ATLANTA, GA—After years of publishing distorted headlines, slanted news articles, and heavily biased news coverage, media giant CNN announced Friday that it has decided to launch a spinoff site that focuses on real news comprised of objective facts.
Dubbed “CNN: Real,” the site is designed to bring the news media empire into the arena of publishing real news, a step away from its roots as a channel that covers entirely fabricated stories and shamelessly spins all news into liberal talking points.
“We know this is going to get some push-back from our viewer base, but don’t worry: the original CNN site and cable channel are still a large part of our business,” company Vice President Michael Bass said during an announcement on the shift toward real news. “Anytime you want to have your biases confirmed, CNN will be there.”
“But with CNN: Real, we’re going to try our hand at reporting facts, and doing so in an unbiased manner.”
Painting the new site as an “experiment,” Bass admitted to reporters that he is not entirely confident the real news angle will resonate with the company’s regular viewership, but CNN executives decided it was worth a shot, saying, “If it doesn’t work out, we can always just go back to focusing all of our energy on making stuff up.”
Two Muslim men — an activist turned Shariah mortgage seller and an Islamic cleric who sold his Islamic seal of approval on such mortgages — were acquitted on Friday of a dozen criminal charges by an Ontario Superior Court judge who validated aspects of Sharia law in reaching her decision. Justice Jane Ferguson described the trial as a “huge learning curve in Islamic finance.”
Shariah in Canada?
But what happened to the declaration by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, on September 11, 2005, that “there will be no Shariah law in Ontario”?
It wasn’t just Ontario. Earlier that year, on May 26, 2005, the Quebec National Assembly voted unanimously for “a motion against allowing Shariah to be used in the legal system.”
Speaking for the motion, Fatima Houda-Pepin, then a Liberal member of the legislature, said: “The application of sharia in Canada is part of a strategy to isolate the Muslim community.”
And now comes this 68-page judgement of Justice Ferguson in the case of Omar Kalair and Imam Yusuf Panchbaya who were alleged by the Crown to have unlawfully taken millions of dollars in mortgage money from Kalair’s Shariah-compliant mortgage company. The two accused were charged with theft, fraud and money laundering that involved 15 gold bars that are still missing, silver coins and a $2 million fatwa fee by the Islamic clerics.
The complex plot involves a tiny minority of Muslim homeowners in the GTA who were warned by Islamic scholars that taking a conventional mortgage from a bank was an act of sin as it involved paying interest to the loaner. The overwhelming majority of Muslims, however, know that Shariah mortgages promoted by Mullahs are akin to priests selling indulgences. By simply changing the word ‘interest’ and calling it a ‘fee’ the transaction supposedly becomes Islamic.
Justice Ferguson in her decision stated: “Even if Kalair’s understanding of the application of Shariah law was wrong in law, I find he honestly believed at all times, and had reasonable grounds to believe, that he was acting appropriately under the circumstances.”
Justice Ferguson ruled the Crown had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Ontario Superior Court judge relied on testimony by an overseas expert named Abdel Qader Thomas who appeared via video to educate the court about Islamic financial products, and who Justice Ferguson credited for educating her about Islamic banking terminology.
In her judgement, Justice Ferguson writes: “I initially believed that an unwillingness to pay conventional interest on a loan appears “bizarre” until I learned that the payment of interest is considered a serious sin in the Islamic faith and violates a central pillar of Shariah law. This understanding was essential in my understanding of Kalair’s operating mind. Thomas’ evidence was also educative regarding industry standards against which Kalair’s conduct must be assessed.”
Justice Ferguson shared facets of Islamic culture that she picked up in what she referred to as her “steep learning curve.”
Commenting on the 15 gold bars paid to Islamic scholars instead of a cheque to the amount of $2 million, she wrote: “There is a cultural attraction to gold in Islamic communities. Gold has an ancient religious connection to Islam as one of the six staple goods mentioned in the Quran.”
However, as Australian Imam Muhammad Tawhidi, currently in Toronto, told me: “Muslim men are prohibited from wearing gold and silk.” He added, “this was a directive from Prophet Muhammad himself, not some latter-day scholar in the Arab Gulf.”
After the judgement, Omar Kalair boasted in a statement: “This [decision by Justice Ferguson] in my view, is a victory not only for myself but for the Islamic finance industry, that actions we take due to our religion [Islam] are accepted in certain courts .”
So, what exactly is a Shariah mortgage? Read all about it in this space tomorrow.
SAN BRUNO, CA—Continuing their ongoing efforts to rid their platform of hate speech, content managers at YouTube have decided to remove all videos featuring or referencing “The Soup Nazi,” a character from the ’90s sitcom Seinfeld.
“The Soup Nazi” was introduced in an episode by the same name during the show’s seventh season on NBC. Played by actor Larry Thomas, the character, Yev Kassem, is dubbed “The Soup Nazi” because of his strict rules and regulations for those ordering from his soup stand.
“Hate speech comes in all different forms,” said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. “What might be a comical character to some, can be interpreted and used as malicious hate mongering by others. Restaurant owners and soup producers, in particular, could be deeply hurt and offended by this content.”
The show’s co-creator and star, Jerry Seinfeld, agrees with YouTube’s decision. “Comedy always involves risk, and as writers, we live on the edge of offense,” said Seinfeld. “However, in this particular instance, we have to admit we’ve crossed the line, and created something that could make our world a worse place to live, which, of course, is the opposite of what we’re trying to do.”
“Just remember who the Nazis are,” Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith told free speech advocate Lindsay Shepherd last week in Ottawa.
Lindsay appeared alongside Mark and his old National Post colleague John Robson last Tuesday before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as the parliamentary committee weighs whether to bring back section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act from its rightful place in the grave.
Mark wrote about his thoughts on the committee appearance and the fecklessness of its supposed Conservative representatives.
Lindsay has now released a podcast describing her own bizarre experience after flying across the country to take a stand for free speech.
In it she addresses the bad faith questioning of her by the Liberals, as evidenced by the double standard between treatment of her and that of a prior witness, Muslim lawyer Naseem Mithoowani. She also takes aim at what the Canadian left has been holding up as something of a gotcha moment, when Erskine-Smith asked the panelists to pinpoint an example of Criminal Code overreach on hate speech within the last 50 years.
None of the panelists had an answer. Perhaps that was because, as our friend Andrew Lawton points out, no one on the committee was talking about the Criminal Code, but rather the Canadian human rights bureaucracy, whose reign is littered with examples of censorship and overreach, as Mark pointed out during his testimony.
In what was most likely a preemptive move to avoid grounds for attack during the federal election, the Conservative Party of Canada disallowed professor and radical Islamism critic Salim Mansur from running as their candidate in London North Centre.
The Toronto District School Board recently announced changes to their official dress code. Shaping the direction of the new code is the TDSB’s push to ensure that school attire reflects “individual expression of identity, socio-cultural norms, and economic factors,” which it deems “important factors to a person’s health and well-being.”
What has so far caused the most controversy is that the new policy allows students to wear hats in class while the national anthem plays at the start of the day. In a tone-deaf move, the news broke the morning Canadians were paying their respects to those who fought at Juno Beach on D-Day.
It’s the second blow against the Canadian anthem in the last two years. Back in early 2018, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shut down debate in the House of Commons and pushed through legislation that changed the lyrics of “O Canada” to become “gender neutral,” replacing the lyric “in all thy sons command” with the awkwardly forced “in all of us command.”
Removing Your Hat to Show Respect Goes Back Centuries
The tradition of removing your hat in certain situations goes back hundreds of years. It was a sign of reverence to God when entering a church or addressing someone of higher rank. This subsequently entered Western culture as a sign of admiration or respect.
Not so long ago, taking one’s hat off during the anthem, while entering a building, while praying, or while eating was universally observed etiquette. Such actions recognized that there were situations, spaces, and people deserving of respect. In this case, that would be respect showed to the business of schooling and to the country that pays for and provides that schooling.
Even on the 19th-century frontier, it was customary for men to take off their hats when talking to women. Why? Women were held in high esteem and all men knew they deserved to be treated with a certain level of decency. Now? Policies like the TDSB’s new dress code reinforce the end of deference that has been seeping into the culture.
This Is Radical Leftism Masquerading as a Dress Code
This isn’t about the fact that there are too many bare midriffs, low-riding pants, and spaghetti-strap tops in schools—and there are—this is about propogating an insidious ideology. The TDSB’s rationale for the new dress code policy makes this clear:
Historically, school dress codes have been written and enforced in ways that disproportionately and negatively impact: female-identified students, racialized students, gender diverse, transgender and non-binary students, students with disabilities, socioeconomically marginalized students and Indigenous, First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students. Focused, explicit, persistent and determined action is required to challenge and overcome this history.
This is postmodern neo-Marxism dressed up in meaningless odes to “inclusivity” and “diversity.” It’s leftism 101, and like everything it touches, it’s destroying school culture.
The radical postmodernists reject objective truth, facts, and all other sources of tradition or meaning—in fact, they reject the concept of meaning itself. Neo-Marxists, in turn, believe that all history should be viewed as a story of the “oppressed” versus their “oppressors” (note the TDSB policy’s absurd line about using the new dress code to somehow “challenge” and “overcome” historical slights). Add those two treacherous doctrines and voila! you get the new TDSB dress code.
For the leftists running the education system, dress codes shouldn’t make anyone feel “oppressed” or be grounded in any objective, traditional standards. They must also apparently be wrapped in a banner of apology for the perceived sins of every white man in history. Nothing redresses colonialism’s centuries-old injustices like allowing teenagers to wear spaghetti-strap tops, pajamas, and onesies to school.
Even the New ‘Standards’ Are Meaningless
The very name of TDSB’s new policy reflects a fall of standards. The policy document that used to be titled “Appropriate Dress” is now just called “Student Dress.” Why? Using the word “appropriate” implies a judgment call involving a measure of objective truth. The postmodernists can’t have that. Once you start labeling some things “appropriate,” people might get the radical idea that other things may be “inappropriate.” That brings up crazy notions of “right” or “wrong” and before you know it, we’re executing heretics like it’s 1692.
Not all standards have been washed away by the TDBS’s new policy, however. Sure, students can now openly parade exposed stomachs, midriffs, cleavage, thighs, and hips. But don’t worry. The new policy specifies that “bottom layers must cover groin and buttocks and top layers must cover nipples.” If that doesn’t finally crush the oppressive cisnormative patriarchy, I don’t know what will.
At its heart, this is about more than just hats, anthems, or the tiny, opaque bits of fabric required to cover your unmentionables. And the problem isn’t relegated to loonie school boards in Toronto, Canada. The fact that education systems are now dominated by leftists is a problem that affects the entire continent.
Student’s Don’t Know What’s Best
Allowing students to wear hats during the national anthem is emblematic of a much wider problem in school culture—one that has become far too casual, irreverent, and focused on student tastes. Most education in North America now focuses on making school “experience” fun and comfortable.
As award-winning education author Cheryl Lowe once put it, “there is a lost art of taking school seriously.” The lack of gravitas in most North American classrooms should worry every parent with school-aged children, as well as all those concerned about future generations.
Proper education requires a certain level of seriousness combined with systematic, formal instruction. Classrooms should be quiet, orderly, and driven by respected teachers who function as the expert—ideally because they are experts. Modern education, however, places the students as experts. Students call the shots now in most classrooms, not teachers. This is how you get dress codes that cater to students’ whims.
Instead of boards and teachers establishing objective rules of etiquette and decorum, the “standards” that do exist in schools today are often set by the students. After all, what high schooler isn’t an expert on modesty and virtue? This is the inmates running the asylum.
In most schools now, students “teach” each other, engage in “project-based learning,” and control the pace of the classroom. An emphasis on play, discovery, and exploration might be appropriate for preschool. However, carrying these priorities into K-12 education has been, in the analysis of Lowe, “the single most destructive influence in education today.”
Schools Need to Address Their Gravitas Deficit
The casual atmosphere that accompanies these student-catered standards and practices reveals itself in several ways. A growing number of students refer to teachers by their first names, hang out with them on the weekends, and know everything about their personal lives.
A teacher’s area at the front of the room used to be protected by a halo of reverence. Now, it’s common for students to grab items off the teacher’s desk or sit in his chair when it’s free. Teachers used to be seen by students as mentors and exemplars. Now, many teachers try to make students their best friends. This lack of decorum and respect further erodes the gravitas deficit facing our schools today.
The TDSB’s new lax dress code that also allows students to disrespect the national anthem is just a symptom of an entire system that is in deep trouble. Education must re-embrace the teaching of respect, the value of tradition, the need for virtue, and objective standards of etiquette. Until then, any attempt at academic excellence will be a fantasy, and the cultural rot will continue to fester.