On the 5th of January 2018, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) published an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to designate January 29th as “National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia” to commemorate the massacre which occurred at a Quebec City mosque on that date in 2017.
We still know next to nothing of the motivations of the perpetrator of the massacre. We do however know very well not only who suffered the most for his actions—the victims and their loved ones obviously—but also who took the greatest advantage of the event. It is the partisans and objective allies of political Islam who have benefited the most by promoting their ideology in government and in the media. In particular, motion M-103 condemning “Islamophobia” and the NCCM’s recent request which makes a similar condemnation are two examples of how the tragedy has been exploited for political purposes. The language of the NCCM’s open letter is somewhat paranoid:
With the rise of far-right extremist groups that continue to threaten the safety of Canadian Muslim institutions and congregations, it is critical that our elected leaders stand firmly against Islamophobia and the agents of bigotry who aim to foment hateful division between Canadians and their fellow Muslim citizens. We must not allow voices of hate, even ones that may initially appear to be on the margins, to permeate our public discourse and damage our social fabric.
Just who are these “voices of hate, even ones that may initially appear to be on the margins” who are permeating “our public discourse”? The NCCM denounces “the rise of far-right extremist groups” but what are these groups? The NCCM’s declaration itself would “initially appear to be on the margins” but it uses language very similar to that of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which has attempted to give religious dogma precedence over human rights, launching accusations of “Islamophobia” and playing the victim. Who should be the target of our mistrust?
In an eloquent Letter to the Orphans of the Quebec City Attack, Fatima Houda-Pepin deplores the fact that groups such as the NCCM have not hesitated to exploit the emotional mourning process for base political advantage, adding that “They have thus appropriated the deaths of your loved ones for their own purposes.” Certainly the anniversary of the killing must be commemorated, but in a sober manner:
For you, orphans of the Quebec City attack along with your families, this commemoration must take back its true meaning, that of an hommage to those who lost their livres. You must celebrate the memory of their lives and their accomplishments.
A close relative of one of the deceased, Zahra Boukersi, a Muslim and Kabyle (but not Arab) who does not wear the veil, expressed a similar view and rejected the idea of a day against Islamophobia. In a radio interview she said that she does not want the commemoration to be misappropriated by radical Islam for ideological ends. She and her husband left Algeria in order to escape religious fanaticism. She does not want that fanaticism to be imported here in Quebec.
Ferid Chikhi, also a Quebecer whose background is North-African and Muslim, asks the question Do Islam and Muslims Seek Hegemony…? and answers it in the following terms:
“The demand made by islamist organizations that a day against Islamophobia be instituted in Canada is yet another of those traps which only the naïve and the ignorant could fail to see. […]
I conclude by answering the title question:
Yes! Those Muslims who amplify their religiosity do have an unhealthy tendency to become extremist, hegemonic and supremacist. […]
Therefore, beware, be vigilant and act rapidly to reject this stupid request for a ‘day against Islamophobia’ and all other similar requests. […]”
The NCCM’s proposal would do nothing to prevent events such as the killing at the Quebec City mosque. On the contrary, it would increase the risk by creating resentment in the population against Muslims because of the special treatment granted Islam. However, this preferential treatment would benefit only the most fundamentalist and zealous of Muslims—that is, those with a political agenda of an Islamist tendency. Those people from a Muslim background who wish to integrate well into Quebec and Canadian society, to live in a modern country where religion does not dominate everything, will be disadvantaged. They are already squeezed between a rock and a hard place, between promoters of political Islam who claim (falsely) to speak for all Muslims, and the non-Muslim population which is quite legitimately worried about the growth of Islamism. A day against “Islamophobia” would only make this difficult situation worse and more dangerous.
Columnist Joseph Facal explains the danger in the following terms:
“An official day against Islamophobia would lend state-sanctioned legitimacy to a word often used with ulterior political motives. If you shove down the throats of the majority this word which rings like a collective accusation, guess who would be the first victims of the resulting boomerang: the great majority of Muslims who bother no-one. Commemorate January 29th? Of course. But let us not be fooled by trick words. We must carefully examine who is using such words the most, and for what purpose.”
André Lamoureux, spokesperson for the Rassemblement pour la laïcité (Alliance for Secularism, in which our organization AFT is a participant) reminds us that it is the same NCCM which contests the ban on face-coverings in the Quebec public service:
“Thus, after launching a court challenge to the provisions of Bill 62 which ban the niqab and the burqa when providing or receiving public services, the National Council of Canadian Muslims […] exploits the Quebec City tragedy to revive its crusade against ‘Islamophobia,’ a favourite strategic concept employed since the 1980s and 1990s by the Muslim World League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (largely dominated by Saudi Arabia) which propagate Islamist ideology and fight ferociously against any attempt to question its dogmas.”
Six Quebecers were killed in the January 2017 attack. Six Quebecers (as well as 14 others), humanitarian workers, lost their lives in an Islamist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in January 2016. Camille Carrier, who lost several members of her family in that atrocity, angrily opposes an annual day against Islamophobia. Will there be a Day Against Islamist Terrorism in January? What about a Day Against Quebecophobia, to commemorate the killing at the Metropolis club in Montreal on September 4th 2012? That was an example of Anglo terrorism and an attempted political assassination.
The Liberal Party of Quebec (LPQ), along with Québec solidaire (QS), initially responded favourably to the NCCM’s proposal. But the le Parti Québécois (PQ) and the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) rejected the idea, in particular use of the contentious term “Islamophobia”. MNA Agnès Maltais, PQ spokesperson on the issue of secularism, said however that her party considers it important that a unifying event be held on January 29th.
As for the federal government of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC), it has duly noted the NCCM’s request, but without endorsing it.
However, several days later, the LPC withdrew its support for the NCCM proposal. Ottawa’s tepid response to the proposal was perhaps one reason for this turnaround. A national day against Islamophobia is not appropriate, declared Philippe Couillard.
Finally, the reticence of the LPC and the LPQ’s change of heart are encouraging signs. Both levels of government have adopted a habit of enabling political Islam by giving in to its victimhood game. But now, both the LPC and the LPQ have apparently begun to recognize that the public is not as easily duped as they are. People are tired of being bullied by false accusations of “Islamophobia,” racism and xenophobia. Common sense is beginning to win out over Islamofascist propaganda.
- Open letter from NCCM to Justin Trudeau, National Council of Canadian Muslims, 2018-01-05.
- ‘Open Letter’ to Prime Minister calls for January 29 to be National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia, NCCM Press Release, National Council of Canadian Muslims, 2018-01-05.
- Lettre aux orphelins de l’attentat de Québec (Letter to the Orphans of the Quebec City Attack), Fatima Houda-Pepin, Journal de Montréal, 2018-01-13.
- Puisqu’il faut se lever, Paul Arcand, 98.5 fm, 2018-01-16.
- L‘Islam et les musulmans sont-ils hégémoniques… ? (Do Islam and Muslims Seek Hegemony…?), Ferid Chikhi, 2018-01-13.
- Gare aux mots piégés (Beware of Trick Words), Joseph Facal, Journal de Montréal, 2018-01-16.
- L’instrumentalisation d’un drame (Exploiting a Tragedy), André Lamoureux, Le Devoir, 2018-01-12.
- Journée contre l’islamophobie: la mère de Maude Carrier en colère (Day Against Islamophobia: The Mother of Maude Carrier Angered), Patricia Cloutier, Le Soleil, 2018-01-10.