The Sniff Test for Thursday, February 16, 2017

The laughable and largely invented dustup over M-103—the motion in the House of Commons to recognize and quell the “increasing climate of hate and fear”–is invented as a political opportunity on all sides. We already have laws that deal with hate speech and those seeking to stir up bigotry against others, so M-103 is not needed—it’s just fashionable.
The focal point here seems to be that, while deploring all discrimination, Islamophobia is mentioned by name—likely because Muslims were the most recently killed civilians in the news.
The motion isn’t a law—it’s merely a motion that directs certain committees to study the issue raised in order to find solutions. (For the text of the piece, click here: )
That’s it.
That Iqra Khalid, the Liberal MP for Mississauga-Erin Mills promoting the motion, refuses to admit that all religions need to be handled the same way, regardless of their particular bigotry, is myopic. That those opposed to M-103 refuse to admit that Islam is currently the Target of Choice of the furious right is equally pathetic. And that both sides are capitalizing on the ready hatred of the massively uninformed, and uniformly terrified and outraged populace stuck in the throes of imagined intrigues, frustration and stupidity, is breathtakingly cynical.
None of the ridiculous assertions made by the likes of Ezra Levant ( ) are true: that M-103 promotes sharia law, that all public discussion will be banned, etc., etc.. Mr. Levant is still smarting from his defeats in several venues for his bad behaviour towards his fellow citizens of the Muslim persuasion and for the failure of his dreadful ‘news’ channel, and is, apparently, determined to get even. He summoned his followers, told them a bunch of untruths and half truths, invited four nakedly obsequious CPC leadership hopefuls (Lemieux, Leitch, Alexander and Trost) to stir up an uninformed crowd, and sat back to sell his t-shirts.
However unattractive Mr. Levant and his platform of outraged-and-looking-for-a-target-to-hate is, his message will resonate. In a secular society, where religion is supposed to be a personal choice, kept private, religions of all flavours demand unquestioning obedience to dogma, usually discourage education about other religions, reward privileges unequally based on gender, and apply loaded labels to those they hate (ie, “infidel”, and “unnatural”).

Demanding the freedom to do this seems hypocritical, somehow.
Ms Khalid mentions “islamophobia” by name because of the recent murder of six Muslim men by a white supremacist. Their murders are not worse than the murders of the Canadian soldiers by a couple of men inspired by the racist, violent hatred spouted by the murderous self-proclaimed ‘Muslims’ of ISIS.
Of course, these stories are complicated and there are many shades of grey here, but there’s no denying that these people were killed by bigots. It is equally undeniable that there is no way to remove bigotry from religion. If a society wishes to pride itself on its equal treatment of all people, freedom of religion must necessarily come with the requirement that religion must comply with society’s freedoms.
That means no more inequalities excused on the basis of religion. You’re welcome to wear your costumes, but you’re not welcome to subject women to apartheid in your church. You’re welcome to have your ceremonies and rituals (like masses), but you’re not welcome to insist that only men can be employed for certain jobs in your church. You’re welcome to live in your colonies, but you’re not welcome to limit women to less education than men. But Muslims, Christians and Jews all do these things.

And all of these religions seek to impose their prejudices and beliefs on people that don’t share them. For example, witness those who seek to stop women from having safe abortions. If they truly believed in freedom of religion, they’d obey the dictates of their own religion and refrain from having an abortion themselves, but they wouldn’t stop someone else from having an abortion. But religions don’t operate this way so the practitioners of the art are incapable of allowing ‘freedom of religion’ for anyone but themselves.
Unless and until declarations deploring discrimination against religions mention that religions need to behave themselves better regarding women and those of different sexual and gender identities, then neither M-130 nor Ezra Levant’s collection of angry people pass The Sniff Test.

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