By Theryn Meyer
On Thursday 24 March, the Liberal-controlled Canadian House of Commons passed a motion that aimed to “quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear” they say surrounds Islam.
Canadian MP Iqra Khalid, a Muslim immigrant from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, sponsored the motion for the government to condemn “all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” singling out “Islamophobia.” With the motion’s passage, Canada’s already frail free speech protections took another step towards the grave.
When repeatedly asked by reporters why she did not add a definition for “Islamophobia” to the motion in order to ease concerns over the motion’s intent, Khalid (after initially trying to avoid the question) eventually said that doing so would have “watered it down.”
A bill recently passed by the House of Commons, infamously known as the “Pronoun Bill,” employs similarly vague wording that deems it a federal offense to refuse to address an individual using their “preferred pronouns.” That bill, in combination with the latest anti-Islamophobia motion, have many freethinking Canadians concerned that activist politicians are spearheading a witch-hunt against them.
A clear definition for Islamophobia — one that would not protect criticism of Canadian Imams calling for the killing of Jews, or for the execution of Muslim apostates — would make that witch-hunt more difficult to prosecute. If the devil is in the details, he prefers the details left vague.
From the merciless stabbing of a transgender man in Belgium, to the brutal murder of a transgender woman in Russia when her Muslim father declared “bring him here and kill him in front of my eyes”, to the massacre of 49 visitors of a gay nightclub in Florida; of all people, LGBT people can be justifiably “phobic” of Islam. And as a transgender woman, I fear for the political incrementalism with which Islamism is creeping into the legislature of my country motion by motion, and I fear for the damning consequences that await when my community dares to speak out against it.
In the ongoing public back-and-forth regarding freedom of speech, leftists typically construe this human right as a means to protecting the ability of minority groups to challenge the dominant culture, thereby giving them a voice and empowering them.
But for LGBT people, what is the “dominant culture”? Who really threatens to disempower us? Who is the oppressor? A pizza shop in a tiny midwest town that won’t serve our weddings, or a Muslim preacher who urge their followers to murder and maim us? It seems Canada’s liberals are comfortable with us condemning the former, but not the latter.
The stale platitude about moderate Muslims is an irrelevant distraction from the point that an undeniable streak of barbaric anti-LGBT sentiment runs deep to the core of Islamic ideas, customs, history and culture, one that Canada’s liberals would have us ignore.
The commitment of government officials to “quell” anyone with legitimate fears about Islam will create its own climate of fear, one that pushes victims of Islamic extremism, many of whom are members of the LGBT community, into the dark. Justin Trudeau can go on as many gay pride marches as he wants, but if his government is making it harder for us to criticize Islam, he is no friend to LGBT people.
The persecution, vilification, and ostracism of sexual minorities are the near-universal norm throughout history. With decades of philosophical evolution, from the magna carta to the Gay Rights Movement, Western culture broke that norm, and individuals were allowed their inalienable rights and freedoms, regardless of group status.
In an op-ed I wrote on why LGBT people should be conservative, I stressed how uniquely dependent the LGBT community is on western institutions and values, and why we more than anyone should fight to preserve these traditions that have guaranteed us the freedom to be who we are. Our freedom is not a natural state; It is something to be safeguarded with ongoing effort and vigilance.
But the passage of the anti-Islamophobia motion may mark the beginning effects of a Canada that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has described as a “postnational state”, where “There is no core identity, no mainstream.” It is in this “postnational state,” which does not recognize western civilization’s historically unique commitment to liberty and tolerance, where our freedoms, our safety, and our livelihood, will be most at risk.
Theryn Meyer (@TherynMeyer) is a South African-Canadian political commentator, blogger, YouTuber, and cultural critic. With a focus on free speech and gender politics, she has appeared on multiple news outlets and talk shows, including The Steven Crowder Show, Gavin McInnes Show, The Rebel, The Rubin Report, and The Agenda with Steve Paiken. Meyer is a male-to-female transgender woman.