Monthly Archives: February 2012

Why Multiculturalism is Racism

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Why Multiculturalism Is Racism

“The worm inside the doctrine of multiculturalism is the lie that all cultures are worthy of equal respect and equally embracing of individual freedom and democracy.” – Dr. Salim Mansur


By Phyllis Chesler –  February 17, 2012 – 12:04 am

Dr. Salim Mansur’s new book Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism has been positively reviewed and endorsed by a handful of mainly conservative reviewers and distinguished intellectuals.

In my opinion, the book has been underestimated. It is a real gem. And, despite a recent spate of other important books on this subject, including Ibn Warraq’s Why the West Is Best, Mansur’s work is unique. Mansur gives us very valuable information about the history of multiculturalism in Canada, which is important because Canada — where Mansur lives, writes, and teaches — may well be the very first Western democracy to have legally enshrined this policy. We learn, up close, what that policy has done.


In 1971, in an era of “identity politics” rising, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau passed the multiculturalism policy. In 1988 it was further enshrined as the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. Mansur observes:


Explicit in this idea of multiculturalism was the officially sanctioned view that all cultures are of equal merit and deserving of equal respect.


In addition, Mansur explains and connects a number of important things that no one has previously done — at least, not all in one place.


Mansur teaches us that, historically, the nineteenth and twentieth century Third World and European immigrants who came to North America were very different from late 20th and 21st century immigrants. In the past, an immigrant undertook a long and sometimes perilous voyage to the New World. In order to plan and execute this transition, such immigrants usually began to cut their ties to their native customs, even to their families; they wanted to assimilate and become “Canadians” or “Americans” or “Englishmen.” Visits back home were not easy or even possible. Ties were painfully cut — or new lives, far from persecution, were begun.


This is no longer true. What may have taken weeks or months in terms of travel can now be accomplished in a matter of hours. Modern wide-body aircraft means that someone can have their breakfast in central Asia and a late-night dinner in the New World. Satellite television means that an immigrant can continue to watch the news and be entertained in their home country’s language.


In the past, assimilation meant that a new immigrant would learn English as well as American or Canadian history and values. Not so today. The well-intentioned policy of multiculturalism now permits, even insists, that an immigrant learn mainly about the customs of the country she has left — and not about the customs of her new home. She or he may spend their entire lives speaking their home country language and socializing mainly with others just like themselves.


How could this have come about?


Mansur explains that Canadians were already sensitized to the demands of the Quebecois who wanted to secede and who ultimately became a bilingual (French and  Englishspeaking) province of Canada. Canadians were also so guilty about their own history vis-a-vis the indigenous peoples of Canada and horrified at the Nazi-era racism that led to the genocidal extermination of six million Jews. Thus Canadian leaders vowed to avoid the stench, the heartbreak, and the atrocity of persecuting anyone because they were “different,” especially if their skin color was dark, their features not Caucasian, their religion other than Christian, especially if their country of origin had been previously colonized.


According to Mansur, by the mid 1990s, Canadian youth no longer knew much about the history of Canada.

As Mansur puts it: To correct the West’s past racism, academics dismissed the Western narrative as essentially “white history” which had to be replaced by “non-white people’s history.” This led to the so-called academic “historical wars,” heavily influenced by the biased but still lionized work of Edward Said. White guilt, balkanization, and the glorification of barbarism began. Tribalism trumped citizenship, group rights trumped individual rights. “Primitive” tribes did not feel any responsibility to reciprocate the interest or respect shown to them by humbled white folk. As Mansur notes, anti-Western peoples did not “respect the individualist-oriented secular values of liberal democracy… the people of minority cultures did most of the demanding for equal respect of their cultural norms.”


While this was going on, the same modern communication and transportation that allowed Third World immigrants to never have to leave home also made it possible to internationalize what might have remained a local dispute in an earlier era. For example, the “Palestinians” turned a local dispute about the existence of one small Jewish state into an international matter; they hijacked aircraft, universities, human rights groups, and the United Nations itself. Similarly, Mansur reminds us of a horrifying Sikh terrorist attack upon an Air India flight in 1985 which blew up 329 Indian-Canadians and crew who were returning to Canada.


Mansur is describing the export of Third World religious and territorial wars to the New World. Multicultural Canada did not convict but rather acquitted the prime suspects in the terrorist attack. In Mansur’s words:


The terrible story of the Air India bombing…cannot be blamed on multiculturalism. It also cannot be denied, however, that multiculturalism provided the political environment in which the bloody conflict of a distant land, India, found the soil to flourish with deadly consequences.


Mansur understands that, at bottom, multiculturalism is ironically, paradoxically, a racist doctrine. He quotes author Kim Bolan, who believes that Canadians may have underplayed the significance of this crime because “it primarily affected people who weren’t perceived to be our own—brown people with accents who we didn’t accept as Canadians….But they are our own. Our own victims. Our own terrorists.”


Mansur understands full well that politically correct multicultural societies — and societies founded upon “identity politics” — ultimately “chill free speech” and “insist upon conformity of opinion.” Mansur then lists the many names of Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents as well as infidels who have been murdered, death threatened, censored, and exiled because they have offended primarily Muslim sensibilities.


Some of these names are well known (Salman Rushdie, Theo van Gogh, Ayaan Hirsi Ali), but he carefully lists the names of those who are not known, e.g., Rushdie’s Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, who was stabbed to death; Rushdie’s Italian and Norwegian translators, Ettore Capriolo and William Nygaard, who were both seriously wounded in knife attacks. A Turkish mob, in search of Rushdie’s Turkish translator, Aziz Nesin, set a building on fire and murdered 37 people.


Mansur’s list goes on and on — and what is important is that he — but not the Western mainstream media —  is focusing upon the high price being paid for truth telling, especially when Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents are paying it in Muslim-majority countries.


Mansur does this so that he can set the stage for the very high-profile cases in Canada of “offended” Canadian Muslims Syed Soharwardy and Mohamed Elmasry. Soharwardy filed complaints with three separate Canadian human rights commissions against Canadian publisher and writer Ezra Levant, who had dared to reproduce the Danish “Mohammed” cartoons, and against writer Mark Steyn.


For two years, Levant was embroiled in “defending his constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of expression.” The investigation cost the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission $500,000.00 and it cost Levant nearly $100,000.00. Elmasry, of the Canadian Islamic Congress, also filed his complaints with three separate Canadian groups. He was “offended” by an article Steyn had published in Maclean’s. Ultimately, all six complaints were dismissed.


Imagine the self-censorship that must exist among lower-profile truth-tellers who know they cannot afford to fund a battle against the Canadian state.

Mansur’s conclusions? That multiculturalism really amounts to a form of “soft bigotry,” or as Pascal Bruckner has phrased it: “A racism of the anti-racists; it chains people to their roots.” Immigrants are kept confined to their “group” and not encouraged or expected to become “individuals” and “citizens” of a modern democracy.


Even as Canadians are busy patting themselves on the back for having created a fair, just, tolerant, and multicultural society — guess what? After more than 40 years of a multicultural policy, Canadians recently voted their still existing prejudices. While “72 percent of Canadians thought favourably of Christianity, only 28 percent viewed Islam favourably. Only 30 percent viewed Sikhism favorably (the figures for Hinduism. Buddhism, and Judaism were, respectively, 41 percent, 57 percent, and 53 percent).” From 62 percent to 74 percent of the Canadian population now believes that “laws and norms should not be modified to accommodate minorities.”


Mansur rejects multiculturalism, not only because it has failed to work but because it has — and can only — lead to a “tyranny of the majority” which will threaten the freedom and “security” of the “individual.” Mansur views the “individual” as the “ultimate minority of one against the majority that can turn into a mob.” This freedom and security is what defines a “liberal democracy” and should not be relinquished. He closes:

“The worm inside the doctrine of multiculturalism is the lie that all cultures are worthy of equal respect and equally embracing of individual freedom and democracy. The concerted assault by the Islamists on the essential and life-affirming values based on individual rights and freedom is proof of this lie.”

European and North American governments should be consulting with Mansur and with other Muslims, ex-Muslims, and infidels who share his views. They will soon have no other choice.


A Sick Notion of Honor

"A Sick Notion of Honor"

by Raheel Raza
February 6, 2012 at 4:30 am


"You have each been convicted of the planned and deliberate murder of four members of your family. The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your twisted notion of honor, a notion of honor that is founded upon the domination and control of women, a sick notion of honor that has absolutely no place in any civilized society." Ontario Judge Robert Maranger, delivering the verdict in the Shafia murder case.

On Sunday, January 29, 2012, the Ontario Superior Court imposed mandatory sentences of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, on Mohammad Shafia, 58, his younger, second wife Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed Shafia, 21. The polygamous Shafia family had come to Canada from Afghanistan. The accused had strong defence lawyers; and the jury deliberated for 15 hours before coming to a unanimous verdict.

The trio were all found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. Canada does not impose death sentences and will not extradite people within its borders to jurisdictions that order capital punishment.

The story of this crime began in 2009. Three sisters – Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13 – and Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, the older and childless first wife of Mohammad Shafia, were found dead in a black Nissan Sentra at the bottom of the Rideau Canal at Kingston Mills, Canada. The court determined that they had been drowned, then placed in the vehicle, which was pushed into the canal.

The Shafia case elicited what seemed to me an inappropriate – and un-Islamic – reaction among Canadian Muslims. Debate focused on whether the crime was a so-called "honor" murder, rather than the unspeakable suffering and deaths of the victims.

Some Muslims shied away from the spectre of so-called "honor" murder, seeking to downgrade the slaying of four innocents to problem of "teenage adjustment" or an example of "domestic violence."

Let us be clear. Domestic violence is abominable, and so-called "honor" murders are the most dreadful form of domestic violence. Neither should be permitted in any society or within Islam.

Few Canadian Muslims addressed any means to protect Muslim women from such a fate. The main defendant, the "patriarch" of the family, repeatedly cited "honor" as an obsession – which he shares with many Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kurdistan, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic countries.

To some, it seemed as if the alleged "honor" of the main killer was more valuable than the denial of honor to the victims. Perhaps "dignity" is a more accurate concept than "honor:" the four dead were unarguably denied the right to, and dignity of, a peaceful life and death. The three girls and the first wife were dishonored by being murdered; not the homicidal, fanatical father. That is how a normal and sane Muslim should view this case.

Mohammad Shafia declared, "This is my word to you: Be I dead or alive, nothing in the world is above your honor… I am telling you now and I was telling you before that whoever play(s) with my honor, my words are the same… There is no value of life without honor."

The Qur'an, the Islamic scripture, follows explicitly the judgment of Jewish law by stating, in verse (aya) 5:32, that God "dictated to the House of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless in retaliation for a killing or corruption of the people – it is as if the murderer had killed all of humanity. And whoever saves one from death – it is as if the person saved all of humanity."

So-called "honor" murders, as in the Afghan and Kurdish Sunni Muslim cultures, appear to predate Islamization. But Muslim clerics have failed in their religious duty to prevent them. This raises serious questions about the value of a Muslim woman's life in such an environment.

Domestic violence, often culminating in so-called "honor" murders, is not limited to the Muslim communities of the world. In Britain and the U.S. the perpetrators of some would deem a variety of "crimes of passion" include every ethnic group in society.

Among Muslims and Hindus living in the West, so-called "honor" murders typically involve "punishment" of young women for refusing to conform to retrograde customs, rules, and oversight. In the Shafia case, the Afghan father considered his daughters "too Westernized."

Other cases involve independence of thought and action by those who are then slain, or disapproved gender mixing, leading to ostracism, hysteria by parents, and bloodshed.

Men from Afghanistan and other Muslim countries are convinced they are guardians of women's virtue, and are obliged to control their wives, daughters, and even their mothers to enforce the "code of honor."

In another cultural stream marked by social pathology, members of youth gangs increasingly kill rivals or uninvolved bystanders because they feel "disrespected." The psychology is identical: both the so-called "honor" murderer and the gang member deserve no respect from the rest of society, especially not from people of religion.

Muslim women caught in this paradigm of stagnant pseudo-morality may first be warned, then attacked, with acid thrown in their faces or other mutilations, before they are finally battered to death. This twisted sense of "honor" may induce family members to conspire, as in the Shafia case, to commit these crimes, because "honor" is defined by group responsibility rather than individual worth.

In some countries, so-called "honor" murders are not stigmatized. The perpetrators are acclaimed as heroes.

According to a United Nations report, 4,000 women were killed in Pakistan in the name of honor between 1998 and 2003. In a study of female deaths in Alexandria, Egypt, 47% of the women were killed by a relative after the woman had been raped. In Jordan and Lebanon, 70 to 75% of the perpetrators of so-called "honor murders" are the women's brothers. Further, part of Article 340 of the Royal Jordanian Penal Code states, "he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds, or injures one of them, is exempted from any penalty."

Paradoxically, for too many decades, even centuries, the concept of the "crime of passion," as well as the original doctrine of "temporary insanity" or "diminished responsibility" functioned similarly in Western law to protect the murderers.

Muslims need to find positive ways to deal with this blot on our faith. Communities must educate male leaders about respecting equal rights for women within the religion as well as obeying the guarantees in the constitutions of many countries.

Immigrants must be informed of the legal requirements of a responsible newcomer to a country that seeks to protect women and children. Traditionally, prospective Muslim emigrants to non-Muslim lands were warned, in the words of Muhammad himself, that a Muslim in a non-Muslim country must obey the laws and customs of the country to which the Muslim moves, or return to a Muslim country.

But women – Muslim women – must first take the initiative in defending their right to personal security. In many countries of the world the law provides means to do so. Elsewhere the struggle for legal protection as well as social enlightenment has just begun.

We must hope that the verdict in the Shafia trial will contribute to clearer understanding of the nature of so-called "honor" murders.

Raheel Raza is author of "Their Jihad – Not My Jihad" and a women's rights activist living in Toronto. This piece was commissioned by the Center for Islamic Pluralism.