A Not So Great Faith

After a terrorist attack perpetrated by an Islamic extremist, we get the normal litany of apologia from our leaders and the media. One thing we also hear is that Islam is one of the great faiths. What is exactly meant by this? Is Islam a great faith due to the number of its adherents? If so would that not mean that Christianity is the greatest faith and Judaism is one of the least great? I do not consider Isalm great, nor, do I consider any faith great.

Islam in its scripture and the beliefs and actions of its practitioners shows how it is not great. Islam does not allow dissent or questioning. Why if it is so great does Allah command death to those who question it and why did Muhammad so unforgivingly attack any and all who dared to speak out against Islam. Saudi Arabia has made being an atheist a terrorist crime. Pakistan is now applying its blasphemy laws to those who post on social media. If you believe in your religion why would people speaking out aginst it or saying it is not true have to be killed? A great faith should be able to withstand doubt and overcome those who question it by its inherent greatness.

Why are there apostasy laws in Islam? Why must Islam and Muslims call for the deaths of and take the lives of those who leave? Yusuf al-Qaradawi, chairman of the Union of Muslim Scholars had, said: “If They [Muslims] Had Gotten Rid of the Punishment for Apostasy, Islam Would Not Exist Today.” A great faith should not have to threaten to kill you to get you to stay.
Quran 4:88-89 “Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites? Allah has cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him any way (of guidance) 89 They wish that you reject (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So, take not Auliya (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah (to Muhammad). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold of) them and kill [q-t-l] them wherever you find them”

The fear of women that Islam displays are another demonstration of how weak Islam is. Women are treated as property and not given any agency over themselves. The concept of guardianship treats women as helpless and hapless. Women in some Muslim majority countries cannot leave their homes without a male family member leading them. Even when they do find someone who will escort them in public, they must cover their hair or, depending on the country, dress head to toe in a sack and have their faces covered. Women are supposed to do this to protect men from the lust they will instil in men. This is a vile concept. If the devout men are so devout why would a woman walking about uncovered cause them to forget the admonishments against extra-marital sex that are in Islam? Are the beliefs of the faithful so weak that they cannot contain their baser urges just because they see some hair or flesh? How does this show the greatness of Islam, in my eyes it shows how weak it is.

On February 14th, 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini issued his now infamous fatwa on Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses. Rushdie wrote of the verses that were supposedly dictated to Muhammad by Satan and for daring to do so he still to this day lives under a death sentence. This surely cannot be a sign of greatness. Or in 2005 when Jyllands Potsdam published cartoons of the prophet there was an outcry across the Muslim world. The protests were spurred on by self-proclaimed religious leaders who had to add a few cartoons of their own, far worse than what the publication had printed, to get Muslims riled up to violently demonstrate outside of and lay siege to Danish embassies around the globe. In 2011 Charlie Hebdo was firebombed and in 2015 15 member’s of their staff were slaughtered and the killers were shouting that they were avenging their prophet. None of these things shows any greatness.

The fear of ancient rocks is another way that Islam purports to be great. In Afghanistan Al Qaeda and the Taliban destroyed the statues of the Bamyan Buddhas and artefacts in museums because they were un-Islamic. ISIS has done the same in museums in Iraq and the ruins of Palmyra. The artefacts that ISIS did not destroy it sold to fund itself. All of this was done because these remnants of civilisation long dead were an affront to Islam. A great faith would not be concerned that ancient statues and ruins would lead its believers astray.

None of what I have mentioned demonstrate the greatness of Islam. All of these actions show how weak and small Islam is. A great faith should be able to withstand criticism, and allow its followers to see the remains of long dead civilisations. Islam can never call itself great if it keeps insisting that the mere sight of a woman not covered head to toe in a sack will cause Muslim men to forget all about their faith and ravish them. If Muslims can be made to leave their religion just because they are given an argument against it, then it has no reason to be followed.

If Muslims wish to show how great Islam is let them allow dissent, apostasy, liberated women and history. If it can allow all this and still keep its followers due to just the arguments of its apologists and religious leaders then it may have a right to the claim it is great but until that point, it is of no worth, and that is being shouted most loudly by Muslims.

Burkini Fiasco

The ban on the burkini in France is a disgrace and a slap in the face of religious freedom. I do not agree with women wearing the burka or the hijab if they are forced to do so, but I certainly do not agree with banning them either. In both cases, the women are being forced to wear or not wear a piece of clothing.

There are questions in France of why isn’t their better integration of immigrants with Muslim backgrounds. This move to ban the burkini will not help with integration. I believe that integration into society is mainly the responsibility of the new immigrant, but this must be backed up by the state offering immigrants the opportunity to do so. This ban will make integration harder. The women who want to go to enjoy the beaches and swimming pools in France are not fundamentalists but are seeking a way to follow their interpretation of the faith while fitting into their new country.

If this type of thing continues, the French government will not help themselves at all. This law will further the divide between Muslim citizens and residents of France and the rest of the population. If France actually wants to help create an atmosphere where its citizens live together harmoniously, they should encourage the burkini. If they allow Muslim women who wish to wear it to do so these women will go out to enjoy the resorts of France and maybe fit in better.

In a truly liberal society, all its citizens should be allowed to practice their religions freely as long as they do not force their religion on other members of that society or on their communities of those societies.

If France wishes to stop women from wearing the burkini then instead of banning it, they should start an education campaign to show Muslim women that their worth has nothing to do with a piece of clothing.

The French government is doing a huge disservice to the Muslim women in France by doing this. It is saying to them that they do not have rights equal to all other women in the country. The women who are wearing the burkini to the beach are at least open enough to go to a beach and enjoy themselves. If they are not allowed to wear it and enjoy themselves they will be forced to stay at home when their friends go to the beach. They will feel further isolation from the rest of their fellow citizens. This ban hurst no one but Muslim women and families who are a little bit more open and wish to join in on all the diversions that are available to the rest of society.

Many say that they were never forced to wear it, but I wonder how free they were in making that choice. If a girl is taught from an early age that if she does not wear a hijab or burka she has no worth and that her body is something to be ashamed of.

For many women in liberal countries yes they do have a choice but how much of choice do they have if they have been indoctrinated from a young age. If you look at what the Quran says about being modest, you will see that a woman brought up in a conservative Muslim household to think that she is making this choice of her freewill instead of seeing that she has been taught that this is her only option and to do otherwise is against her faith.

Even in liberal countries, there are closed groups of Muslims who live in ghettos where they interact with, mainly, only Muslims. In these closed societies girls and women might not actually have a choice. Women and girls are told by their families that they are not good if they don’t wear the hijab.

With all this being said I will state again that banning the burkini on beaches or the hijab will do nothing to stop the idea that a woman’s worth is only due to a piece of cloth. The idea that a young girl or a woman holds the honour of a family in a scarf is ludicrous, but it is a reality for a lot of women. The problem of honour is a big issue within Muslim families both in Muslim communities in Western Democracies and in Muslim countries.

If France and other European countries do want better integrated Muslim immigrants, they should make sure to practice the values that they purport to uphold and should allow members of that community to act according to their faith as long as those actions do not infringe on the rights of the rest of the population in those countries.

A Message for CJ Werleman

This following post is satire as I would never in good conscience suggest that someone not express their opinion.

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I would like to respond to this tweet by Mr Werleman. Just to be clear this will have nothing to do with whether this attack had anything to do with Islam or the motives of the attacker. This response is more about some trends I see going on, that to me are very triggering.

I have been told that I should not criticise the hijab because I am not a Muslim woman and therefore have no frame of reference.

I have been told not to criticise BLM because I am not black.

I have been told that an as ex-Muslim I do not have the right to criticise Islam because I left that faith.

I have been told not to appropriate any other culture as it demeans and marginalises their struggle.

I will grant you all of these things. If I am not allowed to criticise all of these things because I am not in that particular group, then I think you should stop appropriating the victimhood of Muslims. You are not Muslim and have no right to speak on these matters. By your logic, you are demeaning the struggles that Muslims face by co-opting their struggle.

So Mr Werleman kindly stop triggering me and making me feel unsafe by appropriating someone else’s victimhood and showing your White privilege by doing so. You are sending me into a shame spiral, and I will need to curl up into the fetal position and think of unicorns, rainbows and puppies for the next week just to get over the harm you caused my mental state.

 

Acceptance Not Apologetics

The following is not the type of topic I want for my blog, but I feel that I have no option but to write this.
I would like to address this message to those that are offering apologist responses to the horrific attack in Orlando.
I am sickened to the core by this attack, but more so I am sickened by the indirect support that has been doled out by Muslim apologists after the mass shooting. Following a limited show of sympathy or solidarity the discussion then changed to how this was not about Islam, fear of backlash against Muslims, the reason for the attack, or any of the many topics to take the attention away from the fact that 49 people were killed and 53 injured.
While it is laudable that you express your sympathies to the families of the victims, you must be honest to them, yourselves and the population in general. The narrative that Islam is a loving, merciful peaceful religion and nothing else has to stop. Just saying that any interpretation of Islam that contradicts yours is not truly Islam is a lie. ISIS, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh just to name a few, have interpretations that, while they do not fit yours, are valid.
Worrying about future victims before the current ones are mourned is the epitome of callousness. It is unconscionable of you to worry about reprisals on Muslims when 49 families have lost loved ones. Now is not the time to think about how this will affect you.
If you do fear reprisals on Muslims or acts of bigotry and racism, realise that you are just as culpable of this as is the shooter in this attack or any perpetrator in any act of terrorism committed by a Muslim extremist. Those of us who are having a conversation about the bad ideas in Islam that have contributed to this attack are not stirring up hate.
You are one of the main reasons for the distrust of Muslims. For so long now you have been painting this rose coloured picture of Islam, that has also been taken up by our politicians and media, that the general population is not buying it anymore. By continually calling  bigot or Islamophobe anyone who questions verses in the Quran or any of the hadith that prescribe death as a penalty for homosexuality in this instance or any number of other disgraceful acts in other cases you are just shutting down any chance of a conversation. If you want the population to trust and accept Muslims, then start by being honest about Islam and not just bring out this same old trope.
By shutting down discourse or any criticism of Islam you are empowering fascists both in Western democracies and in Muslim-majority countries. While you have not yet started calling for the incarceration, torture or death of any who dare to question; you silence them just as is done by the theocratic regimes of Muslim-majority countries. Why is it that you do not want to have a discussion about your faith? Are you so insecure in your beliefs that you cannot allow yourself to hear an opposing view? Is your religion so weak that it cannot bear the brunt of an open and honest conversation about its tenets? The next time you wish to stop this conversation and take a long look at yourself and ask why you are doing it.
You need to have a discussion about how Islam is interpreted in Mosques, that you know to be more fundamental, so that it can take place where it is sorely needed rather than to tilt at the windmills of Islamophobia. If you belong to a Mosque that is inclusive and accepts all you need not convince these people they are of the same mind as you. Your message does not need to be disseminated to the population in general either, it needs to be voiced in places where more literal and rigid interpretation are held sacrosanct. Why does your resolve stop at these doorsteps?
Your muddying of the waters has implications far beyond just your neighbourhoods; it is being heard by those in Muslim-majority countries who are speaking out about the deficiencies in Islam. You are spitting on the graves of, for example, the bloggers in Bangladesh who were killed for daring to question Islam. You are telling any dissenter that they need not bother because their governments will silence them in their homelands and that you will offer them no support in supposed free nations.
When you turn this conversation to making equivalencies in how Christianity or Judaism regards homosexuality you have lost the fight. If you believe that Islam is Allah’s last revelation and is perfection in every way, then it needs to better than any other that has come before it. So it is up to you to show that Islam is better and demonstrate it by denouncing the sections of the scripture that demonise, in this case, homosexuality. If your faith is universal, do not give the excuse that others do it so it is not wrong when it is done in the name of or due to Islam. Spend your time spreading that message rather than make apologies and excuses for people who asked for none of you.
The acceptance I am asking for is not only for anyone considered the other by Islam but for your acceptance of the fact that Islam is broken and is in sore need of fixing. Until you are willing to talk honestly you should not try and stop any and all who wish to; we will be in this exact place the next time an act of terror is carried out because someone believed too much.

 

 

The PCRA

From the end of the 1980s up until 2013 the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) was operating in Northern Uganda, South Sudan, Central African Republic and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were an extremely vicious group who were terrorizing and killing people in the region. One of the things the LRA would do was to mutilate and then padlock shut the lips of people who spoke out against them, or they would just kill them. They had officially sanctioned speech and enforced it in the most horrific manner.

The present PC culture that is prevalent in the West is trying to create a society that has officially sanctioned speech and to silence those who wish to speak out against it; they use censure and censorship. While the PC police or PCRA might not kill people or torture them as the had LRA done but they try to ruin the lives of people who speak out against the sanctioned speech or hold opinions that are in contradiction to their worldview. They try and silence anyone who wishes to offer a differing point of view.

There is no place in the PC culture for any diversity of thought. You must think as they do talk as they do or you will be stigmatized. The PCRA will not tolerate any independent thinking. They are creating a divisive society in the name of inclusiveness. Their idea of inclusiveness is to label everyone and place them in a matrix of marginalization. They believe in separating one group from another for example Black Lives Matter calling for segregation.

What are they so afraid of why will they not listen to anything from someone who wants to challenge them? Are they so insecure in their facts and arguments that they cannot allow dissent? Are they so weak and fragile that upon hearing a differing opinion they will have a breakdown?

One of the preferred tactics of the PCRA is to shut down a speaker by labeling them racist, sexist, misogynistic, or some flavor of phobic. They do not want a conversation unless it is a validation of their ideas. I am beginning to wonder if it is too late for them. Have they been in this echo chamber so long hearing differing versions of the same thought for so long that they are incapable of defending against an opposing argument so they must just stop it and not have to defend against it?

I did not want to use this cliché, but some things are just too perfect such as this Orwellian display by the vice president of NUS in the UK. Everywhere I look I see more and more division being created. Tumblr has close to one hundred genders to choose. We are all being defined and fit into neat categories. What is the need in my having to identify as a CIS male of South Asian birth and Arabic descent?

On Campuses, professors have to sanitize their courses. Students and faculty are being brought up on the most ludicrous charges, and it doesn’t matter that, for the most part, they are exonerated they have to go through the process and end up with being demonized while they are defending themselves. Here some of the most unbelievable charges that have been leveled against people on campuses.

At Columbia University, there was the case of Emma Sulkowicz aka Mattress Girl and Paul Nungesser, who, even though had the charges dismissed, is still labeled as a rapist.
This division by tolerance is creating so many little-specialized groups that you are now having a ranking of who is the more marginalized. For example, gay men are now the most privileged of those in the LGBTQAAAIP (currently the new acronym) community. All this talk of privilege is once again letting you know who has the right to a voice and to whom we must not listen.

There is also an insidious hypocrisy within the PCRA. In the same breath, one of these brave defenders of the downtrodden will call someone like Maajid Nawaz a racist and then a house Muslim, or a porch monkey, or Uncle Tom without once seeing the irony and actual bigotry in their statement. Feminists will fight against the injustice of stare rape, mansplaining, or manspreading but say nothing of the way women are treated in places such as Saudi Arabia. Bakeries will be boycotted for not baking a cake for a gay wedding but of the throwing of gay men from rooftops and the regimes that make homosexuality a crime punishable by death, nothing.

Those in the PCRA need to take a look at history and governments that had in place the policies that they are so proudly displaying. The segregation, labeling, official speech, and sanctioned speech are all trademarks of totalitarian fascist states. They might argue that they are doing it for the common good but so did the dictators in those regimes.

Due to this need to not offend we are causing real harm. Here a couple of examples of political correctness so turned on its head that the actual victims did not get any justice.

Then there was this case in Germany of a Moroccan woman who wanted a divorce from her abusive husband but was denied by a female judge because the woman and her husband were Muslim and Islam tolerates wife beating, so the woman knew what she was in for. Luckily this has been overturned, but this woman had to endure a few extra months of abuse because a judge did not want to insult a culture.

Where and when will this end? The more incensed that the PCRA gets, they come out with more sanctioned speech. We are at this stage only being shamed into speaking correctly but how long before we too will have our lips mutilated and padlocked shut? We are not standing at the edge of a slippery slope, but we have been pushed down the greased sides of a ravine, and we are careening towards the rocks.

Then there is the affront that all this sanctioned speech gives to the English language. While you might think that my prose is an attack on English as well but at the very least, I am not using tortured euphemisms. The following list of politically correct words would be laughable if it weren’t also so scary.

I do see some signs of respite from this nonsense. More and more people are speaking out against it, and maybe it has reached a critical mass of ridiculousness that it is starting to implode on itself. Time magazine had its run in with the PCRA when it released its list of words to be banned in 2014 and included feminist on the list. In some ways Time magazine is being attacked by the beast it helped create, by criticizing Charlie Hebdo when they were fire bombed in 2011. I only hope that these intolerant ivory towers of tolerance continue to attack each other and destroy themselves with their hateful inclusiveness.

Here are a couple of videos by the always funny and brilliant George Carlin talking about the ridiculousness of politically correct speech; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkhUivqzWv0 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuEQixrBKCc

 

Endangered by Safe Spaces

Safe spaces, trigger warnings, these are some of the things that are stifling free speech in universities across North America. This assault on free speech will have the effect of stultifying our future leaders. Without free speech campuses will not have the ability to teach students and open them up to ideas.

We are getting a culture in our universities that does not want freedom of speech but freedom from speech. This thinking is spilling out into society in general, and we are being forced to censor ourselves continuously so as not to offend.

Creating safe spaces and giving into the pressure to have trigger warnings is not allowing students to hear ideas that they don’t agree with and thereby limiting their ability to debate and argue against them. Without being able to listen to a contrary argument how on Earth do you expect to counter it?

Students and student organizations need to re-take a long hard look at, what I would consider, perhaps the two best writing on free speech. Areopagitica by John Milton and On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. In these two works, both Mill and Milton argue that free speech is not for you but for those against whom you are arguing. It is so that you can hear the opposing argument. By hearing the contrary opinion, you then can either learn something to make your case stronger or, the opposing point of view might be right and only by hearing it might you have your mind changed.

If you want to spend your tenure at university without hearing one opposing argument, you cannot say that you have had a complete education. How, possibly, can you say that your education has been complete and given you the necessary skills to deal with life outside of academia when all your coursework had been sanitized.

Trigger warnings are, handicapping teachers. How is a professor supposed to give a lecture when he/she has to stop and warn their students every single time he/she might say something that will cause one, a few, or all of his/her students to hear something that may cause them to relive a traumatic experience or even just be offended.

How is an English professor supposed to give a lecture on Huck Finn when he/she has to talk about N-word Jim? When discussing All’s Well That Ends Well do you need to give a trigger warning that some slut shaming is about to happen when in Act V Scene 3 Lafeu says “This woman’s an easy glove, my lord; she goes off and on at pleasure”?

The atmosphere on campuses seems toxic. You keep hearing stories of people who have been censured for the smallest offense. An extreme example is a student in Scotland who was almost kicked out of a student council meeting for raising her hand. You can read about it in this article.

At Yale, a lecturer resigned after having written an email about Halloween costumes. The husband of the teacher, who is also a professor at Yale and the master of Silliman College, is seen being scolded by a student. This girl sounds more like a petulant child than a young adult. Someone should have told this fragile little creature that no, a university is about creating an intellectual space, and it is not about building a home. When you go to college, you leave home and accept that you are going somewhere to is supposed to give you the abilities to deal with the real world.

The more I see, read and hear about universities I wonder how any learning goes on. All I seem to hear about is students and faculty spending all their time looking for offense.

Once hurt the students are allowed to go to a safe space so that they can start feeling better. The healing comes in the form of Play d’Oh, bubbles, balloons. Adults do not act in this way. When going to university, and you are asking for this, you are saying that you are not able to cope with the real world, and would like to make it go away.

By demanding safe spaces and trigger warnings university students are admitting that they are not mature enough yet to deal with important subjects. If that is how you feel then, you are not in the right place. How, for example, will you defend someone in a rape case when you; need to go to a safe space whenever the details of the case are discussed, would require a trigger warning every time that a witness will give their account of the events.

With the amount of debt that a lot of students are putting themselves in just to get an education, you would think that they would want to squeeze every ounce of education they could get.

The biggest problem with safe spaces and trigger warnings is the fact that you are depriving yourself the ability to counter speech that you find offensive. How are you going to be able to debate someone when you have to go running to cuddle a puppy when you hear something even the slightest bit uncomfortable. When you aren’t free to speak openly how will you let someone know that something is abhorrent to you?

The students who are doing this are purposely giving away their freedom of speech. By not allowing the other to speak you are paving the way for when you are identified as the other and are silenced yourself. If you believe someone has ideas that you find repugnant, do not block them from speaking but instead study the issues and ask them pointed questions. If theses people are as disgusting as you say they will by talking prove themselves to be; racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, or whatever-the-fuck-phobic you want to call them.

These moronic ideas are all about shutting down ideas that you don’t like and just telling people to shut up and sit down. All these social justice warriors out there aren’t providing any solutions they are just yelling out catchphrases and drowning out any conversations that might hurt their feelings. Instead of just screeching your ignorance for the whole world to see you should maybe listen to what is being said outside of the puppy filled safe echo chamber in which you live.

The last example I will give of how free speech is being, or in this case attempted to being, stifled is this video of some students interrupting speakers who had been invited to speak. They are doing this only because they don’t like what is being said.

A Wrong Left Turn.

In the last 15 years, I have seen the Left in Western democracies slowly erode away it’s own values.

When people speak out about ideas in Islam that are used to oppress people, or as justifications for violence, the Left is quick to condemn them as racist if they are white, as native informants if they are or were Muslim, or they refer to either group as Islamophobic. By doing this it is aiding Islamic extremists and the Right in the West. By lumping together the people who are talking about ideas and those who are painting all Muslims with a broad brush. The Left is stopping a dialogue that needs to happen if we want to live in a peaceful world.

What did the Left do when Salman Rushdie had a fatwa issued for his death? Where was the Left when Denmark was targeted due to some cartoons published in a newspaper? Where was the left when Charlie Hebdo was first fire bombed and then later had members of its staff killed? In all these cases after an almost-begrudging show of support for the victims the talk on the Left turned and they began attacking the victims because they dared to express their opinion and had offended some by doing so.

The Left is so concerned about protecting victims that it seems to see all issues as ones of victims and victimizers. The dilemma it is confronted by here is that it considers all generic Brown people as victims that have been oppressed by White cultures in the West. With the oppression of Muslims by other Muslims and by Muslim regimes the Left has a problem. It can’t see the victims for the Brown people. With its need to find and help victims, it attacks anyone who says anything against Islam. I agree that if someone makes sweeping derogatory claims about Muslims as a people he/she is bigoted and needs to be called out on it: but when Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes remarks about the issues arising from certain ideas and ideals in Islam, that she finds unjust, she also get called racist. The actions of Brandeis University in 2014, when they withdrew an honorary degree that they had offered her due to her remarks criticizing Islam, are an excellent example of this.

I prefer the blatant bigotry of someone like Donald Trump to the hidden bigotry of the Left. Let me make one thing clear before I continue: I in no way agree with anything said by Trump or people who think like him. The bigotry of the Left is far more insidious as it is couched in lofty ideals. When the Left, immediately after an attack by Islamic extremists, says things like: “The extremists aren’t Islamic and they are only doing it as a result of Western foreign policy or Imperialism”, I feel, as should every Muslim or ex-Muslim, insulted. What you are doing when you say things such as this is to say: “Oh you poor Brown children let us more-advanced White parents look after you.” It goes even deeper than that it also says, “You brown people need us whites to fix your problems and what’s more, you need us to cause your problems.”

I regret to inform you, Effendi, but we Brown people are more-than-capable of screwing up our regions, countries, etc., without any help from you. When someone like Donald Trump says the things he does, at the very least he is affording us the right to say yes we did screw things up and we need to rectify it.

If this is, as the Left will say, a problem of foreign policy, would you please explain the following to me: what did Western foreign policy have to do with Saudi Arabia executing 47 people to start off 2016? If the Western democracies designed foreign policies exactly as the Left would like them to be, would Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim majority countries give the voices of dissent in their countries an open forum? Would they give women the same equality that is found in the West? Would they give to the LGBT communities the right to live their lives with whomever they wish? These injustices are issues that arise from ideas in Islam, and how they are implemented, that needs to be addressed.

The Left has to start actually living up to their ideals. While you are protesting for pay equality between the sexes, which is as it should be, protest the embassies of Muslim majority countries that subjugate women. After you protest a bakery that won’t make a cake for a gay wedding, protest the same embassies to give the LGBT communities in their societies the right to live their lives openly with whomever they please so that they, too, will then be able to be to be rightly-offended and outraged at a bakery for not making them a cake, instead of living double lives and hiding their feelings and desires.

Those of us who are in the communities of ex-Muslims and practicing Muslims, who wish to speak out about this, do not need you to defend us. We are able and willing to speak out against these injustices. However, the multitudes who live in Muslim majority countries or in Muslim communities in the West that cannot speak out due to the fear of reprisals, being ostracized by their families and communities, imprisonment, corporal punishment, torture, and death, these are your victims. The women who want to be able to take off the veil, drive a car, leave their homes without a chaperone, etc. are the people you should be standing up for. The LGBT community members who have to hide who they really are need your help. Voices of dissent, be it those who want to leave the faith or are just questioning tenets of their faith that they think are wrong, need to be heard. If you are not willing to help them, and are willing to let them live lives of quiet desperation so be it. But do not stop those of us who want to help them have a voice to be able to get some measure of protection and freedom.

The Left has also become highly inconsistent in its outrage. Here are a couple of examples: The Left and the U.S. army directed their outrage at a U.S. army captain when he stopped an Afghan army commander he saw sodomizing a little boy. The outrage, rightly so, directed at the Catholic Church because of the systematic abuse and rape of little children was directed, in this case not directed towards the perpetrator but at the person who put a stop to it. The U.S. officer was the one punished for this because he attacked someone’s culture. I, personally, will always call out a culture where the rape of children is acceptable. A few years back, when the FLDS compound in Texas, I believe, was raided and child brides taken into custody by the state, again rightly so, there was no outcry from the Left that this was wrong of the state do and that this was just the culture of the FLDS. However, when people criticize a country such as Iran that has set the age of consent for girls to be married at 9 you are labeled racist because that is just the Iranian culture. I am quite sure that those young children will be more-than-happy to know that others have helped protect their culture so that adults can keep abusing them.

By stifling this debate the Left, is also causing problems for the governments and citizens of Western democracies. An example of that is the issue again of child brides. No one has been able to talk about this for fear of being labeled racist or bigot. This lack of debate has led to many modern moral dilemmas that governments are loathe to address. In Norway a fourteen-year-old girl and her twenty-three-year old husband arrived as refugees. They had an eighteen-month-old baby and she was well into her second pregnancy. What is to be done about this? By not allowing this debate to continue, we have no idea what to do in these situations. These are not easy things to hash out. Do we allow the young girls stay with their “husbands” as is happening in Holland? Do we just say we will separate the families, and have a sudden influx of teen and pre-teen mothers to deal with? Do we imprison the fathers? These are not topics that can be discussed when you only want to listen to things that make you comfortable. We will only be able to come to a way of treating these cases through an open and honest debate including viewpoints from all sides, and not just attacking anyone who’s opinions differs from ours.

A couple of the problems with this debate are that we are becoming so used to getting an instant answer from Google, and that we are fighting these fights in the Twitter verse, that no-one is actually taking time to investigate the issues. These are not debates that can be had in 140 characters. This needs discussion and dialogue from all sorts of people. Anyone who thinks he/she have valid points, should be allowed at the table and this needs to be sorted out. When looking into this, the Left would be prudent to use the following as a guide to how this investigation should be done.

“The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration and not the sayings of human beings whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man, who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.”

-Ibn al-Haytham

My family moved to Canada from India when I was six, I am very proud to be Canadian and that is how I think of myself. One of the things I love best about Canada, and by and large, all Western democracies are the openness and freedom afforded to all its residents. The Left is allowing our societies to become closed. It has been said that it is good to have an open mind but not so open that your brains fall out. I would argue that it is good to have open societies, but not so open that we let our own values fall out.

In closing I would just like to say that I hope the Left will change so that I can feel proud again to say that I am of the Left. If as Keats said, “Truth is beauty, and beauty truth” then the Left has become a far-less-beautiful place to be.