Vagueness of 'Islamophobia' is what makes it troublingly all-inclusive
Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid is congratulated by colleagues as she makes an announcement about an anti-Islamophobia motion on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.
The House of Commons Heritage Committee hearings have already begun on M103. The controversial motion introduced by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid has had a somewhat interesting trajectory. When first introducing the motion, Khalid mentioned that she was pushed in school and that some fellow student’s comments – “Go home, you Muslim” – made her feel uncomfortable. But upon introducing the motion, she claimed she received numerous threats and read out many of them, including “Kill her and be done with it”, “Why don’t you get out of my country?” and “We will burn down your mosques, draper head Muslim.” Awful indeed! And awful also because this had all the ingredients to make her case look stronger and to provide false proof of something far less ominous. It is clear to objective observers that this was, though distasteful, more of a backlash to her motion than a sign of entrenched bigotry. That said, few in Canada would deny that racism exists here, as it does everywhere else, and that some people have suffered it first hand. There is also anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada, though that is not by any means the same as racism, and the term that has come to denote this sentiment – Islamophobia – only clouds our perceptions. First of all, we don’t really know what the word means in the context of M103. It has been defined and described and people have come to understand the term used in certain ways, but has it been clarified enough in the context of M103? The fact is Khalid refuses to clarify it. Canadians can be a patriotic bunch who do not like their values attacked in the way that M103 does. Yet it is part of the Islamist agenda in Canada to include in their definition criticism of Islam and Islamic practice in the West rather than simply attributing the causes of anti-Muslim sentiment in the West to “anti-Muslim bigotry”. Use of the term Islamophobia sets a dangerous trend given the connotations the word has in Islamic countries and in Muslim circles in the West. We often hear from M103’s supporters that the motion is not binding and does not affect anyone’s entitlement to repudiate anything they object to, including certain orthodox Islamic and fundamentalist practices. Yet the vagueness of the word Islamophobia tends to make it all-inclusive, and it seems to have been deliberately kept that way. It compromises a person’s freedom to criticize and challenge because without a clear definition as applied to M103, who would dare to test its limits by pretending to know what will constitute censure and, even worse, what may invite a violent response from reactionary Islamist forces within Canada if one dared to criticize Islam? In short, the way M103 is worded is a political tool for the West’s Islamists to continue playing the victim role and to pursue their agenda unhindered. It will empower them and make them inviolable. A Jewish-Muslim interfaith group put it well when they stated the following back in February: “Like all religious groups, Muslims are already protected under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and criminal law. They do not need a separate law which is supported by groups that have close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and in essence are trying to put in place a form of sharia blasphemy law”. This article was originally published on the Toronto Sun website on September 28, 2017, and can be viewed on their website by clicking here. http://www.torontosun.com/2017/09/28/vagueness-of-islamophobia-is-what-makes-it-troublingly-all-inclusive