Blog 129: Lessons from the Muslim Association of Canada

David Rand

2021-12-09

The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) recently received a $225,000 grant from the Ontario government to produce a course to combat so-called “Islamophobia” in schools. (It also received a $349,000 grant from the Canadian government for similar purposes: in order to address so-called “systemic barriers” to the participation of Muslim girls in sports.)

The term “phobia” means a psychopathy based on an irrational fear. Thus, the term “Islamophobia” means an irrational fear of Islam which is nonsense because to fear a religion is not irrational. In fact, all Abrahamic religions are dangerous ideologies and Islam is the most dangerous of the three, currently at least, so to fear Islam is reasonable and prudent. In reality, use of the term “Islamophobia” is tendentious and simply a way of deflecting criticism of Islam. It is functionally a synonym for blasphemy against Islam.

The MAC course, available on the organization’s website, is entitled Dismantling Islamophobia in Schools and consists of a series of many short videos in which one of two women dictates the lessons while wearing a humungous hijab which dominates the video image. Each video module starts and ends with an Islamic invocation in Arabic and English such as “In the name of god most gracious most merciful” or “Inch’Allah/god willing” and ends with the words “Funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Education” displayed on screen.

I recently spend some time listening to some of the videos in this course, a very unpleasant task given their content. I did not view the entire course. The videos present a very sugar-coated image of Islam. Apparently, the “Islamic worldview” includes “a deep respect for the dignity and diversity of mankind.” This is laughable, as anyone who has read the quran or a few hadiths can attest.

The discourse of the two instructors repeatedly conflates religious affiliation with race in order to present any criticism of Islam as “racist.”

What are the origins of so-called “Islamophobia”? According to the MAC course, they go back 1400 years! We are informed that: “believe it or not, Islamophobia is as old as Islam itself.” Apparently Mohammed the prophet was persecuted and oppressed in his time by:

privileged and powerful individuals […] there is just something about the liberating power of Islam that makes people in power nervous and ready to lash out violently.

What stands out most in the MAC course is how it exploits the ideology of the anti-Enlightenment pseudoleft, also known as the “woke,”[1] in support of its religious propaganda. The course material repeatedly integrates the language, concepts and attitudes of that movement, in particular its neo-racist facet. Here are a few examples to illustrate:

  1. “anti-Muslim white nationalist terrorism”
  2. “systemic Islamophobia” and “structural/institutional Islamophobia”
  3. “intersectional Islamophobia” with reference to Kimberlé Crenshaw
  4. “systems of power”
  5. “othering”
  6. “whiteness”
  7. “even if unintentional, microaggressions have a severely detrimental effect on Muslims who endure them” and an example of such a “microaggression” is “insulting the prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of god be upon him…”
  8. The instructor denounces “orientalism, anti-blackness, anti-Muslim racism, patriarchy and imperialism.”
  9. “Those who do not fit into the dominant culture are the subordinate culture: black, brown, indigenous, Muslim, neurodiverse, impoverished, disabled.”
  10. The module on “Violence, Hate Crimes and Hate Groups” starts with a trigger warning.
  11. The instructor denounces “white nationalist patriot groups who also hold anti-Muslim and Islamophobic views.”
  12. “Anti-black racism is a systemic issue that is separate from but related to Islamophobia in that the current system of white supremacy which empowers and permits anti-black racism also permits and empowers Islamophobia.”

Many more examples could be given. The effect is frankly overwhelming.

The module on “Islamophobic Laws and Policies” denounces Quebec Bill 21, claiming falsely that it is “against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Thus, the course deliberately overlooks Article 29(2) of the U.N. declaration which stipulates that rights may be limited “for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others” which is precisely what Bill 21 does.

The same module claims that CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency), CSIS, RCMP and CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) all have Islamophobic policies. Apparently the MAC will not be satisfied until all of Canada’s security agencies are thoroughly crippled, no longer able to investigate Islamist groups or take preventive measures against them.

One of the more outrageous statements in the course is the following:

“Secular legislation are not as objective or neutral as they are upheld to be and therefore they will impact non-secular ways of knowing and being and doing, such as the indigenous ways of being, with their deep and sacred connection to the land and to nature.”

Tell that to the Persians, or the Kabyle people of northern Africa, or other people whose cultures were crushed by invading Muslim armies.

In one video, the instructor explains what she calls “harmful stereotypes” about Muslims in these terms:

that Muslims are untrustworthy, prone to anger, abuse and violence, are incapable of reasoning or proper articulation of their ideas, […] that Muslims are misogynistic and oppressive to women and girls, that Muslims hate all non-Muslims and are unable to get along with others, that Muslims are fanatical and cannot be reasoned with, and that Muslims live in the medieval past and have a barbaric way of life and finally that Muslims are all foreigners and will never adapt to Western ways of living.

In another module, the instructor denounces “false stereotypes” such as “islam does not value education of girls.”

The irony here is that these descriptions correspond in many ways to the situation described by Yasmine Mohammed in her book Unveiled in which she describes how she was psychologically and physically abused, sometimes even tortured, by her piously Muslim mother and stepfather for many years. Yasmine’s experience is undoubtedly an extreme case and can hardly be typical of Muslim families in general. However, as Yasmine explains, it is not rare, and it conforms fully to Islamic moral codes as specified in the quran and the hadiths.

In the final analysis, I learned two main lessons from the MAC course:

  1. Someone at the Ontario Ministry of Education—that is, whoever approved funding for this course and decided to allow it into schools—is grossly incompetent. This odious set of videos has no place in any school, except perhaps in an advanced course in critical thinking, preferably at the college or university level, where it could be used as a case study in egregious propaganda. Certainly children should not be exposed to such indoctrination.
  2. The greatest threat to secularism in Canada, and probably in several other countries as well is not Christianity, and it is not even Islam. Rather the greatest threat is the abandonment of Enlightenment values by many non-Christian, non-Muslim activists who claim to be on the political left. In particular, it is the abandonment of univeralism and, specifically, the neo-racist movement which represents the greatest danger.

Not surprisingly, the MAC course is explicitly anti-secular. Its purpose is to fight for special privileges for a particular religion, and in fact for a particularly fundamentalist and political variant of that religion. Our response must be to work for secularism and universalism, where everyone enjoys the same rights and freedoms, regardless of religion or “race.”


[1] NOTE: About the term “woke”

The term “woke” was adopted and used regularly by the woke themselves for years before the word entered the mainstream. It was only after their movement became the target of widespread criticism from across the political spectrum—from the left, from the right and from everywhere in between—that the woke began to spread the falsehood that the whole controversy is a just a right-wing “trope.”

At the heart of the anti-Enightenment pseudo-left, a.k.a. the woke, is the so-called anti-racist movement which should more accurately be called racialist or neo-racist as it has abandoned universalism and colour-blindness and sees everything through the lens of race, especially as race is perceived in the U.S.A.

It is important to keep in mind two key aspects of the woke mentality: (1) Manichaeism and (2) dishonesty. The woke consider themselves to be paragons of virtue and everyone else who may disagree with them in any way must be evil or “fascist” or “racist” or whatever. Furthermore, the most piously woke care little for objectivity; they care only about power, and they are willing to bend the truth if that allows them to exercise power. So when the “woke” claim that something is a right-wing plot, one may often dismiss that claim as ideologically motivated nonsense.


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