I am not a person to condemn something blindly nor am I given to unreasoning prejudice – I think about issues before I make decisions about them.
Regarding Islam, I have done a lot of reading and spent a lot of time in thought. I read the Koran cover to cover and found it absolutely appalling. First of all, there is no meaningful order to it; neither chronological nor thematic, merely from longest book or surah to shortest. Secondly, it is filled with violence and intolerance. It seems that every few pages there are vivid descriptions of the eternal horrors to be inflicted on unbelievers, like molten metal being poured down their throats. It doesn’t even seem like a religion in its own right, more like a heretical sect of Judaism which, admittedly, has some pretty gruesome passages in its own holy book, but nothing to rival the Koran.
Current events and recent history are filled with barbaric acts perpetrated by Muslim extremists, but the behavior of so-called “moderate Islam” – a textbook oxymoron – is pretty appalling in its own right. A couple of examples:
The Muslim majority at Don Valley Middle School in Toronto somehow managed to talk the Toronto Board of Education into turning the cafeteria into a mosque every Friday afternoon. That’s bad enough, but the seating arrangement is sickening. Boys sit at the front and girls sit behind them – so the Board apparently accepts blatant sexism in the schools as long as a big enough group wants to do it (but that kind of hypocrisy is another subject). Even worse, girls who are menstruating are forced to sit at the very back because they are “unclean”. I can’t think of many better ways to publicly humiliate young girls, some of whom would be getting their first period.
Notice, too, that it’s women who are blamed for sexual impurity of all kinds when, logically, by their own actions, Muslims display their hypocrisy by not placing the blame where they themselves show us that they believe it lies – men.
Women look at men and, as nature intended, lust after them (to put it Biblically). Women also lust after men, but that’s a bit more complex. The Western solution is to tell men to behave themselves. The Islamic solution is to make its women cover up in anything from a head scarf to a portable tent that covers everything – including their eyes. The message is clear: women are temptresses are should hide themselves. I vividly remember teaching a class in the hot, humid weather that included a Muslim brother and sister: he was comfortably sitting at his desk in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt while she was sweating under a heavy, black garment that covered her almost completely, head to foot, with only her hands and eyes showing. Back home, she might have been stoned for dressing as her brother did. That’s an extreme example, but the hijab, which I saw almost universally worn by female students, is the same principle at work.
To listen to the left wing, you would think that this kind of intolerant behavior comes from a tiny minority of Muslims, but it is widespread, and that this kind of enforced female modesty is just a cultural practice that is no different than the Western fondness for, say, blue jeans, but it is uncomfortable and largely unwanted by those who are under pressure to endure it.
I have heard average students defending Sharia law, telling me that the only reasonable way to treat a thief is to cut off his hand – it’s a mainstream view.
I could go on . . .
But let’s stop there, and I will tell you why I am thankful for Islam: it tells me that Official Multiculturalism, as set out in the Canadian Constitution and the so-called Charter of Rights and Freedoms is wrong-headed and needs to be repealed–now.
Cultural relativism looks pretty harmless when the various cultures are similar, clustering around a common set of values, whatever their individual expression. But what about when cultures are poles apart, like Western culture and Islam? They do not complement each other, as various European cultures might be seen to do; they oppose each other, and that promotes a slew of difficulties.
We are a tolerant, Western nation; tolerance, itself, springs out of Western values. That’s why you will never see anything remotely like multiculturalism in any Islamic nation. In their home countries, they do not tolerate us, yet here, we tolerate them, including their rampant sexism, of which so-called “honor killings” are but an extreme instance of a more widespread pattern of Islamic intolerance.
Not all cultures are created equal. We in the West made that decision centuries ago. It flowed out of ancient Greece and Rome, expressed itself in Magna Carta, philosophy, art and social customs.
We repeal Official Multiculturalism to in order to reflect and honor that tradition and protect the rights and freedoms, not just of Muslim women, but us all.