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The misplaced moral panic at York University
We are a group of Canadian Muslim women diverse in many ways, including in matters of religion, but united in our concern about the backlash against religious accommodation produced by recent events at York University (precipitated by an online student's request to be exempt from in-person group work with women).
We have been told that the York administration's decision to accommodate pits "political correctness against common sense" (by a columnist evidently forgetting that common sense is often neither common nor sensical), and that we must choose between protecting "parochial religious rights" and "secular human rights for everyone" (by J. Paul Grayson, the professor at the centre of the furour). We have been warned about slippery slopes apparently ending rapidly and ineluctably in Iranian-style oppression of women.
While slippery-slope arguments are excellent for fear-mongering, they often have little basis in legal reality. Religious accommodation is, by definition, an exception to the normal functioning of an institution – not a wholesale transformation of standard practice.
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