A conversation between Kaveh Shahrooz and Natasha Fatah provoked some criticism amongst Muslims. For some, the fact that Kaveh dared to give Fatah an interview discredited him. For others the fact that Kaveh works with the Macdonald Laurier Institute discredited him. I chose to listen to the conversation and not consider the identities of, or rather my projections of any preconceived ideas about, the people speaking. Tolerance and intellectual rigour require me to consider the content of the speech and their manner of engagement with the subject matter and each other, and not my biases about the speakers themselves.
The question remains unanswered by those who cling to the term “Islamophobia” — what is wrong with the term anti-Muslim? Why do we need to centre the belief system and not the human beings? Racialisation and xenophobia drive hatred of Muslims. Hatred emerges from dehumanising rhetoric. Criticising ideas does not constitute hatred. We must have freedom to criticise ideas, doctrine, dogma with impunity. Do you want to live in a world where wrong think is a crime? Where is the freedom or tolerance in that?
Whilst the assholes who draw pornographic cartoons of The Prophet do seem insufferable, that expression is protected expression. Whilst the assholes who circle jerk silly polemic interpretations of Islam or The Prophet do seem insufferable, unless they engage in slander, for which we have laws, their expression has protection. All these assholes essentially only project their own fetishistic hatred onto Muslims with their ridiculous polemics and they seek to offend on purpose because weak egos do this kind of childish bullsh1t. That’s not hate, that’s assholery. Assholery is a self own, period. To use Twitter as an analogy, you simply block and move on.
We have hate laws in Canada, in light of the recent white/Christian terrorist attack in London Ontario, perhaps they need sterner enforcement. Yet we need to be absolutely clear WHAT HATE IS NOT. If I say I don’t believe in the trinity, I am not committing a hate crime. If I promote BDS, I am not committing a hate crime. If I reject gender identity and point to my constitutional sex based rights, I am not committing a hate crime. If I say women can be abusive assholes, I am not a misogynist. Offending someone is not a hate crime or a human rights violation. Unpleasant truths are not hate crimes or human rights violations. Refusing to validate anyone’s delusion is not a hate crime. Humans are not validation machines.
We are not committing hatred for calling Islam sexist because Islamic clerics routinely call women sinners—who chose not to veil/cover—and because families and communities often do push back abusively when a woman decides she no longer wants to wear hijab, or they apply pressure and manipulate young girls into covering when they have not decided for themselves. Kaveh mentioned in his interview with Natasha his concern for Muslims within the community and not for racists who circle jerk free speech to justify their Muslim hatred. His concerns remain valid because Muslims who take critical positions, who wish for a more open-minded and less fundamentalist community, who pursue critical exegesis that push back against fundamentalist interpretations, who promote ideological pluralism—they do face hatred and abuse from the extreme and identitarian pockets of the Muslim community.
Women do indeed face abuse from sexist fundamentalists within the community who obsess over bad hijab, and grill and grind them constantly like they are props and pawns and hood ornaments as opposed to actual self-thinking humans. Not only from men, from women also!
"I also find it odd that people are ostracising me for criticising a community that I'm a part of... I'm allowed to do that.
"Let's get one thing straight, I still believe in my head-covering as part of my modesty and as a part of my life and it will always be part of me.... NO ONE can take that away from me. I have just decided that the best thing for me personally is not to commit to it daily like I have done for the past 20 years. That is all.
—Dina Torkio on the abusive reaction to her removing her hijab
Dina had just very dramatically removed her hijab and shocked the community she helped build, when I began hijab. I watched with puzzlement people who claimed to be modest presume with such arrogance and entitlement a bunch of nasty things about Dina. Disobedient women trigger society. It’s universal.
That’s why I call myself Bad Hijabi—because as much as possible I want to take the piss about this nonsense. I will wear bright colours, I will smoke, I will drop the f-bomb, I will speak up, I will push back, I will challenge and if anyone wants to give me a ‘bad human’ label because of it, oh well, that’s a self own of poor character—these attempts to control won’t work on me anymore. I don’t believe I am better than other women because of my hijab practise. I don’t believe I am worse than other women because of my hijab practise. That’s the point of modesty—to work on humility on an ongoing basis as a life praxis.
Women don’t need a uniform to do this, however if they choose hijab I hope they know why and seriously contemplate their commitment. The most genuinely modest and compassionate Muslim woman I know does not cover her hair. She has raised three strong intelligent empowered daughter to adulthood and none of them cover and they are as lovely as their mother. I know a hijabi who is a cardio-thoracic surgeon—not oppressed. Melanie Elturk is a human rights lawyer from Detroit who started her own hijab business because she couldn’t find hijab fashion she liked—she lives in Manhattan—not oppressed. I could go on, I’m sure you get the point. Muslim women, like Muslims generally, are not a monolith!
Recently I came across this tweet thread which labelled three critical Muslim scholars I happen to follow as kufr, an Islamic term meaning infidel (ie evil one) used in a dehumanising manner by fundamentalists and radicals and often followed by death threats. The individual, when asked, had no cogent explanation as to why Khalil Andani, Mustafa Akyol, and Javad Hashmi are kufr/kafir. (Note: Spelling in the following quote is the Tweeter’s and not mine.)
I see no need in debating them. Their Kufr is clear. If they want to debate they should go to a Student of Knowledge im not the right person for that … I have the knowledge to know that you're kuffar. But i know my place and can affirm that im ignorent.
In addition to being labelled kafir by this Random Tweeter, MD and PhD candidate in Islamic studies Javad Hashmi has a troll following who seeks to destroy him because of his critical intellectual approach to hadith, his refusal to condemn Ahmadis or cling to an exclusionary defining of what is a Muslim, among other views. And just like that, fundamentalists prove a very important point, discussed at length by Mustafa in his book and summarised succinctly by him here:
The fanaticism that brands any Muslim who thinks differently as "kafir" (infidel) — often followed by death threats — is the prime manifestation of the "closed minds" we have in the Islamic world today.
Gender Dissidents, does this whole scene I’ve described give you déja vu? It should, because we face the same response from Gender Extremists for simply asserting material reality and standing up for our humanity (ie sex based rights). Radfems and anyone who opposes the current extreme state of the gender movement receive the label TERF, an acronym for trans exclusive radical feminists, a heretical slur term gender extremists have given lesbians—same sex attracted female people—and now extend, in a dehumanising fashion, to anyone who challenges gender ideology. TERF is the kafir equivalent, if you will.
Such dehumanisation and vilification often too does extend to death or rape threats. It has McCarthyist overtones, as people lose their jobs, marriages, suffer through malicious lawsuits and prosecutions, and become cut off from their communities for their views. For instance, Miranda Yardley, Maya Forstater, and Graham Linehan have all paid enormous prices for their gender dissident views. JK Rowling cannot be cancelled however she has received enormous amounts of abuse, defamation, and threats simply for this simple essay she wrote.
Gender extremists self own their bigotry when they insinuate that if melanin females can be considered women then so too can men be considered women, and also when they claim that female people who set sexual boundaries regardless of “gender identity”—ie insist that rape shelters and sport remain female exclusive —are nazis. Genderists seriously conflate acknowledgement of reproductive class with genocide. They honestly think that what are essentially constitutional rights here in Canada are equivalent to the Nazis mass and industrial scale murder of Jewish, Romani, the disabled, gays, and other designated subhumans.
That’s interesting since these same genderists are hard pushing indoctrination of children with disingenuous and misantrophic gender ideology that ultimately leads confused, vulnerable and traumatised and distressed children to believe they are the opposite sex trapped in a wrong body and they need to undergo sterilisation and surgical mutilation in order to live because if they don’t sterilise and mutilate themselves they will kill themselves. This eugenics is what genderists have repackaged as “gender affirmation”, complete with propagandists lies denying that chemically castrating a human who has not reached full sexual maturity will sterilise that human, in addition to stunting brain and skeletal growth. Chemical castration led Alan Turing to kill himself, however genderists lie and present chemical castration as a suicide prophylactic. Long term ingestion of cross sex hormones causes metabolic dysregulation and depletion of bone density, two very serious complications. Threats of the heretical doom known as being labelled a “transphobe” (that’s the woke version of kafir right now) prevent reasonable skeptics, even in the medical profession, from speaking out against the lie. Is the emperor wearing clothes?
Genderists seek to trap children in their prepubescent bodies forever and feed them a cocktail of cross sex hormones and subject them to experimental and barbaric surgical remedies that will manipulate their bodies to make them have the secondary sex characteristics of the opposite sex. This is what they call affirmation. And parents who challenge this dogmatic and authoritarian and anti parent movement will be called violent, abusive, and even have their children removed from them. Seeking to uncover the reason why the child feels like they are the opposite sex is now a sinister act called “Gender Identity Conversion Therapy.”
Genderism has forced the removal of safeguards such that the government of Canada is violating the Geneva Convention by housing male prisoners with female prisoners. Dangerous male sex offenders have figured out they can identify as a women and request a transfer to female prison. The analogous courtesy is refused for female prisoners who identify as men and request transfer to male prison because of safety reasons. So, why are dangerous male sex offenders being housed in female prison? Simply because they “feel like” women? Does no one see the obvious safeguarding and human rights concerns here? Am I really a nazi for insisting that female prisons remain penal and do not become penile?
So I am a Bad Hijabi and a Gender Kafir. Possibly other identity groups have a cute heretical label for me too. Maybe I can start a collection. All these labels mean that the people who give them to me have a problem of intellectual tolerance and self acceptance. You shouldn’t need me to validate your identity or politicks. I don’t need to believe in the trinity to hang out with my catholic friends. I don’t need to stop believing in god to hang out with my atheist friends. I don’t need to believe humans are clown fish to hang with my trans friends. I don’t need to subscribe to secular feminism in order to hang with my radfem friends. I don’t need to deep throat a bunch of egocentric dogmatic rule-obsessed mindless garbage from any mediocre and culturally chauvinistic or identitarian or über woke-sycophantic muslim communities simply to say I “belong” to a community—I can manage my own religious life without getting sucked into any of those tribal vortices.
Extremism has its origins in identitarianism, which emerges in response to chaos, uncertainty, alienation and collective trauma. It exists all around us. It exists on both sides of the political spectrum, which has become a horseshoe or upside down parabola instead of a straight line. How can we avoid falling into the trap of tribalism? How and why do humans become radicalised in the first place? More pointedly—how do we extricate ourselves from the harmful grip of extreme ideologies which have a detrimental effect on human society? How can we address the structure that transmits information?
For example, we cannot, for whatever reason, get the Canadian media to investigate gender extremist indoctrination of children and the cultish abusive online community which alienates vulnerable people from their families and pressures them into transitioning. We cannot get the media to stop saying that laws which exclude males from competing in female sports are banning anyone—males are free to compete as males, to legally prevent males from competing as females does not persecute them any more than banning adults from competing in children’s sports would persecute those adults. However we cannot get the media to stand up and acknowledge sex based rights and reality.
How can we address the structure upholding the extremists who troll around looking for kafir targets they can harass and threaten? I remember in 1989 when Salman Rushdie had to go into hiding because of a threat to his life simply in reaction to a book he wrote! And no one can forget the awful fate met by the French teacher who showed those cartoons in his classroom. Or Charlie Hebdo. Why do extremists do these things? It’s certainly not to protect Muslims. Just like gender extremism is definitely not spewing hatred and lies to protect gay/lesbian/bisexual people or women. Despite what these groups say.
Indeed Islamic extremists are not protecting or safeguarding Muslims, they are enforcing a demented and distorted and often invented and definitely fundamentalist view of Islam similar to Westboro Baptist Christian extremists. Most importantly, extremists are acting out a response to something that jarred them, damaged their thinking. Humanising those who dehumanise us can feel like a drag—that’s part of the life praxis of humility. And humanising doesn’t mean dismissing or excusing abuse, it means understanding the behaviour. How can we know the antibiotic treatment to administer if we do not culture the bacteria first?
How can we make sense of things as individuals when politicians such as Iqra Khalid promote identitarianism and call it human rights? Khalid disingenuously promotes that word Islamophobia, is part of the Liberal government which refused to address concerns about what the term meant—the implications of equating criticism of an ideology/religion with hate/bigotry. Khalid is also chairing the parliamentary committee which is promoting the eugenics bill, also know as Bill C-6 or the Conversion Therapy bill. Khalid wants to obfuscate with that word Islamophobia, she also wants to obfuscate by promoting a harmful and poorly written piece of legislation which conflates gay conversion therapy with questioning a child who claims to be the opposite sex because his or her guidance counsellor suggested it. Just as “Islamophobia” does not exist, so too with “Gender Identity Conversion Therapy”—it does not exist either, except in a deranged Harry Benjamin-WPATH fantasy. Who do such politicians represent? Their own egos, it seems.
Identitarianism has infected politics and academia—it has infiltrated every segment of existence. It has rendered political discourse intellectually bereft/mediocre and so radical that it defies reality. Malignant narcissists have dominated the discussion and made impossible any possibility of a rational and intelligent discussion sans polemics. It has turned the world upside down such that the truth is a hateful lie and a hateful lie is the truth. Goebbels said if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth. And so it seems.
“The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.”
― John Locke
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