Yesterday, I was sent two videos, one through a discussion forum email and one over Twitter. The subject line of the email for the video entitled “Will Islamophobia and Racism Influence Canadian Election?” reads “The Worst Video Ever.” My correspondent goes on to say,
I didn’t know if sending this video was a good thing. It is not what we might want to hear, but we need to be aware of this reality too.
When asked to elaborate he says,
A typical example of Islamophobic hysteria.
Here is a sickening video for any secularist or anyone criticizing Islam. TheRealNews published a video today where the journalist Sharmini Peries is interviewing the activist, blogger and founder of No One Is Illegal, Harsha Walia, about she calls a campaign against Muslims women wearing the Niqab lead by the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois during the present federal election and the idea pushed by Conservatives for defining what they call “barbaric practices.” At the start, this seems to be a very curious way to frame things. I think it would have been more appropriate to say a campaign against wearing the Niqab itself. Maybe this what she really means by that. She then presents the Conservatives as fear mongers for pushing such ideas about the Niqab.
Then Peries expresses her opinion, which can be inferred as those who are against the niqab or barbaric practices are Islamophobic racists. So racism is no longer about race but about an ideology, or Islam is a race in her point of view.
This is really sad because this video is a real example of what I call Islamophobic hysteria where no one is even trying to understand the motivation or the point of view of the other: it is simply a pure attack on the messenger. The message seems to be: you criticize Islam or its practices, so you are against the Muslims and that makes you an Islamophobic racist. All said in the name of openness and tolerance of course.
The real danger I believe is accepting that kind of speech as the norm. In the name of tolerance and openness we are presented with the idea that it is not acceptable to criticize some things but it is OK to directly attack those who are doing so. This a direct attack on free speech and it is time to say that only people deserve dignity and that there is no such right as the right to not be offended.
I am publishing this video here because as another member of the email discussion forum says,
It’s worth publicizing this video to illustrate how for political purposes a few Muslims are portraying themselves as victims of racism.