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On Reasonable Accommodation Essay

2974 words - 12 pages

On Reasonable Accommodation

Our modern society has long been governed by classic liberal notions advocated by thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and John Locke, Emmanuel Kant. A traditional conception of equality is generally prioritized in their work, outlining a highly formal approach premised on uniform treatment, colour-blindness and an emphasis on the Rule of Law. However, in the contemporary context of today, such an ideological hope tends to play the role of the ignorant fool, who disregards the complexity of our society. We are in need of a system that opens its eyes, stops hiding behind a “veil of ignorance” (Sandel, 1998:24) and adopts a more flexible approach. ...view middle of the document...

According to Bouachard and Taylor, it is a creative and informal approach with the aim to dejudicialize and decentralize solutions (Bouchard and Taylor, 2008:10). It pays closer attention to the differences and variations of individuals and take's into account that they are indeed a situated subject, and not an abstract, nameless, faceless and bodiless one(Michael J. Sandel, 1998:21). It is essentially, a harmonization practice that has a greater respect and awareness for diversity and combats indirect discrimination caused by strict application of a norm which might infringe on a citizen's right to equality (Bouchard and Taylor, 2008:24). It is thus a form of arrangement, adjustment or relaxation of a rule or law to ensure equality. The rule of equality sometimes demands differential treatment...a treatment can be differential without being preferential (Bouchard & Taylor, 2008:23+25). it is a modulated, flexible conception that is more inclusive because it is more attentive to the diversity of situations and individuals (Bouchard & Taylor, 2008:26).


Social Norms and Ideologies
Reasonable accommodation is the only avenue for minority groups to have their rights recognized seeing as a number of apparently neutral or universal norms in actual fact reproduce worldviews, social norms, and traditional ideologies of a majority culture or population (Bouchard & Taylor, 2008:25). The 'white' class in Canada, not only in the Quebec, has made consistent and determined efforts to maintain their own dominant identity. Bouchard and Taylor identify via the surveys, letters, comments appearing in the media, clearly that the key signs of dissatisfaction in terms of accommodations came from the Quebecers of French-Canadian origins. 71.1% of Quebecers whose mother tongue is French found our society even overly tolerant of accommodation (Bouchard & Taylor, 2008:21).

In chapter 7 of “Making Space for Mosques”, Engin F. Isin and Myer Siemiatycki explore the struggles experienced by a growing Islamic population in Toronto to exercise their religious freedoms. This was the most controversial dispute in the GTA to date, over a small El-Noor Mosque which was purchased in 1986 in a modest residential neighbourhood. It's renovation plans were to first, enlarge the worship space and second, redesign the second story to reflect the traditional mosque appearance. The plan was initially approved by the City of York's Committee of Adjustment but was then faced with a stubborn and ruthless fight against two-hundred and fifty-two residents who signed a petition and raised $16,000 to finance the appeal against the mosque. The most prominent complaints was that the parking space 'belonged' to the residential neighbours and the property value would decrease if only Muslims move in (Isin and Siemiatycki, 2004:204-205). Obviously, the predominantly christian residents of the neighbourhood did not want a Muslim presence in their neighbourhood due to...

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