Am I Still a Liberal If I Oppose Bad Ideas Some Minorities Hold?

by | July 25, 2015

As an atheist and a liberal, I find myself disagreeing with liberals more and more. Liberals have condemned Sam Harris for pointing out the dark side of Islam (even while he drew the distinction between ideas (Islam) and people (Muslims) and emphasized that he was criticizing ideas and not condemning an entire group of people), they’ve accommodated sexist requests in the name of making the religious comfortable and they’ve silenced dissenters for doing completely liberal things like practicing free speech and freedom of expression.

For this reason, I was delighted to discover that another Canadian feels exactly the same way and to boot, she’s an ex-Muslim so she has some perspective! I read her views in this post. Here is what she says about those who defend misogyny and other values that run counter to liberal principles in a misguided attempt to protect minority cultures/views:

It’s offensive that someone will defend misogyny and ‘bagging’ women because they assume it’s a part of my culture. No. Misogyny is only a part of my culture because everyone stands by and lets it continue. So join me in opposing it, or stay out of the conversation.

Very well said! Liberals should be standing up to this sort of thing instead of silencing those who do with shrieks of “racist!”. The post makes a very important point that when liberals outside the Muslim community silence one another, they silence liberal Muslims within it:

Canadian liberal media is cringeworthy with it’s (sic) inability to recognize soft Islamism. Under the guise of tolerance and acceptance it promotes such principles as universally ‘Muslim’, it fails to hear from people within the Muslim community who value secularism, free speech and equality. In this way, it’s not just the Fox News types but also liberal media that’s responsible for creating a one dimensional narrative as far as ‘depicting Muslims’ goes.

Should liberals outside the Muslim community not be standing with liberal Muslims inside it? My answer is, “yes” so I have to wonder if perhaps I’m no longer a liberal.

h/t Heather Hastie

43 thoughts on “Am I Still a Liberal If I Oppose Bad Ideas Some Minorities Hold?

  1. billybob

    “My answer is, “yes” so I have to wonder if perhaps I’m no longer a liberal.”

    Maybe liberals are no longer liberal?

    Unfortunately I agree, religious misogyny will be tolerated by the politically correct. I guess they don’t have to live in a bag so why not avoid conflict.

    This why government needs to be totally secular.

  2. Heather Hastie

    I think you’re still a liberal, or it means that I’m not one either. It’s a constant bugbear I have with the far left – the way they tolerate intolerance in certain circumstances.

    From the attitude of the far-right towards Muslims, and Muslims mostly being people of colour, we get the meme that being anti-Islam is racism. This makes the far-left think of Muslims as victims in need of their protection in any and all circumstances. We also get any criticism of Islam interpreted as anti-Muslim. They’re unable to separate being anti-Islam from being anti-Muslim – it’s not the same, and we need to keep telling people that.

    It’s like one of the things Cameron mentioned in his speech – the Palestinians are considered the victims, therefore when they blow up a bus in Tel Aviv it’s somehow legitimate protest, but when Al-Qaeda does it in London it’s a different story. Both are, of course appalling and wrong. This is further used to justify anti-Semitism on the far-left.

    I starting to ramble a bit here – better stop! Good piece Diana. 🙂

    1. Diana MacPherson Post author

      Thanks Heather – no you weren’t rambling! You made great points and contributed positively to the discussion!


    2. Indi

      I have to agree with Heather Hastie – if that position means you’re no longer liberal, then neither am I. But of course, that’s not really a problem, because that’s not waht it means.

      I didn’t watch/read Cameron’s speech, but I read Nice Mangos’s post in full, and I couldn’t find anything in there worth disagreeing with. I’ve also written about Canada’s left pandering to fundamentalist Islam, and treating Muslims like particularly delicate flowers whose feelings can’t be hurt at any cost.

      But I object to liberalism as a whole being trashed just because some people do it badly. That’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Just because too many liberals stupidly think that religious beliefs cannot be criticized does not mean that there is a problem with liberalism itself. It just means we secularists, atheists, humanists, and freethinkers have more work to do.

      We don’t need to *ditch* liberalism. We need to fix it. It’s a disturbing modern liberal characteristic to avoid conflict, even when conflict must be had. That’s what’s behind the fear of criticizing Islam, and it’s also behind all these similar declarations I’ve read of people who want to distance themselves from mainstream liberalism/progressivism/etc.. But we can’t keep giving up ground. Sooner or later we have to put our foot down and decide that liberalism – or *something* – is worth defending, even if there are few loopy-loos in the fold who need to be straightened out.

      Besides, it’s not like the other side has a better answer – their solution is not that “religion should be freely criticized”, it’s that “*OTHER* religions should be freely criticized… but the majority religion should be treated reverently”. They only reason the right *sounds* right on Islam is just because it’s not Christianity… they don’t criticize Christian extremism the same way they criticize Islamic extremism. (And Sam Harris is actually a good example of that. This is a man who keeps calling Islam the deadliest threat to his safety today… even though he’s more than 10 times likely to be killed by a Christian extremist than a Muslim one (and if you count the likelihood of self-inflicted injury given the fact that he’s a gun-hugger, he’s hundreds of times more likely to be killed by an atheist). That’s not a very rational position. Being “islamophobic” does not mean “you criticize Islam”, it means “you criticize Islam *irrationally*”, and that statistic is just one example of many of why Harris is called islamophobic.)

      Case in point: for an atheist to lionize David “Britain is a Christian country” Cameron seems disingenuous. I promise you, *he* would not be so quick to defend *your* beliefs. The only reason he sounds like he’s on our side right now is because he’s talking about Islam, not Christianity. A common enemy does not make him an ally.

      Far from ditching liberalism, we need to *stand* for it. To put our foot down and call out ignorant, spineless, ass-kissing liberals who think Muslims are delicate souls with hair-trigger tempers, or that multiculturalism means “accept differing values” rather than “accept differing cultures”, or that religion is exempt from criticism.

      1. Immigrant

        Sam Harris’s criticism of Islam is quite rational. I have never heard any form of “irrational” criticism from him and specially as someone who was not only raised a muslim but studied Islam in university level, I see his arguments and criticism nothing like you have portrayed above.

        He doesn’t call Islam a big threat to his physical safety, in fact making the argument about “the likelihood of Sam Harris or me, you or anyone else being shot by which group of people” is totally irrelevant and misguiding here.

        The argument is much bigger than that, it is about how Islam as an ideology and a cultural force that seeks cultural and ideological dominance of the world threatens other cultures, democracy and secularism. Sam acknowledges this fact that Islam is full of bad ideas (Islam not all muslims, because numerous religious people from all religions actually “cherry pick” based on their 21st century morality instead of following their religion to the T, numerous muslims are very peaceful and nice people due to that cherry picking).

        Harris believes islam is a draconian ideology that is not compatible with democracy , human rights and core liberal principles and he is totally right about that. This is not an irrational criticism, this is a fact. No matter how politically incorrect it may be or how much it may offend people.

        He has criticised Christianity too, like he once said Christianity also committed a lot of crimes in history, you would be sentenced to death for not observing the Sabbath which clearly is not on the list of any priest today; but the “topic” of his discussions are mostly focused on Islam and the reason for that is very obvious considering today’s global situation.

        In analogy, it is like a doctor who tries to raise awareness about cancer among all disease. That doesn’t mean this doctor is deliberately “picking on” only cancer and “fussing” about cancer due to having some “irrational fears” of cancer or thinks AIDS or Flu or any other disease do not matter. He is focused on cancer to raise awareness about it as a deadly disease but he also knows that cancer is more dangerous than flu for example. (Sorry, I can’t think of a better analogy here)

        Harris also argues that all religions are “not” equally violent or contain equal proportion of bad ideas but there is a spectrum of the amount of violence and bad ideas in different religions, which is again true.

        In Jainism for example, you are not allowed to kill even a bug, let alone killing humans to establish word of a God or considering them as Dhimmi (Christian & Jews) or heathen (Pagans) the way Islam transparently and explicitly considers non-muslims as such. Many Pagan religions are totally based on nature and appreciation of natural phenomena such as spring or harvest time etc. and do not have a holy book or any commandments or rules to follow. Therefore, not all religions are equally violent or equally dangerous.

        Regarding religions, Christianity and Islam are very similar. Both are Abrahamic monotheistic religions from the same region. However, Although the bible is full of bad violent ideas too, Christianity has a much longer history of “questioning” and “resistance” against the religious tyranny which has made it more tolerant of criticism, specially after the age of enlightenment. At the least, It doesn’t mandate a “death penalty” for apostates which is the first sign of its more resilience.

        Another point is that Christians can also go back to the teachings of Jesus, follow only his example and throw bible aside. Following the example of someone who did not get involved in any major act of violence and in fact condemned some of the violent acts like stoning in the bible. someone who did not lead any war, did not gather military force, did not attack any tribe, did not form a harem of women much younger than him at the age of 50 to 60, did not add any woman captured in wars to his harem as sex slave, did not lust over his 17 year old daughter-in-law and to approve his culturally unaccepted marriage to the wife of his adopted son connect it to divinity, he did not praise his followers for killing a female poet who dared to criticise him in a public satire, did not sleep with the maid of his wives and when they questioned him for that, bring divine excuses for his actions, Jesus did not call women “men’s field” and did not say “you can enter women from anywhere you want because they are your fields” as the word of God when asked about sex positions, and a lot more…..

        Same is true about Buddhism as another example, while this option of going back to following the example of the founder of the religion instead of relying on the holy book turns out pretty awful for muslims.

        Christianity though an organized religion full of bad ideas, has been watered down a lot, and has lost its grip over politics while Islam has a very elaborate strong political dimension which in fact is much more elaborate than its small spiritual dimension. I don’t think even the most extremist Christians want to stone people or chop off people’s limbs or whip them for not observing religious festivals “today”, (my guess of course) while this is the sheer reality for millions of muslims all around the muslim world.

        In rituals, Both Christian men and women pray in one room, side by side, and the church has no meaning without music and music instruments while music has a very little role in mosque if any and in fact there are still many Imams who consider music as haram. In Saudi and Iran music must be approved by religious authorities in order to be halal music. Dance in public is haram in any way for women while it can be halal for men….

        In Christianity, there is no strict segregation between sexes “in the sense that it exists in Islam” ( I know the segregation exists in Christianity too but it is not as strict as in Islam) where even prayer rooms are segregated totally and men’s section being “the main” room with the excuse that the prayer is physical. There is no such extreme bagging of women in Christianity though modesty and decent clothes are encouraged. etc and etc.

        In general, in comparison, though still sexist and full of bad ideas, Christianity is not as sexist and violent as Islam, “TODAY”.

        Harris also argues that morality is scientific and we do not need religion to be moral but as we need a global “standard” for the safety of our planes, we also need a global “standard” for what we consider moral and immoral. And morality being defined as “human well being” .That doesn’t mean we ditch diversity as they are numerous ways of achieving happiness and well-being for humans but we have a standard to cross out all the ideas that threaten the well being of humans.while today we accept and justify ideas and cultures that do so, by clinging to this argument that they are part of the cultural diversity that we should not judge.

        I totally agree with your last paragraph. We should respect and accept cultural diversity because it is like biodiversity, it is essential to human development. I think in most Western countries, we totally do. From korean restaurants to China town, Greek town,Russian super markets, Latin dance clubs to recently popular belly dance and Arabic language lessons, all we see is cultural diversity and we all enjoy and appreciate that.

        However, sometimes there is not a sharp line between culture and religion. Religious beliefs can shape the culture of a community, from diet to dress code to behaviour and social interactions of people can all be mandated by their religion and on the other side of the equation, all religions have borrowed from cultural elements of the society they were established in.

        Therefore, it would be kind of confusing to say we do not accept Islamic values that we all know clearly contradict liberal core values but we accept Islamic culture except if you are talking about only Halal food and a few festivals. Or if you are in fact talking about the original culture of the country muslims come from and their non-religious cultural elements, not Islamic culture.

        1. Michael Michaels

          I disagree that cultural diversity is deserving of respect. Each aspect of culture needs to be taken on it’s own merits. FGM, according to many is cultural, and is in no way deserving of respect. Neither is honor killing, arranged marriages, beating children or forced religious observance.

          People deserve respect, in that they deserve to have their rights respected. But if those people won’t give others their rights, then they don’t deserve respect. Respect is a two way street and it needs to go both ways in order for others to get respect, they need to give it..
          This means I don’t give those respect if they go around telling everyone how atheists are immoral monsters, gays are abominations, or single mothers are destroying the fabric of society.

          They don’t get to beat others with a stick and then cry fowl when their stick gets taken away.

          1. Immigrant

            Of course! I totally agree with you Michael. By embracing cultural diversity, I didn’t mean respecting or accommodating inhumane cultures or any cultural practice that works against human well-being or the overall well-being of the society as a whole. Not even respecting people who subscribe to them. Why should I respect something or someone that has zero respect for humanity?

            That is why I said, as a response to Indi, that it is confusing to say “we accept differing cultures but not differing values” , Because in the case of Islam, Islamic culture is formed based on Islamic values, and Islamic values are incompatible with secular, liberal and democratic values.So, it is confusing to say we respect Islamic culture but not Islamic values.Unless, he meant only some festivals and food preferences.

            and That is exactly why I think , as far as I can see, that multiculturalism (even if it didn’t mean to) has created an atmosphere of “being insensitive” and tolerant towards such cultures as well as religious or non-religious ideologies behind them, that actually shape those cultures or social behaviours.

            In addition,I can see that it has also created an atmosphere of “intolerance” or “negativity” around people who care enough to criticise and stand up to those cultures or religious practices. Instead of being seen as defenders of core liberal principles or initiators of “positive change”, They are mostly seen as cultural bigots, haters or cultural imperialists who are imposing their own pathetic views on a religious or cultural practice that is totally accepted as a norm in a specific community. (Reza Aslan is the perfect example here, his main position is that it is all our stupid interpretation and cheap literal reading of religions (!!!) and all the violence, gender discrimination, etc that we see are mandated in religions have Nothing to do with religion itself!!! Apparently God was stupid or sadistic enough to say something but mean something else to create such a mess and by making his words so difficult to understand, defeat his own purpose which was directing humans to himself!)

            A few weeks ago I even saw an article on what FGM means “to the people who practice it”. The writer argued that to them, it is a celebration of femininity and virginity!
            The basic argument was that there are women who are happy and content for being circumcised because they believe it has kept them pure and has given them freedom from immorality.

            That is exactly what we get about burqa, hijab and other oppressive practices against women. It is their happy free choice and no one should even try to criticize it, discuss the harmful effects of it on the greater society or even think about abolishing those traditions for the sake of numerous other women who are suffering from them just because there are some who happily embrace them (which is still disputable , there are many reasons that coerce such choices of course) .

            In general,the core idea was that people outside the culture, should not impose their own beliefs and interpretation of FGM on this practice!

            There we have it. I’m glad slavery was abolished before otherwise we would be having a lot of arguments on “slavery by choice” these days.

            Regarding my comment about liberals, you may be right. Of course not all liberals are the same. But, I see in general they are all swayed in one direction. In Canada, it was a Conservative , Chris Alexander , who proposed the zero intolerance of Barbaric cultures bill to address and abolish practices such as polygamy, honour killings, etc. I wish burqa was included too, I am not sure though.

            It was a conservative PM who proposed a bill to abolish prostitution and adopt the Nordic model, it was a conservative PM who called burqa offensive and stood up against it being accepted as a normal practice.That matters to me though I am not a conservative lover but I cannot deny facts.

            Liberals not only did not stand up to those practices but also did whatever they could to stop the fight against normalizing those inhumane practices and cultures by clinging to multiculturalism and calling anyone who tried to fight against those practices as intolerant, xenophobe and racist.
            In Quebec, the situation was even worse.I don’t know about the US, I am not interested in Republican vs. Liberal fight in the US. I am not american, I am Canadian. I care about the future of Canada. The liberal party in Quebec is ruining everything from economy to culture. It has performed very poorly so far in any area that you name. so, I am still waiting to see an insightful Canadian liberal candidate who doesn’t have a “straw man definition of multiculturalism” the way we people who criticise multiculturalism are said to have. and is ready to stand up for core liberal principles and Canadian culture. I hope we see one or let me know if there is one.

          2. Indi

            > That is why I said, as a response to Indi, that it is confusing to say “we accept differing cultures but not differing values”….

            No, it isn’t. Not unless you’re trying to be deliberately obtuse.

            The reason you want to pretend it’s confusing is because you want to play this rhetorical game:

            > Because in the case of Islam, Islamic culture is formed based on Islamic values, and Islamic values are incompatible with secular, liberal and democratic values.

            What you want to do is pretend that because *some* values associated with Islam are bad, that means “Islamic values” are bad. You want to lump *ALL* values associated with Islam under the same umbrella as the bad ones.

            But that’s dishonest. Like just about anything else, Islam comes with good values, it comes with bad values, and it comes with values that don’t really have any moral weight. And different Muslims accept different sets of of those values. We can reject the bad values, embrace the good ones, and live peacefully alongside the neutral ones (including “festivals and food preferences”). We don’t need to treat *every* value Islam has the same way, as if they’re all bad values. That should be obvious to any reasonable, thinking person.

            That’s what multiculturalism is all about – real multiculturalism, as implemented by the people who came up with the idea (and as implemented by Canada), not the straw man you call “multiculturalism”. We set our standards (for example, in the Charter) for which values are acceptable and which are not. If you wish to become part of Canada, you have to leave the bad ones behind… but feel free to bring all the ones that *aren’t* bad, and they will be treated no differently from any other group’s values in our society.

            Treating all of Islam as if it’s *just* the bad ideas – as you’re doing, by saying things like “Islamic values are incompatible with secular, liberal and democratic values” – is straight-up bigotry. It is making the obviously false claim that identifying as a Muslim means you reject secularism, liberalism, and democracy. That’s no more true for Islam than it is for Christianity or any other belief system – there are millions of Muslims who vigorously support secularism, liberalism, and democracy. Islam is not uniquely bad, and pretending that it is in defiance of reason and evidence is islamophobia.

          3. Immigrant


            1- “The reason you want to pretend it’s confusing is because you want to play this rhetorical game:”

            There is no rhetorical game and I am not pretending . All cultures are formed based on a set of values, Chinese culture is based on Chinese values,Islamic culture is based on Islamic values. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called “Islamic” culture!

            2- “Islamic values are incompatible with secular, liberal and democratic values” – is straight-up bigotry.”

            This is not bigotry, it is a fact supported by many evidence in scripture, hadith, etc. if you care to read, including the famous Dhimmi position,sex slavery,etc. Make a few examples of “Liberal and democratic” Islamic values please. Islam is considered as the best way of life,unaltered word of God,the best and last true religion. In its core it is a supremacist ideology and categorizes all other religions and cultures in a “hierarchy” with itself being on top. Its ultimate goal is becoming the one and only way of life and its laws and values the only enforced laws and values, because that is what the God of Quran wants. No such ideology can ever be democratic or liberal.UNLESS, it goes through a major “reform” and then it will be a “new” ideology.

            3- “There are millions of Muslims who vigorously support secularism, liberalism, and democracy.”

            Of course! who denied that? Again, you are confusing Islam with muslims. Many of those millions of muslims are either cherry pickers or half-practising, non-practising or reformist. Many of my friends and relatives identify as muslim, celebrate the end of Ramadan, pray from time to time, have been to Haj, but they also drink alcohol,party, have sex with their boyfriends/gfs, do not wear hijab, etc AND many of them totally support separation of religion and state. All of which are against core Islamic teachings and are “anti-Islamic values”. Muslim is not equal to Islam. period.

            4-” Islam is not uniquely bad,

            I NEVER said it is “uniquely” bad! I said there is a “spectrum” of the proportion of bad, violent, misogynistic, totalitarian, homophobic, supremacist,crazy ideas in religions and Islam falls in the extreme parts of the spectrum. This is a fact no matter how much you deny it out of ignorance of the subject. The evidence? Read and study about different religions of the world from pagan religions to Abrahamic ones. The comparison between Islam and Christianity can be made in another comment. or refer to my previous comment to see just a few brief comparisons made.

            4- “and pretending that it is in defiance of reason and evidence is islamophobia.”

            Wow! this is a big claim for an atheist blog! First, as explained above , I didn’t make such a claim.

            Secondly, I presented enough reasoning relevant to what I was discussing in my previous comments. In the recent comment, I wasn’t discussing the compatibility of Islam and liberal democracy. That was NOT the topic of my discussion (irrespective of the fact that it cannot be discussed in just a comment.) I was responding to another comment made by Micheal which was addressed to a point I had made before.

            If “Isalm and democracy” was the topic of my discussion, I would care to go into more details. However, to me it is like quite an obvious matter that I thought would be clear to many, at least people on this page, supposing that it would be more likely that humanists read scientifically and critically.
            But, If you like, I can give links, verses, hadith, or list of books to read to actually see the evidence?? Or maybe you could be kind enough to use your google. There are plenty of scholarly articles on Islam and liberal democracy.(There are of course people who think they can be compatible, IF Islam is reformed.)

            About the so called Islamophobia: It is just a scare tactic to shut up and bash anyone who criticizes Islam or tries to raise awareness about its potential harms and dangers. Anyone in his/her right mind who has read even a bit about religions in general and Islam in particular can see the inherent issues with religious ideologies in general, Islam in particular. Denoting Islamophobia as “irrational criticism of Islam” is just a mind game.The vast majority of people if not all who criticise Islam or stand up to it are pointing out its real issues. Even if their criticism lacks enough reasoning power or reasoning techniques or whatever it is called (sorry my English sucks sometimes), they are still referring to violence, misogyny, etc. in it that is a very “real” undeniable part of it.

            The true term instead would be “ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT” or “ANTI-MUSLIM BIGOTRY” which is WAY different.

            4- “We can reject the bad values, embrace the good ones”

            Sure we can and I support that, though I know the bad values awfully outnumber the good values!!! However, in reality it is happening in reverse. I didn’t know that Burqa or Hijab are very good feminist values that we must definitely embrace!

            I’d like to suggest that you read this book if you like or find the time:


            It is about multiculturalism and Islam. Written by a young talented man in my opinion.

            P.S: In none of my comments I have ever accused you of “deliberate” manipulation or “dishonest” argument or playing dishonest games. However, you have done that several times. I could call you “apologist” and “dishonest” on several occasions too. But, I don’t. I am sharing my thoughts and beliefs the way I have truly experienced and studied. That is my true way of thinking. I am not interested in playing any games. Why should I? What do I gain? this is just a blog!! Specially Unlike you, as a middle eastern born woman who has studied Islam, I HAVE more than enough experience and knowledge of the subject to rely on. Your attitude of attacking my personality and accusing me of dishonesty and phobia instead of trying to have a constructive conversation speaks multitudes for a person who is supposedly a supporter of free speech and peaceful coexistance!

          4. Indi

            > All cultures are formed based on a set of values, Chinese culture is based on Chinese values,Islamic culture is based on Islamic values. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called “Islamic” culture!

            There is no “Chinese culture” and there is no “Islamic culture”. That’s what I’m trying to make you understand. Those very concepts are not only wrong, they are offensively ignorant. Since you can’t talk rationally about Islam, I’ll use “Chinese culture” to illustrate.

            There are a billion and a half Chinese people, scattered throughout China and its territories, Singapore, and other countries across the world. Even just *within* mainland China, there are *dozens of ethnic groups. And there are *dozens* of Chinese languages, many of them mutually unintelligible. And all that is not even to mention the other factors differentiating people *just* within mainland China, like the difference between urban and rural dwellers (which is far greater than the difference between urban and rural Canadians). All of these myriad ethnic groups scattered across the world with their differing languages form *thousands* of different cultures, all of which are “Chinese cultures”. And they all have wildly differing values, all of which are “Chinese value”. Claiming that there is one single “Chinese culture” or one single set of “Chinese values” is fucking ridiculous, offensively ignorant, and obviously false.

            You *CANNOT* lump all of these wildly differing cultures, with their wildly varying values, under one single “Chinese culture”, or one single set of “Chinese values”, just because *YOU* can’t tell the difference between them. When you lump everything “Chinese” under one big label as if it all one big homogenous mass, that… is… *RACISM*. Straight-up. You are racially or ethnically stereotyping everyone of Chinese descent – or who lives in China – based on your ignorance of them all under one label, denying their unique and individual identities, and using stereotypes instead. THERE IS NO “CHINESE CULTURE”, and it is *really* fucking racist to say that there is. There are just a billion and a half Chinese people, with dozens of unique ethnicities, and thousands of cultures, made up of who-the-eff-even-knows-how-many values… many of which stridently disagree with others.

            And the same is true for Islam. There is no “Islamic culture”. Which culture is “Islamic culture”? The culture of Muslims in Jordan or the culture of Muslims in China? There are a *HELL* of a lot more Muslims in China than in Jordan. Are “Islamic values” based on the values of the Muslims in UAE or Germany? And, you guessed it, there are a hell of a lot more Muslims in Germany. Whose values are “Islamic values”? Are Anjem Choudary’s values “Islamic values”? What about the values of these guys: ?

            Lumping all of the myriad interpretations of Islam under one big label is ignorant and dishonest. There is no single “Islamic culture”, and there is no single set of “Islamic values”. There are *thousands* of cultures that are Islamic, all with different sets of values. Some of them are abhorrent, and will not be accepted in a modern, multicultural society, but many of them are perfectly acceptable – they may still have stupid or backward ideas, but that alone doesn’t mean they can’t coexist peacefully with other cultures.

            And if you want to pretend that “Islamic culture” is what you get when you have a country with an Islamic government, I call bullshit on that. Virtually all modern Islamic governments are theocratic dictatorships – for historical reasons based more on the colonial exploitation of the area than on religious factors. And the things we see in modern Islamic theocratic dictatorships are the same things we see in *any* theocratic dictatorship across history, regardless of religion. These are not “Islamic countries that just happen to be theocratic dictatorships”, they are “theocratic dictatorships that just happen to be Islamic”.

            There is no “Islamic culture”, and no single set of “Islamic values”. These things only exist in your head, and they are only defined by your preconceptions and biases. It is racist to imply all Chinese people look alike, culturally speaking. And it is no less bigoted to imply that all Muslims look alike, culturally speaking. And the specific type of bigotry in that case is “islamophobia” (and you *know* this because if anyone called it “racism”, you’d correctly object that Islam is not a race).

            > This is not bigotry, it is a fact supported by many evidence in scripture, hadith, etc.

            Two things: First you can find comparable bigotry in *EVERY* religion. *EVERY* religion. Even the one most loved by atheists, Buddhism, has some *really* nasty bits where the Buddha speaks his mind on women. Islam is not unique in having bad shit in its scriptures.

            Second, and most importantly, not every Muslim supports every single verse in the Quran, or every hadith, etc.. That’s just like every other religion. We don’t have Christians stoning adulterers in Regina, now do we? Of course not. And clearly – and you cannot deny this, no matter how much it seems you want to try – there are millions of Muslims who *DON’T* adhere to the bad shit, yet still consider themselves good and true Muslims.

            Would you call the stoning of adulterers a “Jewish value”? After all, it’s in their scriptures. So is raping slaves. If you are going to claim that because something is in the Quran (or a hadith?) that makes it an “Islamic value”, then it *must* be true that stoning adulterers and raping slaves are “Jewish values”. I am *SURE* that if I look hard enough, I can find some Jewish rabbis who will say that these things are permissible. Why aren’t you criticizing Judaism the same way that you criticize Islam?

            Every “criticism” you are levelling against Islam is not unique to Islam. The same criticisms apply to virtually *all* religions. *All* religions have nasty shit in them, and *all* religions have followers that reject the nasty shit in their religion and only accept the neutral or good stuff. We manage to live alongside Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists who have found healthy ways to interpret their religions, even if we find them silly and backward. Therefore we can manage to live alongside Muslims who do the same.

            > > “There are millions of Muslims who vigorously support secularism, liberalism, and democracy.”
            > Of course! who denied that?

            You did, when you said, “Islamic values are incompatible with secular, liberal and democratic values”.

            If you stand by that statement, then you you are saying that there are *NO* Muslims who support secular, liberal, or democratic values. If there are any, then, according to your logic, they are not real Muslims, because their values are not really “Islamic values”.

            So which is it?

            a) Islamic values are incompatible with secular, liberal, and democratic values, so every Muslim who supports these things is wrong about Islam (and you are right about it).
            b) It is possible to be both Muslim and support secular, liberal, and democratic values, therefore there are people who have Islamic values that are compatible with these things (which means “Islamic values” are *NOT* incompatible with them).

            > The true term instead would be “ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT” or “ANTI-MUSLIM BIGOTRY” which is WAY different.

            No, that’s actually part of what “islamophobia” is. I’ll excuse you for not understanding that, because you have admitted your English is not very good.

            > Sure we can and I support that, though I know the bad values awfully outnumber the good values!!! However, in reality it is happening in reverse. I didn’t know that Burqa or Hijab are very good feminist values that we must definitely embrace!

            Your opinions about other people’s beliefs are irrelevant. A free society means we all have to live with people have that stupid and horrible ideas we disagree with. So long as those ideas don’t harm anyone else, we have to tolerate their existence.

            If someone claims the hijab is feminist, the correct response is to call out how stupid that claim is, not to ban the hijab from sight.

            > Specially Unlike you, as a middle eastern born woman who has studied Islam, I HAVE more than enough experience and knowledge of the subject to rely on.

            I don’t care what your ethnic background is. There are plenty of people who have the same background as you, and are utter idiots. You are not immune to being wrong based on where you were born.

            Further, if you really want to play that game – if you really want to pretend that the fact that you grew up in Islamic culture means you know all about it and I’m clueless – then I can just as easily turn it right back around on you: *I* grew up in Canadian culture – the culture that friggin’ invented multiculturalism – so *I* say *you* don’t have a clue what you’re talking about with regards to multiculturalism. How about that?

            Or how about this: You want to claim you know more about Islam because you grew up in the Middle East, and I don’t really understand it as well as you do? Alright, fine. In that case, since I grew up in the West, I know more about freedom, democracy, secularism, and liberal values, and therefore I’m telling you that you don’t really understand them as well as I do. Well? Still want to play this game?

            > Your attitude of attacking my personality and accusing me of dishonesty and phobia instead of trying to have a constructive conversation speaks multitudes for a person who is supposedly a supporter of free speech and peaceful coexistance!

            Unlike you, I have never even *hinted* at the idea that you shouldn’t be allowed to express stupid and wrong ideas. Free speech means you shouldn’t be silenced, but it doesn’t mean you won’t be criticized if you say something wrong or stupid. I have not attacked your “personality” (I don’t even know what your personality is (and I don’t care)), I have attacked your ideas and your claims. Many of your ideas or irrational or outright abhorrent, and many of your claims are either baseless assertions or demonstrably false.

            You think free speech means you can say whatever you please and not have someone call you out for bullshit? Then you *really* don’t understand free speech.

          5. Immigrant


            Ok. This is my last comment on this topic but I adopt your way and your tone here, let’s see how it works!::

            Following your way I guarantee that I am not attacking your personality here, I am JUST criticizing your ideas, most of them are irrational and not based on facts so I am just practising my Free speech (!!!!) let’s see how you like this fashion of commenting and this tone:

            You *deliberately* twist my ideas and mix them with your DELIBERATE MISINTERPRETATION of what I say so that they *seem* the way you want them to. You *deliberately* choose some parts of my comments that are followed up with more detailed explanation, then you insert your BS in between them and call it idiotic and irrational. This is CHEAP.

            The core of all your comments is this : 1-MUSLIMS ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. 2-WE CAN ALL LIVE TOGETHER PEACEFULLY.

            and you try SO HARD to make me and other people on this page who point out FACTS and factual experiences to look like we believe: 1-MUSLIMS ARE ALL THE SAME MONSTERS 2- WE CANNOT LIVE TOGETHER PEACEFULLY!!!

            I cannot speak for others, but I NEVER said that or implied what you say I have, QUITE CONTRARY, I have CONSTANTLY put emphasis on the difference between an ideology (ex. Islam) and *PEOPLE* who practice it (ex. Muslims) , and that is what I try to make YOU understand, which is what you miss out DELIBERATELY.

            No matter how many times I repeat, you very CUNNINGLY and DISHONESTLY sway by this very fundamental difference and comment after comment, you mix these two (Islam and Muslims)together to make me look like a bigot. This is not new of course all “supposedly” neo-liberals do that. I repeated many times in ALL my comments that :

            I DO NOT THINK ALL MUSLIMS ARE THE SAME. AND I made many examples to support this position;

            INCLUDING by referring to my family and my background which is NOT only my ETHNIC background or where I was raised and born but my EDUCATIONAL background AS WELL which you deliberately totally missed again!

            You cannot know better about democracy, or free speech JUST because you were born in Canada! But , you *definitely* have a more solid background and practical knowledge about it if you have *practised* it much longer than me AND you have *studied the subject in the UNIVERSITY*. Do you now get my point or you still want to twist it in a way to make me look like an idiot?

            About Islamophobia: I said I DO NOT BELIEVE in the term and the CONNOTATIONS it implies. I know enough English! don’t worry! In this case it seems though it is my third language I get the subtle connotations much better than you!!!
            The term is MISLEADING and it is used as a scare tactic to bash anyone who points out all the BS in “Islam”. ANTI-MUSLIM sentiment, instead of Islamophobia, MUST BE the term we use in situations like a person doesn’t get a job just because his name is Hassan. Or a muslim gets stereotyped just because of being born a muslim.

            However, ISLAMOPHOBIA is used in a very anti-free speech way. It is used as a sort of hammer to bash anyone who calls Islam a BS. Anyone who TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT ISLAM.

            I said it is a DELIBERATELY and cunningly crafted term and concept to ERASE the very important distinction between ISLAM and MUSLIMS. It is a mind game. Study some Linguistics to understand what I mean.

            It is not Mulsimophobia. It is Islamophobia. It draws the attention from a group of people to an ideology and belief system.Its emphasis is NOT on people but on ISLAM.on the Ideology itself.

            We constantly see how Islamic institutions including the ones in Canada and politically active muslims use this term as equal to “Hate speech” to SHUT UP and bash anyone who even directly quotes Quran, or Imams or Muhammed or writes anything that is in any form against Islamic teachings such as the case of Mark Steyn. Or even see the defamation of religion proposed to the UN by Organization of the Islamic conference who is trying to craft an international blasphemy law since 1999!!! Islamophobia is the center of all their foolish arguments.

            If you deny this, then you live in a different world or you are uninformed or you are just plain DELUSIONAL.

            BTW stereotypes are not all wrong, the problem with stereotypes is not that they are UNTRUE. Many stereotypes are TRUE. they are based on true facts, SIlam ALLOWS child marriage and MANY muslims practice it. It is a fact. The problem with stereotypes is that they MAKE people BLIND to DIVERSITY. and make this wrong assumption that ALL people can be put in a basket and be labelled as such and such without paying attention to the diversity inside that basket.This is the harm of stereotypes. Denying FACTS behind stereotypes is pure bullshit.

            About culture: NOPE! you are VERY WRONG and what you say is not only the reflection of the lack of basic understanding of sociology and culture and history, but also it shows the lack of ability to use common sense!

            Thousands of books and scholarly articles are written about different cultures as a whole: Example: Chinese Culture, phoenician culture, Greek culture, Persian culture, Celtic culture etc.

            THERE IS A GREEK CULTURE! There IS A CHINESE CULTURE! THERE IS AN ISLAMIC CULTURE, THERE IS A JEWISH CULTURE. DEFINITELY 100%. Denying that is quite ridiculous. Denying that is more than being funny. It is denying the existence of MANY UNIVERSITY MAJORS and SCHOLARLY DISCIPLINES!!!

            People Fucking study CHINESE or JAPANESE CULTURE in university!!! That is the TITLE of a major in university!!! People fucking study ISLAMIC ARTS AND CULTURE as a major in university!!! You are denying the existence of a whole discipline!!!!!!! And then you call it RACIST???!!!

            Wow!!! sorry but it is super ridiculous to say that. So MANY experts and scholars studying, working and writing on those cultures for years and you simply say they do not exist!!! AND THEY ARE ALL RACIST TO EVEN CONSIDER THE EXISTENCE OF THOSE CULTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!

            But let’s stop bashing you with the same cheap strategy you use to bash others (ie by sarcastic comments and treating people as if they are idiots), let’s be myself for a second:

            I see where you come from, the point you are missing is this:::: Please Pay attention:::



            Do you get it?

            Example: ALL MUSLIMS FAST IN RAMADAN and celebrate Eid-al-Fitr. This is an Islamic-cultural practice common in ALL muslim societies. All muslims follow some common cultural practices that is the basis of the formation of something called ISLAMIC CULTURE irrespective of their differences. Understand eh???

            They MUST fast if they are practising muslims, it is a MUST. If you do NOT fast you are committing a SIN. It is VERY CLEAR in Islamic teachings that not observing the fasting month is a Kabirah sin : big sin. and in ISLAMIC SHARIA which is nothing but the instructions taken from the founder of Islam and Quran, if any muslim EATS or DRINKS in public during this month MUST BE PUNISHED.That is why in ALL muslim countries that follow sharia law,IRRESPECTIVE of their history,irrespective of their differences, we see Moral police force arresting people for eating in public during Ramadan. FASTING is one of the 5 Pillars of Islamic teaching.

            NOW, If there are mulsims who do NOT fast, and still IDENTIFY as mulsims, it is THEIR very own personal and really REFORMIST way of Islamic practice.

            It is NOT WHAT IS TAUGHT AND ORDERED IN ISLAM AT ALL. They are NOT OBSERVING the order of Allah and they are maybe CHANGING one of the 5 Pillars of Islam.

            I hope you now get the point.

            The funny thing is that you DENY the existence of Islamic culture then you yourself use the term “CANADIAN CULTURE” !!!! :

            “*I* grew up in Canadian culture – the culture that friggin’ invented multiculturalism ”

            WTF is Canadian culture then??? If Chinese culture, Greek culture, Roman culture, etc. Do not exist.

            About Hijab and niqab: You say we shouldn’t ban them but Raise awareness about how ridiculous they are. HOWEVER in practice, the same ISLAMOPHOBIA concept and “ALL CULTURES MUST BE EQUALLY RESPECTED and ACCOMMODATED” (apart from DEATH THREATS from conservative muslims), are standing in the way of anyone who is trying to do that.

            There are no stalls on any squares of Canadian cities that distribute leaflets AGAINST hijab or niqab. There are no events in any university that promote ideas anti-niqab or anti-hijab. BUT there are stalls in many squares of canadian cities that promote niqab and hijab, Just recently there was an event to promote Hijab by giving head scarves to non-muslims to invite them to Islam in York university in Toronto. and MANY more. Why do you think there is NOT an equal Pro- and Anti- voice when it comes to Islamic practices????? (Apart from the fact that Hijab and Niqab ARE promoting rape culture and ARE harming women and girls and must be treated as such. They are NOT by no means Just some personal clothing choices!! )
            Why is Islam the ONLY privileged religion here????? why don’t we label people as Christianohpobe when they piss all over Christianity????

            In the end, about religions you AGAIN DELIBERATELY miss the SPECTRUM. There ARE bad violent ideas in ALL religions but there is a PROPORTION to it which is VERY DISTINCTIVE. You can NEVER equate Islam and Buddhism. It is farther than ridiculous to do so!

            You cannot even equate Christianity with Islam though they are roughly maybe 80% similar in core ideas. They are VERY different in many other ways that makes Christianity a much less dangerous force TODAY.I do not go into details here but I can if you are interested. Bye.

          6. Immigrant

            CONT. Indi: I couldn’t help answering this:

            “There are millions of Muslims who vigorously support secularism, liberalism, and democracy.”
            > Of course! who denied that?

            You did, when you said, “Islamic values are incompatible with secular, liberal and democratic values”.

            If you stand by that statement, then you you are saying that there are *NO* Muslims who support secular, liberal, or democratic values. If there are any, then, according to your logic, they are not real Muslims, because their values are not really “Islamic values”.

            So which is it?

            a) Islamic values are incompatible with secular, liberal, and democratic values, so every Muslim who supports these things is wrong about Islam (and you are right about it).
            b) It is possible to be both Muslim and support secular, liberal, and democratic values, therefore there are people who have Islamic values that are compatible with these things (which means “Islamic values” are *NOT* incompatible with them).”

            In response to that : Again you FAIL REPEATEDLY to see the difference between Islam and Muslims and maybe you deliberately do that.

            As I said before, It IS definitely possible to IDENTIFY as muslim AND support secular values. As I said MILLIONS OF MUSLIMS ARE CHERRY PICKERS, MANY EVEN DO NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT THEIR RELIGION, MANY ARE REFORMIST, meaning that they know the problems but they try to create a NEW narrative and reform their religion instead of leaving it.

            Just like it IS possible to be a nun but Pro-choice, it is also possible to be a muslim and secular. IS ABORTION A CHRISTIAN VALUE just because there are nuns who are pro-choice??? HELL NO!!! This is a wrong conclusion. You cannot say they are Not true nuns neither can you conclude that there are pro-choice nuns THEREFORE , Christianity supports ABORTION!!! same is true about muslims who support secular values.

            Secular and democratic values are NOT ISLAMIC!! They are ANTI-ISLAMIC. This is a FACT as clear as the earth is round and as factual and supported by evidence as 2
            +2= 4. Denying that is stupid and beyond being ridiculous. No ideology with a hierarchy as I explained before with a king dictator figure (GOD) on its top can be liberal democratic.

            Your conclusion is WRONG: “therefore there are people who have Islamic values that are compatible with these things” This is a VERY WRONG conclusion.

            Why? because : Those muslims do NOT have Islamic values that are compatible with these things!!! they are ADOPTING NON-ISLAMIC or even ANTI-Islamic values and ADD them to their OWN way of Islam.

            That doesn’t mean they are NOT true msulims!!! (what is the definition of true muslim any way??) It means they are REFORMIST , they are ADDING new things to Islam or trying to create a new interpretation of Islam that is more compatible with the 21st century morality which is GOOD and I support that.

            What I do NOT support is LIES, pretending than Islam is compatible with secular democracy the way it IS. NO IT IS NOT! No matter how much you deny it out of ignorance. I respect those muslims though I do not agree with them because they are honest, They want to REFORM their belief system instead of trying to make people believe some stupid LIES! They acknowledge that Islam is not compatible with democracy but they are trying to create a new way of practising Islam.

            So, you ask how is it possible then to be a muslim and secular at the same time if Islam is NOT compatible with secular values??? The answer is VERY SIMPLE, explained above and again once more:

            As you yourself said, not ALL muslims practice or believe everything in Quran or hadith. For example: Not ALL muslims practice polygamy or even believe in it although it is a VERY ISLAMIC VALUE. It is what the holiest , best example for msulims, Muhammed, practised himself. Are those muslims who do not believe in polygamy are still considered as muslims even if they are actually rejecting an Islamic value?? : HELL YES!!!

            Can we conclude that because SOME muslims do not believe in polygamy then polygamy is NOT an Islamic teaching or an Islamic value??? HELL NO!!!

            Can a muslim be secular meaning s/he chooses to believe in *some* parts of Islam BUT NOT THE REST or not necessarily ALL of it: HELL YES!!!

            Are secularism , free speech, etc Islamic values: HELL NO!!! They are Not compatible with Islam. But, ANY MUSLIM CAN choose to believe in them, adopt them and ADD them to his/her own belief system even if it is against core Islamic teachings and still be a MUSLIM just like the nun who chooses to support abortion or homosexuals but still be a nun!!!

          7. Immigrant


            By the way, you can never ever convince a victim of concentration camps that Nazism has some good values in it too,therefore it must be tolerated. You can never ever argue that because Hitler was an artist philosopher etc or did some random good then he was not all that bad! Or because this or that Nazi went agaisnt Hitler or did this or that good stuff then Nazism must be respected or those Nazis who went against hitler had some good Nazi values!!!!! In fact doing so is totally inhumane and calling the victim of Nazism a bigot or phobic or telling them they don’t quite understand what Nazism is(but apparently you do) is beyond being inhumane. As such, you can never ever convince me as a victim of Islam, its violent misogynist Sharia and its moronic culture to ever respect or believe in tolerance of the oppressive ideology that is responsible for my sufferings.
            And telling me I do not know what I am talking about irrespective of my experince and educational background (studying islam in university) and all the evidence in front of your eyes, is not only irrational but is siding up with oppression. Tell me those stuff whenever you lived under sharia and in an islamic society. Btw anjom’s values are purely islamic. No doubt about it. Whoever says it is not, is a big fat lier. All his claims are taken straight from quran and hadith. Lets just stop this foolish game of willfull blindness.
            But If you can really prove your claims about islam with evidence then I suggest you take the challenge of Dr. Ali Sina and get your 50 grand!!! But No one on earth can prove that and this prize has remained unclaimed and it will stay unclaimed forever. Good day.

      2. Heather Hastie

        Whoops! I meant Immigrant.

        I hope I don’t get accused of anti-immigrant bigotry for the lower case “i” now. I swear it’s just because I’m a bad typist. 🙂

  3. cestma

    Brava, excellent posts, both yours & Eiynah’s! (And if Heather’s written about this as well, I’m sure I’ll be adding her name to this list.)

    IMO our mistake is letting the PC crowd co-opt the term ‘liberal.’ Let’s call them the fascists they are.

    Are these PC fascists so young they don’t remember how swiftly women in Egypt, Iraq, and Iran adopted western dress and freedoms when their countries were still secular? Are they, especially the women, so lacking in empathy that they can’t imagine how they’d like living under the constraints imposed on women under Sharia law?

    “…when liberals outside the Muslim community silence one another, they silence liberal Muslims within it.”

    Such a perfect summation of the problem; one we need to start emphasizing over and over until it sinks in with those who might still be teachable.

    1. Diana MacPherson Post author

      Thanks cestma! I remember Eiynah’s open letter to Ben Affleck after the incident with Sam Harris on Real Time that asked Ben Affleck who was standing up for her since he seemed to be standing up for her oppressors. It was a powerful point.

      We need more Eiynah’s! I’m going to try to do whatever I can, in my limited capacity, to make sure we get more!

    2. Edward Carrier

      Right on cestma. This Indi dude graphically illustrates what is terribly wrong with liberals these days.Yo dude you done fell off ! What home girl is trying to tell you is that the ideology of Islam, not all individual Muslims, is toxic! Now , who do you think knows more about this ideology, you who have obviously never studied religion or she who was brought up in it and majored in Islam at a University level? Too many liberals have never in their lives actually sat down and took the time to study religion before they open dey mout and display dey ignance ! Immigrant, is givin you the straight goods and liberals like you need to have enough humility to recognize when someone knows more than you an ya need fi listen!

      I have studied most religions in detail and that includes Folk religions like Wicca,Ifa,and the Red road. They are NOT all the same and they do not have the same amount of good and bad in them. That is hard cold fact sir whether you want to except it or not ! Let me give you some examples: Wicca, If it harm none, do what thou will.

      Ifa : There is more than one way to get to the market place. Kill only in self defence ,food or in defence of others.

      Red road: Kill an enemy only as a last resort. If you take a medicine wheel sit people around it and ask people to describe it, all are different yet each has a piece of the truth.

      Islam: When the sacred month’s are over slay the idolaters where ever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and pay the alms tax, let them go their way. Allah is forgiving and merciful. Sura: 9:4

      Sura: 9:26 fight against such of those to whom the scriptures were given as believe nether in Allah not the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and his apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the True Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.

      Does anyone else notice the elephant in the room ? No, Indi dude? let me break it down fo ya. One religion and only one out the four promotes unprovoked violence against anyone who does not agree with their stupid ass 7th century religion. All the others on the list respect peoples right to follow their own conscious. One religion and only one out of the four think they have the absolute patent on truth.

      As for putting the Buddhist and the Sikh religion on the same moral footing as Islam this is just not True ! The Buddist religion has nothing in the Buddhist poly-cannon that teaches them to kill out all non believers. The Sikh religion is the only other one that will take up arms for religious reasons. But those reasons are not to kill out every one who is not a Sikh but to punish any moron who thinks they are entitled to kill or convert anyone who does not follow their religion regardless of what religion they follow.

      In other words one promotes Theocratic tyranny and one fights against it. To say that these two positions are somehow morally equivalent is just plane wrong. That is like saying the woman beater is on the same moral ground as the woman who is fighting off her attacker. Again not all Muslims follow this foolishness but their are tens of millions who do and liberals need to wake the fuck up and realize it.

      I will leave you with this.

      The basest creatures in all Allah’s sight are those who do not believe.If you capture them in battle discriminate between them and those that follow them so their followers may take warning. You have been warned.

      P.S Immigrant you have a beautiful mind are you single?

  4. Joe

    Sam Harris advocates for racial/cultural profiling as a way of fighting terrorism, which from a security perspective is entirely useless, and amounts to simple prejudice. Harris is right of centre on a bunch of other issues too, including gun control laws.

    A woman requesting to be strip-searched by a female police officer is also being sexist and insulting, as this assumes that men are unprofessional animals incapable of controlling their urges. It’s also a reasonable accommodation in an area where people are known to be sensitive, personal privacy.

    Freedom of expression is not left-wing turf. There are plenty of feminists who want to silence dissenting views, so they can create their little safe spaces that are free from feminist criticism.

    While I sympathize with the intent of this post, I don’t see this as a right/left issue…

    “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
    ― Benjamin Franklin

    The problem is, we all surrender some freedoms to obtain a level of security that will allow us to function in something better than survival mode. This is why we have laws and rights, and guns.

    Canada has both freedom of expression and freedom of religion in the Charter, which means they are fundamental, and should only be limited with extreme care.

    We also have the (lesser) legal right to security of person.

    Left and right tend to have different hobby horses when it comes to the details, but both sides can be extremist and intolerant of difference.

    1. Diana MacPherson

      I often hear about sexism and insults when it comes to women being stripped searched as if not wanting to sit next to a woman on a plane is equivalent. One is a physical violation; the other is how we interact with each other regularly.

      Also, those are a lot of assertions without evience. Care to provide some?

      1. Joe

        So, you ask for evidence for my assertions, while providing none for your anecdotal evidence about strip searches?

        If you have a specific question about what I said, I’d be happy to address it.

        As to ‘physical violation’, open heart surgery could also be described as such, as it involves cutting into a person’s body, but we don’t demand a surgeon be of the same sex. Even a Colonoscopy is a much greater physical violation than a strip search, but again, the sex of the professional should not matter. It’s not about the physical act. It’s about the emotional response to the act. And people have different thresholds for those sorts of things.

        And we should be sensitive that, and make reasonable accommodations, where possible.

        1. Diana MacPherson

          What evidence of mine is anecdotal about strip searches? You are creating a false equivalency between strip searches and not wanting to speak to or sit next to a woman. There is no way those are equal.

          And your remarks about Harris have no evidence – they are just your remarks. See Immigrant’s excellent explanation above.

          1. Heather Hastie

            Having surgery is a choice, and the professionalism of a doctor comes from years of medical training. What they do is about making you better, healthier etc. A strip search is something imposed on you. The person doing it may have been trained in how to carry it out (which takes not even a day afaik), and there is no guarantee of their professionalism. There is not a Strip Searchers Board like there is a Medical Board that can bar people from practising etc. In many circumstances doctors are required to not be alone with patients of a different gender, and as a patient you always have the option to request someone be with you. You are, of course, never alone with the doctor during surgery. To say strip searching is the equivalent to a medical procedure is, imo, ridiculous.

            I don’t agree with the label of Islamophobia when it’s applied to Sam Harris either. He is always, imo, measured and thoughtful. However, he is also always extremely nuanced and if you try and take sound bites from what he says it is very easy to misunderstand and misrepresent what he’s actually said. He always gives reasonable and considered answers to questions, and there are usually several caveats. Therefore, people sometimes go off their rocker at the first part of an answer and they’re too het up to even hear the full answer.

            We have to reclaim liberalism. I actually think of it as a centrist issue in many ways. A lot of it is simply about being thoughtful, fair and reasonable in the way you treat people.

          2. Joe

            Elective surgery is a choice, but to say that life and death surgery is a ‘choice’ is a bit disingenuous. Surgery is invasive, and if you want to live, in a lot of cases, completely necessary. Strip searches are not punishment, they are not assault, they are necessary safety measures that save lives, and should only be performed by trained professionals. You certainly need years of training to perform heart surgery, much less so to do a strip search. The training required is not on the same level. Some doctors get convicted of malpractice, that doesn’t mean all doctors are unprofessional.

            Harris likes to be provacative and push buttons. How much of this is irrational fear of muslims? I do not know.

          3. Joe

            “I often hear about sexism and insults when it comes to women being stripped searched”


          4. Diana MacPherson Post author

            Oh THAT’s what you saw as anecdotal. Well here are a lot of comments telling me what a silly woman I am not understanding that strip searches and asking not to speak to a female is the same thing.

            Maybe it’s just the commenters on Canadian Atheist.

            So, I’ll just wait for your in context quotes about Sam Harris then since you’ve merely made unsubstantiated assertions.

          5. Joe

            Oh sorry, fyi:
            Hmm. I searched the comments you linked to, but found no occurences of ‘silly woman’, I guess you were being rhetorical, again, instead of factual. Sigh.

            As to Sam Harris, Let me google that for you…
            “Most liberals responded derisively to the NRA’s suggestion that having armed and vetted men and women in our schools could save lives. Some pointed to a public-service announcement put out by the city of Houston (funded by the Department of Homeland Security), in which the possibility of having guns on the scene was never discussed. Several commentators held up this training video in support of the creed “More guns are not the answer.” Please take a few minutes to watch this footage. Then try to imagine how a few armed civilians could respond during an attack of this kind. To help your imagination along, watch this short video, in which a motel clerk carrying a concealed weapon shoots an armed robber. The situation isn’t perfectly analogous—the wisdom of using deadly force in what might be only a robbery is at least debatable. But is it really so difficult to believe that the shooter might have been helpful during an incident of the sort depicted in Houston?
            Needless to say, it is easy to see how things can go badly when anyone draws a firearm defensively. But when an armed man enters an office building, restaurant, or school for the purpose of murdering everyone in sight, things are going very badly already. Imagine being one of the people in the Houston video trapped in the office with no recourse but to hide under a desk. Would you really be relieved to know that up until that moment, your workplace had been an impeccably gun-free environment and that no one, not even your friend who did three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, would be armed? If you found yourself trapped with others in a conference room, preparing to attack the shooter with pencils and chairs, can you imagine thinking, “I’m so glad no one else has a gun, because I wouldn’t want to get caught in any crossfire”? Despite what the New York Times and dozens of other editorial pages have avowed in the weeks since Newtown, it isn’t a vigilante delusion to believe that guns in the hands of good people would improve the odds of survival in deadly encounters of this kind. The delusion is to think that everyone would be better off defending his or her life with furniture.”
            “We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?) But there are people who do not stand a chance of being jihadists, and TSA screeners can know this at a glance.”

            But I’m sure I’m missing some clever nuance that indicates that he is not saying what he specifically said, but he is rather saying something of a much more spiritually profound nature, something that my simple man-brain can’t comprehend. (Did I do that last part right? I hope it was suitably rhetorical. You seem to like that.)

    2. Michael Michaels

      Sam Harris is for rational gun laws. That is left of centre. Right of centre doesn’t want any gun laws, except perhaps for laws requiring everyone to have guns.

      In fact the right has passed many laws that make it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to enforce laws, track illegal firearm sales or simply to check and see if a person who has a gun in public is allowed to have a firearm.
      The right even passed a law in Florida that forbid doctors from talking about firearms with their patients.
      This in no way shape or form is Sam Harris’s opinion on firearm legislation.

      The right characterizes all gun laws as being the first step towards banning, and further characterizes all liberals as wanting to ban all firearms. This simply is not true.

      In my experience, almost everyone who denigrates Sam Harris’s position is someone who misunderstands his position.

      Your final five or six sentences are pithy, but you don’t show how they relate in any way to the topic, or how anyone is infringing on others rights by refusing to switch seats.
      They are a non sequitir.

      1. Joe

        Sorry, I’m not a Harris fanboy, I prefer critical thinking.

        Advocating for ‘concealed carry’ is generally considered right of centre, even in the US, where centre is further right than in canada.

        “Your final five or six sentences are pithy, but you don’t show how they relate in any way to the topic, or how anyone is infringing on others rights by refusing to switch seats.
        They are a non sequitir.”

        This is definitely non-sequitar, nothing like a good strawman. I never showed how it was infringing because it is not.

  5. Tim Underwood

    The big sin of omission was, and still is, the West’s inability to exclusively provide support for the liberals within the war-torn Middle Eastern countries. We spent billions in Afghanistan, for instant, but we never even carved out a liberal-secular community to promote there. Iran is probably the best example of a country filled with secular liberals who are totally dominated by theocrats. Guess which sector we exclusively deal with.

    Our leaders will pretend there is no substantial secular-liberal populations within these theocratic countries. This has never been the case. They are threatened with death but they still, and always will, exist for all the same reasons that we exist in the West.

    We should not officially recognize any governments that oppress, or permit the oppression of, their own liberal-secular citizens. This way we would stand for something as opposed to just perpetually financing the peace-keeping duties.

    As literacy finally collapses Christendom (as well as Buddhism and Hinduism), what will remain, on a global basis, will be secular democracies and Islamic Theocracies. The Islamic Theocracies will persist owing to their violent oppression of apostasy. So we may as well start preparing for the inevitable outcome of this Internet created age of literacy and fact checking.

    1. Immigrant

      Thanks for this comment Tim. I completely agree. Very well stated.

  6. Immigrant

    Excellent post. I totally agree and I faced the same dillema not long ago. Before moving to Canada , I was definitely a liberal. I don’t call myself a liberal anymore , and I won’t vote for liberals for the exact same reason that you have eloquently stated in this post which has its root in multiculturalism in my opinion. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and peple like them were my inspiration to live my life and stay strong throughout all the years I was living under an islamic theocratic regime . seeing them being bashed by liberals , being called racist and xenophobie just for stating FACTS and being the voice of thousands of voiceless seculars like me, was the first reason I lost hope in liberals.

  7. bruce van dieten

    There is philosophic liberalism and political liberalism but what has turned me off liberalism is the neo-liberalism of economics. Free trade agreements, income inequality, classism, environmental degradation, poverty etc. show us very clearly that the liberal intelligensia and other elite power groups like public service unions are so tied to the elitist paradigm, to the deformed capitalim we suffer with now, that they are just as vested in the system we have now as the conservative elite they supposedly oppose. You can not make change within the system (Chomsky, Martin Luther King, Alinsky, Chris Hedges et al). Opposition will not come from the teachers or police unions whose members are as likely to vote conservative as NDP. Liberal elites represent the worse kind of laissez-faire, don’t criticize, don’t act bullshit there is. There is a huge vacuum for a humanist (not liberal – not aligned) revolution now!

    1. Michael Michaels

      I think this is simply wrong, you and the commenter before you, ‘immigrant’ are what some liberals complain about, those who complain about Islam, your dumping liberals all together and pretending they are all the same.

      They are not.

      In the US and Canada, liberal political organizations tend to be ‘big tent’, holding a wide variety of opinions. It’s the right, especially in the USA that has gone through great lengths to get rid of everyone who is not pure in their ideology. Liberals, political and otherwise hold a wide spectrum of opinions. The right demands loyalty of thinking, and their party reflects this in the way it has stampeded to the right. The left has only moved towards the right in comparison to the right.
      Some liberals have attempted to make the left “pure”, but they remain a minority.

      By ignoring all liberal political groups or treating them as the enemy, it’s saying liberal and right wing political groups are the same, and they most definitely are not the same. This is one of the reasons why the Republicans have the house, and Conservatives have the federal government in Canada. Wishy washy thinking of voters. Then those right wing parties put through terrible legislation.

      If you want liberal values in government, you have to elect liberals. You can’t elect conservatives and expect to get liberal values. It won’t happen.

      I keep seeing this, people saying they might vote for some conservative or Republican because politicians are all the same. This is frightening thinking. Some liberals have a disagreement over a few issues. Most liberals disagree over almost everything the right does. Allowing the right to get the White House could set back liberalism in the USA for decades, perhaps a half century to come. America might not ever get Republicans out of the white house again. They will do anything to keep the white house. If they get the opportunity to further stack the supreme court, Liberalism may not see light in the US for a very long time.

  8. Veronica Abbass

    I would like Indi and Immigrant to define the word values. In fact, I would like Indi and Immigrant to do a post on values and to start out by defining the term.

      1. Veronica Abbass

        Separate posts please and yes, just on the topic of what that slippery word “values” means.

        1. Indi

          I don’t think those would be very interesting posts. I don’t think anyone disagrees on what “values” *means*, they only disagree on what values *are* – as in, which values should be respected, which should have priority, and which are just stupid and can be ignored. Case in point, I don’t think my disagreement with Immigrant is about what values are, but rather about which values are “Islamic values”.

          1. Veronica Abbass

            “I don’t think anyone disagrees on what “values” *means*”

            Really? Well you are partially right; values is an emotive word, one that people pretend to understand because the word makes them feel good.

            Values has been bastardized, used to persuade people they have some things in common: values. What a crock.

          2. Indi

            It may be true that the average person on the street doesn’t know what “values” means, but that doesn’t mean the word doesn’t have a well-defined meaning that is well-understood by people who know what they’re talking about. I mean, the average person on the street doesn’t have a clue what the definition of “energy” is (and there are lots of fraudsters that take advantage of that), but I can assure you that it’s not a vague term to physicists or engineers.

            Don’t assume that just because religious “thinkers” and politicians use confusion about the term to spread bullshit, that means the term itself is bullshit.

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