Amaar thinks that Layla has a crush on him, Baber thinks Amaar and Rayyan are in love. Yassir wins tickets to a concert that both Fred and McGee desperately want to go to so he lets them do all sorts of things for him. Fatima decides to become a citizen of Canada and starts studying for the test with Sarah, which is a bad choice, but despite this she suceeds in the end.
Fatima: You should stop complaining and be more grateful.
Fred: The entire point of being Canadian is complaining about the government! That’s what made this country great!
Fatima: You have no idea how lucky you are! If I were a citizen of this country…
Fred: Hold the phones sister, you’re not a citizen?
Fred: Start paying taxes, then we’ll talk.
Fatima: But I do pay taxes.
Fred: Really? Seems like a ripp-off.
In this episode Fatima becomes a Canadian citizen, but we do not learn a lot about the process or her history (how long has she been in Canada, why did she come?). What is required to become a citizen of a country? You need to live in the country for a while, learn the language, know about the culture, history and political system of the country. You need to adopt the values of the country and identify yourself with that country. The first part (residency, language, facts) can be checked with tests. But how do you check values or whether someone identifies with the country? What does that really mean?
The issue of "values" usually comes up when practices of immigrants or minority groups appear foreign, like wearing a headscarf, circumcision or not keeping the same holidays. At the moment the discussion mostly focusses on Muslims, but Jews have been the subject of many of the same issues. Let’s take the head scarf. Many say that equality of men an women is a Western value. Some say that wearing a headscarf goes against this value, as it is supposed to be a symbol of women’s oppression. Same can be sais of orthodoxy’s refusal to ordain women rabbis or count women in the prayer quorum. But is dressing in a certain way or doing certain religious rituals a "value"? And what about Catholicism where women cannot be priests, isn’t that against Western values? Does this mean that Catholics cannot become Canadian citizens (or citizens of any other Western country)? What about if I value life and am against the death penalty, does this mean I cannot become a citizen of the USA where they have the death penalty? That is pretty ridiculous when many citizens oppose the death penalty. On the other hand, what if I’m against democracy? I do not have any answers here, but before shouting about immigrants and them accepting our values, we should first determine what our values on actually are and to which extent we, the citizens, follow them. And whether these values are connected at all to what we perceive as foreign (clothes, holidays, etc).
The issue of identification with or loyalty to the country is also a hot topic that comes up from time to time. In times of crisis or war, charges of disloyalty have been brought against those with actual dual citizenships (e.g., the US incarcerating Japanese-Americans during World War II) or with an assumed connection to a different state or other power (e.g., German catholics being accused of loyalty to the Vatican). And of course Jews have a long history of being accused of having the wrong loyalties. I cheer for Israel at international competitions – in addition to Germany (my country), Spain (where I have lived), France and Poland (where I have friends) and the Netherlands and Austria (where I have family). I think it is totally possible to feel connected or identify with different places at the same time. That I love Israel doesn’t mean that I won’t defend Germany or that am less loyal to it (if we must use this word).
This post is long enough, so I will stop here. I am sorry that is not so much a point in what I have written. It rather is a series of musings on the topic.