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Headscarf Hoopla

Quebec controversy part of worldwide debate.

Angus Reid 28 Feb 2007TheTyee.ca

This Tyee series shares with you the research conducted by the Angus Reid Global Monitor, the Vancouver-based leaders in public opinion analysis. TrendWatch columns offer quick, concise context for developing stories in BC and beyond.

A dispute over religious paraphernalia spilled from the soccer field to the political arena in Quebec this week, when a referee sent off an 11-year-old player for refusing to remove her headscarf. The incident became one more talking point in a Quebec election where the role of immigrants and minorities has emerged as a major issue.

Across the ocean, though, debates over similar issues have raged for years. The Netherlands, in particular, has struggled to cope with the societal impacts of immigration. Most recently, a proposal that would see Dutch dual citizens banned from serving in cabinet has the country split nearly 50/50. And another proposal, to ban Islamic veils, has the entire continent divided.

The Dutch, however, are not alone. Debates over immigration extend to the Southern hemisphere, where 86 per cent of Australians want an English test for aspiring citizens, and into Russia where a full third of respondents to a recent poll feel immigrants are a major source of their national woes.

That's a sentiment that many Hispanics would probably say also exists in the United States. Fifty-eight per cent of American Latinos believe discrimination is a major problem in their country. That said, 65 per cent of all U.S. citizens support allowing illegal immigrants to apply for citizenship under certain conditions and 63 per cent feel punishing employers, not migrants, is the best way to crack down on illegal immigration.  [Tyee]

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