A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by an excessive and irrational fear of an object or situation. It’s a medical condition, and clinical psychologists study the impact of this persistent and often debilitating illness. But what was once a scientific term of measurable phenomenon, has now been manipulated for political purposes. First, it was used pejoratively to describe those who oppose gay marriage. Some activists learned that calling their opponents “homophobic” was more effective than getting into the weeds of the historic definition of marriage — and why it ought to be expanded to include same-sex relationships. The tactic was successful, and other groups began using the “phobia” card to stifle debate and paint their opponents as bigots. Today’s “phobias” no longer describe an irrational fear or anxiety disorder, but a person with the wrong opinion about an issue. Homophobia, for example, is now defined as “a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality … often related to religious beliefs.” At least homophobia has a common definition. Other new phobias, such as “Islamophobia”, have no agreed upon definition. The term “Islamophobia” was popularized in the 1990s by a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood that promotes Sharia law. It was introduced to promote victimhood amongst Muslims. A former adherent of this group, Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, now rejects Islamist ideology and says this of Islamophobia: “This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliché conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.” The ultimate purpose was to advance the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission — to impose Sharia law — by silencing critics and stifling free debate. Islamophobia is more than just a new buzzword. Its origins are tied to organizations that advocate for Islamist theocracy and to countries that impose barbaric blasphemy laws against those who criticize Islam. This didn’t stop our Parliament, led by Liberal MP Irqa Khalid, from passing a motion specifically condemning “Islamophobia” earlier this year. Conservative MPs offered an olive branch, suggesting the motion remove the term “Islamophobia” and replace it with a universal condemnation of “all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination.” The Liberals rejected this compromise. The heritage committee is now studying ways to implement a “whole-of-government” approach to combatting this vague, politicized concept. But Canada already has laws on the books covering a range of crimes that could be motivated by hatred and bigotry. In fact, Canada has some of the English-speaking world’s most draconian rules prohibiting “hate speech” — another often vague and politicized concept. Some hate speech laws are administered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which many see as Canada’s own version of a kangaroo court. Canadians should be worried that M-103 may provide such bodies with more ammunition for their social justice crusades, and more power to stomp on our freedoms and impose penalties for “wrongthink”. That’s the thing about M-103. At best, it’s sloppy and redundant grandstanding — a waste of time and resources. At worst, it’s an exercise in the weaponization of words — a deliberate effort to stifle speech and carve out new immunity for Islamists trying to impose their religion on others.
Either way, most Canadians rightly reject this nonsense. An Angus Reid poll found 42% of Canadians would have voted against M-103, with only 29% in support. A mere 12% said it would be effective. If only our Liberal government had as much common sense.
This article was originally posted on the Toronto Sun website on September 20, 2017, and can be viewed on their site by clicking here.