In February, the New York Times ran a feature highlighting successful efforts to integrate Muslim immigrants into Canadian society. The thinly-disguised editorial agenda of the piece was to rebuke those Americans who were then raising questions about calls from liberals for the acceptance of large numbers of Syrian refugees despite the government’s stated inability to adequately investigate how many were members of ISIS, as some who have moved to Europe have proved to be. But leaving aside the politics, the piece was a bright and cheery rhapsody to the virtues of welcoming and accommodating a population whose customs might differ from some of their neighbors in Toronto. Among the most memorable images from the piece was its paean to a decision by the municipal pool in the Regent Park neighborhood to set up hours where it would be open only to women, which gave Muslims a chance to enjoy the facility without violating their concerns about modesty.
But flash forward a few months to a different venue closer to home, and it turns out that the Times doesn’t think that accommodating the needs of religious believers with their own ideas about men and women bathing together is such a hot idea.