AFT Blog # 27: Women

The Plight of Women

by Bio

The plight of women is our plight, our responsibility, and a reason to combat religions. The 8th of March was International Women’s Day. Perhaps I am behind schedule but the subject remains current.

Throughout the world, women suffer needlessly. Women are treated with disrespect, forced into submission, are intimidated and ostracized. This suffering effects us all directly or indirectly. This suffering is largely caused by the patriarchal religions Christianity and Islam. These two religions, especially Islam, reduce women to less than nothing.

If respect for women is imperative in order to attain justice, peace and harmony in our world, then these values are incompatible with religion. Thus we must make a choice. We must either reject religious influence in our public institutions and defend universal values, or we must accept the gradual erosion of the most fundamental human rights. Failing to make a choice implies accepting the latter, as history teaches us. So-called spiritual leaders are determined to impose their views on everyone.

In a period when corporate capitalist fascism imposes its dominance over states in its frenzied rush towards destruction and absolute disparity, an additional fascism is always welcome to help stifle reason. This other fascism is religious fascism and the Harper government apparently counts on this precious ally to impose its Christian point of view. On the other hand, in the Liberal camp, Justin Trudeau flirts with Islamic groups. Some of these groups have been officially recognized as having terrorist affiliations. While Mr. Trudeau claims to promote Canadian unity in a context of diversity and tolerance, the Islamic groups which he frequents dream of dominating the world and imposing Sharia law on everyone.

Islam is currently the most aggressive of all religions. It constitutes a very serious threat to our fundamental freedoms. While maintaining a public discourse based on division and intolerance, Islamists have successfully promoted the idea that anyone who criticizes Islam is a racist and a xenophobe. It is as if Islam has ceased to be an ideological point of view and has now become a racial category.

If it is impossible to criticize Islam without fear, this implies that Muslims themselves can not longer do so either. As for those on the political left who wish to silence such criticism, do they realize that they are undermining the freedom of the very people they claim to defend?

Some may accuse me of exaggeration because only 2% of the Canadian population is Muslim and that, therefore, they cannot constitute a threat. However, this group if very united and tends to act with a single voice. Muslim act thus because they feel accepted in their community even if this involves sacrificing their individual freedom of conscience. And we, to avoid disturbing the peace, act the same way, allowing the state to compromise our freedoms. Slowly, year by year, the erosion of freedom continues.

It is still possible to avoid catastrophe. It is enough to become aware of the situation and to have enough self-respect to affirm ourselves.. We humanists are fighting to bring the world to reason. In reality, those of us with no religion are greater in number than Muslims, and if our point of view is not as well heard, we have only to raise our voices. We have the strength of our arguments on our side, against those who depend only on fear and manipulation.

To return to the question of respect for women, I think that the best approach possible is to create a positive environment in which women feel welcomed and can flourish. I do not think it necessary to take special measures. If we succeed in creating a society where freedom of conscience is protected, then the oppression of women will necessarily disappear. For the moment, the interference of religions in our public institutions is undeniably one of the principal obstacles to accomplishing this goal. I encourage all Quebecers to fight against this interference and to promote reason.

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