“There is no “Islamophobia industry” in Canada. This fatwa-esque report is, however, Exhibit A for an Islamism-related industry of quite another sort, one that does not merit a penny more of federal funding.”
In 2017, the Canadian Parliament voted in favour of Motion 103, a resolution which called for a committee to study a path to development for a “whole-of-government approach” to combating Islamophobia and other forms of racism. But no matter how frequently or persistently the sponsor of the bill, Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, and her political allies were pressed for a definition of Islamophobia, they remained evasive.
Critical observers wanted to know if M-103’s “Islamophobia” meant expressed hatred of people—a legitimate definition of hatred in free societies—or opposition to a belief system, normally a protected category of expression. Much was at stake. After all, resolutions are not laws, but they are often the first step in the creation of a law.
If Islamophobia meant hatred of Muslims, as antisemitism means hatred of Jews, then most Canadians would have approved the resolution. But if it meant hatred of Islam, well, then, Canadians were being asked to give assent to the notion that beliefs, as well as people, can be perceived as “victims.” In other words, a blasphemy law of the kind that is operative in places where negative statements about Islam are met with punishment, sometimes imprisonment, or worse.
Impatient with the stonewalling politicians, I contacted Jasmin Zine, a professor of race, gender, ethnic, and postcolonial studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, considered to be an expert on Islamophobia. I asked her to provide her definition of Islamophobia, which was immediately forthcoming: “Islamophobia is a fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims that translates into individual, ideological and systemic forms of oppression.” Note that it is Islam, not Muslims, that is centred as the primary “victim” of the hatred. And “translates” appears to mean that the person offended is the interpreter, and therefore the judge of what is or isn’t Islamophobic. … [To read the full article, click here]