Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Canada: Outrage surrounds federal Islamophobia motion | John Arendt


Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’ from Vancouver held a presentation about their faith, followed by a question and answer session. The questions quickly took a belligerent, antagonistic tone.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Summerland Review
By John Arendt | March 28, 2017

A controversial motion, M-103, was passed in the House of Commons on Friday 

A motion, passed by the House of Commons on Friday, has generated a lot of controversy and outrage, all because of a single word.

M-103 is a statement against racism and religious discrimination. As such, it should be easy enough to support.

But the motion also included the word “Islamophobia.” That word alone has made the motion a highly charged, controversial statement.

Islamophobia is the perception that all Muslims are dangerous and present a threat to Canadian values and Canada’s security.

The worst example in Canada occurred earlier this year, on Jan. 29, when a shooter opened fire inside the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. Six people, all of them Muslims, were killed and 19 were injured in this attack.

Islamophobia also shows in other ways.

One example I witnessed was in Summerland several years ago. Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’ from Vancouver held a presentation about their faith, followed by a question and answer session. The questions quickly took a belligerent, antagonistic tone.

That meeting was not the only time when I’ve heard extremely critical and angry statements about this religion.

I wonder if the angry comments I sometimes hear will eventually erupt into violence against Muslims.

M-103 calls on the federal government to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.”

The House of Commons passed this motion with a vote of 201-91, but among the Canadian public, the level of support was much lower.

A recent poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute showed 42 per cent of those surveyed would have voted against the motion had they been eligible to do so. Another 29 per cent would have voted in favour while 29 per cent were unsure or would have abstained from the vote.

Some critics have said M-103 will stifle free speech, by forbidding any and all criticism of Islam.

Others have said this motion is the first step in bringing Sharia law or Islamic anti-blasphemy laws into place in Canada.

A few have gone as far as to say the motion will change Canada into an Islamic republic.

These critical reactions are puzzling, since M-103 is a non-binding motion, not a bill. It does not change any existing legislation in Canada. It does not prevent anyone from speaking out against this or any other religion. It does not implement anything resembling religious law.

M-103 is nothing more than a statement.

Condemning racial and religious discrimination shouldn’t be controversial, but when Islam is mentioned by name, the dynamics change.

Muslims account for 1.6 billion people or roughly one in five worldwide, but too often discussions about this faith by non-Muslim Canadians will focus on extremists rather than on the tenets and teachings of this religion.

Too often, terms like “jihad,” “sharia law,” “extremists” or “terrorists” are used when Islam is mentioned.

There are violent extremists who use Islam to justify their actions. In the United States, Europe and elsewhere, atrocities have been committed in the name of this religion.

But there are also violent extremists who justify their actions in the name of Christianity. Examples can be found in the United States, in parts of Africa and in other parts of the world.

And acts of terrorism have been committed in the names of other faiths.

Violent religious extremism and terrorism, under the guise of any religious faith must be condemned.

But the actions of the most militant extremists should not be seen as representing an entire religion.

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John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.



Read original post here: Canada: Outrage surrounds federal Islamophobia motion | John Arendt


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