Best columns: International
Don’t throw Muslims off the bus
Quebec’s new ban on face coverings isn’t merely bigoted, said Marni Soupcoff, it’s also counterproductive. A law passed by the province’s legislature last week says that a person’s entire face must be shown while giving or receiving a public service, including riding public transportation. Lawmakers said it wasn’t aimed at Muslim women, but “one gets the impression it’s niqabs and burqas they have in mind.” How this ban will be enforced is unclear. Are subway attendants supposed to refuse service to veiled women? Is anyone concerned about how it will look if bus drivers boot off Muslim women, and only Muslim women? This law will surely only help Islamist extremists in their efforts to recruit followers. Jihadists, after all, are always falsely claiming that the West “is waging a concerted campaign against Islam.” Quebec now wants to turn their lie into a truth. Some proponents of the law seem to be operating out of a misguided sympathy for Muslim women, whom they believe to be oppressed and forced to wear the veil. If that’s true in some cases, then surely “taking away these women’s ability to get around on their own isn’t going to help matters.” Fortunately, the law is probably unconstitutional—and a challenge can’t come soon enough.
Lawyers who act like mafia
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Filipinos are shocked to discover “unethical conduct, inhumane attitude, and naked self-interest” among budding lawyers at a top university, said the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Members of Aegis Juris, a law fraternity at the more-than-400-year-old University of Santo Tomas in Manila, allegedly beat to death a prospective pledge, Horacio Castillo III, and that’s just the beginning of the horrors of the case. Castillo, 22, was a freshman law student when he showed up for the fraternity’s initiation ceremony last month. The next morning, his body, covered in bruises and traces of candle wax, was found wrapped in a blanket and dumped in the street.
At least 19 lawyers or law students are under investigation in his death, and police say the group conspired to cover up the crime. Investigators released text messages showing that the men agreed to keep silent and refuse to cooperate with the police, following the code of their brotherhood. They even discussed paying off Castillo’s family and bribing a guard to destroy surveillance camera footage. To read these callous messages is to become convinced that “there are many lawyers and law students who are not dedicated to the rule of law itself, but only to those benefits that accrue to a calculating practice of the law: power, privilege, personal survival.” ■