Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why Motion 103 Must Be Defeated ...

... and completely obliterated and the ground upon which it stood salted.

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Mills) has put forth for discussion Motion 103, a private member's motion that purports to tackle racism and religious discrimination.

The motion thusly:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it; and (c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could (i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada, while ensuring a community-centered focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making, (ii) collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities, and that the Committee should present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than 240 calendar days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee should make recommendations that the government may use to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Principally, the motion wants to stamp out Islamophobia, the fuzzy-defined so-called phobia that emerges whenever criticism of Islam comes up.

The motion as it is written above does not detail what constitutes Islamophobia, what other religions might benefit from this motion or what might happen if someone is guilty of this vague fear or hatred that exists only after someone criticises Islam.

It does promise it will violate Canadians' privacy, however. For a vague notion, it is this the road to take - to establish a blasphemy law for one religion and then stamp out anything deemed offensive?

The road to this motion is already proving far more problematic than its instigator realises.

Most people are appalled that "feelings" are somehow a legitimate basis on which to mount campaigns of censorship and punitive legal proceedings that tie up one's life (mostly financial). Post-modern Western academic institutions have failed to educate their students in the culture-changing concepts of free exchange of ideas can educate, inform and enlighten, things that, when they were written, were earth-shattering. Because John Stuart Mill is not required reading, students will possibly never read this:

If the arguments of the present chapter are of any validity, there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered." ; "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

A man can speak and either inform his audience of a sound idea or be proved to be in error.

One will not know until he tries.

Nor are students likely to read John Locke's thoughts on religious toleration and it is even less likely that they will crawl through Saint Thomas Aquinas' labyrinthine thoughts on morality, public good and their places in natural law:

The absolute goodness of a thing (secundum se) is what is proper to it, and so if something is lacking some good which is proper to it, it has an evil since evil is simply the lack of a good that is due it. The absolute goodness of a thing is it's perfection, i.e. it having all the being it is supposed to have.

What can be good in shutting down thought, speech and congress for the benefit of a socio-political system that supports none of those things, no matter how many times people are guilted into thinking that way?

To the motion's instigator, Iqra Khalid ...

Iqra Khalid is the daughter of Dr. Hafiz Khalid, a long-time associate of the ISNA and a one-time supporter of Jamaat-e-Islami, the former having had revoked its charitable registration because of its link with the latter.  While a student at York University, Miss Khalid was the president of the Muslim Student Association which handed out a book condoning wife abuse:

The Muslim Student Association at York University handed out a book at Islam Awareness Week with the title “Women in Islam & Refutation of some Common Misconceptions.”  The chapter on WIFE DISCIPLINING (page 99 of the online version) makes the following observation:  Submissive or subdued women. These women may even enjoy being beaten at times as a sign of love and concern.

This embarrassing fact appears to be missing from the current debate on Motion 103 and it could remain that way should the motion pass and evolve into something else.

The motion itself is not a law but prepares the groundwork for it.

A letter from a concerned citizen to his MP, thusly:

The motion has yet to come before the House of Commons for debate. Its current status is that it has been introduced and placed on the Order of Precedence. It is a Private Members’ Motion and would not become law if passed. Although it does not obligate Parliament, it would still be concerning if supported by the government as they may use it as reference to bring forward actual legislation at a later date.
(emphasis mine)

So - where will this motion based on a vague notion lead the rest of the country? Further blasphemy laws placating other faiths? Section 13? Human rights tribunals? What will the penalties of offending one particular religion be? Penalties in other countries tend to be barbaric but - as a coiffed representative once pointed out - words like that are not neutral.

What can or cannot be discussed if this motion is passed? That an imam at Masjid Toronto advocated the slaying of perceived enemies of Islam? That a mosque in Quebec City has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood? Trudeau's troubling ties to the ISNA and how it uses the Liberal Party as a vehicle? Or why Trudeau said nothing when an imam in Quebec prayed to destroy the Jews? That members of the Liberal Party are emotionally blackmailing the Canadian public with absurd statements such as the Tories and the PQ are responsible for the shootings in Quebec City, or Kellie Leitch is the boogey-man responsible for derailing electoral reform, or that Canadians really, really support this motion after a series of unvetted nasty comments were made about Iqra Khalid (spoiler alert: no, they still don't)?

Wow. This motion can cover a lot of political sins.

It can also quell criticism of Islamist misogyny or disgust over the series of sexual assaults at a mall in Alberta. Why call that indignation when that can be characterised as "Islamaphobia" and never talked about again?

Why let criticism run it course and force the Islamic community to reflect on its nature and role in the twenty-first century? If revision or reform is possible in Islam, it can never be realised until afforded the opportunity, something that can't happen if one can't even point out the bleeding obvious and mention the daily bloodbath and cultural dissonance that occurs in the Islamic world.

Motion 103 has its roots in some rather mired connections and offers to do what people would rather not: it would elevate one religion over another, give it prominence over all other groups, under its vague definitions, silence any and all criticism and stunt a country to the point where it resembles dictatorships most fear.

It is not hyperbolic to call this motion a path to censorship. One has seen in history where things like this go.

It is better that we never repeat history.

(Merci beaucoup to all)

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