Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, and the problem of compelled speech

Barbara Kay

 by Barbara Kay5 days ago

Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, and the problem of compelled speech

One of my favourite Seinfeld episodes had Kramer joining an AIDS walk. But he refuses to “wear the ribbon.” People keep urging him to take it, and he keeps politely refusing. They become more importunate. He won’t budge. Finally, they get ugly and turn on him with menace: “Who doesn’t want to wear the ribbon?” one walker yells accusingly, as others press in on him.

The scene is, of course, played for laughs, but it nevertheless reveals a dark truth about ritualized compassion. If your sympathy for a good cause has to meet a “compelled speech” standard to be considered sincere, then who is the more admirable character? In this parody of bullying virtue-signallers (not a trope in use at the time), we see that often those “wearing the ribbon” are more concerned about showcasing the “correct” public expression of their sympathy than the plight of the actual victims they are marching for. Bullying those who eschew conforming symbols thus provokes contempt for the bullies and respect for the genuine sincerity of the non-conformist.

I was reminded of this episode last weekend, after a talk I gave as part of a panel at the Manning Conference in Ottawa. My subject was the normalization of anti-Semitism in the progressive playbook. Afterward, Reyhana Patel, Head of Government and External Relations for Islamic Relief Canada came up to the stage with a few companions to interrogate me (and I use the word advisedly). Every one of their questions struck me as—politically—more than the sum of its parts, and delivered with an undertone of menace that was not the least bit funny.

The first question (the gist, not having recorded the exchange): “Your talk was about hatred. Why did you not mention Islamophobia?” My response: “My talk was not about hatred in general; it was about a very specific form of hatred, anti-Semitism.”

My answer did not please them, I could see, and they asked the question a few more times with different wordings. They really didn’t get it: Even though most people today have internalized the “correct” notion that one cannot mention anti-Semitism without “wearing the ribbon” of Islamophobia, ages-old anti-Semitism and the newly coined Islamophobiaare apples and oranges.

Many people actively dislike Islam tenets, and a whole lot of people are uncomfortable with the cultural norms in Islam-ruled regions, especially with regard to women’s and gay rights, but hatred of Muslims for being Muslims has simply not been a systemic form of hatred in the west. By contrast, few people actively dislike Judaic tenets, but millions of people, even those who have never met a Jew, hate Jews. Would it have annoyed Ms. Patel & co if I had added that nowhere is Jew hatred more pronounced or vicious than in Islam-dominated societies?

I was also reminded of the watered-down resolution the Democratic Party passed as a gesture of appeasement to Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar, whose overt anti-Semitism had motivated a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. In the end, responding to pressure from Omar’s circle of support—and completely vitiating the presenting reason for the exercise—it included Islamophobia and other forms of hatred. That’s the ribbon-wearing way it goes in progressive circles everywhere, but the fact that this kind of appeasement has crept into the Democratic Party looks to many observers like an alarming tipping point for the party’s drift. Special kudos go, therefore, to Republican Senator Ted Cruz for sponsoring a resolution against anti-Semitism in the senate, as the appropriate response to Ilhan’s bigotry.

Next, they wanted to know why I hadn’t tweeted out a condemnation of the New Zealand mosque massacre. Ah, so it appears my social media accounts were being monitored by their group to see if I was wearing the “ribbon” for the tragedy. If they had done a thorough check, they would have seen that I am a Kramer regarding most massacres in terms of offering my Twitter condolences.

Every massacre of innocents sicken me. But I don’t represent the government or any official body; this massacre happened in a foreign country; and if I made it a principle to offer condolences on every act of mass killing in the world, I would be doing little else. Not wearing the ribbon, not tweeting a condolence, doesn’t mean I wasn’t affected by the New Zealand massacre, and tweeting out a condolence wouldn’t have meant I was a better human being than those who didn’t.

I could not forbear mentioning that I generally don’t tweet condolences to the many Muslim victims of massacres by other Muslims either. (Do they?) That did not go over well, if I am accurately judging the stony glares I received. I inferred from their injured tone that my failure to tweet condolence was proof of the Islamophobia they already feel I am guilty of. I did not go so far as to ask if sentiments they would like to see expressed should be compelled in order to be free of charges of hate, but it would not surprise me if these people with the soft voices, tight smiles and hard eyes believed that might be a reasonable proposition.

On to their third complaint, namely my National Post column last month critiquing World Hijab Day, whose stated purpose is to encourage women of all religions and backgrounds to wear and experience the hijab. (One of my female interlocutors was wearing a hijab; Reyhana Patel was not.)

I explained to them that I do not see the point of an official “day” celebrating religious proselytism. I added that I would be just as critical of a “World Crucifix Day” and surely they could see the awkwardness of that. They gave me the same unblinking looks of non-comprehension as before. The woman in the hijab pointed out that nobody is forcing me to wear the hijab, only suggesting it, so what is wrong with that?

I then had to tread where I didn’t want to. Not wishing to ratchet up the frostiness, I did not flatly state my belief that the hijab is a symbol of misogyny, I only explained that the hijab is a politically charged symbol, exactly as I had laid it out in my column. There are many women in the world that are forced to wear the hijab, surely they admit that, and if they do, can they not see the problem with promoting it? (In fact, some of my most forceful allies on this topic, like Sky News anchor Rita Panahi, are Muslim women who once did wear the hijab under duress and liberated themselves from it in adulthood.)

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They apparently do not see the problem at all, because their response was more scowling, and a reiteration of the fact that nobody has to wear it, and that there is nothing wrong with advertising it. For anyone who wants a more elaborate understanding of my feelings about the hijab, please view my 2017 IdeaCity presentation: “How to Launder a Hijab.”

My encounter with these critics was unsettling, and meant to be. In retrospect, I see a certain irony in the air of righteousness that permeated their attitude. Because afterward I did a little research into the background of Patel’s umbrella organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, whose presenting purpose—and actual activity, to be fair—is directed at fund-raising for the alleviation of global poverty. All power to them for that. But that is not all they do.

I invite you to consult this exhaustively researched and meticulously annotated report on Islamic Relief, drawn up by the extremely reliable Middle Eastern Forum. It is an illuminating document. Here is a statement from the report’s conclusion that struck me as most pertinent to the moral right of any representative of that organization to stand in judgment of me:

Islamic Relief is an Islamist institution. It was established by the Muslim Brotherhoodand today continues to be run by key Brotherhood officials. It has funding arrangements with extremist and terrorist institutions, employs and appoints staff and trustees who express hatred for Jews and the West and provides platforms on a monthly basis to extremist preachers who spew anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic rhetoric.

People in single-pane glass houses should not throw stones. If I had read this report before Ms. Patel and her allies rode over on their high horses to pontificate on my “Islamophobic” tendencies, I would have refused to engage with them, and told them to go take a hike.

Barbara Kay: What the anglo media misses about Quebec’s religious law

Bill 21 is a law rooted in a vision of society — complete separation of church and state — that affects all religions equally

A woman wears a niqab in Montreal in a file photo from Sept. 9, 2013.Ryan Remiorz/CP
Barbara Kay

Barbara Kay

April 2, 2019
2:18 PM

Quebec’s newly tabled law, “An Act respecting the laicity of the State,” will be sent to committee for study, and with the help of the notwithstanding clause, will pass as written. The new law prohibits all government employees in positions of authority — judges, police, educators in elementary and high school (plus anyone carrying a weapon, such as wildlife officers) — from wearing face coverings or visible religious symbols.

Opponents of the law, who include virtually all my anglophone colleagues, lean heavily on “human rights” and “freedom of religious expression” to defend their stance. But when group rights in a democracy collide, only one side can win.

When group rights in a democracy collide, only one side can win

The issue of face cover, for example, has been wrestled with for years in various European countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, the U.K., Denmark and Austria, in which the custom has proliferated in Muslim enclaves to the point of social divisiveness. The matter was settled by the European Court of Human rights (“the Court”), which found that found that face veil bans did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court based its decision on a number of factors, including public security, and “protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

As I have frequently argued in these pages, I consider the social right to see the face of any official interlocutor more compelling than indulgence of what should be acknowledged, even by those urging its acceptance, as a patriarchal culture’s symbol of misogyny and, all too often, a sign of hostility to Western cultural norms. The fact that face cover is not widespread here at present is no reason why the principle should not be legally established to nip proliferation in the bud.

Marc-Edouard Joubert, left, Marlihan Lopez, Safa Chebbi and Elisabeth Garant, who are part of a coalition opposing Bill 21, attend a news conference in Montreal on March 29, 2019, to give their reaction to the Quebec government’s recently tabled secularism legislation.

Cultural diversity is desirable in a society insofar as practices accord with that society’s basic principles. Face cover in public service should offend us. That it is a Muslim custom is neither here nor there. It is not racist to adopt policies that will encourage newcomers from less gender-enlightened cultures to integrate sooner rather than later, especially when integration to a common culture rather than “post-nationalism” is the collective value.

The issue of visible religious symbols is thornier. Critics see the law as conceived in an anti-Muslim spirit. They are half right. The hijab is doubtless a major sticking point for Quebec’s “values” activists. But then, unlike the others, the hijab is far more than a merely religious symbol. Many girls and women who wear the hijab are apolitical, but the hijab can be, and often has been, a rallying instrument for political Islam.

Cultural diversity is desirable in a society insofar as practices accord with that society’s basic principles

Most notably, it is linked with the 1979 Iranian Revolution, after which the hijab became mandatory in Iran for girls aged six and older. Today it is regarded there as a symbol of government tyranny and oppression. Many courageous women have suffered persecution and imprisonment for the right to unbind their heads. They may justifiably feel triggered by having to, say, take university courses from or plead a case in a court presided over by a covered woman. An illegal resident in America would not wish to be stopped for questioning by a police officer wearing a MAGA cap. That’s how these women feel about hijabs.

Iranian-Australian journalist Rita Panahi, for example, was forced to wear the hijab as a child. She noted in a recent Sky News broadcast that New Zealand’s impulsive “headscarf for harmony” campaign following the Christchurch massacre, which saw politicians, police and media personalities donning head cover as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims, was, “albeit well-intentioned,” a “misguided and counter-productive” form of activism. If one listens closely to Panahi and other Muslim women like her with similar “lived experience” — a trope much beloved of progressives — one realizes that it is simplistic and unfair to judge the new law as anti-Muslim.

It is simplistic and unfair to judge the new law as anti-Muslim

Let’s just say it’s complicated. Bill 21 is a law rooted in a vision of society — complete separation of church and state in state-sponsored civic life — that affects all religions equally. It’s also a vision most Quebecers approve of. One may disagree with it, but to call it “depravity,” as Andrew Coyne (who as a man has no idea, and never will, what forced veiling feels like) did in his recent column in the National Post, is a shocking calumny.

In 2004, France banned the hijab in public schools, along with other “ostentatious” religious symbols. Muslim leaders protested the law as an attack on their religion. There were demonstrations. But public tensions died down quickly. The vast majority of Muslim girls who wore the hijab (an estimated 5,000 in 2000) complied without incident. The uprising predicted by the intellectual class never materialized. Perhaps there is a lesson to be drawn here for those in the punditocracy who are predicting the end of civilization as we know it with the coming passage of Quebec’s Bill 21.


Warren Kinsella


There was a moment, during Justin Trudeau’s saturnalian March 7 LavScam press conference, where the Prime Minister waxed poetic.

He grew misty-eyed. He looked up from his notes. He sounded wistful.

He loved Justice, he said. He really did. He and his Dad both did. “The files that were closest to his heart are also for me. And one is the justice file.”

Justice – which Justin Trudeau hadn’t mentioned all that often during his three-and-a-half-years in the big chair – was now super-duper important. It was everything. It was a “file” that “has always been one of particular importance and interest to me. It’s always been very close to my heart.”

His heart! The mind reels, at such times. Our souls swoon.

So, stay with me, here. Just for a minute.

At that moment, justice was a baseball, kind of, but in a good way. In an instant, we were collectively whisked back to the Nineties, to that iconic scene in Field of Dreams – the one where Kevin Costner asks his deceased Dad if he wants to play catch, and every grown man in the theatre starts to sniffle. Except, in Justin’s case, the baseball was justice – stamped Rule of Law, so we don’t miss the point – and he and Pierre were lobbing it back and forth, so great was their love of justice.

That’s what the young Trudeau was after, anyway. That’s what he wanted to evoke. Justice, Dad, better times.

Except, you know: nobody believes it. Nobody believes him, either. Two-thirds of Canadians, say the pollsters, are like those folks in Field of Dreams who keep showing up at Kevin Costner’s farm and they don’t see a damn thing. They don’t see anything magical or wonderful or poetic. They just see what is really there.

Which, in the LavScam case, is a seething, stinking dumpster overflowing with lies, and cover-ups, and smears. And, standing beside it all, is a Prime Minister who doesn’t seem so cool and hip anymore. He just looks like another grasping, grimy politician, one who will say and do anything to save his hide.

Because he’s losing. An Angus Reid poll, released Thursday, suggested he now may be as many as ten percentage points behind Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives nationally. And, as my smart NDP pal Karl Belanger reminded me, Trudeau’s personal approval numbers now lag behind another politician: Donald Trump.

And it is all because of justice.

Distilled down to its base elements, you see, LavScam is about justice. Not 9,000 jobs that SNC-Lavalin’s CEO says were never in jeopardy. Not Article Five of the OECD anti-bribery convention, which Trudeau’s government has violated. Not anything else: justice.

In our system of justice, no one – not even a Prime Minister – is allowed to ring up a judge or prosecutor and tell them what to do. That is against the law. It is obstruction of justice. It is the absence of justice.

Also unjust: the decision of someone on Team Trudeau to violate the sacrosanct judicial nomination process, simply to get back at former Attorney-General Jody Wilson Raybould. To do this, one of Trudeau’s faceless factotums leaked secret information about a Supreme Court of Canada nominee to compliant reporters at the Canadian Press and CTV News.

The nominee, who Wilson-Raybould reportedly preferred, was a social conservative, the leaker hissed. And Jody Wilson-Raybould favoured him – and Justin Trudeau opposed him, because he was insufficiently progressive, said the leaker.

Except: it wasn’t true. It was a lie. The judge was a moderate. And he wasn’t dropped from Justin Trudeau’s list – he removed himself from it, to care for a wife suffering from breast cancer.

So, is that justice? Is that just? Is it acceptable to further wound a family battling cancer – just to defame an indigenous woman who got a little too uppity?

But Jody Wilson-Raybould isn’t the only indigenous woman Justin Trudeau holds in contempt. No, there are others, as it turns out.

This week, the mask slipped yet again, and we saw Justin Trudeau mocking a young indigenous woman at a Liberal Party event in Toronto.

As his audience of well-to-do white men laughed, Justin Trudeau jeered an indigenous female protestor, saying “thanks for your donation” as she was hustled away by his hulking bodyguards.

She was there to protest the mercury poisoning of her people at Grassy Narrows, which Justin Trudeau had solemnly promised to remedy. And about which he has done precious little.

“Thanks for your donation.” Is that the “real change” Justin Trudeau said he’d give Canadians in 2015? Is that his promised reconciliation with indigenous people? Is that in any way just, or justice?

You know the answer already.

And you also know that Justin Trudeau wouldn’t know “justice” if it bit him on his privileged white ass.

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Stephen Harper, 22nd Prime Minister of Canada

Arwen~  A repost from Feb 28, 2018.

Around the 41 minute mark, Stephen Harper is asked where his pride and passion for Canada comes from?
Remember Canada,  what that is like to have a PM, a leader, who has pride and passion for his country,  and in the people he is elected to govern?

Harper  also mentions the “modern elite Liberalism”,  which do not seem to like, let alone love  their own countries.  

A must watch:)

Christchurch Murders: The Real Accomplices

by Guy Millière

Excerpt from article:

“The real accomplices of Christchurch mass murderer are not those who sounded the alarm about Muslim immigration to the West, but those in the West who embrace this passive submission, weakness and cultural suicide and refuse to see the potential storms ahead.

“The claim that Islam is a religion of peace,” the noted British author and commentator Douglas Murray, observed, “is a nicety invented by Western politicians so as either not to offend their Muslim populations or simply lie to themselves that everything might yet turn out fine.”

The risk that everything will not turn out “fine” is all too real; it cannot be indefinitely ignored.”