Another Notch Lower for Canada

Canada Continues to Pander to Political Islam

2019-08-21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

This Does NOT Promote Child Health

2019-08-16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Next blog: Another Notch Lower for Canada

Summary: The Islamist Veil

2019-08-12

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

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

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

Some essential points:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Next blog: This Does NOT Promote Child Health

CHRC Endorses Religious Child Abuse

The Canadian Human Rights Commission, Complicit with Political Islam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Next blog: Children’s Rights Before Teachers’

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 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

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

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