She should be sent back to whence she came on the next available flight.Robin Siegerman, Toronto.
Equal opportunities
Re: ‘Canadian Judges Have Been Drinking The Multicultural Kool-Aid,’ letter to the editor, Feb. 13.
The letter writers are spot on in making clear niqabs and burkas are not religious garments, but to the contrary have everything to do with the subjugation of women as per Shariah dictates. Prime Minister Stephen Harper places the issue in a sobering light in stating it is offensive someone would not only wish – but would fight for the right – to hide their identity at the moment of committing to the Canadian family.
It would be just as absurd if Muslim men, who are not compelled by Shariah to cover their faces, or any new Canadian for that matter, wished to show their love for their new home by demanding to be sworn in while wearing an equally non-essential face-covering, such as a hockey goalie mask. Sadly, there would be no shortage of mercenary immigration lawyers lining up to argue such cases.Dr. Joel L. Goldman, Toronto.
Harsh realities
Re: In Defence Of Marriage, letter to the editor, Feb. 13.
Writer Monica Gupta has obviously not experienced a “no fault” divorce in Ontario and faced the “business” side of a failed marriage. To claim that marriage symbolizes “love and commitment” is a beautiful, romantic ideal – until it is no longer true for a married couple, especially when children are involved.
The “till death do us part” oath does not line up with reality for a large number of people who marry and is a naive notion for anyone who buys this Kool-Aid version of marriage. Once in the hands of divorce lawyers, the truly ugly side of the “marriage business transaction” becomes very real indeed, as anyone who has experienced it will attest.
The growing popularity of pre-nuptial contracts is the understandable result of engaged couples wishing to avoid falling down the legal trap doors that have accompanied marriage in our modern, over-legislated world. This is the true loss for those who still hold the idea of marriage as sacred and beautiful.Gene Balfour, Thornhill, Ont.
Dumb and dumber
Re: 40% Doubt Science On Vaccines, Poll Finds, Feb. 13.
When your education system caters to the lowest common denominator, the possibility of logical thinking is replaced by the senseless musings of Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc. Until rigour is re-introduced into all levels of education, we can expect more of this nonsense.Art Schwartz, Taylors, S.C.
Mourning Sun News
Re: Sun Sets On Troubled Sun News Network, Feb. 13.
What a shame, what a loss. The Sun News team presented scores of vital, frequently overlooked stories that cried out to be picked up and promulgated by the mainstream media.
On the final airing Thursday of The Source, for example, Ezra Levant broadcast several in-mosque videos showing Canadian imams openly preaching hatred, violence, and even murder of infidels. See if you’re skeptical.
A pox on the Canadian Radio-television & Telcommunications Commission for denying Sun News its application for mandatory-carriage status. It doubtless would have made the difference for its viability. Canada will be sorrowfully less well-served with the demise of this much-needed outlet.Wayne Eyre, Saskatoon, Sask.
National Post