The Agassiz-Harrison Observer out in British Columbia reported Thursday that at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), a vanguard academic institution if there ever was one, is striking a blow this week against one of the great evils of our time: “As part of the Peace and Reconciliation Centre’s (PARC) Peace Talks series, on June 23 the centre will host a webinar from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., addressing Islamophobia.” What a relief! And even better, in a meeting of academic fads that one day will look as dated as Nehru jackets and bell-bottom trousers, they’re hauling out Critical Race Theory to fight “Islamophobia.”
As if that weren’t enough modern academic street cred, the university’s website explains that the university is “situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Stó:lō peoples. The Stó:lōhave an intrinsic relationship with what they refer to as S’olhTemexw (Our Sacred Land); therefore, we express our gratitude and respect for the honour of living and working in this territory.”
Dr. Keith Carlson, director of UFV’s Peace and Reconciliation Centre, and his colleagues certainly would never dream of suggesting that the Stó:lō peoples practice “systemic Islamophobia” on their unceded traditional territory, but those evil white Canadians certainly do, apparently, and so the good Dr. Carlson is here to fix the problem. To do so, the upcomingwebinar offers a hodgepodge of the currently trendy academic shibboleths and superstitions.
The webinar will “draw on lived experience, post-colonial studies, and critical race theory to help understand the roots of Islamophobia and the structures that continue to sustain it.”
Islam is not a race, and Muslims are not all of one race. There are Muslims, and Islamic jihadis, of all races. To bring critical race theory into a discussion of “Islamophobia” is like a child who has a new toy and has to bring it everywhere, no matter how inappropriate the setting, and demonstrates the Left’s determination to racialize every issue and portray everyone who disagrees with their agenda as a “racist.”
“‘UFV College of Arts condemns the Islamophobic attack in London, Ontario on June 6 that resulted in the killing of Salman Afzaal and Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna, Talat Afzaal, mother of Mr. Salman, and the bereavement of their son Fayaz. As educators, we assume a responsibility to act against systemic Islamophobia and we call on our students and community to act against these continued acts of violence,’ said Dr. Jacqueline Nolte, dean of the College of Arts.”
The murder of the Afzaal family was a heinous crime. Whether it resulted from “systemic Islamophobia” is, at best, unproven, and once again reminiscent of the little boy who has to take his new toy dump truck to grandmother’s funeral: “racism” is “systemic,” we’re told, and now “Islamophobia” is now “systemic” as well. What systems in Canada actually discriminate against Muslims or disadvantage them in some way? Why, none. None at all.
“Islamophobia is real. It is a toxic force in our society that must be overcome,” Carlson said. “In North America, where Muslim people and culture continue to be portrayed in most movies and TV programs as violent extremists, it is little wonder that non-Muslim people grow up learning to fear and even hate the followers of Islam.”
Carlson gives the impression that these movies and TV shows that supposedly depict Muslims as “violent extremists” (which ones? In movies I’ve seen that have jihad terrorists as characters, there is invariably featured a wise, benign Muslim who opposes this “hijacking” of his or her faith) do so gratuitously out of racism and hatred. He gives no hint of being aware of the global reality of jihad violence committed by Muslims in the name of their faith and explicitly in accord with its teachings. If onscreen portrayals of the real-life phenomenon of jihad violence make people fear and hate Muslims, do onscreen portrayals of Nazi violence during World War II make people fear and hate Germans? Do onscreen portrayals of white racism against black people make people fear and hate white people, and should be discontinued on that basis? Carlson would certainly reject the idea that Germans or whites are in any way victimized by negative portrayals of Nazis or racists, but he embraces and propagates the claim that depicting jihadis endangers Muslims. On what basis does he assert this?
“There are roughly 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. They are ethnically, linguistically, and geographically diverse, and yet the media does little to portray this, Carlson says.”
So if the media depicted Muslims as “ethnically, linguistically, and geographically diverse,” this would make people stop hating and fearing Muslims? On what basis does Carlson assert this?
“He says what is not widely known, for example, is that the largest Muslim populations are located not in the Middle East or South Asia, but in the Asia Pacific region.”
Well, I’ve pointed that out hundreds of times. Will Carlson commend our efforts here to dispel “Islamophobia”?
“Muslim people and societies have made, and are continuing to make today, incredible contributions to the world, he says.”
Great. Now: what do you propose, Professor Carlson, that we do about jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women, gays and others?
The term “Islamophobia” is an illegitimate conflation of two distinct phenomena: crimes against innocent Muslims, as in the case of the Afzaal family, which are never justified, and honest analysis of the motivating ideology of jihad terror, which is always necessary. Islamic advocacy groups and their leftist allies have been insisting for years that such analysis, too, constituted “Islamophobia.” Such analyses are what Left-fascists want to stamp out.
If the Left succeeds in consolidating power, it will likely become illegal to enunciate publicly any opposition to jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women and others, for there is no example of any such opposition not being considered “Islamophobic.”
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 22 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins―Revised and Expanded Edition. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
Photo: The Canadian Press