Islamophobia and Motion 103

The less deserving a religious icon’s reputation for propriety, the louder will be the call to silence his critics.

Bernard Payeur

Conservatives argue motion to condemn Islamophobia impacts freedom of speech

Globe and Mail, February 15, 2016.

My Comment:

As we accept more and more refugees and immigrants whose values and beliefs are often at odds with our own, which one will change the other for the better, and who is to define what the better is. Today, to favour one over the other, even if you are Muslim, is to invite accusations of being an Islamophobe or of spreading Islamophobia.

If there is a fear of Islam it is not of the person, but of its sacred texts, the Koran in particular. If a discussion of Islamophobia leads to a discussion of the Koran it will be time well spent.

For years I have argued on my website for such a discussion. The world desperately needs an honest discussion about Islam, starting with an unfettered dialogue on the Koran, if we are to allay the fear of the other and foster a trust in the other that is sadly lacking and a reason to fear that the worst is yet to come.

The Globe and Mail's Response:

This account has been disabled indefinitely.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in its report Taking Action Against Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination Including Islamophobia which it released on February 1, 2018 would have the government (recommendation 30) proclaim a National Day of Remembrance (for the mosque murders) and Action Against Islamophobia, a term whose definition it could not agree upon nor provide any empirical evidence of an entrenched phobia to substantiate the claim made in Motion 103.

You have to wonder why the Committee would insist on an annual commemoration to fight something they cannot define nor provide concrete proof that whatever problem it represents is widespread.

Every year believers around the world are powerfully reminded through centuries-old celebrations and rituals where the Koran is omnipresent why they hate e.g. Ramadan, the Hajj.

Trudeau has done right by all concerned in refraining, for now, from declaring January 29 a National Day of Remembrance (Letter to the Prime Minister About a Day). It would only have reinforced an irrational fear of Christians i.e. Christianophobia; reminding those who swear by the Book of admonitions to be wary of those whose scriptures tell them to love unconditionally and that if they heed Allah's warnings the unbelievers will eventually be undone.

20:2-3 We have not revealed the Qur’an to you [Muhammad] so as to make you unhappy. But only as a reminder to him who fears.

36:69-70 We did not teach him (the Prophet) poetry, nor did it become him. It is only a Reminder and a Manifest Qur’an; So as to warn those who are alive and the word may be fulfilled against the unbelievers.

Recommendation 30 has the potential to be the most divisive, but the most worrisome has to be recommendation 25.

For reasons unknown my name is not included in the list of individuals who made submissions to the Committee. I did receive an email from the clerk of the committee confirming that they had received it.

Dear Mr. Payeur:

Thank you for your written submission to the committee, which we received Monday, May 29. I would like to you up (sic) on your kind offer of a digital version. It will make translation much easier.

Best regards,

Andrew A.B. Chaplin Procedural Clerk | greffier à la procédure

And yes, I followed up with a digital version. Following is the submission the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage dared not officially acknowledge.

Canada as welcomed so many immigrants and refugees that foreign-born citizens now make up 20% of the population. No other Western nation even comes close.

Yet, on Thursday March 23, 2017, at 4:01 pm, Parliament passed a resolution which, in effect, says that Canadians did this in spite of their despicable selves, their generosity and compassion masking a people filled with hatred for those they helped.

Motion 103: That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination …

For: 201 Against: 91

Motion 103 is the initiative of a Member of Parliament who greatly benefited from Canadians' self-sacrifice who now accuses her benefactors of abetting a culture of racism, of religious discrimination (against Muslims is assumed), of Islamophobia i.e. fearing the hundreds of thousands of believers they rescued from dire economic straits and life-threatening situations.

103's Islamophobia accusation, in particular, could be considered a veiled attempt (no pun intended) to legitimize an implicit and sometimes explicit restriction enforced through threats of bodily harm, even death, against expressing a distressing opinion about Islam, its scriptures or its Prophet. The motion is a not unfamiliar attack on freedom of speech and expression in the name of a hypersensitive religion.

It is now up to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to make recommendations to the House of Commons for changes to our laws, if necessary, which could, in effect, make expressing a fear of Islam a crime and providing the Faith and its Prophet protection from criticism not unlike that which they enjoy under the Sharia's blasphemy laws.

A worrisome sign, every party in Parliament now incorrectly refers to fear of a religion as racism, and who does not like laws which combat racism, even when they don't!

Words Matter, No Kidding!

"Words matter' said the Minister of Heritage. She followed up this truism with a promise to seek ways of restricting words, starting with those expressed on social media in opposition to her government's support of a motion, if carried to its logical extreme, would make expressing a fear of Islam a crime.

While Joly called the reaction to her support of the motion “completely unacceptable,” the minister said she decided to ignore the comments directed at her, and instead would try to prevent more messages from being posted, and work with social media companies to see what actions could be taken to curb abusive language online.

National Post, February 18

The Honourable Mélanie Joly would further curtail our right, our obligation in a democracy to speak our mind to protect the sensibilities of easily offended legislators. If the Minister of Heritage is serious about saving us from words, perhaps she could start with a concentrated overabundance of words meant to terrify.

If You Do Not Fear Islam, You Do Not Know Islam!

In a short, archaic often brutal book in which a belligerent deity demands that non-believers be subdued by hook, by crook or by death, Allah, on at least a dozen separate occasions, bellows "fear Me", if you know what is good for you.

A fear of Islam is a legitimate fear. Fear is what most non-believers who get close and personal with Islam's core religious text will experience. It is quite normal, for fear is the very emotion that the author wants you to feel as He describes, in great details, the terrible things He will do to you if you don't take Him seriously.

4:56 Those who have disbelieved Our Signs, We shall surely cast them into the Fire; every time their skins are burnt, We will replace them by other skins, so that they might taste the punishment. Allah indeed is Mighty and Wise!

Horror filled passages of unbridled sadism like those which permeate the Koran are particularly effective in the indoctrination of children who will grow up with terrifying pitiless images forever etched in their minds. Lest they forget, as young people and adults, they will be reminded through their daily devotions, which mostly consist of literally shouting Allah's revelations in a crowd, that this god does not fool around.

The fear is also meant to encourage believing adults and young people into becoming activists in Allah's' Cause and increase their chances of avoiding the promised pain by helping Him make believers of unbelievers by whatever means at their disposal, including killing them if they fail to respond to their entreaties to submit to the Will of Allah.

As an added bonus, murderers of obstinate unbelievers are legally entitled to abscond with the property of the men they kill which includes their wives, which they are encouraged to rape, and their daughters. Sons who are not considered old enough to be killed like their fathers if they show a growth of the telltale hairs may also be taken as booty.

Those who would slander their benefactors after Canada welcomed and sheltered believers fleeing god-inspired violence in their homeland in their tens of thousands would like you to think that a fear of Islam is an unfounded fear. Not unlike the MP who introduced Motion 103 in Parliament condemning Islamophobia and racism in the same breath, they seek to mask a rational unease with one which is not: racism. Express a fear of Islam and you risk an end-of-discussion accusation of racism, as if Islam was a race not a religion.

Unless we come to grips with the fact that it is not people, believers and non-unbelievers who are the source of the turmoil which threatens to engulf us all, but a dissonant text from the Dark Ages, there is no hope.

Peace in Our Time, or Else!

A fear of Islam usually manifests itself in two ways:

1) a visceral fear based on its glorification of violence directed at the reviled unbelievers in its core religious text;

2) a fear not unlike that expressed by sociologist Mathieu Bock-Côté of "becoming strangers at home".

Legislation seeking to dampen a fear with its origin in a book will have the opposite effect, nurturing a suspicion in the minds of those who have not read the Koran that those who have are correct in raising the alarm. Only an honest dialogue as proposed in our mission statement will dampen this fear.

The second fear is a result of government policy and only government can put an end to it.

The type of people who demonstrably expressed their fear at a meeting of the Peel school board will not go down without a fight even with the odds stacked against them with activists who also understand what is at stake in a position to make changes to our laws which would silence their opponents (the ultimate intent of Motion 103) with the unwitting assistance of those who should know better e.g. MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers.

A month before their counterpart in Ottawa, with the kneejerk support of the NDP for such resolutions, passed Motion 103, the Liberals at Queen's Park voted in favour of Des Rosiers' copycat Motion 37 condemning a fear of Islam.

Seal the breaches between Church and State that has allowed a militant religion to invade the secular space and promise to be more vigilant in the future and that fear will simply dissipate. Try to repress it, or simply continue spouting platitudes about unreciprocated tolerance and avoiding value judgements when values is what this is all about, while allowing the invaders to claim more and more territory in the name of peace in our time or else, and the "or else" will be inevitable.

The Hatred That Isn't

Anti-Muslim hatred has no place in my Canada

Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail, Apr. 03, 2017

Canadians don't hate Muslims. As for me, a Muslim who will not be stereotyped and to whom I tell my troubles to today, and a woman who listened to me then, know I love them.

This is not about people; but beguiling scriptures which instill a yearning to kill and be killed, demonize unbelievers calling for their elimination or enslavement, demean women demanding they be disciplined in the manner you get an animal to whom they are compared to behave ... and everywhere a promise of an eternity of blissful debauchery for those who buy into the Message, and Hell for the rest.

To be what a self-proclaimed Dark Age spokesman for the Almighty wants us to be would redefine what it means to be us and that is scary for many and the expression of their fear is often mistaken for dislike of those who share a different point of view.

Don't Be Played!

Novelist and essayist, Chahdortt Djavann left Iran for France in 1993. In a scathing book she lambastes the intellectuals and "useful idiots" who, according to her, are being played ... How to effectively combat Islamic ideology would show how, on the issues of the veil, Islamophobia and terrorism "Islamists have mined the debates and any intellectual and political discourse."

Le Point (my translation), Nov. 26, 2016.

Canadians, by and large, are not racist, Ms. Iqra Khalid's claim to the contrary notwithstanding. Accusing non-believers of being both Islamophobes and racists is simply one of the ways that activists in Allah's Cause "have mined the debate" by equating a rational fear of Islam with an irrational fear of people with a different complexion.

Do not let them use the heinous mosque murders to entice our lawmakers to carve in Canadian law an inviolate place for the religion which claims exclusivity of the truth and would supplant all others. If you do, then you will have been played and we will all be losers, in the here-and-now if not in the Hereafter.

61:9 It is He Who sent His Messenger forth with the guidance and the religion of truth, to make it triumph over every religion, even though the idolaters may be averse.

3:85 Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.

In Defense of a Minister's Ignorance

A fear of Islam is a legitimate fear and IS NOT "a hatred of Muslims" to quote the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly; but such is the ignorance of Djavann's "useful idiots".

12:2 We have revealed it as an Arabic Qur’an, that perchance you may understand.

The Koran is a small book by holy book standards at about one tenth the words of the Bible, the King James' version. You would not guess that by the size of most print versions available for sale. Most translations of the Koran contain the complete Cairo Arabic source since any rendition of Islam's core religious text is also meant to be a teaching aid in the study of Arabic and an indoctrination tool.

Nevertheless, it is not this artificial imposing bulk which seems to be the major deterrent to non-believers curling up with this good book, but what Thomas Carlyle [1795 – 1881] described as “a confused, jumble, crude, incondite (disorderly), endless iteration" and Edward Gibbon [1737 - 1794] of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire fame "as toilsome a reading as I ever undertook; a wearisome confused jumble."

Gibbon's "confused jumble" is largely the result of a concept very much unique to Islam, that of an omniscient deity repeatedly changing his mind, and never for the better where unbelievers are concerned.

The Koran is, for the most part, the story of one man’s struggle to get his Meccan kin, the Quraysh, to abandon their smorgasbord of deities and to accept him as the one-and-only god's ultimate spokesperson with all the power that conveyed.

When his delivered message did not meet with the expected enthusiasm, his kin suspecting that it was a ploy to make himself their dictator, the god for whom he spoke toughened His attitude towards those who would not buy into what was on offer and revealed truths, immutable facts revealed to a mortal by a god, were changed or simply abrogated to reflect this hardening of the heart. This only added to the confusion of Carlyle's "incondite endless iteration" where God appears not to be able to correctly recall what He revealed earlier.

The last straw for Allah appears to have been the attempt to smother His Messenger with the stomach of a dead camel.

THAT IS IT! Convert or die, the Verse of the Sword being His last word on the matter with a modicum of mercy to be shown those who believe in a variation of His Eminence. Jews and Christians, and members of an obscure sect called the Sabians, could continue breathing and worshipping their facsimile as long as they "submissively" paid the right-to-live tax, the jizya, for "not professing the true religion."

It is this overriding pitiless exploitive message of the Koran which those who have been radicalized seek to carry out and the persistent call to martyrdom that has people who have overcome the obstacles described by Carlyle and Gibbons and attentively read the Book justifiably spooked.

The Koran does not only radicalize in one direction, transforming inherently good people into holy warriors bent on death and destruction, but also has an impact on ordinarily decent individuals who will chose to strike out fearing being overwhelmed by those who hold sacrosanct a book which sanctions their murder using the same tactics which God's spokesperson praised as being the most effective.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand."

Bukhari 52.220

Read the Book even if you risk being radicalized by it. If enough of you do so, perhaps you can force an honest discussion about the Book, the why of Boreal, before Ms. Joly's government makes it’s a crime to express your thoughts about what you have read and the fear it fostered.

 Ten Letters and Twenty Books

Those Who Should Be Taken to Task

Motion 103, in a nutshell, accuses those whose scriptures tell them to love unconditionally of hating those whose scriptures tell them to avoid those who love without reservation lest they be corrupted.

3:118 O believers, do not take as close friends other than your own people (other than your co-religionists); they will spare no effort to corrupt you and wish to see you suffer. Hatred has already been manifest in what they utter, but what their hearts conceal is greater still. We have made clear Our Signs to you if only you understand.

A Christian who hangs a cross around his or her neck when appearing in public is advertising that he or she believes in the Gospels. A Jew who wears the yarmulke or even more extravagant headgear when appearing in public is advertising his belief in the Torah. A Muslim who wears a scarf or more expansive head covering, other than as a fashion statement when appearing in public, is advertising that she believes in the Koran.

The words of the Gospel being mostly about loving your neighbour, even your enemy as you love yourself are as benign as holy words can be. The words of the Torah are worrisome only for those who live in the so-called Promise Land, for that holy text favours their extermination (Deuteronomy) so that God's alleged "chosen people" have the place all to themselves. The words in the Koran are in a different category altogether in their advocacy of violence and abject sadism.

Richard Wright, author of The Evolution of God, on the exhortation to violence and celebration of cruelty in the Koran compared to the Bible:

The Koran is a shorter book than the Bible (by a factor of ten); pound for pound, it no doubt features more exhortations to violence. So if you ask which book is “worse” in terms of belligerence, you might say that qualitatively the Hebrew Bible (and hence the Christian Bible) takes the trophy—thanks to that unrivalled embrace of genocide in Deuteronomy—but that quantitatively the winner is the Koran, at least in terms of the frequency of belligerent passages, if not in absolute numbers.

And if, on top of the verses espousing violence in the terrestrial world, you add verses gleefully envisioning the suffering of infidels in the afterlife, the Koran wins the quantitative competition more decisively.

Those who fear the impact of Allah's Words should not have to justify their fear, the cause is self-evident. Those who wear clothing advertising their belief in those Words and who maligned with impunity those who are frightened by them as fear mongers i.e. Islamophobes should be the ones who are taken to task. 

Who Will Save US from Ourselves This Time

Patricia Crone in Slaves on Horses writes that Islamic scriptures have "an extraordinary capacity to resist internal criticism, a feature unparalleled in either the Skandhara [the life of the Buddha] or the Gospels, but characteristic of the entire Islamic tradition, and most pronounced in the Koran: one can take the picture presented or one can leave it, but one cannot work with it."

She is wrong. You can work with it if you are brave enough. There is no one else who can. As a proud and popular Muslim-Canadian explained to me years ago when I first started writing about the Koran, it was up to non-Muslims to makes certain things known if we are to save our country from the fundamentalists. While there is a risk for a non-Muslim to do what I have advocated here, "for a Muslim," he said, "it is a death sentence."

As a proud and popular Muslim-Canadian explained to me years ago when I first started writing about the Koran, it was up to non-Muslims to makes certain things known if we are to save our country from the fundamentalists. While there is a risk for a non-Muslim to do what I have advocated here, "for a Muslim," he said, "it is a death sentence."

 The Muslims Who Saved Us From Ourselves

You Are the Arrogant One!

38:2 But the unbelievers are steeped in arrogance and strife.

Arrogance does not become a believer, it becomes you. What you may mistake for arrogance in a believer is contempt; contempt for your condescending tolerance which is insulting for those who hold the truth to be self-evident.

Be accommodating, you say to yourself, later they will come around, it's only natural.

That is not what is happening. Arrogance has that effect on people, it turns them off. Respect that comes from fighting for what you believe in, as activists in Allah's Cause are doing, is what makes converts to your way of thinking.

Our arrogance, whose other manifestation is our can't-be-bothered attitude towards learning what the other is all about, will be our undoing, as arrogance was mine in another context, but I digress.

An argument could be made that Ms. Khalid's unwillingness to compromise on the wording of her motion is a sign of arrogance, not contempt, if you ignore that her accusation assumes that, like in the scriptures which are her guide, the truth of what she advances is, for her, self-evident.

Our Pakistan-born daughter of immigrants could serve, as a young woman, as the Poster Child to our failure to bring the kids around to our way of thinking, and children, to use an abused cliché, are the future.

Bernard Payeur

Submission to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Motion 103 (PDF)

Islamophobia Extended Edition

The "extended" edition, available in print at cost, contains additional information in the form of eight sub-appendices which may be of interest to the Committee and to you should I be invited and agree to appear before it.

Sub-appendix Dead Poets and Songstresses in Chamberlain's Legacy and sub-appendices Zaynab, Safiyyah, Mariya and Aisha join Rayhanah in Massacre of the Banu Qurayzah. Five Weddings and Two Massacres provide further evidence to support an argument that they should not recommend making it a crime to write and talk in less than flattering terms about a man falsely revered, in my opinion, as the embodiment of the perfect human being whose every action is to be emulated as closely as possible.

As to the addition of sub-appendix Muhammad Abdullah on Democracy, Liberty and Western Art as Blasphemies in A Strange Devout New World, perhaps “the play’s the thing” to make them understand what is at stake.

Sub-appendix Daggers are In, Flutes are Out! was added to God in the Canadian Charter of Rights to illustrate a real-world consequence — the education of our children in this instance — of putting scriptures first.

In 2005, when the McGuinty government was set to introduce Sharia tribunals, it was moderate Muslims, who patiently explained the consequences of such a rash decision to a largely clueless electorate, who were the difference. They saved us from ourselves. Sub-appendix Wars-Never-Ending is about returning the favour as is much of my submission to the Committee.

Anticipating Slander

To counter the inevitable accusations of racism I have included in my submission to the Heritage Committee the story of my friendship with a black working girl from West Africa.

I could also have reminisced about Audrey, but she had nothing to do with my future desire to get close and personal with a holy book; the same for my Indian damsel in distress. Then there are my recollections about how Sohrab and I became friends and my time with Bob and Marina.

I will admit to not including the story about how a priest saved my life which may have betrayed an agnostic’s bias towards the teachings of one man in a submission which is very much about religion and how we must remain on guard against the worst it has to offer.

Bernard Payeur