Religious Freedom vs. Equality Rights
Season 19: Episode 21
Can traditional religions co-exist with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Recently, a student at York University asked, on religious grounds, to be excused from a study session that would include women. Plus, when religions clash with something else: Downward dog? In Malaysia and Iran, instructors are dialling down the spiritual component of yoga so that it's in sync with the laws of land.
We called up two lawyers to discuss the York University situation and to a few other heated cases. Natasha Bhakt is an associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa. She specializes in the intersecting area of religious freedom and women's equality. Sukanya Pillay is the Acting Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Then, Iranian writer and broadcaster Azadeh Moaveni examines the tension that exists between yoga practitioners and the state in Iran and Malaysia. Among the contentious areas: is yoga an exercise programme or a spiritual practise? Azadeh created a two-part series on Yoga and Islam for the BBC Radio programme, Heart and Soul. You can listen to her documentaries here and here.