Monday, March 31, 2014

Suey Park, Racism, Whiteness, and Colbert

Oh geez. Great. Another twitter trend that leaves me wondering what the hell to actually think when it comes to being someone on the left, and a white male. Yes, this topic is terribly uncomfortable for me as a white male. I cannot lie. I do get defensive. I do feel hurt at times. I do feel like a punching bag. And, once again, this is the case. Yes, I am writing this from my own personal perspective and how it relates to me, my "race", my identity, my feelings, and so on and so forth. Let's make that perfectly clear. Yes, I am a human with feelings.

So, if you don't know the story by now, a new twitter campaign started by someone named Suey Park has emerged (and is subsiding) under the hashtag #CancelCobert. A good rundown of the controversy can be found in this New Yorker article. I'll give you a few minutes to read those before I continue. Done? Okay, good.

Okay, here is the deal. You can't tell someone who believes that something is racist towards them isn't racist. If they feel like it is racist towards them and they feel hurt or bothered by it, who am I or anyone else to tell them that they are wrong. But she is wrong. But it's bad to say that. And maybe she isn't wrong. I have no clue. From my perspective, my opinion, the joke was actually quite good and was also fighting the type of racism that Ms. Park is saying the joke is actually perpetuating. So, it sets off a nuclear explosion in my head. What the hell am I supposed to make of all this?? I'm on the left. How do I process this one. How do I reconcile of the fact that I don't think it's racist and want to call the whole campaign stupid with the fact that I also think racism is stupid. It's all just stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

One of the main arguements is that progressive white people are racist for not seeing the Colbert joke as a racist attack on an oppressed minority, of which Park sees herself. And because I don't see the joke as racist it turns out that I am racist...I think? I don't know. I'm guilty of something, that's for sure. I'm just not one hundred percent sure what I am guilty of. Therefore, I must resign from the whole conversation. But, I want to say a few things before I do. You know this whole fact that I am a white male? Screw it. I'm not. I'm tired of being accused of being a white male, and thusly part of a fascist system that oppresses everyone else. That's why I am not white...I am pink. And I am not male...I am human. So, just leave me out of it. Don't implicate me personally in any of this bullshit. I'm not part of any system. I'm just living my life, okay.

I'm not going to go into some grand thing about reverse racism, because that's stupid. But, I also hate the whole "Check your privilege!" garbage and the demonizing that too often goes with being a white male or whatever I am that I didn't choose to be and have no power over and must take all criticism of white maleness over or I'm not a good left winger that I think I am good at being. In other words, the whole thing is a mess and I have no clue where I fit in here, especially because I feel as rejected from most groups as it is and always have. I look at someone like Park who has more education, power and influence (and probably money and stature, or whatever) than I will ever have and can't help but feel horrible for oppressing her so badly with my whiteness. No, I don't know what it is like to be Asian. Has it been rough for her? Probably. I don't know. I haven't lived her life, just as no one else has lived mine. So, just as generalizations and jokes about her ethnicity can be seen as offensive, I think looking at me as a white male and making generalizations about that is offensive, and no one can tell me how to feel about it. I feel what I feel. And, yes, when it comes to the topic of me being part of a system and race that is the big oppressor, I have to stand up and say it does bother me because that means I am not being looked at for me...but as part of a group that I don't feel any strong association with! But, saying that turns me into someone someone else will say is saying, "Oh, I'm a poor oppressed white guy!" and will be told to check my privilege and shut up or whatever. Well...whatever, indeed. I know I'm not oppressed, although I have faced plenty of realities that have not made life overly easy. I hate the term privilege so much it makes me want to spit so I will just say I absolutely know that I have it better than so many people on this planet for a whole variety of reasons, not just my skin colour OR penis. I know these things. Privilege checked. Done. Complete. I understand this, okay. So, don't start on with that crap. Okay? Point clear? Good.

So, what am I trying to say here. Good question. Basically, I'm trying to say that issues around race, sex, heirarchy, oppression and all that jazz are more complex than sometimes it is made out to be by very academic approaches to these issues that too often want to categorize all this stuff into neat little groups and how certain people are supposed to feel, act and approach the issue, and that just doesn't sit well with me (but run on sentences do.). And I think that this whole #CancelCobert tag shows this once again even though some, including, I believe, Ms Park, want it to be a very cut and dry issue based on race and gender theory or whatever it is that this is all based in . And I refuse to be stuck in any of these categories and want to be able to make my own decisions about who I am and what I am going to think and hope, just hope, to avoid being labelled as something I don't want to be just as anyone else. Is that too much to ask? Probably, yes.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Kate Perry vs Islam

Oh dear GOD, spare us all from the ridiculousness of your followers. And when the ridiculousness of your followers collides with the ridiculousness of modern pop music, it just gets doubly ridiculous!

Case in point, the latest thing to piss off some Muslims, the fact that in Katy Perry's new, pathetically bad, ancient Egyptian themed music video for 'Dark Horse'. It shows a man being turned into sand. For some reason, this ancient Egyptian man is wearing a necklace that says 'Allah' in Arabic, even though Islam wasn't invented until centuries later. But, really, it doesn't matter. It's a music video. It's not meant to be a history lesson.

Here's what has some people pissed off. At 1:15 min into the video, the man (I believe it's "rapper" Juicy J?) wearing the necklace is turned into sand. The necklace, as well, is turned into sand. Now, you can't even notice the fact that he is wearing this particular necklace unless you actually pause the video and look for it at that point. Someone apparently did. And, now people are mad saying that Katy Perry has insulted Islam, interpreting the fact that the man turns into sand as him burning and thus the name of Allah being burned.

Now, there are a number of issues here, as far as I am concerned. First off, people are more upset that a necklace is turned into sand than a man turned into sand. Mind you, he isn't really turned into sand, nor is the necklace, it is merely fancy dancy special effects. So, not to worry, the necklace survives in the end. Hate to spoil that bit of music video wizardry for people. I know people know that, and see it as a symbolic 'insult' to Islam as opposed to believing the necklace was turned into sand, but, quite frankly, it's funny. It's funny how the 'symbolic' destruction of a human gets not concern, but the 'symbolic' destruction of a necklace does, merely because of it's shape.

Okay, fine, you know what, we know that some Muslims, and I stress SOME Muslims, get completely bent out of shape over anything perceived as an 'insult' to their religion, no matter how slight it may be. Most will walk away from this feeling possibly a bit mad. Some on social media, however, are demanding YouTube take down the video, ban it, say they hate that 'bitch' (interesting, seeing as swearing is haram in Islam), saying they will never listen to her again and people should boycott her. Now, fine, if you don't want to listen to her again, that's your choice. But, I think calling for an outright ban of a video for something that cannot even be seen without pausing it, or because the perception some have is that it is an 'insult' to Islam is going a bit too far. And, to me, it's all ridiculous.

I do get very tired of this demanding of respect for religion. I believe I have mentioned it before. Demanding respect for a homophobic, genocidal, ego-maniacal, sexist, arrogant, demanding god is a bit rich. Mind you, it's god. It doesn't exist. But, people believe it not only exists but MUST be respected. I don't agree with that. If something does not exist it isn't worthy of ANYTHING. It doesn't exist. Period. But, if we go for some notion that this god does exist, the idea that we should automatically, without question respect it is....well....ridiculous. Now, the demand is to respect the religion and not insult the god, prophet or followers. Welllllll, wait a minute. This is the same religion that says I am going to burn in a fiery hell for eternity for not believing in it. I'm supposed to respect this belief?? It's the same religion that condemns gays for being, you know, gay. I'm supposed to respect this belief?? No. Sorry. I can't do that. And no one should feel obligated to respect something they don't feel respectful of. Now, that doesn't mean I'm running out and burning Qurans on the corner. It just means that when something like this comes up, I want to scream out BULLSHIT, deal with it, when people get bent out of shape over an image that lasts a millisecond! And, the best place to do that, of course, is on social media, where we all scream out everything we want to scream out anyway.

So, here is the deal. If you are mad that Katy Perry's very bad video for a very bad song has a millisecond where Allah's name get's turned into dust because it is on a man who is turned to dust, who isn't actually turned to dust, nor the name, then, fine. It's your prerogative. But, really? Seriously? Honestly? Give me a break. Is it really worth being that upset about? I got it, your ultra sensitive about your religion because imams and scholars keep DRIVING into people's heads that these things are insulting. But, I keep seeing kids, not very old, saying how Katy Perry has disgraced Islam. Well, what? Is it really THAT big of deal in your early teens? Who is instructing you to see this millisecond of video as so highly offensive that it should be banned? It seems to me that the propaganda and dogma within ultra conservative interpretations of the religion is being blasted into the minds of young kids who just repeat what their imams, parents and scholars (a term I use loosely) as opposed to really feeling the deep insult that they report they feel. But, at the same time, who am I to say who should be insulted by what.

But, frankly, if we are talking about banning videos, oh dear GAWD this is no shortage of Islamic assholes attacking the West, atheists, Christians, Jews, Israel, gays and lesbians, and whatever else they can completely lay hate on, and yet it's this Katy Perry video that people want taken down? Give me a break, people. Spare me. It's too rich, to ridiculous, in my view. You don't have to like the video. I don't like the video or the song. But, it is what it is, and the millions of Katy Perry fans out there love it, so more power to them. And, if your god gets angry about a necklace shaped into it's name being turned to dust in a music video, then that is a scary god that I want nothing to do with! That is not a loving god. That is a vengeful, angry, spiteful, self loving, arrogant god that is spending too much time focused on a millisecond of video and not enough time on saving sick children. Please, keep that god away from me, because frankly, that god is an asshole. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

There is NO Atheist Movement.

Am I an atheist? Ya. It appears that I am. I cannot escape from the idea that I am. Face it, I am. It's not the easiest thing to admit in this religion obsessed world, when so many people you know and love are believers. But, face it, I'm an atheist.

Today, I read, for the first time, about the "atheist movement" and I shuddered. Atheist movement??? What is this! Atheism is NOT a movement. It's not as if it is a religion. There are no popes, priests, imams, or anything of that nature. There is no central spokesperson. It doesn't need a spokesperson of any sort. It is not a movement. It is what it is. It is a natural state of being before indoctrination. It is not an organized belief. The vast majority of atheists prefer the logic of science over the dogma of religion, however, that doesn't define atheism. Atheism is what it is. It is not having a religious belief or affiliation. Organized movement? No way.

There is no need to proselytize atheism. It is not something that needs to be proven to anyone. The proof for atheism lies in the complete absence of proof of any kind of god or gods. It speaks for itself. No atheist speaks for any other atheist. Some people would like to put Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens or other famed atheists on top of the heap, as some kinds of leaders. They aren't. They are not leaders. They are atheists. They have their views which are open to like, dislike, challenges, praise or what have you. They don't speak for me. They don't speak for anyone but themselves. They are who they are. We all are who we are. That's it. No leaders. No followers. No churches. No dogma.

So, when I hear someone say "atheist movement", I sort of feel like they are missing the boat and not understanding what atheism is. Mind you, this is my opinion and my opinion only. Like I said, I do not speak for other atheists. I challenge strongly this notion of a movement. I don't see atheism as being a movement nor needing a movement.  It does not need leaders or spokespeople. It is not that kind of -ism. It is not a religion. It is not a system of governance or finance. It is not a cohesive belief system. It is not even a belief system, period. So, how can their be a movement?

Some are arguing that because of years of persecution, there is a need to band together to fight religion. Not really. No. I mean, you can stand up against religious superiority and persecution without a cohesive movement. We know persecution is wrong, right? Therefore, we fight persecution because we are humans who know that it is wrong. One does not need to be an atheist to fight against persecution.

Is disagreeing persecution? No. Can people hate, criticize, mock, dislike or laugh at atheism? Of course. Who cares. Go for it. It doesn't change facts that exist that make atheism a logical conclusion. It is not something that has to be fought for. There is no jealous god or hyper sensitive prophet needing defending. Dawkins and Hitch don't need defending. They are grown men who can stand on their own two feet (well, unfortunately, Hitch can't anymore...RIP). They don't need defending. They defend themselves quite nicely, and good on them. They take tons of criticism and they deal with it (must stop using present tense for Hitch) in their own way. So, no, atheism is not some movement. It isn't meant to be on the same plane as religion. There should be no grand fight for followers like the other religions have. We don't have to claim that we are the "fastest growing religion in the world!" because it doesn't matter. You either accept it or don't. There is no number count. You are either with logic, or with a religious belief system. Your choice. Up to you.

To sum up, as if I haven't already....atheism is not and should not be seen as a movement. Again, my opinion. My view. I speak for no other atheists. That's the point. Atheists are atheists. They think for themselves. They represent themselves. They view the world in their own way. Period. Each is responsible for their own beliefs. This is mine. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Ups and Downs of World Hijab Day

You know what the world needs? A straight white males perspective on World Hijab Day. That's right. It's the opinion you all have been dying for. I know you have all been clammering, waiting to hear viewpoint from a white man. Sure, there are plenty of, say, Muslim women, who talked about this topic today, but it's really the white guys opinion you want, right? No, you say? Oh.

Well, I'm going to write a blog post about it anyway, because that's just what I do, dammit. I stick my nose in everywhere. I have an opinion about anything, and I have a few things to say about this one. 

I spent much of the day following (and sometimes posting to) the twitter hashtag #WorldHijabDay. I knew this day had been coming. I saw the tag days before. I anticipated the excitement. This was going to be awesome. What was going to be said on this hashtag? Gawd only knows. 

Here's what I did see. I saw a lot of Muslim girls and women who seem very proud, happy and blessed that they wear a hijab. To them I say, "Kudos!". If you like it, good. Wear the sucker, I don't care. If it gives you a positive feeling, then that's good, right? Of course not everyone is forced to wear the hijab. There are many people who choose it and love it and that point was driven home to excess today. Mind you, this was mostly by Western based Muslim women who have never had to live in a country where they didn't have the choice. But, that's just a small issue....sort of. 

Of course, there have been a small number of Western countries, France being the main one that I know of, that has banned face veils although not hijabs. There has been debate and controversy in other places, including here in Canada, in Quebec about bans or restrictions of some sort. Quebec is working on a law that would ban headcoverings and religious wear from provincial government institutions. My feelings on that? Complex. I would need another blog post. And, when I lived in Turkey, women weren't allowed to wear hijabs in government institutions or Universities. That has since been overturned but, there you have it, a country with a 90 percent Muslim population banning hijabs. Doesn't just happen in the West. Doesn't just happen in non-Muslim countries. Actually, for the most part, people are quite free to wear what they want in the vast majority of the West. Not so much in the Muslim world. 

Now, there are also many tales of discrimination, dirty looks, and even violence towards women wearing a nijab. What? Come again? WHY??? Why would anyone attack anyone for wearing the hijab. That is appalling and disgusting in so many ways. No way, in any society, should this ever be looked at as acceptable. I am not going to play stupid and naive. I know it has happened. I have read sad, sad news stories about it. I condemn this in the fullest. Attacking another human being for what they are wearing is low, disgusting and wrong. Don't do it! Don't! Just don't. No. Not acceptable. Ever. 

Okay, so that is out of the way. 

The other major thing I learned today is that not everyone was happy about World Hijab Day. A fresh new hashtag came on the scene: #notohijabappropriation. Oh boy. Just when things seemed simple and straightforward, this one came along. 

So, the thrust behind the main campaign, the World Hijab Day, was more of a "Walk a mile in our shoes" sort of thing. Come on, try the hijab for a day, it ain't so bad! You'll like it! See what we go through! Seems innocent and well meaning enough. No. It isn't it turns out. Apparently, all these innocent, well meaning people are guilty of appropriation for taking part in this world wide campaign in 100 countries. This irked me a bit. Here are all these people being stopped in malls and schools and on the street and asked to take part in the event, and then another group comes along and accuses the people of appropriation. Well, that backfired spectacularly. If you took part and didn't get the full Muslim experience, you are screwed, you have appropriated, you evil, evil person (sarcasm). 

Now, despite me saying that, the anti-appropriation crowd had the far better argument. You can't understand a culture/religion or the lives of the people living it by putting a scarf on your head for a day. Fair point. Can't argue with that. I agree. It's like someone dropping into Winnipeg in July for a few days, going home and telling everyone who beautiful, warm and friendly it is. Unless you are here year round, when the snow is chin deep and the temperatures will freeze your appendages off, and your car won't start, and you can barely drive on the poorly maintained roads, you don't know what Winnipeg is truly like. Bad analogy? I'm sure someone will think so. 

Really, all you are doing by putting on the scarf is....putting on a scarf. That's the argument anyway. Can't argue against it really, unless one really invests the time into finding out the trials and tribulations of those who wear it everyday in the name of their religion, you really can't know what it's like. In others words, if you aren't a Muslim woman who wears the hijab faithfully, you won't get it. The message from these folks? Don't just stick on the to Muslim women, get to know them, get to know what they experience, find out. As was pointed out, the hijab is not the sole defining point of a person. It is an important part, but there is much more. And, the experiences that come with being a Muslim woman and wearing the hijab can't be duplicated unless you are in that position. Makes sense. Can't argue with that. However, it seems that telling other well meaning women off for taking part in a highly publicized campaign is a bit....mean. Maybe break it to them gently? Just a suggestion. 

Now, the hijab itself? Honestly, people swear it is not a sign of oppression, it's a sign of freedom. Okay, well, if that's what you feel, good. You can't tell someone who feels free that they are oppressed. That makes no sense. It's hard for me to understand this freedom that is often talked about, but that's okay. It's not up to me to understand. If someone says they feel free, good for them. But then, all of these lovely analogies popped up. Oh, the analogies. "A women in a hijab is like a pearl in a clamshell!" or "Would you rather a peice of unwrapped discarded candy? Or a new, fresh wrapped candy!" Oh dear gawd. I've always hated these analogies. People aren't pearls. They aren't candy. They are people. So, reading these things again was just painful. But, if someone wants to see themselves as a precious piece of candy, that's up to them. 

The biggest, biggest problem I have with the whole hijab thing? Along with the defending of the hijab comes the innevitable slut shaming of women who don't wear the hijab. Oh, man, how many times did I read about how a woman in a hijab is far more beautiful than a woman walking around half naked. Of course the hijab means you have more respect for your body (sarcasm). Wearing the hijab means that people look at your mind, not your body (sarcasm). UGH! This makes me want to scream! Basically, the implication is, "What? You don't wear a hijab? What an immoral slut you must be!" Exaggerating? Yes and no. Depends on the person making the comment and the ferocity of their opinion on it. But, come ON! Can't you enjoy the hijab and what it means to you without slut shaming other women or implying they are immoral, indecent or don't have respect for themselves?? That doesn't help the image of the hijab at all. If a person wants to wear a bikini, that isn't saying they are immoral or they don't have respect for themselves. It's saying, "Right now, I've decided to wear a bikini." And there is nothing wrong with that. The thing is, we all have bodies. We are humans. We know what flesh looks like. The vast majority of us can go through life seeing women in bikinis and NOT be driven to rape. Many of us can look at another being with maturity and confidence and not just want to have sex with them. We can do that! So, don't shame us folks who aren't buying into this whole modesty trap as being essential to a well oiled society. Just as you have your views on what you want to wear and want respect, so does everyone else. For that matter, I want to be able to wear a Jesus and Mo t-shirt and not be threatened with death....:) (Sorry, that is in reference to another "scandal" I have been following on twitter lately, the Mo Ansar and Mo Shafiq vs Maajid Nawaz face off over the posting of a Jesus and Mo cartoon)

And for gawd sakes, I wish I could read a tag like this and NOT feel like a dirty rapist. Look, I don't have lustful eyes for every woman on the planet. Please don't look at me or see me as someone who does. More likely than not, if I see a girl in shorts and a tank top at the grocery store, and I go up to her, it's to ask where she found the toilet paper in her basket and how much it costs and not even notice anything else. You know what? A good number of us men really are like that. We just do our thing. Men, just as women, just as Muslims, just as anyone else, are diverse. We are not a homogenized block of humans who all act and think the same. Please, before you say how you are protecting yourself from the lustful gaze of men who sometimes just can't help themselves when they see someones hair from molesting them, count me out of that equation. I'm not part of that. If this is how you see men, then I am not one. I am other than that and don't wish to be put into that category, okay?  So, yes, there is an element of this that I do find personally insulting....and insulting to many men. 

So, with all that said, everyone go back to wearing whatever suits them best, relax, enjoy, chill out and do your thing. If you are thinking of assaulting anyone for any reason....DON'T! We only have one life to live (despite what religious folks might say). Do we really want to spend the whole thing judging each others clothing choices, and their personal morals and values? No. We don't. Yes. I did just answer that for you. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yes, this is in reference to Duck Dynasty and Phil Robertson

There is nothing wrong with being religious. If it gives people hope and strength, purpose and comfort, that is great, wonderful in fact. Religion can be a positive force to many people. But, when it is used as a smokescreen, to allow for bigotry, then it becomes an evil force. When the bible or Quran is used as a justification for homophobic speech, it becomes dangerous. They turn from books of hope to books of pain and discrimination. Furthermore, to say homophobic things and then turn around and say, "These are my Christian values!" reflects poorly on the religion. Worse yet, when people say something like, "But, I'm not for treating people who are gay badly," I can't help but think, "Really? You just said homophobic things based in a complete lack of understanding of human sexuality and relationships, justifying it using your holy book, thus saying things that treat people badly, then turn around and say you are not for treating people badly?" Is this like "Native people are all bums and alcoholics, but I believe in treating them equal." Really? Because a statement like that shows otherwise....and it's basically the same thing. The first one, however, is justified as being a religious view, and therefore, somehow, valid and unquestionable. Religion can be wonderful...but it can also be shockingly terrifying. We are celebrating Jesus' birthday this week. There are a lot of mysteries around him, his existence, who he actually was, BUT, if his mission was to teach peace, love, harmony, respect, understanding and fairness, I think it is fair to say that he would be against homophobia, and probably stand for absolutely NOTHING that Phil Robertson and his many supporters, including Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck seem to stand for which is basically the opposite of what it seems Jesus is all about. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

White Poppies, Red Poppies? Just Chill.

Remembrance Day has become a day surrounded with subjective symbolism. People should feel comfortable with the choices they make and the symbols they choose when marking this time of the year. Often these symbols just come down to what they mean personally. Freedom means that people have the ability to think and act of their own accord. Attacks on others about the perceived disrespect certain symbols show do more to destroy the meaning of the day than the symbols that people choose to adopt, in my opinion. Let's all mark a historic event without anger or frustration over who chooses what symbol. Let us all mark it in a way we each feel most comfortable personally.

Of course, the main issue at the forefront now, as in every Remembrance Day since Remembrance Day began (as Armistice Day) is around red vs white poppies (Yes, the white poppy has been around as long as the red poppy, a fact which some people aren't aware of). If you ask me, it isn't an issue of red vs.'s an issue of personal choice. They aren't at war with one another. Plenty of people wear both together. Everyone just needs to chill out and not worry about what others are wearing. It's their choice. It's their personal message. It isn't your choice. It isn't something you are forced to wear. You don't even have to like it. But when I see people on line threatening to beat up people who wear white poppies, which I see every year without fail, I just shake my head. That is completely unnecessary. Don't threaten violence over this (as is the case in exhibit A, below) . It isn't cool. It isn't appreciated. It isn't nice. Chill out. Let freedom ring, don't forget the past, look to the future.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Homophobic Hate Preacher Siraj Wahhaj coming to Winnipeg

Winnipeg has a vibrant and bright Muslims community. There are a lot of good people in the Muslim community that have found a home in this city. And it's wonderful to have a diverse community to celebrate and enjoy. It's wonderful to go around this city and see people from the four corners of the earth, representing all races, ethnicities, cultures and religions.

BUT, I have a big problem with the idea of Siraj Wahhaj coming to Winnipeg to the Winnipeg Grand Mosque on November 10th. Why? Well, although many right wing conservatives attach on to any scrap of evidence that he is associated with terrorism, my concern is his extreme homophobia. It is difficult to get the truth on terrorism connections when a Google search brings up every right wing blog out there that would connect anyone who is Muslim to terrorism. I'm not saying he doesn't have dubious connections or radical ideas in this direction, but I am saying that I don't know. There is talk about some connection to the first World Trade Center bombing, but I can't find much clarification that isn't heavily biased to know for sure.

What I DO know is that he did this lecture which can only be described as extremely homophobic and, in my mind, extremely concerning. In this lecture titled "Masculine Women and Feminine Men" which is readily available on YouTube, the man makes it very clear his disgust in homosexuality, as well as feminism and whatever else he is extremely angry and shouty over. At this point, I encourage you to watch the whole video below to see exactly what he has to say:

Now, I don't think he should NOT come to Winnipeg, necessarily. BUT, I believe that this is a man with some disgusting ideas that deserves to be met with protest. I believe that he should not just come quietly into our community and slip out without people knowing what this man stands for. It is obvious from his statements that he is an extreme right wing ultra social conservative religious man. I have a problem with social conservatism to begin with, especially when it becomes mixed with religion. His statements against LGBTs are not only offensive, but misguided, based on fallacies and religious dogma, prejudiced, reek of a sense of moral superiority, are extremely divisive, and, given his fire and brimstone approach, pretty damn scary. Oh, sure, he redeems himself at the end of this ranting to say that violence should not be done to LGBTs. Great, wonderful! BUT, using extreme rhetoric to fire people up first off, and then toss in a call for non violence makes it pretty darn hollow.

Here are a few points that I wish to make. First off, why is this man coming to Winnipeg? Apparently, this is a big deal with tickets expected to go fast, and apparently he is well loved and influencial and blah, blah, blah. Well, whoa now, this guy, who rails on about gays and how horrible homosexuality is and how there is no place for it in Islam and never will be, etc. etc., is someone that people in this community are looking up to?? And wish to bring him here as a representative of Islam??

Further more, on the poser for the event, he is called "One of the most influential Muslims in the History of North America". Oh great, that doesn't make me feel very good. Here is a guy who spreads horribly homophobic views who is one of the most influential Muslims in the History of North America?? That makes this lecture and these views all that much more repulsive and dangerous.

Here is the deal. As I have said before in previous posts on similar subjects, there are so many good, forward thinking, liberal Muslims out there. This guy doesn't do Islam many favours with his over the top, hateful rhetoric. And the fact that he is being welcomed, open armed into our community as a great man leaves me quite unsettled. Obviously, he is free to come. But, I do wish more knew about some of the things this guy has said. I mean, imagine if the Westboro Baptist Church folks were coming to Winnipeg. The outcry would be tremendous. Given Siraj Wihhaj's remarks, I'm not seeing a whole lot of difference between him and Fred Phelps.

Remember back when Anne Coulter came to Canada and the outrage she caused? And, it caused outrage for good reason. She is a vile, horrible woman who has made a pretty penny off of being a vile, horrible woman spreading far right wing ideas. Well, again, I can't see much difference between the lecture embedded above, and the disgusting rhetoric of Anne Coulter.

So, come to Winnipeg Siraj, but I hope that you are met with protest and serious questioning as opposed to just open, loving, adoring arms of people blinded by your influence and whatever greatness they seem to see in you. I hope you understand the danger of your statements and how not just damaging, but how cruel they are. What is different about the rhetoric you used and the rhetoric of a school yard bully? None. None at all. I want you to know that. I want all of these eager people who are snatching up tickets to see you to know that you aren't the great, wonderful man that people seem to think you are. But, you will probably be showered with love and gratitude and your disgusting, deplorable side will be ignore, and you will carry on your merry way to the next engagement where the same garbage will happen again and you will remain unchallenged in your false, dangerous ideas.