Candice Malcolm: The Islamophobia motion is a political game for the Liberals

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(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

The Liberals are playing politics with a motion to condemn systemic racism and religious discrimination.

The motion, M103, specifically aims to combat so-called Islamophobia – a vague and politicized term that is often used to silence those critical of the doctrine of Islam.

The term ‘Islamophobia’ is not defined in the motion, put forward by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, which also calls for taxpayer resources to be used to study the issue and provide recommendations for government action by the end of 2017.

It seeks to create a “whole-of-government approach” to “eliminating… religious discrimination including Islamophobia.”

Several Conservative MPs, including Scott Reid, David Anderson and interim leader Rona Ambrose, have rightly and reasonably expressed concerns over the loose language and lack of clarity in this motion.

Anderson proposed an alternative version of the text that simply removed the contentious term “Islamophobia,” and replaced it with a list of several religions. He also suggested scrapping the term in favour of the more concise “hatred against Muslims.”

The Liberals, however, rejected the olive branch, and will instead ram through their original, cloudy-worded motion.

Liberal Heritage Minister Melanie Joly said she opposed the Conservative edits because they created a “weakened and watered down version.”

But it isn’t just conservatives who are worried about the ambiguous and undefined term.

Esteemed human rights activist and former Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler echoed conservative objections. He, too, recommended the motion refer to “anti-Muslim bigotry” rather than “Islamophobia.”

Writing in this paper, leading liberal Muslims Tarek Fatah and Farzana Hassan both opposed M-103. Hassan reminds us that “the most damaging assault by Islamic fundamentalists on Western values – and indeed Western civilization itself – is in the realm of free speech.”

Herein lies the heart of the problem with this motion, and with the term “Islamophobia” more broadly.

Rather than focus on people of the faith—individual Muslims—it instead places focus on the faith itself. Muslim people enjoy religious rights and freedoms in Canada, but the doctrine of Islam deserves no such protection. We must be able to criticize and debate matters of Islam – just like any other set of ideas.

People have rights, ideas do not. This is an important distinction.

While Liberal MPs insist the common definition of Islamophobia is an “irrational hatred of Muslims,” the etymology of the term suggests an irrational fear of Islam. And fearing certain strains of Islam is hardly irrational.

Islamists seeking to impose a Caliphate—an Islamic State, governed by Sharia law—have repeatedly waged war against innocent civilians in the West. For these terrorists, Islamism is a political philosophy, not just a religion.

Islamic countries almost universally suffer from human rights abuses and violent insurgencies. Sharia law calls for barbaric treatment of women, gays and minorities.

Unspeakable crimes are committed daily, all around the world, in the name of Islam.

There is nothing irrational about fearing the fundamentalist worldview...(READ MORE)