An Open Letter to the Council of Canadians

2019-02-12 Epilogue ajouté le 2019-02-13

In this blog, I respond to an article which appears on the website and in a bulletin of the Council of Canadians. The article, which apparently represents the position of the Council, associates the massacre of January 29th 2017 with so-called “Islamophobia,” “racism” and “white supremacy” and exploits the massacre in order to denigrate secularism and vilify those who support it.

Sommaire en français Je répond un article paru récemment sur le site web et dans un bulletin du Conseil des Canadiens (Council of Canadians). Ce texte, qui représente apparemment la position du Conseil, associe le massacre du 19 janvier 2017 aux soi-disant « islamophobie », « racisme » et « suprémacisme blanc » et instrumentalise cet événement pour dénigrer la laïcité et diaboliser ceux et celles qui l’appuient.

Your email bulletin of January 30th 2019, contained the following article by Rachel Small: Commemorating the second anniversary of the Quebec City Mosque attack.

The content of Small’s article is dishonest and extremely tendentious. It makes repeated use of the unacceptable expression “Islamophobia” whose purpose is to stifle legitimate criticism of both Islam and Islamism. The fact that Canada’s parliament was manipulated into adopting a motion (M-103) endorsing this concept is no excuse. Progressives have a duty to reject its use. To fear a religion, especially a monotheism such as Islam or Christianity, is not an irrational “phobia” but rather a sane and healthy response to danger. The crime committed by the assassin of January 29th 2017 was not his fear, but rather where he directed it — at innocent individuals — and how he expressed it — with murderous violence. We certainly do NOT need to fight against “Islamophobia”; rather we must encourage rational discussion and criticism of religion while directing that criticism first and foremost against ideologies (rather than against human beings) and against censorship of debate.

Even worse is the article’s conflation of religion and race. Race has absolutely nothing to do with the event. Rather, it involved religion which is completely distinct from race. Small’s evocation of “white supremacy” is completely irrelevant and so misleading as to be a bald-faced lie. The misuse of this expression is an insult to the many blacks, Jews and others who have indeed been persecuted because of that ideology, especially in the USA. Currently, white supremacism is very marginal here in Canada. However, when it did have a strong presence, when the KKK had many Canadian chapters, it was virulently anti-Catholic and anti-Quebec and engaged in acts of terrorism against French-language churches and schools. The use of “white supremacy” to characterize the motives of the 2017 mosque killer is ahistorical and an insult to all Québécois.

Small’s mention of “decades of wars against Muslim-majority countries, state policy which has normalized the killing of millions of Muslims” is particularly inappropriate. Need I remind her that we are talking about a crime which occurred here, in this country, not elsewhere? If Small wishes to complain about the foreign policy of the USA, the UK or any other country, then I suggest she take her complaint to the appropriate government instead of trying to dump the blame on someone in Quebec City.

The tendentious nature of Small’s article reaches a paroxysm when she approvingly links to two other very revealing documents: The article by Jasmin Zine in The Conversation, which has published several diatribes imbued with anti-Québécois prejudice, repeats and deepens Small’s dishonest assertions. The text by Toula Drimonis in the National Observer uses the all-too-familiar false accusation of “far-right” (and again “white nationalist”!) to slur the secularism measures proposed by the newly-elected CAQ. Both Zine and Drimonis manifest a total ignorance of secularism, in particular republican secularism (laïcité).

Si la Charte de la laïcité avait été adoptée en 2014, si les partisans de cette Charte n’avaient pas été si massivement diabolisés et ciblés par des fausses accusations diffamatoires, si la population québécoise n’avait pas été si complètement abandonnée par ses chefs politiques après la prise du pouvoir par le PLQ en avril 2014, alors le massacre du 29 janvier 2017 n’aurait probablement jamais eu lieu.

Quebec has legislation which forbids public servants from wearing partisan political symbols while on the job, an eminently judicious measure. It is both reasonable and necessary to extend this ban to religious symbols, given that religions are inevitably political when they insinuate themselves into state institutions. Both the Charter of Secularism proposed by the PQ government in 2013-2014 and the measures announced by the new CAQ government are laudable efforts which progressives have a duty to support. Neither Zine nor Drimonis makes any attempt to address the solid arguments for a ban on such symbols. Their failure to do so represents journalistic incompetence. Secularism — including banning religious symbols in government — is not only the will of the people in Quebec, it is a noble and enlightened program which helps to reduce the risk of inter-religious conflict.

Regardless of the intentions of the authors of these three articles, the objective result is opposition to secularism, complacency towards political Islam and an endorsement of anti-Québécois racism.

If the Charter of Secularism had been adopted in 2014, if supporters of that Charter had not been so overwhelmingly demonized and slandered by false accusations, if the Quebec population had not been so totally abandoned by its political leaders after the Quebec Liberal Party took power in April 2014, then the massacre of January 29th 2017 would, in all likelihood, not have occurred.

The perpetrator of the mosque shooting was a psychologically unstable individual who had been the target of bullying throughout his young life. He also feared Islamist terrorism. In addition, he, like all Quebeckers, had been for years inundated with a tsunami of propaganda condemning anyone who had even the slightest misgivings about Islam or Muslims with specious accusations of Islamophobia, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, far-right affinities and a plethora of other sins. In other words, Quebeckers were subject to incessant psychological intimidation by mainstream media and many politicians, denigrating them for having legitimate concerns, vilifying them for desiring a secular state, bullying them into silence and removing all hope of healthy debate. At some point, the young man snapped.

The attitude of Small, Zine and Drimonis is dangerous and can only increase the probability of future violent acts by stigmatizing necessary criticism of religion. If the Charter of Secularism had been adopted in 2014, if supporters of that Charter had not been so overwhelmingly demonized and slandered by false accusations, if the Quebec population had not been so totally abandoned by its political leaders after the Quebec Liberal Party took power in April 2014, then the massacre of January 29th 2017 would, in all likelihood, not have occurred. I earnestly hope that the current Quebec government will keep its secularization promises because that will help repair some of the enormous damage done by irresponsible ideologues such as Small, Zine and Drimonis.


Epilogue

Pour faire contrepoids à la propagande anti-québécoise dénoncée ci-dessous, lisez donc ceci : Le calme dans la tempête, Le calme digne, le calme fort, Léolane Kemner, Journal de Montréal, 2019-02-13.


Next blog: Quebec’s Draft Bill 21 Implements State Secularism

Three Strategies of Islamists

…and their dupes and allies in non-Muslim countries

2019-02-08 Epilogue added 2019-02-08 @ 21:00

This blog summarizes three major strategies employed by Islamists and their objective allies: (1) accusations of “Islamophobia”; (2) conflation of race and religion; and (3) defamation by association with the far-right.

Sommaire en français Dans ce blogue je résume trois stratégies majeures utilisées par les islamistes et leurs alliés objectifs : (1) les accusations d’« islamophobie »; (2) confondre race et religion; et (3) diffamation par association avec l’extrême-droite.

In non-Muslim countries, Islamists, i.e. promoters of political Islam—a variant of Islam with serious political ambitions—have several key strategies. Here are three important ones:

  1. Accusations of “Islamophobia”: This strategy needs little explanation. The dishonest and incoherent nature of the term “Islamophobia” is well known and well documented. The main purpose of such accusations is to stifle, i.e. censor, legitimate criticism of Islam and Islamism.
    • The suffix “-phobia” implies an irrational fear, whereas to fear a religion, especially a dangerous monotheism like Islam or Christianity, is eminently rational, especially if that religion has political ambitions.
    • Furthermore, the term is often used incorrectly to mean a prejudice against Muslims, i.e. a group of persons, whereas Islam is not a group of persons but rather a religious ideology.
  2. Conflation of Race and Religion: Again, this strategy is well known. And again, the main purpose is to stifle criticism of Islam or Islamism by labelling the adherents of those ideologies as belonging to a “race” (which is of course nonsense) so that accusations of “racism” may be used against critics.
    • The dishonesty of this strategy is obvious: whether or not one considers race to be a fictional or a real phenomenon, it must necessarily be based on innate, immutable attributes of the individual (such as genetic inheritance, skin colour or some other physical characteristic). But religion, on the other hand, is an idea or an ideology which one can (or at least should be allowed to) change at will. When an individual adopts a new religion, or abandons their former religion, they do not thus belong to a new race, obviously. Furthermore, the conflation of race and religion amounts to a denial of freedom of conscience for religious believers.
    • If an individual has the misfortune of being born and raised in religion X, then identifying that person with religion X amounts to a denial of his/her right to think for himself or herself. In fact, identifying a child with the religion of his or her parents is already a violation of that child’s freedom of conscience. Religion should be a matter for adults only, like marriage or alcohol. Until an individual reaches adulthood and attains the maturity necessary for informed decisions on such matters, he or she should not be identified with any religion.
  3. Accusations of Far-Right Political Affinity: This strategy is very often used by the identitarian left (or more accurately, pseudo-left) to slander anyone who disagrees with it—often using or misusing the vague expression “alt-right”—and it has been gleefully borrowed by Islamists to their great advantage. This slur is based on an extremely loose definition of “far-right” or, even better, no explicit definition at all, thus allowing the label to be stuck on any person or thing one dislikes.
    • This strategy works very well for Islamists as it converges greatly with the two strategies described above, especially the second.
    • This strategy is particularly ironic and hypocritical as Islamism is itself an extreme far-right ideology, far worse than even the classic fascism of Mussolini.
    • One major example: the denigration of the Quebec government of the party CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec) elected to power on October 1st 2018. The CAQ is a centre-right party which places it close to the defeated QLP (Quebec Liberal Party) on the left-right political spectrum in terms of economic policy. Yet the English-language media in Canada, which were very sympathetic to the PLQ, do not hesitate to associate CAQ with far-right groups. Why? Because the CAQ has committed itself to implementing several very good secular measures in Quebec (which, by the way, places it far to the left of any other government, provincial or federal, in Canada on that issue). Secularism is of course an anathema for Islamists; thus, the CAQ has already been the target of a tsunami of negative propaganda from Islamist ideologues and their dupes—just as the Parti Québécois (PQ) was several years ago and for similar reasons—and we can expect it to continue for some time.

All three of these strategies are variants of the same theme: slander, in varying degrees of intensity. Furthermore, all three are blithely deployed in the service of Islamism by non-Muslims who are duped by that ideology into becoming its unwitting allies.

Anyone who employs all three of the above strategies is an objective ally of political Islam. By “objective ally” I mean that, regardless of the person’s intentions (which are often difficult or impossible to judge), their words and/or actions objectively benefit the spread of Islamist ideology whether intentionally or not, whether they realize it or not.


Epilogue

Aislin cartoon
Click to enlarge
Source: Facebook page of cartoonist Aislin

Only hours after putting the above blog on line, I received some news that illustrates all too graphically my point, in item 3 above, about slandering the CAQ by falsing associating it with the far-right. The cartoonist of the Montreal Gazette produced the caricature on the left. It is available on-line, on the cartoonist’s Facebook page. This image does not merely transmit a message which defames the CAQ. It is a major slur directed at all those who support the CAQ’s secularism measures, including the majority of Québécois. Although the Gazette decided not to run it—a wise decision, I think—I am publishing it here because it needs to be seen in order to expose the profound and virulent hatred for Québécois which underlies opposition to the CAQ’s very reasonable and laudable plans. This is the face of anti-Québécois racism, so prevalent in English-speaking Canada.


Next blog: An Open Letter to the Council of Canadians

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

Canada’s Anti-Blasphemy Law Repealed, But M-103 Remains

2018-12-13

Canada’s anti-blasphemy law has finally been repealed. Excellent news. However, Motion M-103 which condemns “Islamophobia” remains in force.
Sommaire en français La loi canadienne qui criminalise le blasphème est enfin abrogée. Excellente nouvelle ! Toutfois, la Motion M-103 qui condamne l’« islamophobie » demeure en vigueur.
The Canadian Senate has voted to repeal the country’s “blasphemous libel” law (Section 296 of the Criminal Code), as part of a Bill C-51 which removes outdated legislation. Earlier today (2018-12-13) the senate announced on its twitter feed that the Bill has received Royal Assent and is thus adopted. This has excellent news indeed and has been reported on a number of atheist and humanist web sites such as End Blasphemy Laws and The Friendly Atheist. However, before breaking out the champagne, consider this. The various reports I have seen so far fail to mention an important problem: Motion M-103 remains on the books. That Motion condemns so-called “Islamophobia” and thus sets the stage for a new kind of anti-blasphemy legislation, condemning criticism of one religion, but without explicit use of the word “blasphemy.” Although Motion M-103 does not have force of law, it is dangerous for exactly the same reason as Section 296: its international impact. Both Section 296 and Motion M-103 give countries with similar legislation a convenient excuse to continue violating human rights by pointing to Canada’s bad example. Section 296 did not, of course, have force of law outside Canada either, and even inside Canada it had not been used for decades. Nevertheless, the symbolic effect was negative. Motion M-103 continues to provide that negative example. Furthermore, Motion M-103 is, in one sense, even worse that Section 296 in that it privileges one specific religion, giving it preferential treatment. So in addition to constituting a form of soft censorship of criticism of Islam, it will generate animosity from believers in other religions which are not so privileged. Moreover, there is a legitimate fear that in future M-103 may be followed eventually by a similar proposal, inspired by it, but having force of law.
Such accusations have precisely the same chilling effect as Motion M-103: they are a form of intimidation which stifles criticism of Islam and helps to further the agenda of political Islam.
This problem is complicated by the fact that some of the very people who applaud the repeal of Section 296 and claim to be secularists hypocritically support M-103. Even worse, some even repeat absurd accusations that to oppose M-103 is necessarily a right-wing or far-right position. Such accusations have precisely the same chilling effect as Motion M-103: they are a form of intimidation which stifles criticism of Islam and helps to further the agenda of political Islam. Secularists must now work to repeal Motion M-103 and to prevent the Canadian parliament from adopting in the future any motion or legislation similar or worse.

Next blog: Open Letter to TheConversation: An Organ of Anti-Quebec Propaganda

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

Pride & Shame in Toronto & London

Islamophilia Infests LGBT Pride Marches

2017-07-20, updated 2017-07-22

A report of how pro-Islamist groups have attempted to censor criticism of Islamic homophobia at two recent LGBT pride marches.

Sommaire en français Comment plusieurs groupes pro-Islamist ont essayé de faire taire la critique de l’homophobie islamique lors de deux récents défilés de la fierté LGBT.

Recently two pride marches — in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and in London, England — have been marred by attempts to censor legitimate criticism of Islam, Islamism and Islamic homophobia.

Toronto

At the Toronto event on June 25th, a contingent of Iranian gays and other sexual minorities marched to protest the extreme homophobia of the brutal regime which rules their home country. However, they were almost prevented from doing so by a group of so-called “anti-fascists” as can be seen in the video Leftists call Muslim refugees islamophobic at Toronto Pride. I am not sure what group it was, as Antifa Toronto claims that they were not involved. At any rate, as Maryam Namazie reports:

[…] some ‘anti-fascists’ surrounded Iranian refugees and LGBTQ activists and absurdly chanted ‘No Hate at Pride’ – as if defending LGBTQ people in Iran or countries under Islamic rule is ‘hateful’.

Police intervention ensured that they weren’t able to stop the Iranians from joining Pride as the video below shows.

The irony of “anti-fascist” activists accusing an Iranian holding a sign saying “I am Muslim and condemn the persecution of LGBTQ+ in Islamic countries” of “Islamophobia” was clearly lost on them. It’s just another example of how criticism of Islamism or even Islam is conflated with bigotry against Muslims at the expense of dissenters and to the advantage of Islamists.

Source: In Toronto LGBT Iranians were branded as ‘Islamophobes’

This incident is yet another clear example, as if one were needed, of how use of the censorious accusation of “Islamophobia” enables Islamofascism by making it even more difficult to criticize the excesses of political Islam and Islamist theocracies. In particular this harms the people who are already in a difficult position: gays, other sexual minorities, apostates, etc. who are persecuted by Islam.

Last year (2016) Toronto Pride was disrupted by the organization Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesting the presence of police in the march. BLM activists were successful in forcing Pride organizers to ban police participation, so this year a contingent of Toronto police went all the way to New York City to march in their gay pride parade!

When I was very actively involved in the gay movement back in the 1970s (we quaintly called it “Gay Liberation” in those days), even the thought of police actually participating in our march would have been preposterous. The police were there on duty, only for basic security and control, certainly not as participants. Relations between gays and the police were very strained indeed because the police were often very homophobic and barely tolerated our existence. But times have changed greatly since then.

The 2016 incident with BLM may appear unrelated to this year’s attempt to block Iranian refugees and LGBTQ activists. But the two incidents are indeed related. (1) Firstly, if one consults the list of demands on the web site of BLM-Toronto, we see that the demand “END ISLAMOPHOBIA & WHITE SUPREMACY” features prominently. That statement is extremely problematic for two reasons: it declares “Islamophobia” to be something one should fight against, which is nonsense, because there is nothing irrational or objectionable about fearing a dangerous religion such as Islam (or Christianity, or several others). Even worse, the statement lumps “white supremacy” — which indeed is a very dangerous and reprehensible form of racism — in with it. Such an inconsistent and ridiculous demand shows that whoever prepared the list is not even clear about what racism is, because a religion has nothing to do with race. How can we support an ostensibly anti-racist organization which is so evidently incompetent? (2) Secondly, Toronto police were involved in both incidents.

When so-called “anti-racist” and “anti-fascist” groups take actions which are more regressive than those of the police, then it is time for the leaders and members of those groups to undertake some serious reflection.

In both incidents, a group denouncing “Islamophobia” and thus showing its affinity with the regressive pro-Islamist “left” disrupted or attempted to disrupt the event. In both incidents, Toronto police took a position which was ironically more progressive than that of either BLM or the “antifas.” In the first incident police wanted to march for gay rights but were prevented. In the second they intervened and allowed the Iranians to march for gay rights. When so-called “anti-racist” and “anti-fascist” groups take actions which are more regressive than those of the police, then it is time for the leaders and members of those groups to undertake some serious reflection.

London

Meanwhile, across the pond in London, events transpired which somewhat resembled those in Toronto two weeks earlier. The group Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain marched in the July 8th Pride parade carrying banners with slogans such as “ALLAH IS GAY,” “FUCK ISLAMIC HOMOPHOBIA,” and my personal favourite “WE’RE HERE, WE’RE KAFFIR, GET USED TO IT.” (The term “kaffir” or “kafir” means a non-Muslim or an apostate of Islam.) It was a great success, as can be seen in the video The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) participates in Pride and in the report on the CEMB web site. CEMB’s participation was not blocked, although “police initially tried to remove placards with the slogan ‘Allah is Gay’ because of complaints of ‘offence’.”

More negative reactions came quickly in the aftermath of the march. The East London Mosque was so upset that it filed a formal complaint with Pride festival organizers. They of course denounced CEMB’s participation as “Islamophobic” and they criticized placards naming the Mosque as promoting homophobia. And they were particularly irate about the “ALLAH IS GAY” slogan.

Now, the slogan “Allah is gay” is of course meaningless, because Allah is a fictional character. It is like saying, “Superman likes blueberries” or “Thor is left-handed.” Nevertheless, it is a very useful slogan because it exposes homophobia. Indeed, the very fact that the East London Mosque was so offended by it means that they are homophobic, because they consider that calling their god gay is shameful. But in reality, it is the other way around. It is insulting to gays to be associated with such a distasteful character as Allah. But we know he is fictional, so we are not offended. And even if he were real, that would not justify censorship of the slogan.

The mosque accused CEMB of inciting hatred of Muslims, which of course they were not at all doing. CEMB was simply denouncing homophobia — and sometimes very violent and even deadly homophobia — based on Islam and enforced by theocratic regimes. As Maryam Namazie, speaking for CEMB in an email, declared:

the very reason CEMB was at Pride was to combat hate and to highlight the 13 states under Islamic rule that kill gay men (14 if we include Daesh-held territories). We included placards on the East London mosque to bring attention to the fact that there are mosques here in Britain that promote the death penalty for homosexuality and apostasy.

As ex-Muslims, we are at risk from hate preachers that speak at some mosques and universities; our gay members are at an increased risk.

The East London Mosque has a long history of hosting hate preachers who incite against blasphemers, apostates and homosexuals so we felt naming and shaming them was very apt.

Unfortunately, Pride organizers have so far reacted badly, denouncing CEMB. In the words of a spokesperson:

“All volunteers, staff and parade groups agree that Pride celebrates diversity and will not tolerate any discrimination of any kind. While our parade has always been a home to protest, which often means conflicting points of view, Pride must always be a movement of acceptance, diversity and unity. We will not tolerate Islamophobia.”

Evidently, the organizers do not accept a diversity of opinion and have bought into the dishonest propaganda of those who use accusations of “Islamophobia” as a form of bullying to silence legitimate criticism of Islamic ideology.

But CEMB has fought back rapidly, declaring that ‘They are trying to silence us’. Speaking for CEMB, Maryam Namazie said:

“Why are signs critical of Islam (a belief) and Islamism (a far-right political movement) ‘anti-Muslim’?” Muslims are people, with as many different opinions as anyone else. They are not a homogeneous group but individuals. Some will agree with us, others won’t. In fact, several Muslims visiting from Bangladesh joined us. The incredible support we received from minorities in the crowd cheering us on is a reflection of that. Not everyone was offended. And offence can never be a reason to censor and silence dissent.”

“[…] the climate we live in where bullies and homophobes are rewarded and victims blamed.”

As for the East London Mosque:

“The fact that […] their complaint is taken seriously by Pride speaks volumes about the climate we live in where bullies and homophobes are rewarded and victims blamed. The real problem for them is that we are ex-Muslims. We are not allowed to speak or show ourselves or challenge views that degrade and denigrate us.”

Apostasy is a Human Right!

Bravo to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and to Iranian and other Muslim refugees who support LGBT rights! And shame on all those who attempt to silence criticism of Islam or Islamism! Freedom for Muslim gays and other sexual minorities and freedom for ex-Muslims whose only “crime” is to exercise their freedom of conscience!


Next blog: Quebec’s Right to Self-Determination

“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

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!

Exploiting Mass Murder for Political Gain

2017-02-17

I recently learned that I am the target of defamatory remarks published on a Canadian web site. I am accused of a certain degree of complicity in the Quebec City murders. This is my response.

Sommaire en français Je viens d’apprendre que je suis la cible de propos diffamatoires publiés sur un site web canadien. On m’accuse d’un certain degré de complicité dans la récente tuerie à Québec. Voici ma réponse.

In a recent blog The Quebec City Attack: Some Context, I wrote:

It took a very short time for the unscrupulous to begin exploiting this tragedy for political ends. Slanderous and hateful comments have been made, …

When I wrote the above, I did not yet realize how appallingly true it would turn out to be. It has recently come to my attention that I have been accused, on a certain Canadian web site, of a certain degree of complicity in the Quebec City massacre, although it is a little vague (perhaps deliberately so) what that degree is. What was the nature of my complicity in this atrocity? According to my accuser, my criticism of the word “islamophobia” in a recent blog Fools Against “Islamophobia” implies a total—and, in my accuser’s apparent estimation, near-criminal—disregard for anti-Muslim prejudice.

In that blog I criticized gay activists in Ontario and in the U.K. for their inappropriate response to the Orlando shooting in which about 50 were massacred in a gay bar. Instead of concentrating their energies on denouncing religious homophobia, in this case Islamic homophobia, they foolishly chose to demonstrate against “Islamophobia” as if “the possibility of antipathy towards those who practice Islam is worse than murdering gays in the name of Islam.” Furthermore, they chose incorrect language to do so: if they were concerned about the danger of an anti-Muslim backlash, i.e. attacks against real people, they could have denounced anti-Muslim prejudice.

But instead, these gay activists used the term “Islamophobia” which implies a (possibly irrational) fear of the ideology Islam. This is wrong for at least two reasons: (1) there is nothing irrational about fearing Islam; and (2) criticizing an ideology is very different from hatred of real human beings. By confusing the two issues, these activists stigmatized criticism of Islam and its cousin Islamism, thus playing into the hands of Islamist propagandists. Those who control language also control minds. The words we choose are important. Clarity is essential.

…the Quebec City killing of six Muslims was far, far worse than mere “Islamophobia.” It was not an attack on a religion or an idea. On the contrary, it was murderous violence against living, breathing human beings.

What is ironic here is that the Quebec City killing of six Muslims was far, far worse than mere “Islamophobia.” It was not an attack on a religion or an idea. On the contrary, it was murderous violence against living, breathing human beings. It was anti-Muslim terrorism, it was an anti-Muslim massacre. (Some people reject the term “terrorism” in this case. I tend to disagree.) We all have a duty, especially atheists and secularists, to distinguish between ideas and people, i.e. between beliefs and believers. To confuse the two categories only increases the danger of misunderstandings and possibly retribution for past acts of violence.

I also know why my accuser hates me (although we do not even know each other). Based on previous writings, it is clear that my criticism of communitarianism, a.k.a. multiculturalism, and my concomitant support for republican secularism burn his or her butt.

It is not clear whether my accuser is literally insane, or merely a horrific jerk. Maybe both? Fortunately, unlike Donald Trump, my accuser is not the head of a powerful nation with massive nuclear capability, so there is a limit to how much damage the lout can do. Unfortunately he or she is far from alone in this venal practice of exploiting a bloody tragedy for partisan political purposes.

Yesterday I slipped on some ice, fell and hurt my knee. Who or what is to blame? I blame Islamophobia and the Quebec “Charter of Values.” … OK, just kidding.

It has been said (I am unable to locate the source) that the only vice is conformism. Since the Quebec City attack on January 29th, we have seen a lot of vicious conformism. There has been a chorus of unscrupulous individuals claiming that the debate, in 2013-2014, around the Charter of Secularism proposed by the previous Quebec government, was a major cause of the massacre. This is accompanied by lamenting the prevalence of “identity politics” or “nationalisme identitaire” etc., etc. when in reality the Charter would have imposed neutrality on public institutions so that individuals would be prevented from promoting their particular, partisan religious or political identity while being paid from public funds. The Charter would have attenuated identity politics.

One very high profile example of this is the recent media splash by Charles Taylor who was co-president of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, about a decade ago. The Commission was mandated to study the issue of so-called “reasonable accommodation” which to be precise should be called religious accommodation. One of its principal recommendations was that public servants in positions of coercive authority—police, judges, etc.—should not be allowed to wear religious symbols while on duty. I think such symbols should be banned for all public servants while on duty, but the Commission’s recommendation was at least a step in the right direction.

Taylor has exploited the Quebec City massacre as an excuse to repudiate, in a very public fashion, one of the rare constructive positions he has taken in the past.

Very recently, Taylor repudiated his previous position; he now thinks that no such ban should be imposed. His reason? The Quebec City event has changed the situation and, according to Taylor, the debate over the Quebec Charter “stigmatized” some groups. In reality, as ex-MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin has revealed, Taylor has discreetly held his current opinion for years, since long before the recent event. In other words, Taylor has exploited the Quebec City massacre as an excuse to repudiate, in a very public fashion, one of the rare constructive positions he had taken in the past.

But the prize for the most excessive and most egregious behaviour exploiting the Quebec City tragedy goes to Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid who is promoting her motion M-103 condemning “Islamophobia.” According to a CBC news report, she defines that term as “the irrational hate of Muslims that leads to discrimination.” Once again, we see a deliberate confusion of terms in order to justify a dangerous threat to freedom of expression. And once again, both the political centre and the so-called left have completely abandoned all rationality, so that only some members of the Conservative Party oppose the motion, thus allowing its promoters to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being right-wingers.

My accuser is a petty member of that rogue’s gallery of unprincipled conformists.

You are allowed to disagree with me. But you are not allowed to accuse me of complicity in murder.

Further reading:


Next blog: Islam and Islamism

Fools Against “Islamophobia”

How the Regressive Left Neutralizes the Gay Movement

2017-01-29

In this blog I present two examples of LGBT activists who, instead of pursuing the necessary fight against religious homophobia, become dupes of the imposture of “Islamophobia.”

Sommaire en français Dans le présent blogue je donne deux exemples de militants LGBT qui, au lieu de faire la nécessaire lutte à l’homophobie religieuse, se font duper par l’imposture de l’« islamophobie ».

First, a quick reminder of the horrific event in Orlando, Florida, last June, as described by Wikipedia:

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. […] It was both the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history. It was also the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the September 11 attacks in 2001. In a 9-1-1 call shortly after the shooting began, Mateen swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and said the shooting was “triggered” by the U.S. killing of Abu Waheeb in Iraq the previous month.

Thus we have a massacre, an act of murderous terrorism, motivated primarily by Islamism and homophobia.

Now consider the following quotation taken from a “Solidarity Statement from LGBTIQ communities against Islamophobia” issued by the AIDS Network of several southwestern Ontario communities and co-signed by dozens of gay, lesbian and other organizations from Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and other localities in Ontario. (A copy of the document is also available here.) The statement, dated June 24th 2016, less than two weeks after the Orlando atrocity, declares:

We issue this statement against Islamophobia and in support of Muslim communities across Ontario. In the early hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016, (7 Ramadan, 1437), in Orlando, Florida, 49 people were killed and 53 people wounded in a shooting at a nightclub popular with members of the LGBTIQ communities. Most of those killed were LGBTIQ People of Colour, primarily Latino and Black. […] For people in LGBTIQ communities who identify as Muslim, this past week has also been particularly challenging as they deal with the shock and pain of the attack on LGBTQ people as well as facing the fear of increased racial profiling and Islamophobia. […] There has been a rise in hate speech against Muslims. Some are using this attack on LGBTIQ people to justify their racism and Islamophobia. […]

So let us summarize: An atrocious act of religiously motivated homophobia occurs, and what do these Ontario organizations do: they issue a statement in support of co-religionists of the perpetrator of the act, because somehow, in their warped imaginations, the possibility of antipathy towards those who practice Islam is worse than murdering gays in the name of Islam. They even give the Islamic date of the attack! Disgusting.

Imagine if a Christian fanatic, motivated by their faith, were to attack an abortion clinic, killing and wounding dozens of doctors, nurses and patients, and suppose that feminists, instead of condemning Christian misogyny and asserting their support for women’s right to control their own reproduction, were instead to sympathize with those poor Christians who might have to suffer dirty looks from their neighbours for the next few days because of resentment over this act. The total inversion (and perversion) of priorities here is obvious.

The appropriate response to the Orlando terrorist attack should have been, and was, for those of us who preserved our sanity, to denounce religious homophobia in general and Muslim homophobia in particular. Islam does not deserve special treatment any more favorable that Christianity receives. Islamic homophobia is just as virulent as Christian homophobia, and arguably much more so currently. Just as we categorically and resolutely condemn Christian homophobia, Islamic homophobia deserves at least similar condemnation.

LGBT Against Islamophobia at Birmingham Pride 2015Click to view full size
Source: LGBT Against Islamophobia

Another example: Consider the photo on the right found on the web site of LGBT Against Islamophobia. We see a bunch of colourful people at Birmingham Pride 2015 carrying a banner denouncing “Islamophobia,” “racism” and “fascism” and promoting “diversity.” It must be pointed out that:

  1. The term “Islamophobia” is obvious bullshit, a word whose purpose is to censor criticism of Islam.
  2. The word “racism” is inappropriate here because Islam is a religion and has nothing to do with race.
  3. The term “fascism” is worse than inappropriate, indeed it is hypocritical, because fundamentalist Islam is every bit as totalitarian as fascism, indeed more so.
  4. Furthermore, “diversity” is just a nonsense buzzword whose true meaning is that if you disagree with the previous sentiments, you will be accused of xenophobia or racism or worse. In the age of Islamophilia, the word “diversity” has become a form of bullying just like the other three words.

Fortunately, some clever individual had the perspicacity to take the Birmingham photo and join another relevant photo to it. Here is the result:

Gays for Islam, Islam for GaysClick to view full size
Gays for Islam, Islam for Gays

Blasphemy in the XXIst Century

The obsession with “Islamophobia” and similar specious accusations are used by the regressive left to silence necessary criticism of Islam and Islamism (the latter being a subset of the former). The accusation is a modern form of censorship of blasphemy, where the ban is enforced using intimidation. This bullying has effectively neutralized entire sections of the gay rights movement (but fortunately not all, see below) and other progressive movements.

Those who practise this form of bullying are partially responsible for the current wave of events such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, both of which were motivated in part by a desire for popular sovereignty, the ability of the people to have some control over their condition (i.e. democracy), a concept which has been denigrated and vilified by the regressive left by associating nationalism and populism totally with racism and xenophobia. In the words of Sohrab Ahmari of the Wall Street Journal:

[…] freedom of movement is unraveling now because liberals won central debates—about Islamism, social cohesion and nationalism. Rather than give ground on any of these fronts, they accused opponents of being phobic and reactionary. Now liberals are reaping the rewards of those underhanded victories.

[…]

For too many liberals, every Islamist atrocity was cause to fret about the “Islamophobic” backlash it was sure to trigger. This had become an almost an automatic reflex: When a jihadist would go boom somewhere, liberal hashtags expressing solidarity with threatened Muslim minorities were never far behind. But liberals didn’t bother nearly as much about the pathologies in Muslim communities, and in Islamic civilization itself, that were producing so much carnage. Some liberals would sooner abandon their own feminist and gay-rights orthodoxies than criticize what imams in certain suburbs of Paris and London were telling their congregations about Afghanistan and defending the honor of the ummah.

How Liberals Killed the Freedom of Movement

Where Ahmari refers to “liberals,” he is talking of course about regressive liberals. (In the USA, where there is basically no political left left, the term “liberal” is about as far left as one can generally go.)


An Appropriate Response

As mentioned above, the appropriate response to the Orlando terrorist attack should have been to denounce religious homophobia in general and Muslim homophobia in particular. That is indeed what I and my friends of the group LGBT pour la laïcité (LGBT for Secularism) did at the Montreal Gay Pride march in August of 2016, about a month after the Orlando atrocity. In the photo below you can see the banner of the group with the slogan “L’HOMOPHOBIE RELIGIEUSE TUE” or “RELIGIOUS HOMOPHOBIA KILLS.”

LGBT for Secularism in 2016 Montreal Pride ParadeClick to view full size
Contingent of the group LGBT pour la laïcité (LGBT for Secularism)
in the 2016 Montreal Pride Parade


Next blog: The Quebec City Attack: Some Context