Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

Islamization by Stealth

January 23, 2006   

 

Either Islam gets Europeanized, or Europe gets Islamized.
(Bassam Tibi, Weekly Standard, October 4, 2004) 

 

The most important battle in the war for Muslim minds during the next decade will be fought not in Palestine or Iraq [but] on the outskirts of London, Paris, and the other European cities, where Islam is already a growing part of the West.
(Giles Kepel, Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2005)
 

There exists in this country a double standard with respect to freedom of speech and religion. Recent events have shown that Christians are judged much more harshly than others. Here I want to focus especially on how this difference affects Christians compared to Muslims. 

The distinguished historian Bernard Lewis’s recent observations about this difference are remarkably forthright. In the course of a Wall Street Journal interview he observed that militant Islam is dangerously expanding its influence in Europe. He said that in some respects Islam is already taking over: “You see that in many ways. Already the Muslim religion enjoys an immunity from criticism that Christianity has lost and Judaism never had.  In this Christian West it is much safer to criticize Christian values than Muslim values.” 

Double Standards

The evidence of such double standards is everywhere. Ironically, this is occurring while legislation is on the books that makes it a crime to give offence to any identifiable group or individual. Intent or even truth does not matter. If a person or a certain specified group feels offended, then the offence giver is liable to prosecution. But that does not apply to Christians; they can safely be attacked, ridiculed - or even muzzled. Let me describe one such instance of double standards. 

Dr. Chris Kempling is an experienced teacher and counselor in British Columbia, employed by the Quesnel School Board. He first ran into trouble in 2002 when he was given a one-month suspension by the B.C. College of Teachers who declared him guilty of conduct unbecoming a member of this College. 

His offence had nothing to do with his performance in the classroom. But he had written letters and one column in the local newspaper explaining why he was opposed to promoting the homosexual agenda in the classroom. He provided information about known facts regarding promiscuity, rate of infection, and certain negative social and psychological effects. He explained that he would not teach anything that would conflict with his Christian conviction. 

He had not expressed these views in the classroom but only in a public forum that should be wide open for the free expression of various, even conflicting, opinions. But he found out differently. 

Kempling’s professional union the B.C. Teachers Federation at first offered some legal help, but later refused to assist him. Its president explained: “His views are antithetical to our position about the inclusion of gays, lesbians, transgendered and two-spirited people in our society.” 

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association similarly declined to help. Its president declared,  If there are any gay students in that school  - and you can bet your bottom dollar that there are – they’re going to keep their heads down and they certainly are not going to resort to Mr. Kempling for advice.” 

But Kempling’s troubles were not over. His appeal of the B.C. College of Teachers’ ruling to the B.C. Supreme Court was turned down in February 2004. . He explained that this ruling meant that teachers would not be able to express their own opinions to their supervisors, or write privately to their own members of Parliament, or even critically discuss the topic of homosexuality in postgraduate research papers. He called this “an unacceptable restriction of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and freedom of intellectual expression.” 

Kempling next appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal, and in June 2005 it also ruled against him, saying that it did not matter that no harm was proved. It even went so far as to declare that writing critically in a research paper about homosexuality is a form of discrimination. Kempling has now appealed the decision of this Court to the Supreme Court of Canada. If the latter court decides to hear this appeal, this case may not be adjudicated till 2007. 

In April 2005 the Quesnel School Board  imposed a three-month suspension without pay on Kempling. This time his offence was that he had publicly expressed his disagreement with the Liberal government’s same-sex marriage legislation. Subsequently, he was again called on the carpet for traveling to Ottawa to testify before Bill C-38 (same-sex “marriage”) committee, despite the fact that this parliamentary committee invited Kempling and even paid his expenses. 

Now consider how this blatant assault on Mr. Kempling’s constitutional freedom of speech, and his right to work without harassment, contrasts with the kid glove treatment meted out to Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, head of the Canadian Islamic Congress. He is also a professor of computer engineering at the University of Waterloo. 

Defending the Indefensible

While a guest on the Michael Coren Live TV show on October 19, 2004, Elmasry   justified the Palestinian terrorist attacks on all Israelis above age 18, even civilians, whether male or female.  Later in an interview with the Globe and Mail he reiterated: “Israel has a people’s army and a draft and therefore they should be considered legitimate targets. They are part of the occupying power, and Palestinians consider them targets for suicide bombers as well as other means.” He then explained that suicide bombing is a technique born of desperation. “It’s not for me to say if it’s okay or not. In the final analysis, it has done more harm than good.” 

When his callous remarks met with public anger, he said that he had merely stated the Palestinians’ position, not his own.  His “apology” amounted to a regret that his audience had misunderstood him and that he had not mentioned his conviction that killing civilians is “an immoral act of the worst kind” and that this failure was the “the biggest mistake in my 30 years of public life.” 

Note that in his “apology” he retracts nothing since originally he had singled out all adults above 18, eligible for military service. They are thus legitimate targets for the Palestinian terrorists, in distinction from the civilian population, that is, all Israelis below the age of 18.   

The human rights establishment did not discipline Elmasry. There were no formal charges laid against this high-profile representative of the Muslim community, nor was his position at the university in danger. 

On the contrary, the other CIC board members, rather than calling their president to task, rallied to his defence and confirmed his suitability for the leadership of their Congress. Elmasry continues to serve as their vociferous spokesman on their website and in occasional newspaper columns to lecture us non-Muslims to be more tolerant and understanding of the religion he represents. 

The difference between the punitive treatment meted out to the Christian Chris Kempling and the deference shown to the Muslim Mohamed Elmasry is symptomatic of the double standard referred to by Bernard Lewis. A similar incoherence is evident in the response of a major Canadian bank to a complaint by a Muslim organization purporting to be the Canadian voice of Islam. That story is worth retelling. 

Cowardice in High Places

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) states that it “is committed to educating Canadians and empowering Canadian Muslims through various publications, seminars and media kits.” 

In fact, it is preoccupied with what it perceives to be the erosion of civil rights in Canada, especially of Muslims. It is ever vigilant in exposing instances of alleged injustices inflicted on Muslims, by keeping a close eye on all the media, government agencies, businesses, universities and other institutions for signs of such offences. 

Last year CAIR-CAN decided to teach the mighty Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce a lesson in religious sensitivity, which from its point of view was an overwhelming success. 

CIBC’s chief economist Jeffrey Rubin produces a monthly research report on economic trends intended for its top investment clients. In his April 5, 2005 report he referred to restrictions on the global oil production. In that context, he wrote: “This time around there won’t be any tap that some appeased mullah or sheik can suddenly turn back on.” 

He did not know that this remark would catch the attention of the watchful CAIR-CAN sensitivity specialists.  But they did, and its executive director Riad Saloojee informed CIBC’s Brian Shaw:  “We are gravely concerned that Mr. Rubin is promoting stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs in a CIBC publication…. We request that Mr. Rubin and CIBC World Markets issue a letter of apology and undergo sensitization training regarding Muslims and Arabs.” 

The bank immediately buckled under, so that less than three weeks after the appearance of the offending statement, Mr. Shaw wrote to the CAIR-CAN executive director: 

First let me state that we take the concerns expressed in your letter very seriously. While the comments were in no way intentional or meant to offend anyone in the Muslim or Arab community, we agree that, in hindsight, the comments were insensitive. We have taken immediate steps to address this issue. 

We have reviewed all aspects of the matter with Jeff Rubin and will be providing him with training to ensure that this situation does not occur again in the future. In addition, Jeff has withdrawn the research report  from the World Markets website, redrafted the paragraph in question and reposted the amended report back to the website. 

Those immediate steps amounted to shamelessly throwing Mr. Rubin to the wolves. Instead of insisting on the CIBC’s right of free speech and defending the integrity of one of its top employees, it made him undergo a two-hour sensitization training, for which it shelled out the sum of about $5000, according to Margaret Wente of the Globe and mail. (“Rubin’s Humiliating Fate no Surprise,” August 27, 2005.) 

The fact is that Mr. Rubin’s offhand remark reflected the truth that in some major Middle Eastern oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, Muslim clerics are the leading authorities. It’s noteworthy that CAIR-CAN’s letter did not dispute the accuracy of Mr. Rubin’s claim. It declared him to be guilty of stereotyping – the sin that has now been elevated (or should that be downgraded?) to the ultimate evil in this otherwise sinless multicult Paradise. 

Instead of sending their groveling letter, no doubt composed by their risk-averse lawyers, this is the one the CIBC should have written: 

Dear Mr. Riad Saloojee: 

We appreciate your interest in our organization’s publications in which we provide our clients with professional advice regarding world economic trends. 

We regret that you have taken offence at comments contained in a report by one of our professional economists, Mr. Jeffrey Rubin. We must however decline your request to discipline Mr. Rubin and to apologize for the sentence to which you object. 

Instead, we insist on our right to free speech and that of our employees as they perform their duties to our satisfaction. 

We have nothing but the highest regard for Mr. Rubin’s professional competence and performance. And we have no intention of besmirching his outstanding employment record. 

We insist that Canada is a free country in which we are at liberty to carry on our business within the boundaries of the law and the norms of civility.  

Instead of finding fault where no offence is intended, you might pay more attention to those who in the name of your religion, such as Osama bin Laden, have declared war on our country and are engaged in a campaign of terrorism in various parts of the world. 

You might also be well advised to become better acquainted with the sort of freedoms that have made this country great, rather than, as you now do consistently, focus on the alleged threats to the civil rights of Muslim believers.  

The offending sentence simply expressed the fact that in some major Islam-ruled oil producing countries, Muslim clergy have ultimate authority, including over political and economic issues. Our letter made no judgment about that fact. 

However, we are not in the business of debating complex theological issues, and have no intention of discussing this further. We consider this matter closed. 

Sincerely,

CIBC World Markets. 

This is not a mere tempest in a teapot. It is another skirmish in the fight between an aggressive, intolerant form of Islam eager to replace our historic freedoms and institutions with what the Koran teaches about the rule of Allah. The problem is that our elite tends to go AWOL. I suspect that is because it does not know what is at the core of its own tradition that is good and honourable and worth defending. 

Renowned scholar Bernard Lewis, 88, referred to at the start of this article, is one of the West's best informed and prolific authorities on Arabia and Islam. He recently shocked his readers with the prediction that given current trends Europe will be under Islamic rule before the end of this century. In light of similar trends implicit in the three incidents described here, I wonder whether he also should have included Canada in that forecast.