Thursday, December 13, 2007

Islamic Circle of North America

For the story of Aqsa Parvez, the National Post turns to one Mohammad Al-Nadvi to downplay Islam as a cause of her death. Why does the media turn to such people for points of view? I'm not attacking this point of view with an ad hominem here -- I'm not even attacking the point of view at all; I think the role Islam played in this case is fairly well established (given the amount of evidence we have to work with) by the details of Aqsa's life given by her friends, but will be established more definitively one way or another as the trial moves a long. So, anyway, let's look at just a tidbit of Al-Nadvi's connections.

He's a "Central Department Head" of the Islamic Circle of North America. The ICNA describes themselves here as "working for the establishment of Islam in all spheres of life." Not just the religious sphere of life? All spheres? The only way I can understand this is that they are saying that are a revolutionary Islamist political group. Maybe they're just bad with words though. But, let's see a little more. Joe Kaufman looks at how the ICNA sent money to Hamas, another revolutionary Islamist (and terrorist) group which seeks the exact same thing as the ICNA does, as according to their self-styling anyway. Coincidence, then? I doubt it.

But is it a coincidence that when media covers some number of views on any story relating to Islam, they always seem to include the totalitarian Islamist one? Again, I doubt it. What, you say? Conspiracy? No, not at all. The media is just credulous to anyone who gets out there as a "cultural" group. And these Islamist groups are doing just that. We need someone in Canada doing the same thing that Joe Kaufman does in the States.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jason Kenney on CIC/Steyn; Elmasry Defends Hezbollah Terrorists

I believe this to be the first time a politician has spoken on the Canadian Islamic Congress/Steyn affair. It's Conservative Jason Kenney:
"To be attacking opinions expressed by a columnist in a major magazine is a pretty bold attack on the basic Canadian value of freedom of the press and freedom of expression," Kenney said in an interview. "I think all Canadians would reject that kind of effort to undermine one of our basic freedoms."
This isn't the first time there has been some interaction between Jason Kenney and the CIC. Mohamed Elmasry, the president of the CIC, previously described Jason Kenney as a man who subscribes to "dubious ideologies." But what establishes Kenney as such? In Elmasry's mind, it is because Kenney said: "The world was wrong to negotiate with [the Nazis] then, and it would be wrong to negotiate with Hezbollah today." Hezbollah is a terrorist group, yet Elmasry defended them when he got the chance, and equivocated them with every other political party and described them as "legitimate." This is the man leading the Canadian Islamic Congress which purports to represent the Canadian Islamic community in its entirety.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Murdered for not Wearing Hijab

Today in Mississauga, a 16-year-old girl was apparently murdered yesterday by her father because she wouldn't wear the hijab. "She was really into fashion" her friend described her, as I believe most teenage girls are. However, being like most girls wasn't good enough for Aqsa Parvez's father Muhammed, it seems:
Friends of Aqsa Parvez said she feared for her life in the days prior to her murder.

The 16-year-old Applewood Heights Secondary School student was strangled on Monday morning inside her family's Longhorn Trail home.

Friends of the teen say she feared for her life and had been embroiled in a cultural dispute with family members in the weeks before her death.
The victim's 26-year-old brother, Waqas Parvez, is charged with obstructing police.
The News spoke with several students at Applewood today. They said their friend, known by those close to her as "Axe," feared her father and had argued with him over her desire to shun the hijab, a traditional shoulder-length head scarf worn by females in devout Muslim families.
Carla Gianetti said Parvez's father imposed several restrictions on his daughter, all in the name of religion.
The Canadian Press has room for Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress (the now infamous Mark Steyn persecutors): "I don't want the public to think that this is really an Islamic issue..." Strange comment, seeing that this was apparently done in the "name of religion", that being Islam. And Elmasry in the past called author Irshad Manji, who also refuses to wear hijab, "anti-Islam", promoting the same attitude toward women who see Islam differently that seems to have led to this girl's death. But I don't blame Elmasry for trying. This comes at a time when him and his CIC are complaining that kafirs like Mark Steyn are endangering Muslims, but this incident shows the opposite: It's Muslims who are hurting Muslims in Canada. Has the opposite ever happened, has any Muslim in Canada ever been killed by the supposedly oppressive non-Muslim majority for their choice to wear the hijab?

And, from the same Canadian Press article, quoting Atiya Ahsan from the Canadian Council of Muslim Women: "If you know that your girl is good and she practises her faith, she's not hopping around in what we consider lewd behaviour, then for heaven's sakes you know, let the girl have a chance..." Another strange comment. I mean, is not what's being said here: If the opposite is the case, that she isn't practising Islam, then, don't let the girl have a chance?

Here's something else to think about; the dark irony in being throttled into wearing the hijab: If another girl was strangled by her father for this reason yet lived, and so was frightened into wearing the hijab, what do you think the chances of anyone else seeing the bruising around her neck when it is covered by the hijab? And I do suspect this is the case: This incident was found out because it went to death; I don't doubt that there are many more cases where children are abused into wearing the hijab which are never uncovered.

But then you have the addendum from these apologetics: "...
most Muslim women in this country wear the hijab as a result of their own choice..." But who is actually saying that Muslim women don't wear the hijab as a result of their own choice? The real question is why do they choose to wear it? Is undue pressure from their fathers, even violent pressure, a factor in that choice? I don't doubt it, as this very story illustrates. And indeed, there are schools in Canada that force girls to wear the hijab lest they be barred from attending. And many girls are sent to these schools by their parents: What possible recourse do they have then? And I add for good measure: I couldn't say the contrary, that there is even a single school in Canada that forces girls to not wear the hijab.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Did he do it for the "lulz"?

Mark Steyn responds to a review of his debacle from one Jim Henley. Henley quotes only one sentence from Steyn's article: "Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes" and calls this statement "frank bigotry" on Steyn's part. Unfortunately for Henley, these were actually the words of Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar, not Steyn. You might think that Henley would then make a post about the "frank bigotry" of Mullah Krekar instead. But no, the imam gets a free pass, and Mark Steyn is still liable for the rest of his article, which is really just showing the why and how behind the imam's statement -- that's why it is used as the final and concluding statement of the piece.

And this gets to the absurdity of the CIC and HRC's case against Mark Steyn. According to these accusers of him, he is subjecting Canadian Muslims to "hatred or contempt" by showing how the words of a Norwegian Muslim leader about Muslims in Europe are true. How truly "flagrantly Islamophobic" to state that a Muslim leader is correct! Sinister really. Just imagine if someone moves from this already egregious bigotry of agreeing with Muslims, to such catastrophes as standing up and saying that Muslims are wrong! Oh the horror! Or...errr...wait?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Who's actually endangering Muslims?

Andrew Coyne writes more on the Mark Steyn affair and also a decent bit on the Human Rights Commissions in general.

Coyne points to the irony of the CIC making these charges against Steyn. It was CIC president Mohamed Elmasry who declared Tarek Fatah to be "anti-Islam" and that we was "smearing Islam." Such labels are exactly what Mr. Fatah was attacked for in 2006 when thugs smashed the windows in his car, threatening him because he was "anti-Islam." The irony is palpable. Has any Muslim in Canada been attacked for being "part of a disastrous demographic sea-change in Europe," as Mark Steyn, as I paraphrase, charges of Muslims? None, yet there is a Muslim in Canada attacked for being "anti-Islam" just as Elmasry charges of that Muslim. Maybe the CIC should bring itself before the Human Rights Commission...or just leave Mark Steyn alone.

Also, Elmasry was in favour of the sharia courts for Muslim family disputes in Ontario, this would further hurt Muslims. It would subject Muslims to the obscurantist decisions of the fundamentalist Islamic scholars and keep Muslims, women in particular, one step further from equality under law. And this sets a precedent for evermore introduction of sharia, bringing even greater harm to Muslims.

And I wish to make a more general point, that the CIC's stifling of open discourse hurts Muslims as well. It's doesn't hurt to hear criticisms of your side, even if it does hurt your sensibilities.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


"What's so scary about Muslims?" asks . Only "misconceptions," he answers. But don't feel bad: we're all at fault for these misconceptions, Muslim and kafir alike.

But he's right, I think poorly of Islam because of my misconceptions of it. Misconceptions such as that it is a tenet of Islam that the Quran is the uncreated word of Allah which has existed with Allah for all eternity, or at least that it existed when Musa supposedly existed, between 1436 and 1316 BC. This despite the fact that it is written in Arabic, which, to the best linguistic research, descended originally from a proto-Semitic language and immediately from Ancient North Arabian between 400BC and 300AD, well past the date when the Quran supposedly existed. How was there a text written in Arabic, before Arabic even evolved? But no, I shouldn't ask. That's just a misconception: Muslims don't actually believe in anything delusional like that; they really believe that the Quran was just written by people over a period of time in the 7th century, as the scholars hypothesise in accordance with scientific evidence. Oh? What? They do believe the delusional one? Oh, jeez, I feel like I may be stumbling into some serious hate speech already! I better zip-it or the Canadian Islamic Congress and the Human Rights Commission may write me up for inciting contempt toward a group of people on the basis of religion, all for rightly calling Muslims delusional.

Islam grows in Canada due to the active policies of the government: multiculturalism with mass immigration from Muslim majority countries. Is growth in Islam good? I think it's not. I think the fundamental tenets of Islam are wrong because they are delusional, as in the example I just gave, and so anyone who believes in Islam is wrong as well. So the governmental policies actively increase the ranks of adherents to a fundamentally wrong ideology.

If you like Islam, great, good for you, you're getting what you want -- keep on importing delusions. If you don't, then maybe you should start opting for a change of policy. This more or less brings us to the article for which Mark Steyn is being investigated for breaking the Human Rights Code: he says, under the current policies, areas of Europe and Canada have become and are becoming majority Muslim, and the continuation of these policies will eventually lead to the entire relevant countries becoming majority Muslim. What would these countries look like at that time? Would they maintain a secular legal system, or have something more in line with sharia law? I bet on the latter, because every Muslim majority country has laws based on sharia to some extent (what a radical inference!). Again, if you would like a sharia-based system, then keep the current policies. If you wouldn't, then the time to change the policies is now, not later.

If this is hate speech, I'm sorry, sincerely, but I don't retract it, for I think it's true.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The West is Anti-Islam?

"I condemn Islam. I bring against it the most terrible of accusations that ever an accuser put into words. It is to me the greatest of all imaginable corruptions.... It has left nothing untouched by its depravity. It has made a worthlessness out of every value, a lie out of every truth, a sin out of everything straightforward, healthy and honest. Let anyone dare to speak to me of its humanitarian blessings! To do away with pain and woe is contrary to its principles. It lives by pain and woe: it has created pain and woe in order to perpetuate itself. ... The mosque is the rallying post for a conspiracy against health, beauty, well-being, courage, intellect, benevolence - against life itself..."

Replace "Islam" with "Christianity" and "mosque" with "cross" and you have the actual quote from The Anti-Christ by Nietzsche. Nietzsche is taught at pretty much every Canadian, American, and European university to some extent, some courses dedicated solely or mainly to him, but most often he is read just as part of a wider-ranging philosophy course. ***

The Islamic advocacy groups complain that Islam receives unfair criticism. But I disagree. Islam has barely received any criticism, nowhere near what Christianity has received, as represented in Nietzsche.

On the hand, you have this demand that Islam is and be treated like any other religion in the West, yet everywhere there is this bemoaning the even small amount of criticism of Islam that has begun. Unfortunately for such demanders, they must have missed the fact that for the last 500 years, religion has not had a free-pass from the researchers and theorists in the West. But it's not clear that Islam can survive unscathed such a dispassionate and thorough examination of its roots and fundamentals, as Christianity has and continues to receive. Perhaps, in their minds, such an existential threat justifies anything that might maintain Islam's inviolable position, including double standards. I have no doubt this is why the Islamic world reacted so sourly to the Mohammed caricatures and the Pope's relatively tepid criticisms of Islam at Regensburg: the truth hurts. (Imagine if the Pope said the quote as I gave it above.)

*** And who suggests that this should end? That Nietzsche should not be taught because of what he says against Christianity? He doesn't just say, you know, some kind of bad stuff about it, he says it himself: "I bring against it the most terrible of accusations that ever an accuser put into words." So people are free to say the most terrible things about Christianity, and that's considered reasonable criticism, not hate speech. But how are such accusations against Islam met? Usually with the charge of hate speech and, so, beyond the pale. (A scene at a university somewhere: "D: Yes, I'm a big fan of Nietzsche. / L: Oh, that's nice. Have you read Oriana Fallaci? I like her. / D: You vile Islamophobe.")

More on Steyn

Ezra Levant writes a bit more on the CIC vs. Steyn affair. And he has more on Mohamed Elmasry -- about his antisemitism. He also writes about a parallel human rights commission case against him in Alberta for republishing the Danish Mohammed Cartoons.

I think it's just a tragedy that in Canada a person would have to face a tribunal because he insulted a "prophet." To show my support for freedom of speech and my opposition to theocracy, and hopefully not just because I'm confident one would not actually be prosecuted for these things, I'll post one of the Danish cartoons again. I don't think this is hate speech. I've said this before. I think this a poignant criticism of a character in a religious text that represents an actual political leader in the 7th century. The caricature makes him out to be both violent and deceitful in his wielding of this violence by the obfuscation of the bomb in his headdress. Both of the traits are seen in the character of Mohammed as he is portrayed in the Islamic texts. Calling it like it is isn't hate speech. It's no different from any other political caricature; and the banning of as much would be an instance authoritarianism, especially when you consider the political influence this character still has:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

CIC Against Mark Steyn

A while back, I wrote about how the HRC could be used to silence critics of Islam. The Canadian Islamic Congress, whose leader, Mohamed Elmasry, has said before that he seeks to silence critics of Islam, has done just that. It has launched a suit with the HRC that seeks to charge Maclean's magazine with something like "flagrantly Islamophobic" hate speech as a violation. Maclean's has been hosting articles by Mark Steyn, and they published an excerpt from his book America Alone, which is the "offending" material. You can read it for yourself, as it is still up at the Maclean's website here.

One may ask, why would they try to quash the web article, but not the book? Well, as I said in the article I mentioned, the Human Rights Code section 13 which deals with "telecommunicated" speech is different from all other sections of the Code. It prohibits any telecommunication "that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination." There's nothing similar for non-telecommunicated speech, such as in a book. Maybe they didn't want to be known as Canada's book-burners, which would be the eventual result of banning books. The removal of webpages isn't such a dramatic image of this contempt of free speech.

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Don't Try"

That's Bukowski's epitaph, "Don't Try." I'm not sure, but I think Bukowski was standing for philosophical skepticism. I don't think we was trying to say don't try to do anything, but, rather, he was trying to express that it's silly to take up anything serious or dogmatic, i.e., an ideology, just as the ancient Skeptics like Sextus Empiricus tried to express. And I think Ehab Lotayef is trying to say something similar here as well. To the Quebecois he speaks: Don't try to defend your culture, because all cultures will be destroyed anyway:
Let me give you the bad news and get it done with: No culture is safe. None ever survived forever and none will.
The values, ideas and beliefs that are worthwhile will survive and become a part of the new global culture, and those that aren't will fade away, without sorrow. This is in the interest of the human race as a whole and no one in his or her right mind should fight it or try to prevent it.
Immediately I'm struck with the nonsense of this. Judaism has existed since, well, since we don't even know when, as it was so far back, yet Judaism is still around. Hinduism too. There's still some Zoroastrians around. Et cetera. When will these pieces of culture disappear? I don't think it's clear they ever will; not before humankind disappears with them.

As Islam grew exponentially in Quebec over the past 20 years, the result of the active policies of the government of both Canada and Quebec, no one like Mr. Lotayef stood up and said, "Hey, don't promote this cultural growth, because cultures don't matter; no point promoting one over the other." But now, as the majority rethink multiculturalism and consider taking active policies that would promote their culture instead of Islam, this is when Mr. Lotayef says that. Strange, no?

But, if cultures just have to disappear, I vote for Mr. Lotayef's to be the first to go.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Born With Hijab

One Syed Soharwardy, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (why not drop the Islamic? Just, Supreme Council of Canada. I like that.) says that Safaa Menhem, who was pulled from a soccer game a while back because a headdress like the hijab was not allowed to be worn on the field, should not have been. The decision was racist, he says:
I don't buy it because a person could also pull a shirt and choke a person. This is not a safety issue. It is just a racist and discriminatory decision against Muslims
How could it be racist? Well, if hijab-wearers formed a race, maybe then? But no one is born with a hijab. Or if hijab-wearing was limited to some races? But this isn't true either, because people of all races wear hijabs. Or maybe if hijab-wearing was necessarily correlated with some races? But there is no necessary correlation: There could be any proportion of people of any number of races that could wear the hijab. So we are left with the claim that it is racist because, as a matter of accident, hijab-wearing is not currently correlated with all races indifferently. Pretty bizarre definition, unlike how racism is normally defined, I would say. But we can take it anyway. Here's something else:
Her rights should be respected -- this is her free choice.
So she has this right, but, then, where do the rights of the league to determine uniforms go? Did they not freely choose to define the uniform code as they did? Is the league not allowed to define what is an appropriate uniform for their soccer games? Really, everyone should be allowed to wear what they want, so this girl should be allowed to wear the hijab? But that's actually not what the Islamic groups are saying: Not everyone should be allowed to wear what they want, but rather, only hijab-wearers get this benefit. Out with the old rights, in the with the new, I guess. The new are looking more like they are defined by sharia everyday.

How does this sound: The soccer leagues allow anyone to wear the hijab, if Islamic organisations allow anyone to not wear the hijab. Surely, as per our working definition of racism, requiring someone to wear the hijab is a racist and discriminatory decision against kafirs! For some reason, I don't suspect these groups will go for this fair and equitable agreement, because they don't want fair and equitable.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Freedom For Whom?

The Star reports that an Islamic group called Refusing Intolerance in Quebec spoke out concerning the Bouchard-Taylor commission on reasonable accommodation. I don't find any information on this group, but the Star's quote from them exists in this "Citizen's Statement"(sic) on the Montreal Muslim News site, which is apparently from Mohamed S. Kamel of the Canadian Muslim Forum. The Statement says, "We therefore call for a true debate, an unhurried debate carried on in an atmosphere of peace of mind and unfailing respect for the rights of all, men and women, who live in Québec." Alright, let's start this debate then.

On the one hand, those behind the Statement,
"reject any limitation of rights, any reduction of fundamental freedoms." On the other hand, they say that the hijab shouldn't be allowed to exist as "an obstacle to...full participation in social life, in the labor market..." But how does forcing the other people in those realms, in employment for example, to accept the hijab, not reduce their fundamental freedoms? For example, if the public rejects the message of hijab, just as they may reject the message of the swastika for example, yet is not allowed to ban the hijab from the public schools which it controls, just as it is allowed to ban the swastika, are not the rights of the public reduced? Or if an employer disagrees with Islam, just as she may disagree with national socialism, yet is not allowed to pick someone else for employment over an adherent of Islam, just as she is allowed to pick someone else over an adherent of national socialism, are not this employer's freedom of association reduced?

This gets to my main criticism with how the West treats Islam. Islam has political implications, it is a "total way of life" that involves political ideology. Yet it's adherents are protected from the discrimination that is allowed with other political ideologies, because it takes up the banner of "religion." So the propagation of a political ideology must be permitted in all spheres of life, even those under the control of people who disagree with the ideology, lest they commit the sin of "discrimination on the basis of religion." Don't hire someone because they are a Muslim: you're a bigot and a criminal. Don't hire someone because they are a Communist: you're just exercising your inalienable freedom of association. This double standard must change.

Let's do a little bit more. Look at how they define secularity: "the neutrality of the state with regard to the opinions, beliefs and practices of its citizens." This is just bizarre, because the state never remains neutral on all the practices of citizens. Pedophilia is a practice of citizens, yet who would suggest the state remain neutral on it? Perhaps they meant religious practices? Well, one could easily found a religion involving pedophilia. But take an actual example: sati, the Hindu practice of sacrificing, on the husband's funeral pyre, a wife who is unfortunate enough to outlive her husband. No one suggests tolerating that religious practice in Quebec, so we can agree that no one suggests tolerating all religious practices, only some. So the question is, which do we tolerate and which don't we? The Quebec public seems to want to stick a few Islamic practices in with the "do not tolerate" pile. In a democracy, the public is sovereign.

One more quote from the Statement:
Just as the values and principles dear to Quebeckers are not for sale at any price, neither are equally universal values and principles of other cultural horizons that enrich Québec. The two are not in opposition, rather they enhance one another, with the same quiet resolve and the same far-reaching commitment to justice, sharing, and equality that we believe motivate us all.
Is this true, that they are not opposition? This is what Mohammed said to do: "Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him" (Bukhari 9:84:57). Compare that sentiment with something more Quebecois. Here's a passage I like from the end of Simone de Beauvoir's The Blood of Others (Le Sang des autres), which I think grasps something about the West in general, its relationship with freedom:
But if only I dedicate myself to defend that supreme good, which makes innocent and vain all the stones and the rocks, that good which saves each man from all the others and from myself -- Freedom -- then my passion will not have been in vain.
In the latter, we have the sentiment of dedication to freedom above all else, in the former we have the denial of freedom: You are only worthy to exist as long as you do not go against Allah. How are these two sentiments "not in opposition" as the Islamic groups would have it?

I can only say, it's not intolerant to not tolerate the intolerant.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Bit More on Elmasry

Last post I wrote about Mohamed Elmasry, a professor at University of Waterloo and head of the Canadian Islamic Congress. I've collected more information on him here.

In September 2004 he called for alcohol to be banned from campuses. He said that his position did not derive from the Islamic point of view, but I sure wonder; seems a little weird that the leader of an Islamic political group would call for the banning of alcohol and it not have anything to do with Islam when Islam involves just that. If I would guess, I'd say he was trying to gain support for his organisation by calling for more implementation of sharia law. And indeed, Elmasry supported the introduction of sharia courts for family issues.

One month later he said all Israelis over the age of 18 are legitimate targets of suicide bombings. There was, of course, much brouhaha about this, with the angry letter writing and calls for resignation and all. The comments were even investigated as hate crimes. You might think this ironic considering that Elmasry speaks so thoroughly against hate speech:
In fact, the swollen hate-language of anti-Islam voice messages received recently by the CIC, reads as if the callers were trying to outdo Falwell and his colleagues: "Muhammad was a pedophile, a mass murder, a demon-possessed maniac, a false prophet," said one. "Islam is a false religion. The Qur'an and the Hadith are both books of lies and deception," said another. And so on; it is offensive even to repeat such words in making a case against them. There was no doubt that those who left these, and messages like them, could be charged with hate-crime.
But how could they possibly be charged with hate crimes for saying those things? As he is portrayed in the Islamic texts, he was a pedophile -- he consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was only 9 years old. He was a mass murderer -- he killed or expelled all the Jews from Medina. He was demon-possessed -- that was the whole issue of the Satanic verses, where the devil possessed him to write certain things into the Quran. And that he was a false-prophet -- wouldn't pretty much every non-Muslim hold this belief? How could making any statement about a character of a literary work be considered a hate crime? Let alone ones that are, in the relevant sense, true? Elmasry is blinded to all reason by his devotion to Mohammed.

Indeed, Elmasry seems to have a thing for defending Mohammed's make-believe honour. When the Western Standard republished the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Elmasry was on the case as well, saying that "his organization will seek to have charges laid against the magazine under Canada's laws against distributing hate literature." Of course, it was never charged, because the images aren't hate speech -- though, admittedly, many Muslims hate them because they were poignant criticisms of their ideology.

Hate speech according to Mohamed Elmasry: