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

Notes on the Regressive Left, Part V

The Vicious Circle of Islamophilia

2018-02-21

An infographic which illustrates how a certain left, by treating all Muslims, even Islamofascists, as a discriminated minority, then by abandoning secularism and criticism of religion, thus strengthens the political right by enflaming religious bigotry—which then causes hostility towards and discrimination against Muslims. Thus, the regressive left feeds off its own gross errors.

Sommaire en français Une infographie qui montre comment une certaine gauche, qui considère l’ensemble des Musulmans, même les islamofascistes, comme une minorité discriminée, en est venue à abandonner la laïcité et la critique des religions, renforçant ainsi la droite politique et attisant les préjugés religieux. Le résultat : de l’antipathie et de la discrimination contre les Musulmans. Ainsi, la gauche régressive s’alimente de ses propres erreurs grossières. La version française de l’infographie suit la version anglaise sur cette page.

The Vicious Circle of Islamophilia, How the Left Becomes RegressiveClick to enlarge Also available as a PDF file

Le cercle vicieux de l’islamophilie, Comment la gauche devient régressiveCliquer pour agrandir Disponible sous forme PDF aussi


Next blog: Religious Symbols and the Montreal Police

Notes on the Islamist Veil

2017-04-28, modified 2017-04-30

A summary of my opinion of the Islamist veil and its various versions: hijab, tchador, niqab, burqa, burkini, etc.

Sommaire en français Un résumé de mon opinion au sujet du voile islamiste dans toutes ses variantes : hijab, tchador, niqab, burqa, burkini, etc.

  • The Islamist veil is not a mere article of clothing. Rather, it is an advertisement for fundamentalist Islam, an indicator of affinity with political Islam, a flag of totalitarian Islamofascism.
  • The Islamist veil is not an article of Muslim clothing. Rather, it is an article of clothing imposed by Muslim fanatics, i.e. Islamists, and worn by women who are either controlled by those fanatics or, in the less frequent case of a women who wears it volontary, objectively allied with them. Secular and modern Muslim women do not wear it. It is an article of radical, fundamentalist, extremist Muslim clothing. That is of course especially true of the full veil such as the niqab.
  • Most women who wear the Islamist veil are forced by family or community to do so, and the punishment for disobedience can be severe. Those who wear it willingly, without being forced to do so, are displaying solidarity with religious extremism, whether or not they are fully aware of the implications of their choice. Of course it is not always easy to tell whether the veil is worn willingly or not, but some women, especially in the West, are quite open about their choosing to wear this flag of political Islam.
  • The Islamist veil is very different from many other religious symbols, not at all comparable to the Christian crucifix or the veil worn by Christian nuns. The crucifix is not imposed (with severe penalties for disobedience). The nun’s habit is imposed only on an elite in which participation is limited to those who must pass strict standards to be admitted.
  • Women in non-Muslim countries who wear the Islamist veil by choice display a cruel contempt for women suffering under the veil in Muslim-majority countries where it is imposed.

  • Women in non-Muslim countries who wear the Islamist veil by choice display a cruel contempt for women suffering under the veil in Muslim-majority countries where it is imposed. This is especially true for the non-Muslim western woman who foolishly adopts the hijab for a day as an expression of “solidarity” with Muslim women whereas objectively she is showing solidarity with the oppressors of those women, that is, with the Islamists who impose the veil on them.
  • One may be of the opinion that Salem Ben Ammar exaggerates when he declares that the Occidental Muslim woman is the worst enemy of the Oriental Muslim woman. However if by “Occidental Muslim woman” we mean one who wears the veil willingly, I would agree with Ben Ammar. I would say that those who wear the Islamist veil willingly are religious fanatics or at least objectively allied with religious fanatics.
  • The Islamist veil is a marker of segregration, 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 sends the message that the woman wearing it is pure and that other women who do not wear it are impure. That is especially true for Muslim and ex-Muslim women: no veil means she is a slut and/or an apostate. From the point of view of fundamentalist Muslim men, veiled women are “good” women to be respected and possibly married, while unveiled women are sluts to be abused.
  • The Islamist veil is an expression of rape culture. See the previous point.
  • The Islamist veil is a tool for proselytism, propaganda and conquest.
  • The Islamist veil sends the message that the woman wearing it is pure and that other women who do not wear it are impure.

  • It is only reasonable to ban religious symbols worn by individuals working in an official capacity, such as public servants while on duty. To allow such symbols would be to grant privileges to religion: i.e. to discriminate in favour of religious believers to the detriment of non-believers; and to assign greater importance to religious beliefs than to political opinions. The Islamist veil must of course be banned for this reason (for civil servants on duty) along with other, less invasive symbols, those which are not so heavily laden with implications. However we must not forget that the Islamist veil is more than just a religious symbol: it is also a sort of ambulatory prison which debases and demeans women. The extreme versions of the Islamist veil, those such as the niqab and burqa which obscure the face, are even more demeaning.
  • The Islamist veil is a contemptible flag-rag. To interpret it otherwise, to adopt an attitude of complacency with respect to its propagation, to minimize its significance, to treat it like a mere article of clothing or, even worse, consider it to be some kind of badge of personal freedom or even feminism as some false progressives stupidly do, is counterproductive and dangerous. Such a foolish attitude by some who call themselves liberal or leftist has two consequences: (1) it indicates to members of the general public who are legitimately anxious about Islamism that they have been abandoned by “progressives” who should be the most assiduous critics of religious extremism and, as a consequence, (2) it emboldens and strengthens the political right.

Some quotes:

“There is a certain bad faith in the illusion that one can wear the veil today and say that it is a strictly personal choice. It is a denial of responsibility, given that so many women do not have the freedom to make such a sovereign choice …”

Delphine Horvilleur, quoted by Christian Rioux.

“When a woman adopts the veil, she is submitting to a humiliating, discriminatory practice which evokes the physical impurity (menstruation), symbolic impurity (Eve the temptress) and social impurity (devoid of nobility) of women. All of Islam rests on that pillar: misogyny, hierarchy, domination and the dichotomy between halal (permissible) and haram (forbidden).”

Gilbert C.

“Western women who wear the veil contribute to the subservience of women elsewhere in the world for whom wearing the veil is an obligation.”

Mona Eltahawy, author of “Headscarves and Hymens, Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution”


Next blog: Notes on the Regressive Left, Part I

“Islamophobia”: a weapon against reforming Islam

2017-04-20

This blog consists of quotes from Hassan Jamali, as published in the book L’ISLAMOPHOBIE

Sommaire en français Ce blogue se compose de citations de Hassan Jamali tirées de l’ouvrage collectif L’ISLAMOPHOBIE.

This blog is dedicated entirely to quotes from Hassan Jamali, co-author of the recent book L’ISLAMOPHOBIE published by Éditions Dialogue Nord-Sud. This is a collective work, authored by Jérôme Blanchet-Gravel, Éric Debroise, Caroline Fourest, Hassan Jamali, Isabelle Kersimon, Renard Léveillé, Fiametta Venner, Claude Simard, Annie-Ève Collin and Alban Ketelbuters, with a preface by Waleed Al-husseini.

Book L'ISLAMOPHOBIE
Book L’ISLAMOPHOBIE

This little book is an essential reference, required reading in order to understand the concept—or rather the scam—of so-called “Islamophobia” which is a major propaganda weapon used to promote Islamofascism and to bully those who oppose it.

Hassan Jamali teaches at a Montreal CÉGEP and is author of the book Coran et déviation politique. L’art de détourner une religion. (The Koran and Political Distortion. How to Hijack a Religion., Éditas 2011).

In the collective work L’ISLAMOPHOBIE, Hassan Jamali is author of the chapter entitled “Islamophobie: une arme pour contrer toute réforme de l’islam” or “Islamophobia: a weapon against reforming Islam.” Below I have translated some important excerpts from that chapter.


We consider that reforming Islam is a major issue, both for a billion Muslims and for the Western world. Islamism, as a fascistic political ideology, threatens the foundations of democratic systems, just as did all the totalitarian ideologies which the West experienced during the twentieth century. And the fact that that ideology is inspired by a great religious tradition does not make it any more tolerable.

[…]

The only purpose of the concept of Islamophobia is to restrict freedom of expression and to frighten those who defend secularism and who dare to take a position against religious accommodations. Proponents of victimization based on Islamophobia have increased their activities in the West (including Quebec) and even within the United Nations, with the goal of gaining approval for laws and resolutions which would ban blasphemy and anti-religious hate speech.

Public institutions in Quebec have fallen into this trap. Islamophobia is used in official documents published by the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion in order to explain the elevated unemployment rate among those of North-African origin. The City of Montreal uses it as well. The Bouchard-Taylor Commission, in its report, also refers to Islamophobia, while nevertheless failing to mention it in its glossary.

[…]

How Should We Respond to Blackmail by Islamophobia?

We have observed that no substantial reform of Islam is possible in Muslim countries because of the stranglehold which the religious have on political power. The real battle is therefore to be fought in the West. Two sides are battling it out: in the Sunni camp, the Islamists are supported and financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, while, in the Shiite camp, they are backed by Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The goal of the Islamists is to isolate Muslims, to prevent then from adopting democratic and secular values and to use them against any criticism of Islam. Islamophobia is the slogan par excellence, which they use to bully all those who would criticize Islamic dogma, thus ghettoizing Muslims—and in particular Muslim women, on whom is imposed the task of signaling the presence of Islam in public space—all in a spirit of communitarianism which alienates the host society.

How to respond to this state of affairs is not a simple question, especially with political correctness and religious accommodation being so widespread. But by refusing to endorse the notion of Islamophobia and by insisting on freedom of expression as well as state secularism, we can affirm our rejection of all intimidation and continue to fight against the rebirth of fascism in the form of Islamism.

Next blog: Notes on the Islamist Veil

The Undauntable Fatima!

The Political Integrity of One Secular MNA Contrasts with the Venality of Her Colleagues

2017-02-21

This blog tells the story of former MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin and how she recently exposed the venality of a certain dubious philosopher.

Sommaire en français Ce blogue raconte l’histoire de l’ex-députée Fatima Houda-Pepin et comment elle a récemment dévoilé la prévarication d’un certain philosophe douteux.

The story of Mme Fatima Houda-Pepin, a secular Muslim, is probably not well-known outside Quebec. It deserves to be.

Madame Fatima Houda-Pepin was a Member of National Assembly (MNA) for the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP), first elected in 1994. When in 2013 the Parti Québécois government proposed its Charter of Secularism (the oft-used name “Charter of Values” is a misnomer, being only the preliminary name before the draft bill was published), Mme Houda-Pepin, like her party, opposed it. However, that is not the end of our story. It is only the beginning. Because Mme Houda-Pepin’s position on the subject of secularism was nevertheless very different from that of her party.

Unlike so many Charter opponents who rejected the Charter of Secularism by mindless reflex, declaring that the proposed legislation was a response to a non-existent need, Mme Houda-Pepin recognized that, on the contrary, a major societal issue required legislative action. As an alternative to the PQ’s Charter, she proposed her own law, Draft Bill 491, “An Act respecting the religious neutrality of the State and the fight against religious fundamentalism…”, which, among other things, stipulated the following:

  • “All State personnel are imposed a duty of religious neutrality in the exercise of their functions. Persons in authority with the power to coerce, such as judges, prosecutors, police officers and correctional officers, are prohibited from wearing conspicuous religious symbols in the exercise of their functions.”
  • “State personnel are prohibited from wearing a chador, a niqab or a burka.”
  • “The bill requires that State services be provided and received with an uncovered face, except in cases of occupational necessity or for health or safety reasons.”
  • “the Premier is also required to create, by legislative or regulatory means, a centre dedicated to action research on religious fundamentalism and its impact on democracy, human rights and youth rights.”

The full text of Draft Bill 491 is available. It is not very long.

… if Couillard really cared about the issue of religious accommodation, … he would have made overtures to the Parti Québécois to negotiate some kind of compromise between the PQ’s Charter and Houda-Pepin’s proposed bill.

If the leadership of the QLP had had some modicum of political integrity, if its leader Philippe Couillard really cared about the issue of so-called “reasonable accommodation”–i.e. religious accommodation–which was causing such upheaval in Quebec, he would have welcomed Draft Bill 491 and, furthermore, would have made overtures to the Parti Québécois to negotiate some kind of compromise between the PQ’s Charter and Houda-Pepin’s proposed bill. But Couillard and the QLP did no such thing. Instead they rejected her bill and expelled her from the caucus. Mme Houda-Pepin henceforth sat as an independent in the National Assembly.

In the Quebec election of April 2014, the Parti Québécois abstained from running a candidate in the riding La Pinière, instead directing its supporters to vote for Houda-Pepin. The Liberal Party parachuted a high-profile candidate Gaétan Barrette into the riding. He defeated Houda-Pepin, was named Minister of Health in the newly elected Liberal government and has since been playing havoc with Quebec’s health-care system with widespread austerity measures.

Now fast forward to January of 2017. A horrific mass murder occurs in a Quebec City mosque. The perpetrator is a non-Muslim. There is widespread condemnation of this terrible act, including of course from those who support secularism and who criticize religion regularly (such as myself) because, for one thing, such gratuitous, murderous violence can never be justified, and, furthermore, it will only play into the hands of Islamist fundamentalists by giving them a pretext to further their program, especially since one of their favourite strategies is playing the victim. Nothing good can come of such horror.

And that is indeed what happened. Almost immediately, unscrupulous politicians and others started slandering secularists by claiming that their support for the PQ’s Charter of Secularism somehow helped cause the Quebec City shooting. This chorus of voices was joined by a certain Charles Taylor who had been co-chair of the famous Bouchard-Taylor Commission which, a decade ago, was mandated to study the controversial issue of religious accommodation. One of the principal recommendations of that Commission was very similar to one of the main provisions of Houda-Pepin’s proposed Bill 491: a ban on religious symbols for public servants in positions of coercive authority. Taylor now repudiates that recommendation, saying that no such ban should be implemented, and he claims that the Quebec City mosque shooting led him to that change of heart.

But Taylor is being less than truthful, and it is Fatima Houda-Pepin who set the record straight for us. She revealed that Taylor had discreetly repudiated the recommendation years ago, at around the time she presented her Draft Bill 491. Indeed, shortly before Houda-Pepin was expelled from the Liberal caucus, Premier Couillard forbade her from discussing her proposed legislation with the caucus. To underline his rejection of any ban on religious symbols, Couillard revealed that Taylor as well was ready to reject such a ban.

Taylor … did not have a change of heart because of the mosque shooting. On the contrary, he cynically exploited that tragic event as an excuse to rationalize a decision he had made years before.

Thus, thanks to Fatima Houda-Pepin, we now know that Taylor’s recent behaviour was at best disingenuous, and arguably dishonest. He did not have a change of heart because of the mosque shooting. On the contrary, he cynically exploited that tragic event as an excuse to rationalize a decision he had made years before.

Taylor has thus thoroughly undermined the recommendations of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, although the other co-president of the Commission, Gerald Bouchard, has not changed his position. Subsequently, Couillard has opportunistically used Taylor’s about-face to justify an intransigent attitude towards any consideration of a ban on religious symbols worn by public servants, even by those with coercive authority. The premier has rejected any possibility of compromise with the two opposition parties on that issue.


Next blog: Rules for a Discussion about Religion

Islam and Islamism

2017-02-18

How are Islam and Islamism related. Here is my take on this very important question.

Sommaire en français Quelle est le rapport entre islam et islamism. Je donne ici mon point de vue sur cette importante question.

Islam, like most religions, comes in many forms, may variants, many sects. There are Sunnis and Shiites; there are Sufis and Ahmadis; there are various denominations and tendencies. There are pious, observant Muslims and non-practising Muslims. There are modern secular Muslims. There are ex-Muslim atheists. There are those from a Muslim background for whom Islam is only a cultural heritage or a childhood memory.

Islamism is a political ideology based on Islam, a program which is often violent and revolutionary, generally promoting full implementation of sharia law. It may also be called political Islam, Islamic extremism, Islamic fundamentalism, Muslim fundamentalism, radical Islam, Islamofascism, Islamist fanaticism, etc. The choice of the best label remains open for discussion. For example, fundamentalism need not be violent. On the other hand, the term Islamofascism may be considered too mild, since fascism, strictly speaking, is a modern XXth-century phenomenon while Islamism is based on early-medieval totalitarian theocracy and is far to the right of even the most extreme right-wing fascism. Regardless of the expression one chooses, this phenomenon is currently on the offensive and its effects are devastating, both materially and ideologically.

Political Islam is neither a distortion of Islam nor an outrageous extrapolation of it. On the contrary, it is simply an eminently plausible interpretation of the Muslim religion.

There are those who say that Islam and Islamism are basically the same thing, that there is no essential difference between them. I respectfully disagree. In my opinion Islamism is a subset of Islam, a variant of it, one of several interpretations of Islam. The radical political ideology of Islamism is not synonymous with Islam, but it is part of it and compatible with it. Political Islam is neither a distortion of Islam nor an outrageous extrapolation of it. On the contrary, it is simply an eminently plausible interpretation of the Muslim religion.

There are those who say that Islam and Islamism are completely distinct. I disagree. But I do not do so respectfully. I have no respect for an opinion which is so obviously false—dangerously false—and has the effect of exonerating Islam from any responsibility for the extremists who base their ideology on the “sacred” writings of that religion. To say that Islamism has nothing to do with Islam is like saying that the Crusades had nothing to do with Christianity, or that Mike Pence’s extreme homophobia has nothing to do with the homophobia of all three Abrahamic religions.

What About the Believers?

Thus Islam contains Islamism. The religion Islam, by way of its various “sacred” writings—the quran, hadiths, etc.—provides the theoretical underpinnings of the extremely virulent, proselytizing and totalitarian ideology of Islamism. But what about the people; what about Muslims? Does the fact that these two systems of ideas are so closely related imply that all Muslims are either Islamists or near-Islamists? The short answer, of course, is no.

I always stress the importance of distinguishing beliefs from believers, ideologies from people. Muslims, like Christians, Jews or other religious believers are all over the map, from fundamentalist to secular. It can be argued that there is no such thing as modern, secular Islam, that that religion is essentially obscurantist and retrograde. Christianity too is essentially obscurantist and retrograde, and yet Islam is arguably even worse, because the virulence of Christianity has at least has been somewhat attenuated after 2000 years of history, while Islam has never gone through a process similar to what the Enlightenment did to tame (partially at least) both Christianity and Judaism. However, the absence of a secularized Islam does not imply that there are no secular Muslims.

Secular Muslims—i.e. those who have moved away from strict observance, who have distanced themselves from the worst aspects of Islam, who may indeed be closet atheists—do indeed exist. And they are in a very difficult situation, a situation which makes them less visible. There are probably far more of them than is apparent.

When Trudeau visits a mosque and communes openly with imams, when non-Muslim women wear hijabs in a ridiculous show of false “solidarity”, when our politicians undermine human rights by allowing face-coverings everywhere, these actions validate and empower more fundamentalist Muslims.

One of the worst aspects of Islam is the taboo against apostasy, i.e. against leaving Islam. In fact, it is more than a taboo: it is the law in many Muslim-majority countries. Apostasy is often a crime with severe penalties, even the death penalty. This is the absolute negation of freedom of conscience. See my previous blog Apostasy is a Human Right. So in addition to all the disapproval and the threat of ostracism from family and community which make life difficult for any Muslim who may be questioning their religion a little, there is, in countries which have such laws, the very real, objective threat of criminal charges and severe punishments.

Even in countries such as Canada where apostasy is not criminalized, where we enjoy some degree of freedom of conscience, family members and the Muslim community may still exert strong pressure on the individual. Islamist individuals in that community may have a great deal of threatening influence even if they may be few in number. A member of the community who may be considering abandoning the faith, or who merely wishes to speak out about problems caused by excessively strict observance of Islamic dogmas, such as dubious treatment of women or of children, may be subject to intimidation.

Well-meaning but foolish proponents of communitarianism (i.e. multiculturalism) make matters worse by treating Muslims like a monolithic community, thus empowering the more fundamentalist and Islamist among them. When Justin Trudeau visits a mosque as prime minister and communes openly with imams, when non-Muslim women wear hijabs in a ridiculous show of false “solidarity” with Muslim women (many of whom do not wear any veil), when our politicians undermine human rights by allowing face-coverings everywhere, these actions validate and empower more fundamentalist Muslims. They make it even more difficult for modern, secular-leaning Muslims to assert their own freedoms in opposition to fundamentalists.

The New Blasphemy

We must stop the recriminalization of blasphemy under its new name “Islamophobia!”

Currently, Islamists are on an aggressive international campaign of promotion of their totalitarian version of Islam. Islamists are very vocal and noisy, making them appear more numerous than they really are. Their goal is to speak for all Muslims, to silence more moderate voices or at least to shout louder than them. Their goal is to become the only voice of Muslims. They are having some success. The proportion of Muslim women wearing some kind of veil is increasing in Canada. Multiculturalists such as Trudeau and his ilk play directly into the hands of proselytizing Islamists.

Islamists have various weapons which they use in their campaign to dominate. Terrorism is only the most extreme weapon. There are also much simpler, non-violent weapons which are very effective, weapons of propaganda, especially useful in countries where Muslims are a small minority. Promotion of the veil is one weapon: imposing it anywhere and everywhere, making its presence appear normal and banal, conquering public space little by little. The case of legal jihadist Zunera Ishaq is a notable example of this strategy. Another weapon of choice for Islamists is promotion of the term “Islamophobia” which stigmatizes criticism of Islam and Islamism. In Canada today, this particular propaganda weapon has a very high profile. Free speech is under attack and the situation is very serious. Islamists and their multiculturalist dupes are exploiting the recent killings at a Quebec City mosque in order to get the federal parliament to pass motion M-103 which would condemn so-called Islamophobia.

Secular Muslims get it from both sides. They deserve all the support we can give them. We must oppose the retrograde measures which Islamists and fundamentalists are pushing, such as promoting the veil and stigmatising criticism of their religion. The current priority is that motion M-103 must be defeated.

We must stop the recriminalization of blasphemy under its new name “Islamophobia!”


Next blog: The Undauntable Fatima!

False Memes from the Burkini Wars

2016-10-10

The controversy which raged in the summer of 2016 over the issue of the burkini on public beaches in France led to the publication in blogs, social media, etc., of many false memes—in other words, a lot of nonsense. Here I debunk some of them.

Sommaire en français La controverse autour du burkini sur les plages publiques de France, qui faisait rage en été 2016, a déclenché des flots de sophismes et de faussetés sur les médias sociaux et dans plusieurs blogues. Dans ce texte je démens plusieurs des ces faussetés :

  • Que le burkini n’est qu’un bout de tissu, un vêtement comme les autres.
  • Que les opposants du burkini veulent tous l’interdire partout.
  • Qu’il ne faut jamais dire à quiconque quoi porter ou ne pas porter.
  • Que les règles vestimentaires religieuses et laïques sont pareilles.
  • Que le burkini n’est pas plus grave qu’un habit de nonne.
  • Que le burkini n’est pas plus sexiste que le bikini ou autre tenue sexy.
  • Que l’opposition au burkini n’est qu’une réaction de l’extrême droite catho et une façon de gagner des votes.
  • Que les Musulmans en France actuellement, c’est comme les Juifs en Allemagne nazie.
  • Que les opposants du burkini instrumentalisent la laïcité pour faire la chasse aux musulmans.
False Meme #1:
It’s just a piece of cloth.

The burkini is just a piece of cloth? Just a mundane article of clothing? Bullshit. All versions of the Islamist veil, including the burkini, hijab, tchador, niqab, burka, etc., are part of a campaign by Islamist fundamentalists and Islamofascists to normalize special articles of clothing which are banners to promote their politico-religious agenda.

A Nazi Flag: It’s just a piece of cloth.

That campaign is in turn part of the Islamists programme to oppose, by legal means or otherwise, secularism wherever it exists or where there are plans to implement it. French secularism or laïcité is a major target because it is the avant-garde of secularism.

False Meme #2:
Those who oppose the burkini want to ban it everywhere!

All those who criticize the burkini and other versions of the veil want to ban them everywhere? No, no & no. Many people oppose Christianity, but few would support banning it everywhere! Whether there should or should not be a ban, or rather bans, depends very much on the type of veil, the place, the circumstance, the context. I personally happen to think that it was a mistake when the mayors of several French seaside towns tried to ban the burkini on their local beaches—and for at least three reasons:

  1. The burkini does not obscure the face, so like the hijab (and unlike the niqab) it is not an obvious security issue.
  2. It was clear that such municipal regulations would be declared illegal, and that is indeed what happened.
  3. As could have been predicted, the controversy degenerated into a propaganda victory for Islamists, who take every opportunity to play victim.

I would however support banning the burkini at sporting events and public swimming pools. At any rate, allowing the burkini on public beaches must not blind us to the nature of the Islamists’ programme. They will continue to make every attempt to score points in their fight against secularism. That is simply one more reason why secular measures must be applied with rigorous respect for the rule of law.

On the other hand, there are some who would ban the burkini even on public beaches. I respectfully disagree, but I give them full credit for recognizing the danger which the burkini, as an Islamist veil, represents. (However those who oppose any ban anywhere and consider that the burkini is just another clothing choice are intellectual slobs in my opinion.)

In light of the recent terrorist attack on Nice, the act of wearing a burkini on a beach in that region was a contemptible act of provocation. We may choose not to criminalize it, but we must condemn it. If, as I have suggested, it was a trap, then the guilty party is composed of those who set the trap. Those duped by the trap include not just the mayors who adopted anti-burkini measures, but even more so the fools who demonized those mayors for their action.

False Meme #3:
You must never tell anyone what to wear.

You must never tell anyone what to wear or what not to wear? Really? The fact is that various dress codes of various types are ubiquitous in society. Some restrictions on dress are codified in law, but many are not written down and some are not even verbalized explicitly. Sometimes dress codes are simply understood implicitly, constantly renegotiated verbally or non-verbally as people test a code’s limits by violating it in small ways while respecting it in large measure. Here are a few examples:

  • workplace dress requirements
  • uniforms for special professions (police, judges, nurses, etc.)
  • laws against nudity (even in one’s own home if visible from the exterior)
  • formal occasions
  • military uniforms
  • ceremonies, official or otherwise
  • sporting events, official or otherwise, international or not, uniforms for athletes, for referees, guidelines for officials
  • school uniforms

Some of these dress codes we could probably do without. Is it really necessary to outlaw nudity everywhere in public or where visible by the public? We can debate that. Are school uniforms really a good thing? Maybe, maybe not. Many, indeed most dress codes can be questioned. But to state baldly that ALL dress codes can be dispensed with is irrationnal. Thus, to a question such as, “Should the clothing XYZ be banned?” the only appropriate answer is another question, or rather series of questions such as: Where? When? In what context? When worn by whom while they perform what duties? Without some context for the original question, it probably cannot be answered adequately.

Furthermore, it must be recognized that personal freedoms cannot be absolute. One individual’s personal freedom is limited by, among other things, other peoples’ freedom.

False Meme #4:
Religious dress code, secular dress code, same thing.

Religious constraints such as the Islamist veil are no worse than secular dress codes? So when Islamists insist that any woman who does not wear the veil is impure and deserves to be treated with contempt or even raped (or have acid thrown in her face), that is the same as a secular dress code which would ban the veil for, say, public servants while on duty? What false symmetry! What specious nonsense! The first rule is a blatant attack on women’s freedom, gender equality and human dignity. The second rule is a small restriction which limits the scope of that attack. The first rule undermines freedom, the second mitigates the damage done by the first.

False Meme #5:
Nuns on a beach, Burkinis on a beach, same difference.

The reason for the nun’s habit is to slut-shame women who do not wear one. Oh wait, no, that’s the reason Muslim women are forced to wear the Islamist veil, to slut-shame those who don’t.

The burkini is comparable to the habit worn by Christian nuns? Really? How deplorable that it should even be necessary to debunk this stupid comparison. The habit is worn only by a tiny elite minority of Catholic women, those who have gone through a rigorous screening process. The Islamist programme is that the veil should be worn by ALL “good” Muslim women and that any woman who does not wear one is a slut just asking to be abused. The analogy is grossly misleading.

False Meme #6:
Islamist veil, boob job, g-string, etc., same subjugation to macho norms.

You say that the burkini is no more sexist than g-strings, high-heel shoes, bikinis, miniskirts, etc.? Horsefeathers. The veil, including the burkini, is a flag of an extremely dangerous politico-religious movement. See the discussions above.

False Meme #7:
Banning the burkini is nothing other than a right-wing Catholic reaction and a ploy to gain votes.

This meme at least has the merit of having some degree of plausibility. There are some right-wing groups who make a pretence of supporting secularism, or at least some version of secularism, whereas their real agenda is to exploit fears of immigration. In France, the Front National (FN) is the most obvious example. However, this reason taken alone is an extreme oversimplification. For one thing, if among immigrants we may find a significant number of fundamentalists or even extremists—and that is certainly the case for Muslim immigration—then such fears are not unjustified. More importantly, we must recognize that groups such as the FN, even if we consider them to be extreme right-wing, are far less extreme than Islamofascism. Political Islam is undoubtedly the greatest threat to secularism in France and is far to the political right of the FN.

False Meme #8:
The situation of Muslims in France today is similar to that of Jews in Nazi Germany.

This outrageous analogy is completely over the top. It is an odious insult to both Jews and the French. In reality, there is a certain proportion (and they are not a tiny minority) of Muslims in France who are Islamists or sympathetic to political Islam; they have much more in common with Nazis than they do with Jews.

False Meme #9:
Opponents of the burkini are misusing secularism as a tool to persecute Muslims.

This is perhaps the most damaging of all these false memes because it is potentially the most effective at neutralizing opposition to political Islam. First of all, the target of any hostility is political Islam, not all Muslims. Secondly, the idea that secular principles must be applied exclusively to state institutions is simplistic. The fact that secularism is first and foremost a program of governance, to be applied to public institutions, does not imply that secular principles cannot be applied elsewhere as well. Given the danger which political Islam represents (and the veil is one of its major tools), if secularism can mitigate that danger then so much the better. That is not a misuse of secularism, rather it is what secularism is for: preventing religions from imposing themselves on the public, so as to protect freedom of conscience.


Next blog: Multiculturalism, Orientalism and Exoticism

Aphorisms about “Islamophobia” and “Racism”

2016-07-22

A few pithy assertions about two words which are frequently used as slander.

Sommaire en français Quelques brèves assertions concernant deux mots utilisés fréquemment pour diffamer :

  • Quiconque profère des accusations d’« islamophobie » est soit islamofasciste, soit dupe de l’islamofascisme. Les 2 sont obscurantistes.
  • Quiconque n’a pas peur de l’islam en particulier, et du monothéisme en général, est soit insensé, soit stupide — ou peut-être les deux.
  • Version 2016 d’un vieux dicton : « Lorsque le sage pointe l’islamisme, l’imbécile l’accuse d’islamophobie. »
  • Accuser quelqu’un d’« islamophobie » c’est l’accuser de blasphème. Quiconque se dit contre les lois anti-blasphème mais qui profère des accusations d’« islamophobie » est hypocrite.
  • Accuser un individu de « racisme » pour avoir critiqué l’islam est une imposture, même s’il est anti-musulman. L’islam n’est pas une race. L’accusateur manifeste ainsi un manque total d’intégrité intellectuelle.

Anyone who makes accusations of “Islamophobia” is either an Islamofascist or a dupe of Islamofascism. Both are obscurantists.

Indeed, the highly problematic nature of the term “Islamophobia” is well known and has been discussed and exposed by many authors. Do your homework, please!

Anyone who does not fear Islam in particular, and monotheism in general, is either insane or stupid—or maybe both.

A phobia is normally understood as an irrational fear. There is nothing irrational about fearing a religion, especially a monotheism, and in particular Islam. Indeed, monotheisms are highly totalitarian as well as irrational, and thus rightly to be feared.

2016 version of an old proverb: “When the wise point at Islamism, idiots accuse them of Islamophobia.”

There is a popular French saying which, translated into English, is “When the wise man points at the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.” When confronted with a warning of the dangers presented by Islamism, foolish people fail to heed the warning and instead slander the messenger.

An accusation of “Islamophobia” is an accusation of blasphemy. Anyone who claims to oppose anti-blasphemy laws but makes accusations of “Islamophobia” is a hypocrite.

Anti-blasphemy laws are enforced by the threat of fines or incarceration or worse. The taboo on criticizing Islam is enforced by accusations of “Islamophobia” which threaten a person’s reputation, with the goal of shaming them into silence. Such accusations are Islamofascist slander. Criticizing Islam includes criticizing the actions of fundamentalist or rigorously pious Muslims whose behaviour facilitates or supports the theocratic goals of Islamism. For example, as Mona Eltahawy has so aptly observed, “Western women who wear the veil contribute to the subservience of women elsewhere in the world for whom wearing the veil is an obligation.”

To accuse someone of “racism” because they criticize Islam is nonsense, even if the person is an anti-Muslim bigot. Islam is not a race. The accuser thus displays a total lack of intellectual integrity.

A religion is not a race. A person’s race, to the extent that that word is meaningful, is an innate attribute, fixed at birth (in fact before birth) and immutable. A person’s religion is an acquired characteristic, acquired after birth—usually by indoctrination as a child, but sometimes later in life—and can be readily changed if the indoctrination was not too severe or if the person strives diligently, through intense intellectual effort, to overcome it.

For an example of this type of slanderous accusation see the discussion of Gerald Caplan (Assertion #3) in my previous blog The Extended Weinberg Principle.


Next blog: The Acquired-Innate Spectrum

Of Pigs and Prayer

The Selective Outrage of Islamophiliacs

2016-06-23

The seriousness of the recent pig’s head incident in Quebec City has been greatly exaggerated by some. What is just as serious, indeed more so, is the contempt shown by most of our politicians for citizens who are legitimately concerned about radical Islam, thus increasing the likelihood of such mean-spirited, threatening gestures.

Sommaire en français Plusieurs média ont grandement exagéré la gravité d’un événement récent, lorsqu’une tête de porc a été laissée à la porte d’une mosquée de la ville de Québec. Ce qui est aussi grave, encore pire au fait, est l’attitude de mépris affichée par la plupart de nos politiciens à l’égard des citoyens qui se préoccupent raisonnablement de l’Islam radical. Cette attitude augmente la probabilité de tels gestes mesquins et menaçants.

Recently many media have been in a tizzy, doing their best to manufacture excessive outrage over an instance of anti-Muslim mischief. A pig’s head was left on the doorstep of a Quebec City mosque recently. The pig’s head was gift-wrapped and accompanied by a greeting card inscribed with the erroneously spelt (but phonetically correct) words “Bonne appétit.” This was an act of provocation in very poor taste, but no more alarming than a small number of cases of minor vandalism reported over the past few months in various locations across Canada, unacceptable of course, but hardly surprising considering the current political climate.

Indeed this incident was much less serious than other acts of provocation perpetrated by persons who, while claiming to be friends of Muslims in general, are in reality objective allies of extremists (and in fact responsible for the current political climate), acts which were far more “hateful” than the pig’s head incident.

The most disturbing aspect of the severed pig’s head incident is the possibility of violence, unspoken but implied: given such a bloody mess, are other acts of bloody violence thus intended? On the other hand, animal heads are inevitable by-products of food provisionning in our society, so perhaps no violence is implied.

As for the choice of a pig, as opposed to any other animal, this aspect is evidently a dig at Muslim dietary practices which, like most religious practices, are irrational, arbitrary and baseless. So this aspect is hardly disturbing—on the contrary. Furthermore, the fact that this occurred during the “holy” month of Ramadan is also significant, given that the fasting imposed during Ramadan is a major threat to the health and welfare of Muslims and is often used as a way to threaten and intimidate individuals who exercise their freedom by choosing not to fast. Maryam Namazie (see links below) calls it the “heinous, dark month of Ramadan.”

A more subtle aspect of this case is disturbing in a completely different way: I think we can assume that it was an expression of fear—fear of Islam? or fear of Muslims?—and that this fear is partly legitimate. I must stress this point: fear of Islam is not unjustified. That fear has been allowed to fester by the inaction of political leaders, such as Premier Philippe Couillard and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who have taken a complacent approach to radical Islam. Even worse, such leaders have been complicit with fundamentalist Muslims, using the latter as clients to support their political goals, and have unscrupulously accused the fearful of various “sins” such as xenophobia and intolerance.

Finally, this event raises the all-important issue of distingishing radical or extremist Muslims from others. By adopting a very Islamophile attitude, mainstream politicians cultivate a climate of censorship of criticism of any form of Islam, thus stifling necessary debate which would help the public to be better informed and to take a more nuanced attitude. The perpetrator(s) of this incident, for example, were they targeting all Muslims, or only those they perceived as radical? What about the Quebec City mosque where they pig’s head was left: do radical Muslims have significant influence there, or do they not? How can we find out, if politicians tell us that we must simply shut up and say nothing against Islam?


Are you, dear reader, outraged by the pig’s head incident? Perhaps your outrage is rather selective. I have a few questions for you:

Were you outraged when … the Moderator of the United Church of Canada … stupidly accused supporters of a niqab ban of “Islamophobia” … ?

  • Were you outraged when the United Church of Canada recently held a public-prayer event in collaboration with the Muslim Association of Canada? This was an act of provocation more serious than the pig’s head. It involved moderate Christians helping fundamentalist Muslims to invade public space with their religious rituals—rituals which should occur only in places of worship. Worse, the media reported this event in a totally non-critical, indeed approving manner! (You are invited to sign the petition calling on the mayor of Montreal to prevent such events.)
  • Were you outraged when, in December 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a statement defaming the supporters of Quebec’s Charter of Secularism?
  • Were you outraged when, during the federal election campaign of October 2015, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair and many others slandered all those who supported a ban on the niqab during citizenship ceremonies?
  • Were you outraged when, during that same campaign, the Moderator of the United Church of Canada, Jordan Cantwell, stupidly accused supporters of a niqab ban of “Islamophobia”, thus spreading the idea that opposing fundamentalism is immoral?
  • Were you outraged during the 2013-2014 debate over the Quebec Charter of Secularism when supporters of secularism where denigrated and slandered as “intolerant,” “xenophobic,” “racist,” or worse by opponents of the Charter who included an unholy alliance between the Liberal Party of Quebec and fundamentalist Muslims?

Running through the above examples is a common thread of opposition to secularism, a white-washing of fundamentalist Islam and a failure to distinguish between fundamentalist and secular Muslims. By secular Muslims I mean those who welcome modernity and secularism and accept to practice their religion—if they practice it at all—in private, so as not to impose it on others. (I prefer not to use the term “moderate” because so-called moderate believers, while personally rejecting the most retrograde aspects of their religion, fail to denounce those aspects definitively, this enabling fundamentalists who continue to practice them and demand privileges based on them.)

For example, granting Zunera Ishaq the privilege of wearing the niqab at citizenship ceremonies as if the niqab were representative of Muslim women’s dress serves to assimilate all Muslims to radical, fundamentalist Muslims, because only the latter promote the wearing of such oppressive clothing. Claiming that allowing the niqab is a “victory” for Muslim women grossly misrepresents who Muslim women are, and is an insult to the many women who have courageously resisted the imposition of the veil in Muslim-majority countries, often at great personal risk.

mainstream politicians, by failing to take clear action against Islamist radicalism … and worse, by showing utter contempt for critics of Islam, fail to reassure a concerned public and instead contribute to the climate of fear …

Most important of all, mainstream politicians, by failing to take clear action against Islamist radicalism—for example, by banning the niqab in official ceremonies, by banning foreign financial support to religious institutions in Canada, by investigating more thoroughly what sorts of discourse are commonplace in Canadian mosques—and worse, by showing utter contempt for critics of Islam, fail to reassure a concerned public and instead contribute to the climate of fear, thus increasing the probability of mean-spirited actions such as the pig’s head incident. Ordinary citizens concerned about religious radicalism have not only been abandoned by our country’s leaders, they have been treated with outright disdain, and this is especially true in Quebec where support for secularism is strongest.

Yes, whoever delivered the pig’s head to that mosque in Quebec City acted very stupidly—but no more stupidly than Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Jordan Cantwell and many others. If the pig’s head gifters had instead behaved intelligently, they would have sought co-operation with ex-Muslims and secular Muslims who do not practice Ramadan, together they would have organized a public event involving a feast during daytime in Ramadan, and instead of leaving a pig’s head they would have left a kind invitation to all Muslims, and everyone else, to join in the festivities and partake of the feast in defiance of Ramadan. And on the menu, I would suggest a variety of dishes to please a variety of palates, including, among other meats, a few pork dishes and maybe even some head cheese.


Suggested Links


Next blog: Aphorisms about “Islamophobia” and “Racism”

Toronto Life Magazine Lionizes Islamist Agent

2016-03-23

My comments about a recent article in the magazine Toronto Life lionizing Zunera Ishaq who became famous for winning the legal “right” to wear her niqab at her Canadian citizenship ceremony.

Sommaire en français Ma réponse à un texte, paru récemment dans la revue Toronto Life, dans lequel Zunera Ishaq, célèbre pour avoir gagné le « droit » de porter son niqab lors de sa cérémonie de citoyenneté canadienne, est encensée.

Lauren McKeon’s Toronto Life article “Zunera’s War” is typical of the air-headed attitude towards religious fanaticism, especially the Islamist variety, which is currently in fashion, especially since the election of that poster boy for complacency, Justin Trudeau.

McKeon focuses greatly on the personal details of Zunera Ishaq’s life in order to lionize her. This strategy is superficially effective, but it is ultimately facile. Heart-warming anecdotes and cute details of day-to-day life could be used to make anyone, even supporters of the most egregiously backward socio-political movements, look sympathetic.

McKeon completely ignores the most salient facet of Ishaq’s case: that Ishaq is a legal jihadist, that is, she uses legal means to promote an Islamist agenda. Of course this is far less dangerous than violent jihadism. We are lucky that Ishaq uses lawyers, not guns or bombs, to further her ends. But she remains dangerous nevertheless because her ends, her goals, are to trivialize symbols—such as the niqab—of an extremely retrograde ideology, to make such accoutrements commonplace and “normal” in Canadian society, so that ultimately the ideas which underlie such symbols become mainstream and acceptable.

Islamism, the ideology which Ishaq promotes—at least implicitly—via her personal legal jihad, is far to the political right of fundamentalist Christian supporters of the Conservative Party, […]

Political theorists may debate whether or not Islamism—i.e. political Islam—corresponds to a coherent definition of “fascism.” However, whatever conclusion they may reach, one thing is certain: Islamism, the ideology which Ishaq promotes—at least implicitly—via her personal legal jihad, is far to the political right of fundamentalist Christian supporters of the Conservative Party, far to the right of Donald Trump, far to the right of the Front National (FN) in France or Pegida in Germany, far to the right of Mussolini or Pinochet or just about any other disgusting dictator one can name. Recently FN leader Marine Le Pen visited Quebec and was generally shunned and treated as a pariah. But Ishaq, whose ideology is far worse than Le Pen’s, is celebrated by fools too cowardly to acknowledge the reprehensible nature of her activism.

McKeon’s article makes a big deal of the idea that Ishaq is not some blushing wallflower, i.e. she is not a female victim being manipulated by controlling males off-stage. If this is true, then that simply deepens her guilt, and the foolishness of people like Trudeau, Mulcair and McKeon who enable her jihad. If she is acting on her own initiative and fully mindful of the consequences of her actions, then she is not just objectively reactionary, indeed she is consciously and deliberately a reactionary political activist, an active agent of extreme right-wing misogyny.

Ironically, McKeon does mention, but only in passing, the main legal issue which needs to be tackled to return Canada to sanity by not allowing religious fanatics to impose their nonsense during official ceremonies. She writes: “If religious freedom was such a tenet of Canadian society, she thought, then why couldn’t she practise her religion as she was becoming a citizen?” The problem, as anyone who has read attentively the Citizenship Act, the Preamble to the constitution or the Criminal Code (in particular the “Blasphemous Libel” section and the religious exception in the “Hate Propaganda” sections) can tell you, is that Canadian law gives undue priority to freedom of religion to the detriment of other freedoms. Indeed, freedom of religion should not be considered a fundamental freedom. Rather it is freedom of conscience which is fundamental, and it subsumes both freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion. The latter is compromised if we give precedence to the former.

As for Ishaq, she should be told in no uncertain terms that she may wear her silly niqab in her private life. But if she wishes to participate in public affairs—such as a citizenship ceremony—then she needs to act like a human being and show her face.



Next blog: Freedom of Religion is Not Fundamental