The Necessity of Quebec Bill 21

A response to the pseudo-argument
“Quebec Bill 21 does not meet any existing need.”

2021-04-26

In the current context of the proliferation of Islamist ideology, Quebec Bill 21 is necessary.

En français Ce blogue est disponible en version française : La nécessité de la Loi 21

One of the popular pseudo-arguments employed by opponents of Quebec Bill 21 is their claim that such legislation is unnecessary, that it does not meet any real need. This bogus argument can be decoded by considering it in connection with another favourite pseudo-argument of antisecularists: that Bill 21 is somehow “discriminatory” and in particular that it “discriminates” against Muslim women.

But first, we must recognize the context in which we live: the proliferation of Islamist ideology.

To grasp fully the issues at play here, we must understand the objective significance of the Islamic veil. The veil, whether it be a hijab, chador, niqab, burqa, etc., is obviously an emblem of radical Islam, that is, Islamism. It is a political uniform and a tool which Islamism uses to infiltrate our societies, a marker of the territory which Islamists seek to occupy, with the complicity of a certain political “left” sometimes referred to as the “Islamoleft,” as well as other partisans of cultural relativism. The veil is also a very strong symbol of misogyny and sexism, as well as an icon of fundamentalist religious obscurantism.

Not to recognize this obvious fact, this objective reality—to claim, on the contrary, that the veil is just a banal article of clothing—is foolish and inexcusable.

We also know that the religious meaning that promoters of the veil assign to this accoutrement is one of purity. That is to say, the veil is a purity symbol which indicates that the woman wearing it is a good Muslim who deserves paradise and, on the other hand, that the woman who does not wear one (especially a Muslim who does not wear one) is impure and deserves to end up in hell. So this is the “choice” the woman faces: heaven or hell.

This objective reality of the veil is completely independent of the mentality or intention of the woman who wears it: she may wear it by choice and be completely unaware of its political significance; or, she may wear it because she is pressured to do so by family or community; or she may be an intentional supporter of Islamism. None of this changes the fact that the veil is a banner of Islamism.

Thus, given this reality, it is obvious that Bill 21 and similar measures which prohibit the wearing of religious symbols by State employees are absolutely necessary in order to counter this Islamist campaign. And to be fair, in order not to discriminate against a particular religion, these prohibitions must apply to visible symbols of all religions.

Therefore, Quebec Bill 21 is necessary and, in addition, it is designed not to discriminate. Thus, two bogus arguments of anti-secularists are entirely debunked. As for the opponents of Bill 21 who continue to use these pretexts, they are either completely mistaken, or they are crassly dishonest.


Next blog: The “Woke” are Not the Political Left

The Swiss Face-Covering Ban is About Deterring Religious Fanaticism

Accusations of racism are dishonest and slanderous.

2021-03-14

Face-Coverings in general impede identification, communication and security. Islamic full veils are even worse, expressing extreme misogyny and religious fanaticism. The newly approved Swiss ban on face-coverings in public is a progressive step to deter such fanaticism.

Sommaire en français Les couvre-visage en général empêchent l’identification, la communication et la sécurité. Les voiles intégraux islamiques sont encore pires, exprimant une misogynie extrême et un fanatisme religieux. L’interdiction suisse nouvellement approuvée de se couvrir le visage en public est une mesure progressiste pour freiner ce fanatisme.

Recently, Swiss voters approved, by referendum, a ban on face-coverings in public, including (but not limited to) the Islamic full veil. To the surprise of no-one at all, this event was met with the boisterous whining of those who systematically oppose restrictions on religious practice, as if freedom of religion should be absolute (especially if that religion is Islam), regularly trumping the rights and freedoms of others.

The Swiss referendum result is good news, although the narrow majority by which the ban passed is disconcerting. Face-coverings cause problems for identification, communication and security. However, Islamic (or should I say Islamist) face-coverings, i.e. full veils such as the niqab and burqa, are particularly egregious and problematic. They are an expression of the most extreme misogyny of fundamentalist, radical, political Islam. They should not be tolerated.

Prevention

The argument that few women currently wear the niqab or burqa in Switzerland is irrelevant. If Switzerland passed a law against slavery, who would complain that it is unnecessary because there are currently no slaves in that country? And yes, I am saying that the Islamic full veil is on a par with slavery. Both are barbaric practices.

The face-covering ban is a preventative measure. If nothing is done, the number of veiled women will continue to increase in future years. Islamists will continue to claim territory by promoting the veil (both hijab and full veil) anywhere and everywhere, asserting that any Muslim woman who does not wear it will go to hell. The veil is a choice, you say? Sure, a choice between wearing one and going to heaven or not wearing one and going to hell. Islamists use the veil in the same way that dogs use their urine: to mark their territory.

Secular Muslims

One of the leaders of the Swiss campaign to ban face-coverings is Mohamed Hamdaoui, a secular Muslim. Apologists for fundamentalist Islam almost never talk about secular Muslims or ex-Muslims. They only talk about pious Muslims who promote the veil, presenting them as victims of persecution, but who are, in reality, religious fanatics. As for women who wear the veil in non-Muslim countries, some are religious fanatics too, but some are forced by pressure from family or community. Face-coverings, including the full Islamic veil, are banned in numerous countries of Europe and Africa, including several Muslim-majority countries.

The assertion that the ban “tells women what to wear” is dishonest. The ban, where it applies to the niqab and burqa, bans a symbol of Islamism which is arguably the most extreme-right-wing movement on the planet. The ban tells no-one “what to wear.” It bans the most atrocious symbol of Islamism in order to prevent its use for politico-religious proselytizing.

The organization Amnesty International has shown itself to be especially unprincipled and cowardly by opposing the Swiss ban, just as it has taken a cowardly position against Quebec Bill 21 (which by the way, does not ban the full veil in public, but only in civil services).

Islamist Propaganda

One particularly dishonest ploy frequently used by opponents of bans on religious symbols is the false equivalence between racial identity and religious affiliation. They claim that such bans are “racist.” This is a blatant lie. Restrictions on religious practices such as the Islamic full veil have nothing to do with race. A Muslim (or an Islamist for that matter) can be Arab, black, white, Indonesian, French, American, Apache or any other “race,” ethnic group or nationality. To conflate “race” with religion is standard Islamist propaganda.

The ban on the full veil is largely motivated by fear of Islamism, and that fear is legitimate. I repeat: it is reasonable to fear Islamism, especially in Europe (although even moreso in Muslim-majority countries). Invoking “racism” in opposition to the ban is also based on fear—fear of racism—and that fear is irrational because Islam is not a race.

Although Islamists do sometimes engage in spectacular physical violence such as terrorism, they do so only occasionally, because it is easier and much less costly to use disinformation. They do not even have to spread such disinformation themselves. They can rely on unscrupulous fools to spread it for them, fools like those who make accusations of “racism.”

It’s about religion, stupid.

It’s about religion, not race. Even if all Muslims in Switzerland were black or brown and all non-Muslims white, that does not change the fact that the issue here is fundamentalist religion and everyone knows that. The dishonest conflation of race with religion greatly confuses the issue and slanders those who support reasonable measures such as this face-covering ban. To those who oppose the ban, I suggest they try to come up with rational arguments for their position, if they have any, rather than indulging in slander.

Anyone who conflates race with religion is incompetent to deal with either. Anyone who conflates them deliberately is lying in order to promote a political agenda.

The wearing of the full veil such as the niqab and burqa is an extremely retrograde practice, an implementation of the subjugation of women. Banning full face-coverings in public is one small and reasonable step that can help to put a break on the advance of radical Islam in Europe. Banning the wearing of all religious symbols for civil servants and schoolteachers while on the job (but not everywhere in public) is also a good measure.

Balancing Conflicting Freedoms

Restrictions on religious symbols do not interfere with freedom of belief but only with freedom of religious practice, because that practice, when done in public, can and does sometimes compromise the freedom of conscience of others. Freedoms are not absolute. The challenge is to find an equilibrium between freedom of religion and freedom from religion, an equilibrium between the freedoms of some and the freedoms of others.

Suggested reading:


Next blog: The “White Supremacism” Scam

Another Notch Lower for Canada

Canada Continues to Pander to Political Islam

2019-08-21

Another small example of how Canadian institutions pander to political Islam by normalising the veil which is a symbol of Islamist misogyny.

Sommaire en français Un autre petit exemple d’une institution canadienne qui affiche sa complaisance à l’égard de l’islam politique en normalisant le voile, ce symbole de la misogynie islamiste.

I recently came across the following Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) news story on a Government of Canada website: CAF welcomes first Muslim female chaplain and chaplain candidate. The article is neither very recent nor very old—dated 2018-04-12. It got my attention because it shows, yet again, that our Canadian government and its various institutions have the nasty habit of identifying Muslim women with the Islamist veil, as if the former could not exist without the latter, which is exactly what proponents of political Islam would like us to think. Such a false identification renders more moderate Muslim women—those who do not wear the veil—effectively invisible.

The following group photo is taken from the article. There is no need to indicate which person is the Muslim female chaplain to whom the article’s title refers.

Photo from linked CAF article
Click to enlarge
Photo from linked CAF article

The article informs us that this new chaplain “has extensively studied theology and counselling, and is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Ministry program jointly offered by the University of Toronto, the Toronto School of Theology, and Emmanuel College.” We also read that her appointment to this position is part of the chaplain service’s “initiative to increase diversity and improve gender balance.”

Leaving aside the question of just what, if anything, is the value of an education in the vacuous discipline of theology—the study of a hypothetical entity both nonexistent and unknowable—the article’s reference to “gender balance” is very telling. One can assume that the intention is to foster gender equality, but the means chosen to do so borders on the hypocritical. If the CAF were truly concerned about gender equality, they would avoid promoting the highly misogynistic Islamist veil worn by the new chaplain in the photo. She would instead wear the same military uniform as everyone else, with the same head-covering, or absence thereof, as everyone else.

This is of course only one small example in a long series of such capitulations to political Islam. I have discussed similar cases in three previous blogs:

In all these cases, we have a situation where an institution has internalized one of political Islam’s favourite strategies: the rhetoric of inversion. An expression of the subservience of women, the Islamist veil, one of the worst products of patriarchy, is presented as a choice or a right, even an expression of freedom! Thus, we have the Orwellian situation where reality is overturned and a symbol of the servitude and inferiorization of women is re-branded as a positive good. This is exactly what Islamists aim for: to normalize one of their most important propaganda tools.


Next blog: There is Nothing Friendly About Hemant Mehta’s Gross Ignorance

This Does NOT Promote Child Health

2019-08-16

In this blog I criticize the decision of the editors of a paediatrics journal to use a photo of a veiled girl on the journal’s cover.

Sommaire en français Dans ce blogue je critique la décision prise par la rédaction d’une revue de pédiatrie de se servir de la photo d’une fillette voilée pour faire la couverture de cette revue.

It has come to my attention (via a tweet from Ensaf Haidar) that a recent issue (July 2019) of the academic journal Paediatrics & Child Health, Journal of the Canadian Paediatric Society, published by the Oxford University Press, featured a photograph of a young girl wearing an Islamist veil as shown in the accompanying image. (Here I use the word “Islamist” instead of “Islamic” for reasons explained in my previous blog.)

Paediatrics & Child Health, Vol. 24, #4, July 2019
Click to enlarge
Paediatrics & Child Health
Vol. 24, #4

Why would the editors of a paediatrics journal choose a photo of a veiled girl, given that the veil is a flag of an international far-right political movement? The kindest thing that can be said about this choice of cover photo is that it is airheaded fashionable nonsense. The editors have obviously fallen under the influence of the identitarian, islamophilic “left” and their centrist emulators, who are obsessed with religious minorities, especially Muslims, and therefore act as if Muslims can do no wrong, even when it is a radical fringe of fanatic Islamists who are setting the agenda, pretending (falsely) to speak for all Muslims.

Using a cover photo of veiled female of any age, as if such a phenomenon were perfectly banal and ordinary, is bad enough. After all, the Islamist agenda is to promote the veiling of females anywhere and everywhere, regardless of circumstances, with the goal of rendering the veil just that: banal and ordinary, that is to say, to normalize it, to make us forget just what a disgusting icon of women’s subjugation it is. But to use a photo of a minor, especially for a journal devoted to children’s health of all things, is inexcusable!

In my writings I have already pointed out several times that imposing the Islamist veil on a child for any extended period of time (weeks, months, years) is a form of child abuse and should be illegal. Even if the child wears the veil of her own volition, that does not change the situation: after all, we do not allow children to make their own decisions about many things, and I would suggest that wearing such a retrogressive symbol should be one of those things.

As I wrote in a previous blog discussing a similarly unacceptable photo used by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, “The consequences of wearing the veil are very serious for a young girl. There may be negative physical effects (such as Vitamin D deficiency or an impediment to the child’s normal physical activity), but the most grievous consequences are psychological and social. When the person wearing the veil is a child, the social segregation is much more serious, depriving the young girl of a normal childhood and erecting a barrier between her and other children.”

Of course I do not know the context in which the cover photo was taken. Perhaps the girl wore the veil only for the duration of a photo shoot, in which case no harm has been done to her personally. Nevertheless, the use of such a photo for a paediatrics journal remains dubious at best and arguably harmful. Indeed, it is literally unhealthy. It is an affront to children’s physical and mental health, especially the latter.

In fact, I would say that any paediatrician who accepts the long-term veiling of young girls lacks the ability to deal competently with the psychosocial development of children.


Next blog: Another Notch Lower for Canada

Summary: The Islamist Veil

2019-08-12

A summary of my analysis of the implications of the Islamist veil.

Sommaire en français Un résumé de mon analyse des implications du voile islamiste.

For future reference, I have decided to summarize here an analysis of the Islamist veil and its implications. I could call it the “Islamic veil” instead, but the word “Islamic” applies to Islam in general. However the veil is much more closely associated with the fundamentalist and radical variant of Islam known as Islamism or political Islam, and it is for that reason that I refer to it as “Islamist.” That veil is, after all, a political symbol even more than a religious one. It comes in several versions of course: hijab, chador, burkini, niqab, burqa, etc. This blog summarizes and builds on my previous blog Notes on the Islamist Veil.

Some essential points:

  • The Islamist veil, in all its forms, is an advertisement for political Islam, regardless of the mentality of the woman wearing it.
  • The Islamist veil is imposed by fanatics. It is not an article of clothing for Muslim women in general—but Islamists would like us to think that it is!
  • Most women who wear the Islamist veil, especially in Muslim-majority countries, do so because they are in some sense forced to do so, as they are under severe pressure from family, community, fundamentalists and sometimes the law. The consequences of not wearing it can be life-threatening.
  • Those women who decide to wear the Islamist veil willingly, mainly in non-Muslim countries, are implicitly expressing solidarity with political Islam, whether or not they are conscious of the implications of their decision. Such women are objectively allied with religious fanaticism.
  • The Islamist veil is a marker of segregation, keeping Muslims separate from other “inferior” people. It also sends the message that religious affiliation (for Muslims) is more important than other attributes.
  • The Islamist veil is a purity symbol, a form of slut-shaming. Wearing it means that other women who do not wear it, especially Muslim women who do not wear it, are impure, i.e. “easy.”
  • The Islamist veil is an expression of rape culture. It implies that women are responsible for the sexual excesses of heterosexual men.
  • The Islamist veil is not just an article of clothing. To treat is as such is to empower the religious fanatics who use it for proselytism and propaganda.
  • The Islamist veil is a tool to control women’s bodies.
  • Proponents of political Islam use veiled women in the same way that dogs use their urine: to mark their territory.

In summary, Islamists treat women in general with contempt and they use veiled women in particular as tools for their political purposes. Recall that Islam is arguably the most misogynistic of all major religions, and that political Islam is a fundamentalist variant which takes that misogyny to an extreme.

Finally, it must be emphasized that all of the above observations about the Islamist veil apply regardless of the mentality of the woman flaunting it. The objective meaning of the veil does not depend on the thoughts of the bearer. She may be naïve, she may be totally unaware of the implications of the accoutrement she has “chosen” to display or been forced to display or, on the other hand, she may be fully cognizant that she is effectively supporting political Islam. In all cases, she is just one more veiled woman, one more walking advertisement for one of the most dangerous extreme right-wing movements on our planet.

Thus, the wearing of the Islamist veil should be discouraged and it should be banned where appropriate to do so. There are three main contexts (this list may not be exhaustive) where banning is appropriate:

  1. Wearing religious symbols—including all versions of the Islamist veil—by public servants, i.e. State employees, while on the job, should be banned.
  2. Imposing any Islamist veil on a child for any extended period of time (weeks, months, years) is a form of child abuse and should be illegal.
  3. Versions of the veil which obscure the face, i.e. the niqab and burqa, should, like all face-coverings, be banned in any situation where covering the face compromises security, identification or communication. This includes at least situations where security checks are performed, such as in airports or at entrances to some public buildings. However, there are further reasons why the niqab and burqa should be resisted, as these veils represent a violation of human dignity and women’s rights. Extending the ban to everywhere in public is an option to be considered.

In other situations, the wearing of the Islamist veil should be tolerated for reasons of personal freedom, but it should be neither endorsed nor encouraged—and certainly not celebrated as some governments (such as Canada) foolishly do.


Next blog: This Does NOT Promote Child Health

CHRC Endorses Religious Child Abuse

The Canadian Human Rights Commission, Complicit with Political Islam

2019-04-22 2019-04-23: Small correction

Ce blogue est aussi disponible en version française : La CCDP endosse la maltraitance religieuse des fillettes

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has chosen the image below to present its 2018 Annual Report to Parliament. This image is revolting on several levels.

Image used by the CHRC
Image used by the CHRC to illustrate its slogan “Speak Out.”

By choosing this image to illustrate the theme of human rights, the CHRC shows a degree of negligence which is inexcusable. The image sends a message which is completely incompatible with human rights, for several reasons:

  • First of all, it is common knowledge that the veil is a banner of political Islam and that promoting the wearing of the veil anywhere and everywhere constitutes one of the most important strategies of that far-right movement to impose its obscurantist ideology. The veil is a tool for segregation. Its purpose is to isolate women from men, to isolate Muslim women from non-Muslims and, most of all, to promote an image of Muslim women as monolithically very pious, even fundamentalist, in order to render invisible those Muslims who practice a more open and less strict variant of Islam.
  • The person wearing a hijab in the photo is a very young girl. Forcing a young child to wear the veil for any extended period of time—weeks, months or years—harmfully isolates the child and constitutes a form of child abuse which should be illegal. The consequences of wearing the veil are very serious for a young girl. There may be negative physical effects (such as Vitamin D deficiency or an impediment to the child’s normal physical activity), but the most grievous consequences are psychological and social. When the person wearing the veil is a child, the social segregation is much more serious, depriving the young girl of a normal childhood and erecting a barrier between her and other children.
  • No child can consent freely to such attire. When the wearer is an adult, such a choice is unfortunate, but if her choice is freely made then it must be respected—provided, of course that she does not wear the veil while working as an employee of the State as a teacher in a public school. However the situation is completely different for a child: it is utterly unacceptable to impose such attire on a child who is too young to understand the implications of such a religious symbol. The child thus becomes a victim of abuse by those who force her to wear it.
  • The above photo was apparently taken during a demonstration (October 2018), in the streets of Montreal, against Quebec Draft Bill 21. That demonstration was anti-secular and included a strong participation by Islamists.

The CHRC is an agency of federal parliament whose mission is to monitor and protect human rights. And yet, it has endorsed a retrograde symbol of political Islam and at the same time endorsed child abuse of young girls in fundamentalist Muslim families. Their choice of photo is entirely unacceptable. I agree completely with Djemila Benhabib who recently made the following declaration on social media:

Shame on the Canadian Human Rights Commission @CdnHumanRights which illustrates its 2018 Report with the photo of a small girl wearing a veil, with her fist raised. This is terribly shocking and repugnant. You thus legitimize the exploitation of children by political Islam. This scenario is even more scandalous given that the photo was taken at an anti-CAQ, anti-secular demonstration in the streets of Montreal organized by Islamists among others.


Next blog: Children’s Rights Before Teachers’

Support #NoHijabDay #FreeFromHijab

Support #NoHijabDay #FreeFromHijab! 1st February 2019 Solidarity with Iranian and Saudi Women.

Post a photo of yourself, on social media, with a headscarf hanging from a stick.

Appuyons #NoHijabDay #FreeFromHijab ! 1er février 2019 Solidarité avec les Iraniennes et Saoudiennes.

Poster une photo de vous, sur les réseaux sociaux, avec un foulard suspendu à un bâton.

#NoHijabDay #FreeFromHijabClick to enlarge

#NoHijabDay #FreeFromHijabClick to enlarge


“World Hijab Day” is soft-core propaganda for Islamism. Do not be duped. The hijab is an ambulatory prison for women.

La « Journée du hidjab », c’est la version légère de la propagande islamiste. Ne soyons pas dupes. Le hijab est une prison ambulatoire pour la femme.


Next blog: Three Strategies of Islamists

Fourth Anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre

2019-01-07

Remembering the Islamist attack on Charlie Hebdo on January 7th 2015 and the evening of solidarity held in Montréal on January 26th at which Zineb El Rhazoui spoke.

Sommaire en français On n’oubliera jamais l’attentat islamiste contre la revue Charlie Hebdo le 7 janvier 2015. Une soirée de solidarité a eu lieu à Montréal, le 26 janvier suivant, avec la participation de Zineb El Rhazoui.

Today, January 7th 2019, is the fourth anniversary of the horrific Islamist terrorist attack against the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. About three weeks later, on January 26th, an evening of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo was held at the Lion d’or in Montréal.

Caricature, Soirée solidarité Charlie Hebdo
Click to enlarge
Caricature, Solidarity with Charlie Hebdo

Zineb El Rhazoui
Click to enlarge
Zineb El Rhazoui (Photo: Le Figaro)

The most highly anticipated of the various speakers at the event was Zineb El Rhazoui, a French journalist working with Charlie Hebdo who survived the massacre as she was visiting her native Casablanca, Morocco at the time of the attack.

Zineb El Rhazoui is a courageous critic of Islamism and the target of death threats. Her most recent book is Détruire le fascisme islamique (Destroying Islamic Fascism). Here is a sampling of her views taken from an interview in Le Figaro (my translation):

“The concept of Islamophobia is an intellectual imposture based on a deliberate confusion between Islam as a dogma, Islam as a civilization, and Muslims considered ipso facto as a monolithic community and not as individuals. […] In Western democracies, Islamists, desperate to impose the idea that blasphemy is criminal, can only fall back upon the accusation of Islamophobia which they want to turn into a new type of racism. But since when is a faith a race?”

“Islamism is an imperialist ideology. It has an intrinsic vocation to spread because proselytism is a duty in Islam, including its most bellicose form: jihad.”

“Above all, we must dare to designate this ideology for what it is: a fascism.”

“It is essential to return to the written sources of religion in order to understand how much they are — like the writings of other monotheistic religions — a compendium of myths and barbarism.”

“Islamism is simply Islam applied literally.”

“If the Muslim race exists, then I belong to it.”

“The cultural differentialism advocated by some anti-racists is the antithesis of anti-racism. To accept a totalitarian ideology that represses women, homosexuals and otherness generally, as the legitimate expression of a cultural difference, is to deny to certain cultures the rights that one accepts for oneself. Human rights are not the prerogative of whites, they are made for everyone. Unfortunately, anti-racist differentialists have left Islamists with the monopoly of defining an entire culture.”

Cartoonist BeauDet
Click to enlarge
Cartoonist BeauDet at the Lion d’or

Also participating in the evening of solidarity was the caricaturist Beaudet, who drew the image shown above and to the right, while various speakers took the stage. At the end of the evening, a draw was held and the completed cartoon was awarded to the winner.


Links


Next blog: Sinéad O’Connor: A Metaphor for the Degeneration of the Left

David Silverman’s Firebrand Atheism

We Need It Now More Than Ever

2018-04-23, minor changes 2018-04-24

A consideration of three major issues raised by David Silverman: the utter baselessness of god-belief, the importance of calling oneself an “atheist” and Silverman’s rejection of Jewish identity.

Sommaire en français Je considère trois questions importantes soulevées par David Silverman : l’absence totale de fondement pour la croyance en dieu(x), l’importance de se dire ouvertement athée et son rejet de l’identité juive.

I first envisaged writing this blog several weeks ago, before I heard about David Silverman being temporarily suspended and then definitively terminated from his position as president of American Atheists. I see no reason not to go ahead and write it, but I feel compelled at least to mention those somber recent developments. David claims to be innocent and, frankly, I see no reason to doubt him. In addition to the well established principle of assuming innocence until proven guilty, I have at least two reasons: (1) the vagueness of the charges I have heard so far; and (2) the fact that the current socio-political context is replete with examples of false or exaggerated accusations of various kinds.

Of course some accusations are true, but which ones? In some cases (such as Wienstein or Cosby), evidence is overwhelming and undeniable, but that is often not so. Indeed, it is because of all the dubious accusations poisoning current political discourse that it has become more difficult to distinguish reality from fanatically invented fiction. It has become commonplace for accusers to throw all nuance out the window, so that criticism becomes demonization and the work of the accused person is anathematized. I reject such puritanical excesses.

Until I see some solid evidence, I will withhold my judgement. Now to the topic at hand.


Recently I had the pleasure of hearing David Silverman deliver a powerful speech on the subject of his trademark “firebrand atheism.” It was in Warsaw, in a small theatre-like hall in the Polish Academy of Sciences, during a session, entitled “We, The Atheists,” of the Days of Atheism 2018. David’s delivery was forceful, even charismatic, and his subject perfectly appropriate to the occasion. As I wrote in a recent AFT blog about Days of Atheism 2018:

… the highlight of this series of talks was the rousing speech by David Silverman whose “firebrand atheism” is resolute and determined. He criticized and mocked the idea that there is any doubt whatsoever about the complete falsehood of god-belief. Furthermore, he emphasized the critical importance of identifying oneself by the term “atheist” rather than other wishy-washy and/or poorly understood epithets such as “humanist” or “freethinker.” Paraphrasing his message: “Because I am a true humanist, I call myself an atheist, not a humanist.” David’s highly effective and dynamic delivery and his unapologetic approach to atheism reminded us why he is Atheist of the Year 2018!

Later, in conversations over dinner during the convention banquet, we briefly discussed David’s attitude towards Judaism and his opinion that there is no such thing as a Jewish Atheist.

These three issues raised by David Silverman: the certainty of atheism, the importance of the “atheist” label and the futility of ethnicities such as “Jewish” all resonated with me strongly because they reflect ideas I have thought and written about myself. David’s perspective throws new light on these issues, while confirming and adding nuance to the conclusions I had already reached.

The Certainty of Atheism

First of all, we are not talking about absolute certainty, of the sort which exists only in abstract pure logic, or in the pretentions of religious dogma. I am talking about scientific certainty, or certainty beyond a reasonable doubt, where the probability of truth is extremely close to one. In the case of theistic religion, we should look at it from the opposite direction: what is the probability of the existence of any given god? Given that evidence is completely lacking, that probability is at most a number infinitesimally close to zero. Then, when we take account of the contradictions within each theism and the between competing theisms, that probability is reduced to zero. As David Silverman makes it clear in his talk, there is no room for doubt: “God” does not exist. In no other field, other than religion, would anyone even consider such a baseless hypothesis. It is time that we started applying to religion the same rigorous analysis which is normally applied in all other fields.

I have made this point in several writings in the past. For example, in Why We Are Not Agnostics, I criticize agnosticism because of its inherent a priori assumption of some non-negligeable probability of the existence of god(s). This error is especially serious in the case of what I call symmetric agnosticism which is based on the fallacy of the mean, assuming a probability of 50% from the get-go, without justification, something which even honest theologians would not dare to do. The doubt which is the basis of agnosticism is a method, not a final position. When that method of doubt is applied to any god-belief, the unavoidable conclusion is that belief is utterly baseless. Atheism is therefore a certainty until such time as theists come up with something to support their outrageous assertions.

The Importance of Calling Oneself “Atheist”

The very strong, very old and very well established prejudice against atheists, i.e. atheophobia, is an extreme form of religious bigotry. It is an essential aspect of theistic dogma, as each theism claims a monopoly on morals. Some atheists have concluded from this that we should avoid calling ourselves atheists publically. This is exactly the wrong approach; it is a recipe for hypocrisy and stagnation. We must boldy assert our atheism in order to oppose and weaken atheophobia. I have made this point in several writings, in particular in Atheophobia, An Ancient Prejudice, and Yet So Prevalent Today, where I define the term in some detail, and in Secular Atheophobia, where I discuss the problem of atheophobic attitudes even among the non-religious.

In his Warsaw talk in March 2018, David Silverman expressed it something like this: Being a true humanist, he calls himself an atheist rather than a humanist, because it is use of the label “atheist” which best challenges religous bigotry. Furthermore, says David, emphemisms such as “humanist,” and “freethinker,” etc. are poorly understood, or completely misunderstood, by the public, but everyone knows what an atheist is! I would express it thus: A humanist is just an closeted atheist, too cowardly to come out. The word “agnostic” is even worse, because it gives theism credit which it does not deserve. See the previous section of this blog!

Rejecting Jewishness

In an article in the online Tablet Magazine, Can You Be an Atheist and a Jew at the Same Time? David Silverman Says No., David Silverman’s views on Jewish identity are explained. He argues that Jewishness is ultimately a religion, only a religion, not a race or ethnic group. Once a person rejects the religion of Judaism, Silverman argues, that person is no longer a Jew. He asserts, “I am not a Jew. I am a child of Jews.” If one does not practice the religion Judaism, then one should abandon the Jewish identity.

I have expressed similar ideas, but from a different perspective. I would argue that if one continues to consider Jews as a so-called “race” or ethnic group, then it is important to distinguish that identity from the religion of Judaism. If that clear distinction is not made, if “race” and religion are conflated, then criticizing the religion becomes confused with antisemitic racism. Indeed, the importance of this distinction is a major problem with using the term “Islamophobia” as if it were a form of racism.

Indeed, this is precisely why Islamist ideologues promote the word “Islamophobia”: to conflate race and religion is exactly their goal, so that criticism of Islam can be dismissed as “racist.” Islamists want to create the same confusion between “Islam” and “Muslim” as already exists between “Judaism” and “Jewish”. What is needed, on the contrary, is to make the distinction clear. Jewish or Muslim identities have nothing to do with race because they are not immutable. A person’s religion is a choice, or at least should be. That is why the right to apostasy (to change one’s religion) is so important, and why the criminalization of apostasy in many Muslim-majority countries (punishable sometimes by death!) is such an egregious and dangerous violation of freedom of conscience.

Furthermore, David Silverman’s observation that a child of Jews is not necessarily a Jew is extremely important for the freedom of conscience of that child. Religion is not an inherited characteristic, it is a learned one. It is by a process of indoctrination that children end up in the same religion as their parents. This cycle must be broken by protecting children from such indoctrination. That is indeed is one of the purposes of universal public education. We must avoid such tendentious expressions as “Jewish child” or “Christian child” or “Muslim child” or even “atheist child.” Children must not be labelled by the choices of their parents. It is only when they reach maturity that they can make informed choices for themselves.

Rejecting Communitarianism

One final observation: the label “atheist” must not be allowed to degenerate into an identitarian label as if it were a religious affiliation. The purpose of calling oneself an atheist is to challenge and erode atheophobic attitudes promoted by various religions. It is not an expression of affiliation with a particular community. Atheism is not another religion competing with Christianity, Islam, etc. Rather, it is a rejection of unsubstantiated and dangerous supernatural beliefs, in particular god-beliefs. If one day in the future all theisms have disappeared, then atheism will no longer be necessary.


Next blog: Fairweather Secularists

Status of Women Canada Endorses Political Islam

2018-04-15

I report how Status of Women Canada promotes the Islamist hijab as if it were an expression of freedom! Waleed Al-Husseini is infuriated by such fashionable nonsense, and I agree with him completely.

Sommaire en français Je constate que Condition féminine Canada fait la promotion du hidjab islamiste comme si ce dernier était un signe de libération ! Waleed Al-Husseini s’insurge contre cette sottise, et moi, je suis tout à fait d’accord avec lui.

IWD (March 8th) was over a month ago, so I am late with this topic. Better late than never.

For International Women’s Day (IWD), Status of Women Canada, a federal government organization whose mandate is to promote “equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada,” issued a series of five infographics.

Status of Women infographic no. 2
Click to enlarge
Status of Women infographic no. 2

The second of the five infographics can seen on the left. It shows a woman wearing an Islamic veil with the text, “#MyFeminism is about equality for everyone.”

Shortly after the Status of Women published this material, Waleed Al-Husseini published, via Facebook, his own, angry reaction. Waleed Al-Husseini is an atheist blogger and writer who was emprisoned in his native Palestine on charges of blasphemy against Islam and eventually took refuge in France. His books Blasphémateur ! Les prisons d’allah (Blasphemer! The Prisons of Allah) and Une trahison française — Les collaborationnistes de l’islam radical dévoilés (A French Betrayal—The Collaborators of Radical Islam Unveiled) are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how Islam its political variant threaten freedom and human rights in any country where they succeed in getting a foothold, in particular France.

Waleed Al-Husseini used the French version of infographic no. 2, adding his comment, “A feminism which submits to religious patriarchy when it is Islamic, but fights against it when it is Christian. Sounds more like a bad joke than an ideology.” I have reproduced Waleed’s posting below.

A feminism which submits to Islamic patriarchy
Click to enlarge

“A feminism which submits to religious patriarchy when it is Islamic, but fights against it when it is Christian. Sounds more like a bad joke than an ideology.”

I agree completely with Waleed’s denunciation of the Status of Women infographic. By presenting a veiled woman as if she were a feminist, by normalizing and legitimizing the hijab, the Status of Women betrays all women, and in particular Muslim women who are under extreme pressure to wear the veil in many countries. The Status of Women chose an odious misogynistic symbol of the world’s most misogynistic major religion. The hijab is a flag of an extreme right-wing political movement and should certainly not be celebrated.

The organization cannot pretend to favour “full participation” for Muslim women when it actively promotes the wearing of an accoutrement which sets them apart, different from other citizens, branded as possessions of male relatives and of the religious group in which they had the bad luck to be born. If the Status of Women is too blind or too foolish to understand the real nature of the Islamist veil, then they are incompetent as feminists.

More recently, Waleed has expressed his disapproval of the idea that police officers in Montreal be allowed to wear religious symbols. In a Facebook post he writes that religious radicalism has become unbearable and adds, “A policewoman wearing the Islamic veil! We must fight back! These medieval symbols are not welcome. I hope that France will be strong enough not to accept such follies.”


Next blog: David Silverman’s Firebrand Atheism, We Need It Now More Than Ever