Friday, September 19, 2014

ISIS and Islam. Is it? Or isn't it?

Is ISIS an Islamic group? Yes. Does it represent all of Islam? No. Hopefully just these few simple sentences help to clarify the middle ground here. We have one side saying ISIS is Islam defined and that all Muslims are terrorists. We have another side saying Islam is perfect, that ISIS are UN Islamic and have nothing to do with the religion of peace. Both sides are wrong.

What we see with ISIS is far from isolated or unique. We have seen Al Quida, the Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabab and many other groups following a similar path in a wide number of countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Clearly, Islamic extremism is not just a case of a few bad apples. There is something deeper here. And, sure enough, when we look at the Quran the basis for these groups is in there. Here is a link to an article that does a good job of rounding up the specific parts of the Quran that can be linked to the thinking and actions of those in the Islamic State. It is a right wing, anti Islam site, but at the same time, this is handy because it compiles the issues into one page quite nicely. Furthermore, the Quran does an excellent job of demonizing non-believers and almost dehumanizing them as being ignorant, on the wrong path, misguided, untrustworthy liars. So, that adds to the problem as well. 

So why are all Muslims not following the same path as ISIS? Because, Islam has a wide array of interpretations. There are 1.2 billion followers of Islam and 1.2 billion interpretations. What it comes down to is which parts of the Quran the follower decides to cherry pick and how some wish to interpret the messages of the book and the prophet. Fortunately, many want to live in peace and want religion to be good, fulfilling, spiritual and uplifting. This is wonderful and deserves to be celebrated.

Extremists are still using the same book but are using different parts that inspire and support their actions. It would be nice to say this was the minority. Technically, yes, it is. But the numbers are far from insignificant as we see by the number and size of these groups and the severity and wide spread nature of the havoc they have wreaked. Clearly, these folks aren't just pulling stuff out of their butts. When you have groups across the Muslim world with similar views and goals, obviously there is a connecting factor, and that is, simply, the religion. 

So, both arguments as presented above represent two false poles with the reality being in the middle. And while peaceful liberal Muslims should not pay the price for the actions of extreme conservative Muslims, no Muslim is doing anyone any favours with denying that ISIS and related groups have something to do with Islam. The same goes for those who condemn all Muslims as terrorists or as bad people. Muslims not associated with ISIS or Al Quida, or whatever other of the many groups there seem to be out there, don't deserve to be mistreated because of the actions or rhetoric of those with a more worrisome interpretation of Islam. 

The truth of groups like ISIS is in the religion itself. The religion deserves criticism where criticism is due and just screaming "Islamophobia" whenever the subject is approached is counter productive to say the least. Questioning or even disliking the religion is both okay and important. Hating Muslims just for being Muslims isn't okay and that needs challenging as well. A middle ground where solid, reasoned, open, honest discussion involving use of critical thinking skills is needed. Both complete demonization of the religion and rose coloured glasses approaches to the religion are not helping get to the root of the problem as it relates to the role the religion and it's holy books play.

So, let's stop the games and start being honest. Islam covers a wide spectrum of ideas and manifestations that need to be acknowledged by all parties. Then we can start focusing on the problems we are facing from groups like ISIS. Let's be honest about the Quran and what it has inside of it. Let's be honest about Muhammad. Let's be honest about ISIS's roots in Islam. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gord Steeves Tastes Own Foot

Oh Gord, Gord, Gord. Mr Steeves, you have completely blown it.

If you aren't aware of the situation, Gord Steeves, Mayoral Candidate for Winnipeg in the 2014 election has been hit by a bit of controversy caused by his wife's racist remarks on Facebook. No, okay, lets' revise that, let's say EXTREMELY racist remarks. I mean, really, very, very racist. I mean, come on, we are talking terribly racist.

Ouch. No, not just ouch. OUCH! Wow, that's.....mean! Now, as I listen to the Gord Steeves presser (which you can watch right here) happening now, all I can say is, boy oh boy, has Gord Steeves and his wife missed the boat. As he is saying, the comments on Mrs Steeves Facebook was said in a sort of "heat of the moment" sense, after a few incidents where she had been downtown and approached by people looking for money. Apparently she felt scared. Now, I can't take that away from her. I can see how at times it would be scary. I won't deny that. However, the way this post was worded doesn't seem to reflect fear as much as looking down on people, a pure, 100 percent racist rant, targeting a specific group, showing an extreme lack of understanding when it comes to issues facing Natives in Winnipeg. There isn't a sense of fear as much as a sense of disgust, of loathing, and definitely NO understanding of issues that might be leading people to a life on the streets, begging for money.

Now, to Gord Steeves campaign. Here is the issue. No, Mr. Steeves is not responsible for his wife's views. He didn't write them, she did. These are her views. He shouldn't necessarily be punished for them. However, Mr. Steeves policies for dealing with cleaning downtown up and getting rid of drunkeness, etc seems to directly reflect her views...without the racist rant. He wants to add more Police Cadets downtown to deal with these folks, not even seeming to be interested in looking at the roots of the problem. Just sweep out the unwanted people. This is worrying. I'm not saying that attention does not have to be paid to downtown, that there aren't issues that should be addressed. But when a major campaign promise seems to mirror the concerns his wife have (who made a vile, vile racist Facebook post about it), I can't help but feel suspicious. 

What we see here is just one example of an epidemic of racism in Winnipeg. Come on, face it, it's not like this is the first time any of us have heard similar rhetoric from other people. This is pretty common stuff. We all know and can't deny that. She isn't the first to say these things. Given this, here was Gord Steeves opportunity to maybe shine a bit, stand up against racism in Winnipeg and make a statement of solidarity with those that need a leader to help deal with the issue of racism. He blew it. He missed the boat. He defended himself and his wife and seemed to be oblivious or non commital to the idea that racism is a huge problem and that a Mayoral candidate might want to make statements to ensure that he understands the issue of racism and is willing to work with the community to fight it. He didn't. He didn't in the slightest. 

The way he handled the entire issue was just terrible, as far as I am concerned. The revelation of the Facebook comments his wife made happened 5 days ago. For some reason he chose today, Tuesday (August 12th), to address the issue. He set up a news conference, only telling news outlets where it would be an hour before the event. Media showed, he didn't, until several minutes past 1pm. Then, he began the press conference with some very dry and poorly presented information about zoning permits. It was rather bizarre I have to say. Clearly he wasn't looking forward to addressing the issue on everyone's mind and was stalling. Not overly professional and not overly smart. Finally, FINALLY, someone interrupted him and asked him to get to the matter at hand, which Mr. Steeves reluctantly did focusing almost solely on defending his wife and explaining the context (that doesn't really explain some of the worst statements she made about welfare, education and ass's) as opposed to acknowledging that this type of rhetoric is a serious issue.

After the press conference, which had an abrupt end when he had had enough, he walked out and left, not talking to anyone. He clearly does not want to deal with this issue. The problem is, there are many in the community who do, especially those directly affected by racism in Winnipeg. Instead of facing them and standing up for them, he dodged the issue and did everything he could to avoid it. This, ladies and gentlemen is NOT leadership material. 

Now, he loves his wife, which is lovely. I support him on that. I understand that. He wants to stick up for his wife. Fine. BUT, in the process he completely failed to realize the hurt that was caused by her statements and acknowledge the people affected by this type of racism. This was a chance to speak out, to reach out to those affected, to show at least a shred of understanding. Instead, it was just focused on how his wife was a victim and that led to her racist rant. He had a golden opportunity to address a serious issue that we face in this city....and he blew it. Instead, he seemed annoyed and fed up with even having to face any questions regarding the incident. 

We need a mayor who isn't afraid to look at the issue straight in the eye, understand what is happening downtown, why we have the "problems" we do and at least empathize with those his wife completely bashed in her comments. Yes, Lorrie made the comments, but in my view, Gord's lack of willingness to deal with the issue just made himself look bad. He blew an opportunity....squandered it. He showed lack of leadership. He showed lack of understanding. He showed lack of empathy. And he showed just how far away of finding a solution to one of the major issues we face in this city we truly are. Our leaders need to step up and face this problem. Gord Steeves showed he has no interest in doing that. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Dead Baby Photos and the Israel/Palestine Conflict

Surprise! Israel and Palestine are at it again, swapping bombs, slaughtering teens, blowing shit up and generally just hating on eachother. And, as always, social media is booming with all the back and forth, tit for tat discussion that has been going on for, well, ever. As long as this conflict has been going on, it's the same back and forth arguments with no end. "Israel is worse than Nazi Germany!". "Palestinians are terrorists!", etc, etc, etc. It gets rather tiresome. It's the same old thing over and over and over. And then, both sides wonder "Why are we not getting the attention we deserve!!!!???". Well, maybe it's because you've been at this for 60 fucking years and it's always the same old garbage and you guys haven't been able to sort it out, and we're all a bit tired of hearing about it because there is not much we can do. It is, quite frankly, easy to tune out this conflict because, quite frankly, the story is getting old and tired. But, of course, it is still an important story because people are dying...mostly Palestinians, but that isn't to say that Israel hasn't faced it's fair share of death. I am not even going to bother arguing for or against anything here. Enough people have researched the issue to death (usually to suit their own predetermined bias) that there will always be someone who will come along, on both/either side that will say, "That's wrong, and you are an idiot!" Well, in some ways, yes, I am, and I have no clue what is true or false anymore. Not all that is said to be false is false, and not all that is said to be true is true.

BUT, BUT, BUT, here is what is making me quite angry at the moment with how social media, particularly the anti-Israel camp (thought the pro-Israel camp does this too) is conducting itself. If I see one more picture of a slaughtered baby with absolutely no source cited, I'm going to scream. Just throwing up a picture of a dead baby that could be a dead child from anywhere there is conflict and declaring that it is the work of Israel is just....wrong. Have children been dying in the conflict over the years? Yes, sadly, and tragically, children on both sides have been a victim. But, really, does tossing up a picture of a dead baby from three years ago, that no one knows where it was taken, really helping anything other than further inflaming an already toxic issue? Constantly, constantly, dead baby pictures, with an angry message that says, "Look what Isra-hell is doing! Wake UP!" or something. Again, I'm not trying to downplay the pain and suffering being felt in that area, but, come on, let's be level headed and rational about this. Find out before you post it what the picture is actually of. I keep seeing pictures of things being blown up that are attributed to today....that happened 3 yrs ago! Why? If you are going to lie about that through pictures, what else are you going to lie about?? Not everything you find on the internet is true folks. You aren't helping your side with these pics. You aren't helping to do anything but make the situation, dare I say....worse!

And, now, it's back to your regularly scheduled tit for tat war. Enjoy! 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Calgary Doctor Refuses to be a Doctor

So, lemme get this straight. Today in the Calgary Herald, there was an article about a doctor, Chantal Barry at a walk in clinic (Westglen Medical Center) who refuses to give prescriptions for birth control based on her "beliefs" and "morals" whatever they happen to be. Apparently, these beliefs and morals don't include the idea that the law of Canada allows people to have these things to, you know, prevent people who don't wish to get pregnant from getting pregnant. Of course, not having birth control will prevent people from having sex and everything will be fine. Oh, right, it won't, because then people will have sex, have unwanted pregnancies and then some of those people will wish abortions, which I am sure she is even more against. So, basically, I'm thinking, she is going with an abstinence angle here, despite the fact that we are humans and humans have sex because, it's a human thing to do....much like all animals. Maybe she also doesn't believe we are animals? Who knows. Regardless, she has her "morals" and "beliefs" preventing potential patients from getting perfectly legal birth control pills from her. Seems to me that refusal of medical services should not be allowed in Canada, or, anywhere for that matter, if the service is perfectly legal!!

However, despite the law allowing for people to have birth control, apparently, the law also allows physicians to refuse treatment to people based on their RELIGIOUS beliefs. Wait....WHAT?? Now, the law apparently also says there has to be timely alternatives made or given, specifically making sure someone else can attend to the patients LAWFUL needs in a timely fashion. That's easier said than done in Canada where, although we have a great health care system that I fully support, we have a definite doctor shortage, and thousands upon thousands of people don't have family doctors and rely on walk in clinics. Choice is limited. So a doctor picking and choosing what they will or will not prescribe based on religious beliefs puts many people in a tough spot.

How far can this spread? Is it possible that one day I could end up in an emergency room somewhere needing a blood transfusion and the only doctor on at that time is against blood transfusions because of his religious beliefs? If so, what happens to me? My life is in the hands of someone whose religious beliefs dictates the type of care he will give me, as opposed to the fact there is nothing illegal about this care being done and should be done, like, quick, before I bleed to death? I'm sure this will never happen, but clearly if the law states that people can refuse certain tasks based on their religious beliefs, it technically could happen. No? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe someone more in the know could explain to me how I am wrong. Maybe?

Here, yet again, we have religious beliefs interfering with the rights and needs of others. Just like opposition to LGBT rights, or other forms of reproductive care, to beliefs where women and men should not work side by side, to whatever other holy rolling beliefs people hold. Here, we have a woman who has decided that because of her beliefs, others must live by her beliefs and screw what is best for patience or what is lawful in Canada. And in doing so, she is putting people in a compromising position, especially if she is one of the few access points to health care some people might have. To me, THIS is immoral.

How on EARTH can this be allowed to happen. If Chantal Barry has an issue with birth control then it is her problem. She doesn't have to use it. But, why should people she treats also have to live by these beliefs?? And how can Canadian laws allow this to happen? If the pill is legal, than it seems to me that no doctor has the right to deny a patient the pill unless their is a concerning health reason that should prevent someone from using it. It's time to start giving religion a free pass here. It's time to stop allowing discrimination based on religious beliefs. We still have a culture of religious exceptionalism where as long as someone has a belief related to some religion, they get to practice that belief over the rights of other human beings. How can this be? Apparently it is. But it's time to stop it, immediately so we NEVER see signs like this again at any health facility in Canada ever, ever, ever again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I Wanna Write a Book....

I want to write a book, people. Where do I begin? "It was a dark and stormy night..." seems to be overused a tad. "In the beginning..." maybe? Maybe I should start with proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Maybe. This writing a book stuff is already hard and I haven't even figured out what I'm going to write about. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tamara Johnson: Thunder Bay's Ann Coulter

Oh dear gawd, where do these people come from. Apparently, in this case, from a gift shop in the bowels of the Landmark Inn in Thunder Bay. It comes in the form of Tamara Johnson who could only be described as the Ann Coulter of Thunder Bay. Maybe a female version of Ezra Levant, the Sun News shit disturber that plays on extreme racial stereotypes to push forth far right ideas, with knee jerk, over the top reactionary rhetoric designed not to inform or make the world better, but simply to shock and piss people off. It's like a drug to folks like this. They seem to thrive on pissing people off, hurting people deeply, causing grief and just generally being ignorant pain in the asses. They accomplish little with their time in the spotlight other than that, really, and they have too much of an ego to see that what they are doing is completely unproductive.

So, this Tamara Johnson woman ran in the recent Ontario election in the riding of Thunder Bay- Superior North representing the Ontario Libertarian Party. Red flag? Indeed. As part of her campaign, just a few days prior to the election she put out a full page ad in the Chronicle Journal featuring her in some kind of a weird pose, looking like a cross between a high school kid trying to look sophisticated and a sophisticated lady looking like a high school kid. But, next to this rather odd image were a pile of words that caused a stir and for good reason.

Okay, wow, it sounds like Ontario has been taken over by money grubbing, ivory tower living, oppressive, ultra elite, ultra rich, super advantaged First Nations folks who have victimized poor Tamara to the point of tears. No wonder Ontario needs her! Only she can fight the unfair treatment that regular tax payers are facing as the result of the demands of Ontario's super citizen natives! She is the great white saviour for....whites. 

Now, I don't love jumping up and down and crying racist. But when the term is due, it's due. And here we have a textbook case of a racist. This is racism defined. The amount of ignorance crammed into the cheesy looking ad is ridiculous. It shows a complete lack of understanding, by a relatively well off white lady, towards the reality of life for First Nations peoples. It also shows a complete lack of understanding of Canadian history, the programs designed to force assimilation, the whole cultural genocide, the Residential school program, the fact that a Eurocentric system of governance and laws has been thrust on a population that didn't ask for it, etc. It shows a complete lack of understanding of treaties signed and promises made, which have often not been met anyway. Colonialism has been devastating to First Nations people in Canada. If there is a group in North America that can be described as oppressed, it is First Nations people. 

But, hark, somehow, we white people, and seemingly specifically Tamara, are the victims it would seem. How dare Natives get what they were promised. How dare Natives get high on their horse as super citizens and get unfair advantages and "handouts" that white people don't, thrusting them into a position of power and influence, giving them dominance and control over oppressed white people. Oh, wait, that's because that doesn't happen. It's the whites who have all the dominance and control. Damn, I guess Tamara didn't get the Facebook message. 

But, according to statements after she was criticized over this ad, she stands defiantly by them 100 percent and says that they are true. So, yes, apparently, Natives in Canada are the oppressors of the subjugated whites. And that's the truth, according to Tamara. Yes, she stands by that. Wow. At this point, can we say anything other than the fact that she is an idiot?

Now, I support her right to say these things, what with the whole free speech thing an all. Heck, in fact, I am more than glad she did run this ad. It shows how ridiculous and ignorant she truly is with a very racist agenda. In fact, it seems, based on this ad, that her entire agenda, her entire reason for running in the election was to stick it to the red man who has been oppressing whites for far too long. That appears to be about it. Her entire reason to run was based in racism! How pathetic is that! Imagine spending the time and money to try and get elected on a platform that seems based for the most part on hatred of an entire race. Why would you do that?? Has she been done horribly wrong or something? Has someone with brown skin caused her pain so she chooses to lash out in a knee jerk, random, stereotype driven way? What's the story here Tamara? I just don't get it. Well, wait, actually I do. Sadly, the rhetoric she uses is not all that uncommon in Thunder Bay, Northwestern Ontario, and here in my new home of Winnipeg. These worn out, tired and completely misguided stereotypes are repeated over and over when it comes to First Nations people. 

Basically, what I am saying, is that racism is rampant, brazen, open and generally accepted, in a way that it would not be accepted against almost any other group, and it has been this way for as long as I can remember. It's a part of the culture. It's just the way at has been, though hopefully not the way it will always be. Tamara coming forth with this ad has done the public a favour in helping to bring to surface the terrible reality of racism, and with her statements, she drew out some of the worst examples of racists in the area that supported her, loving her message of sticking it to Natives. This saddens me. It sickens me in fact. But, I look at it and wonder if this can be a catalyst for change. Maybe more people will look at what she has said, and will start changing views by getting educated about how her views are based in stereotypes and misconceptions. I, too, am on this journey, to grow and understand the relationship between Canada and it's First Nations people, often having to plow through this kind of racist bile to get to the truth. I now recognize more than ever just how dangerous ideas put forth by people like Tamara Johnson are. She is a racist. There is no two ways about this. Racist to the core. A text book example. And, as being such, we can learn from her. We can learn the direction NOT to take. We can look at the pain that she has created, the shitstorm she brewed, and the way she handles herself, in such a divisive and egotistical way, as a self centered, self serving bully with an over abundance of confidence and a complete deficit of understand and say , "I don't want to be that! I want to be better than that!" 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Will Mo Ansar Survive?

At this point, our good friend Mo Ansar has been thoroughly outed by a number of journalists (Nick Cohen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Jamie Bartlett) along with some well written and observant blogs. This will be my last observations on him, and in many ways I am not offering up a ton of new information, but hopefully a few things to think about. The question now that he has been outed is, what now? Will he weather this storm? Will be come out of this unscathed. Many careers have been dashed for far less than what Mo has done. But, is he a big enough "celebrity" to actually fall because of this? Or is he in that sweet spot where he's not big enough that enough people care about his lying and deceit but big enough that news organizations will continue to go to him and keep his career and ego afloat?

In the wake of observations and accurate allegations, Mo has been defiant and cocky, calling them all smears while not actually refuting any of it in the slightest. And, although the detractors are many with several strong voices, he does seem to have a loyal following and support which could keep him buoyed enough to prevent sinking too far. A recent video with Russell Brand, which came out at the same time as news of Mo's lying and deceit broke was poorly timed for critics and perfectly time for Mo, who suddenly gained a huge audience of devoted Russell Brand followers who seem oblivious to the controversy, and are more interested in conspiracy theories and off the wall ideas. (I do enjoy Russell Brand quite a lot, however, but some of his fans are tad bizarre).

So, what will happen with Mo. Will all of this egg on his face slide off to reveal a relatively unscathed fraudster who the media will still rely on when they need a costumed generic "Muslim Commentator" to discuss any issue remotely related to Muslims and Islam. Will Mo continue to be the voice of Muslims, despite being seemingly confused about Islam and most of the issues he chooses to speak on.

When the media need someone to discuss Halal meat, why on earth would they go to an expert who works in the Halal meat industry when they can call a generic "Muslim Commentator"? Folks, this is called laziness on the part of news organizations. And this is an important aspect of the Mo Ansar story that we should all be learning from. News organizations aren't always concerned about the information they put out as long as they are putting out information. That doesn't mean they are all bad or that there isn't good information that can be gleamed from what some people may call the "main stream media" which often is demonized and written off. There is a middle ground here where the MSM plays an important role and does provide good info, and then there is the reality of deadlines and a need for visuals and audio snippets. This is where Mo fits in and this is where news organizations prove to be lazy. As has been pointed out many times, the beauty of Mo Ansar to any news org is the fact that he is readily available at the drop of a little knit hat. He provides an authentic visual with his confusing costume, he is well spoken with a perfect English accent and provides exactly what they need, whether it be the info they want or a bit of drama. So, he is an attractive go to guy. As a result, ease of use trumps quality interview subjects and we are left with a generic commentator tackling almost any issue related to Muslims and Islam when someone else would be far more informative, interesting and valuable. Who is this helping? No one. It is not helping the Muslim community, it isn't helping non-Muslims striving to understand Muslims, it isn't helping our understanding of complex situations and it isn't helping to kill any stereotypes. We all lose. The only one who is gaining is Mo, whose ego continues to get stroked and who continues to be touted as someone he is not.

Again, we have a man who doesn't appear to possess most of the skills and experience that he claims to have. This goes beyond mere "sexing up" of a resume and goes right to creating a false identity. He has claimed to be a lawyer. He isn't a lawyer. He has claimed to be a visiting lecturer. There is no record of this. He has been a speaker at a few events, which is quite different than a visiting lecturer. He has claimed to be a theologian, but there doesn't seem to be any record of him studying anywhere or evidence that he has the knowledge and understanding you would expect a theologian to have. There seems to be no end to his claims, and no end to the lack of evidence backing up most of these claims.

It has been argued by Mo and his supporters that even if he is lying, though they deny that he is, he is still doing good by fighting Islamophobia, hate and doing good work for the community. Really? Is he? We are talking about a man who drops the word Islamophobia at the drop of a hat. He's rather like the boy who cried wolf in this sense, constantly accusing people of being Islamophobic. His constant demonizing of the UK, the US and the West hardly create an atmosphere of love, peace and unity. His very public battles with Tom Holland, Iain Dale, and Maajid Nawaz shows that he is willing to stoop pretty low to get revenge and he holds deep and dangerous grudges. He claims to have been an LGBT activist for 15 years, yet has publically said "Love the sinner, hate the sin". That, in no way, is a good LGBT activist. That is a cruel and ridiculous statement that, in my opinion, disqualifies him from being able to say he is an LGBT activist. Again, how is this helping the community? It isn't. And his seeming refusal to condemn homophobic speech by Muslim leaders or even backing Muslim leaders and organizations who are anti-gay raises serious concerns over his claims of LGBT activism. If he is an LGBT activist, it would appear that he is more of an enemy than an ally.

So, no, he is not on the road to creating peace, cohesion and fighting hate as he keeps claiming he is doing. In fact, he does the opposite. It does make one wonder what world he is living in. Does he ever actually listen to himself? Has he really deluded himself to believe that his rhetoric and actions are doing good as opposed to being divisive, frustrating, single minded, obsessive and often times just plain wrong? If he does know, then he keeps playing the game, acting as if he is the good guy and all his critics are bad guys, and in doing so continues to fool some. And, as long as people are fooled or distracted from asking important questions, blinded by some aspects of his character that some may say are charming, he will continue to act just like he is.

He also loves to rail against the "far right" which seems to include almost anyone who criticizes him, though the people who are calling him out on his lies are diverse and cover the entire political spectrum. What he seems to fail to see when he talks about the "far right" is just how right on the spectrum he is. Does he not understand that many of his statements are, in fact, quite conservative, socially and politically (when it comes to sticking up for ultra conservative religious players, his views on gender segregation in lectures at Universities, his REAL views on homosexuality, etc.)? He IS part of the right. His views ARE often right wing. So, his constant calling of everyone under the sun a right wing neo con once again rings hollow. This is a man that sucks all meaning out of terms like Islamophobia, Far Right and Neo Con. Does he not see this? Does he not realize that his everyday barrage of calling people these terms is not helpful? On this one, he seems truly clued out. He seems to believe that by calling everyone Islamophobic it is HELPING to end Islamophobia and bring cohesion and peace to communities. Really? Seriously? That's just ridiculous. It appears that the main way he uses these terms is to help belittle and demonize all detractors and people he doesn't like or agree with. Apparently, disagreeing with Mo means you hate 1.2 billion Muslims. Who knew? So, by using terms in such a way, he has rendered them meaningless. Overreactionary accusations of Islamophobia or being part of the EDL or UKIP or whatever way Mo chooses to deal with his critics isn't helping anyone. It just pisses people off and makes it harder for anyone to take these terms seriously. How does that help anyone?

And then, of course, there is the issue of his religion. He wants to play the role of pious Mo, the faithful Muslim. But, he seems to be missing the several passages in the Quran that tells Mo that lying, vengefulness, boastfulness, etc is bad and will not lead him to paradise. Interesting that. He, like pretty much every follower of a religion, cherry picks the hell out of the book that he holds be holy, stating that the Quran is the unchanged word of god down to the each and every period and comma. Well, this book he puts in such high esteem and loves to tell people offers the answers to the problems plaguing society, doesn't even seem to be able to be followed by him. If he won't follow the book and feels that it doesn't apply to him, why on earth should any one else follow it? If it's so damn perfect and is your guiding moral compass, then ignoring a big part of it means you are clearly off path. Don't pretend to be Mr. Pious if you ignore important parts of the book....yet still say it's okay to chop off hands in a perfect Islamic society.  He reminds me of people like Ted Haggard or Jim Bakker, who, even though they wish to give an out word identity of being godly and pious, are actually just lying scam artists using their religion for fame and profit more than as a guiding light. I'm sure he believes in his god. I'm sure he is happy to be Muslims. BUT, the religion really is more of a conduit to fame and a way to create an identity more than anything deep and spiritual.

Some of his supporters allege that all those critical of him just don't like him and will look for any reason to bring him down. Well, it cannot be denied, he has made a long list of enemies through some of his rhetoric and attacks on people. His own vengeful behaviour towards Maajid Nawez and Iain Dale are perfect examples of how low he will go and how he has managed to create enemies. But for the most part, people just don't like to be lied to and manipulated, especially by someone who is cocky and arrogant, which Mo most certainly is. And, quite frankly, he can be downright rude and ignorant on twitter. But in the end, whether people like him or hate him (there seems to be nothing inbetween), he has lied and deceived and that is a truth that won't change, regardless of what anyone thinks of him. And, he is now in the court of public opinion, which is where people who thrust themselves into the spot light are judged. If people disapprove of him or are tired of his antics, they will make it known...and they are. Now, the question is, where will this lead. Will this mean that Mo is off the TV and Radio for good? Time will tell. It is highly possible that he will weather this out and continue to be the easy go to guy for many news outlets. And, if that is so, we will have learned nothing. Mo will have learned nothing. News outlets will have learned nothing. And it is right back to status quo.