This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Phantom Phobia: Islamophobia

"There's No Such Thing as Islamophobia. Critique of religion is a fundamental western right, not an illness."
"Nothing is more western than hatred of the West. All of modern thought can be reduced to mechanical denunciations of the West, emphasizing the latter's hypocrisy, violence, and abomination."
Pascal Bruckner, French philosopher
Canada's Parliament passed a controversial bill condemning "Islamophobia", and requiring that an investigation take place into the incidence of Islamophobia within Canada. The majority of Canadians were not in favour of the bill introduced by a Muslim Member of Parliament, Liberal MP Iqra Khalid. Its passage was supported by the New Democratic Party, and opposed by the opposition Conservative Party of Canada which had proposed rewording the bill to remove "Islamophobia" and replace it with all manner of discrimination, omitting the focus on Islam.

If the concept and the meaning of Islamophobia is not defined and is left to anyone to interpret it to suit their impressions, it hardly represents a social ill that can be addressed if it cannot even be adequately explained. The reaction of the general public not of the Muslim faith when they recoil in horror at the many transgressions against human rights committed by the faithful in Islam? That virtually all acts of terrorism taking place in the world today have their genesis in Islam, with the perpetrators proudly proclaiming 'Allahu Akbar!' as they engage in slaughter?

If people feel wary and uncomfortable about Islam which its followers insist is a religion of peace, while the Koran and the Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Mohammad) describe the world outside Islam as being places of "conflict", whereas "peace" only resides where Islam is paramount, it is little wonder. We would be blind, deaf and spectacularly oblivious to the carnage wrought throughout the world in the name of Islam if no links were made with terrorist groups and Islam, leading to suspicion of that world religion. But that awareness is identified by Muslims lashing back, as "Islamophobia".

Khalid's motion, known as Bill-103, calls on the government to do three things:
  • Condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.
  • Quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear.
  • Compel the Commons heritage committee to develop a government-wide approach for reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia.
Liberal MP Iqra Khalid says she's relieved motion M-103 passed in the House of Commons. The vote passed by a margin of 201-91. Still from video, Global News

The word in very fact has weaponized language, not a new thing, but an effective bludgeon with which to silence critics of Islam. The word is associated with racism, although there's nothing racist about religion; that particular religion is practised throughout the world in disparate countries from the Middle East to South-East Asia to North Africa, North America, Europe, Australia and beyond. Its faithful are in fact legion, the 'umma' represent about a billion people, a bit fewer than practise Christianity. The fervency of Christianity has been muted of late, but not that of Islam.

And Muslims have a tendency to become fanatically infuriated at any suggestion of criticism of their religion, much less their hallowed figure of the Prophet Mohammad. Perceived disrespect of the Prophet or of the Koran can result in murderous onslaughts, rampages, fury and destruction, mutilation and slaughter. This resonates in peoples' minds and memories; that of non-Muslims, while Muslims continue to insist that theirs is a religion of peace, a misunderstood religion that no one has the right to defame.

So "Islamophobia" is a silencing tool, and an effective one at that, since particularly in the West, people are sensitive to slights they are perceived to wield against others, and detest being singled out as being socially deficient, even if the claims are so obviously contrived, purposed to shame and to silence. Making the assumption that the good people living among us who are faithful to Islam feel shame at the intolerance and violence perpetrated by those practising their religion based on the scriptures held sacred to that religion, can be both right and wrong.

Right, because among all populations there are people who perceive clearly and wish nothing to do with hatred and violence. Wrong, because in those same populations reside a considerable percentage who feel that whatever is written in the Koran is right and positive because it is the word of god and anything done in god's name, not any god, but Allah, has a defined and special purpose that has been prophesied for a reason. That purpose, defining the very core of the religion, is to bring peace to the world by curing it of its warring status as a non-Muslim reality.

The faithful feel, because they have been taught since childhood, steeped in the core values and issues of Islam and the Koran, that only when the world has accepted Islam and rejected all other 'false' religions hateful to Allah, will humankind be saved. From itself, presumably. Slight Islam? Only if one is prepared to pay the consequences. Not by being named an Islamophobe, but by bringing the wrath of Allah down on oneself in the guise of an avenging jihadi.

European states whose populations have been suffused by immigration and migrants and refugees cannot afford to be too critical of the fact that those immigrants, migrants and  refugees who are Muslim are unwilling to integrate, to accept Western values, to cede to the culture and laws that preceded them. They risk much by confronting Islam, for the fury of its believers will not tolerate any suggestion that Islam and its values is any less than perfect, for it is god's will.

Canada has rejected Islamophobia, how very fitting and uplifting.

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