Religious tolerance and gender inequality are two topics that Canada prides itself on having. However, when such topics come into practice, are they as greatly protected as Canadian officials say they are? This is a question that seems to be usually answered in a biased manner. The answer to my question is, in the simplest terms, no. In religions, such as Orthodox Judaism and Islam, physical interaction between men and women is prohibited with the exception of interfamily contact. However, due to the structure of our current society, such interactions are inevitable. Does that mean if an opportunity to avoid the interactions without causing any harm to any party, the individual should not take it? Again, no. When considering the perspective of religious tolerance, such beliefs should not be compromised, but rather, they should be understood instead of being fought against in a war of ideological differences.
In York University, a student made a request from his professor to excuse him from a group project because the student did not believe in “intermingling between men and women.” The professor, then, forwarded the request to the dean of the faculty and the University Center for human rights in hopes that it would be denied under the pretense of “sexism”. Instead, the dean of the faculty, instructed Mr. Grayson to “accommodate” the student’s request. The professor neglected the decision, forcing the student to make further accommodations.
This event is one of many conflicts between religion and gender equality, but just tolerance for the student was heavily rejected and was not taken into consideration by professor Grayson. York University stands by its decision to excuse the student, but their decision was not accepted by any federal MPs. What these MPs need to realize, is that the request was not an act of “sexism” as claimed by conservative MP Mark Adler, but rather, one of innocent belief in regards to his religion. No sexist remark was made nor was any prejudiced intended. Canadian culture is not limited to one set of beliefs. Why are those who “challenge” the so called “societal norms” so horrifically labeled? Why should one person compromise their beliefs because the other person deems them wrong? Why should it be either gender equality or religious tolerance? Instead of using both ideologies, Canadian society uses one against the other. To claim “sexism” to such a small request is unjust. After all, this is Canada and there is no room for such implication. The situation could have simply been resolved with reasoning and understanding.