Wednesday, March 8, 2017

M-103: The Motion Every LIBERAL Should Oppose, But Won't.

Iqra Khalid, a Liberal MP, is pushing to have a motion passed which is labelled M-103, calling on the Canadian government to "condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination."

It's not a law or a bill. It's a non-binding motion.And, it's controversial.

Unfortunately, what appears to have happened is that the divide is progressive, liberal Canadians are for the motion, and conservatives are against it. And, the more the liberals are for it, the more the conservatives are against it and so forth.

What liberals seem to be missing here is that there is one important word here that makes this motion illiberal: Islamophobia.

Oxford Dictionary defines Islamophobia as "dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force."

This is a problem.

To dislike or be prejudiced against Muslims merely for being Muslims is wrong, there is no doubt about it. We, as a society, generally speaking, should be protecting the rights of people, and that's what Muslims are after all, right? People? Yes, they are. And many Muslims are wonderful, wonderful people.

HOWEVER, the fact that the term Islamophobia includes the "dislike or prejudice against ISLAM" makes it terribly ridiculous and illiberal. Essentially, it is a word being used to protect the religion itself. A religion is made up of ideas...a set of ideas. The idea that any set of ideas deserves protection is absurd. Yet, that is what the word does. And I've seen it used time and time to silence critics of Islam, including me, who have legit problems with the religion and how it is manifesting in a large part of the world. In fact, it seems that the term is often used to shut down almost anyone who doesn't say the religion is perfect.

Now, those who support the motion insist that it is a non-binding motion so people shouldn't freak out about the wording. Well, no, actually, we should freak out about the wording because this is a non-binding motion that will influence government policy in the future.

This is what the motion asks for:

"Request the heritage committee study how the government could develop a government-wide approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia."

Therefore, if passed, even though it is non-binding, it will have an impact. The wording must be clear here.

As it is, this is not some kind of blasphemy law. But as is, it is a motion that COULD lead to blasphemy style laws in the future in an effort to meet the demands of the motion. How seriously we should be concerned about that is up for debate, but it could be an issue. Yes, we do have blasphemy laws on the books in Canada, even though they aren't used. Will this motion start triggering the use of the laws? It's hard to say, but I have concerns.

Now, I have seen, over the years, very dedicated people who are staunch critics of Islam or at least aspects of Islam, for good reason, smeared as being Islamophobic. Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Bill Maher, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz and many more have been called Islamophobic for genuine criticism of the religion. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which tracks hate groups has put Ayaan and Maajid on a list of anti-Muslim extremists merely because they are critics of religion and are pushing for reforms.

So, the concern I have is when a university, secular group or even ex-Muslim group wants to bring one of these speakers into Canada. If the motion passes and the government is dedicated to wiping out Islamophobia, will people like these end up being denied entry into the country because they criticize Islam and are often dubbed Islamophobic? It's very plausible that this would happen. And what about critics of Islam within Canada, that include ex-Muslims, progressive Muslims and secular Muslims who are often dubbed Islamophobic? How difficult will their lives end up becoming? Will it lead to online censorship? Will it lead to smears by the government who, in their quest to kill off Islamophobia, will look at people like these as part of the problem? By legitimising the term Islamophobia which is being used against these folks, the government is siding with critics who want them to shut up about the religion.

As long as the term Islamophobia is in this motion, it is terribly problematic and illiberal. It really does have the power to start limiting free speech and creating enemies out of genuine critics of the religion despite the fact progressives insist that it is non-binding and therefore not something to be concerned about.

It saddens me that conservatives are taking up the effort to challenge this motion. It really should be liberals who stand up against it. I get why liberals are for it. Standing up for the rights of Muslims in our communities is noble. Protecting people from racism or hate is important. BUT, we also must maintain the rights of those who want to criticize, legit or not, a religion. The religion itself MUST not be put into a special, protected category that puts it above criticism, debate, analysis or even outright mocking or dislike. There are a lot of things within the religion that people rightly SHOULD dislike. And these are things that liberals SHOULD be fighting against, like homophobia, patriarchy, totalitarianism, etc that are inherent in the three Abrahamic religions. They should be fighting for the right to be able to freely criticize and counter the bad ideas within religions that do genuine harm to people without fear of the government seeing them as part of a problem and being Islamophobic. Why are liberals being so ridiculously blind to this? And why are those who are concerned about rights being diminished if not out and out taken away in this country CONSERVATIVES?? This is something LIBERAL minded people should be at the forefront of. Yet, they are failing and in the process screwing other liberals, especially Muslim liberals who are critical of they religion they were born into.

Get it together, fellow lefties. You are failing by support M-103.

(Originally published at Allthink)

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