A Case for Religious Intolerance

by | December 27, 2015

students.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxThe source for the photo above is a Toronto Star editorial that maintains that “Ontario Should Set Up Long-Promised Anti-Racism Secretariat.” While the picture above may be evidence for my own belief that young people and many adults cannot have a face-to-face conversation without the help of a cell phone, it is not evidence that Canadians are becoming more racist.

However, the Star does have evidence that Canadians are becoming more racist: the results of an March 2015 EKOS poll to measure whether Canadians were becoming more racist and three “recent events” in Ontario:

in November, alone, the only mosque in Peterborough was firebombed, windows were smashed at a temple in Kitchener, and two women in hijabs were harassed on the TTC.

What the Star fails to mention is another November event:

On the evening of 13 November 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris, the capital of France, and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis. . . . The attackers killed 130 people,including 89 at the Bataclan theatre, where they took hostages before engaging in a stand-off with police. There were 368 people who were wounded, 80–99 seriously so. . . . The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.

If the ignorant and criminal perpetrators of the “recent events” in Ontario were motivated by the events in Paris, and there is evidence that they were, then the perpetrators were particularly criminally stupid because at least one perpetrator didn’t know the difference between a mosque and a Hindu temple.

Worse still, the Toronto Star doesn’t know the difference between racism and religious bigotry. Unfortunately, bigotry, defined as “intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself,” is a pejorative and in the minds of many, is an attitude that needs to be combated. However, intolerance toward the damage religion inflicts on society is an attitude that should be encouraged.

Religious belief is not an opinion, it is a powerful motivation for criminal behaviour. It has become a cliche to say that not all Catholic priests abuse children or that not all Muslims are responsible for bombing buildings. What is not a cliche is to say that the many who belong to these and other religious groups are fully responsible for the crimes of the few within their group. Furthermore, the state enables the “moderate” members of these criminal institutions to remain members. The Canadian municipal, provincial and federal governments allow religious Canadians to display the symbols of their loyalty to repressive and pernicious religious institutions anywhere and anytime they please.

The crucifix, the hijab and the niqab, and all religious accouterments are symbols of repression. The crucifix is a symbol of a particularly cruel and inhuman punishment; they are commonly worn by women. The hijab and the niqab are symbols of an irrational fear and hatred of more than 50% of the population: women.

No, Canadians are not becoming more racist. Encouraged by the state, religious Canadians are becoming more overtly religious and more misogynist, all in the name of religious freedom: the freedom to impose a particular brand of superstition and cruelty on as many people as possible.

11 thoughts on “A Case for Religious Intolerance

  1. Tim Underwood

    Religion is a form of insanity admired by all manner of government officials. Everyone, in an elected leadership role, considers that the adherence by us to some form of fantastic fairytale belief is important.

    Could it be just a ‘divide and rule’ ploy? Or, perhaps, does it seem fitting to them that we should concern ourselves with old scary fables, rather than monetary or health items?

    Well, even if these accusations aren’t valid, the outcomes do align with their expectations.

  2. Joe

    Sorry, do you have a citation for this official list of symbols?… It was my understanding that symbols were context dependent, and could have many, often contradictory meanings. But knowing the proper meanings of all objects would be handy. Preferably approved by the ministry of truth, of course.

    First they came for the Muslims, but I was not a Muslim, so I did not speak up…

    1. Veronica Abbass Post author


      Do you purposely misunderstand or try to rewrite what I say?

      It isn’t me, but the stupid writer of the Star article who thinks Muslim is a race. The photo that accompanies the article is a symbol, a symbol of the lengths a writer will go to support his or her thesis.

      Worse still is the attitude of the young women in the other Star article I linked to: Canadian Muslims can’t imagine having to choose between a hijab and going to school. One young woman says “If I had to choose between wearing a hijab and going to school, like in France, I would leave the country.” She is so unaware that the symbol she insists on wearing shows her allegiance to a religion that is against the education of women.

      As for your reliance on “First they came for the x, but I was not a x, so I did not speak up…

      Let me tell you, the very first people religions “come for” is women; I am a woman and I continue to speak up.

      As for an official list of symbols, stay tuned.

      1. Tim Underwood

        The idea of race has to be revised, or even dispensed with, since DNA has shown it to be an inadequate description of heredity. Religion is quite synonymous with ethnicity in highly patriarchal parts of the globe; as well as in our own multicultural, but nonetheless, ghettoised neighborhoods. If we try to make anything resembling a sociological statement we often end up offend many struggling independent minds.

        If our mission is to guide all faith adherents to a more adult place, we are certainly going to offend all the “defenders of the faiths” along with Prince Charley.

        Advocating for only funding the public schools sets us in opposition to our current government policies. Diefenbaker was opposed to hyphenated Canadians by which he meant German-Canadian or French-Canadian. Now we have to add to his undesirable labels: Greek-Orthodox-Canadians or Seventh-Day Adventist-Canadians and so on.

        All this foolish and often misogynistic emotion is so unnecessary when you consider all of it is based on completely impossible and made-up histories.

        We try to help people understand the ethical dilemma created by choosing to believe things that are extremely improbable. This work should be done by a government agency: The Ministry of Intellectual Freedom. Face it, any Ministry would sound Orwellian. Currently we are unpaid volunteers endeavoring to reduce government sponsored and tax supported harmful foolishness.

        A fool has said in his heart, “There is no mental health consequences to pretending you can choose to believe whatever.”

      2. Joe

        Muslim may not be a race, but most Muslims are not white. Prejudice against Muslims does have a racial component. On top of that the word racism is often used, somewhat incorrectly, as a synonym for prejudice. Complaining about poor word choice doesn’t really address the claim of prejudice. It’s a pedantic evasion.

        And some Muslims are against educating women, but not all. So your hijab equals misogyny is a false equivocation. This woman is an example of that.

        Yes, women are often the first to be told… What is improper for them to wear. Hijab shaming is very similar to slut shaming, in this regard.

        1. Tim Underwood

          Iranians are pretty white and often blue eyed. I’m not entirely sure of this but I think Hitler thought he was Arian and he also was of the opinion that his peoples originated in Afghanistan. Naturally he was wrong because the science of genetics was in its infancy at that time. The majority of people are more colored than Icelandic people. Christianity, as it exists today, probably was the outcome of Feudalism, as it was practiced in European countries. Islam, as it exists today, was probably the outcome of Islam as it was practiced all around the Mediterranean: so Islam had slightly more of a rainbow than what Christianity achieved. An unconfirmed fact I was told is that there are more Christians in India than there are in Canada. All you have to calculate is one percent of a billion! If you are under five feet or over six feet in height you are also in a minority. In Canada a majority of Muslims are darker than Icelandic people. At the same time, the majority of our native peoples are Catholic.

        2. Indi

          > On top of that the word racism is often used, somewhat incorrectly, as a synonym for prejudice.

          I would say, more pedantically, “racism” is often used for forms of bigotry *similar* to racism, but that we don’t have specific words for. In particular, “racism” is often used for bigotry based on ethnicity (such as what country/region people hail from, either directly or historically), culture (including what they identify as, and what practices or traditions they adhere to (which may or may not have a religious basis)), and so on. Obviously those things are not “race” specifically (whatever “race” really is – it’s usually the racists who are more certain of that than anyone else), but they’re pretty damn close. When the bigots talk about targeting people who “look Muslim”… and that is *LITERALLY* wording that they have used, repeatedly… they may not be speaking about their “race” specifically, but whatever they *are* speaking about, it sure works a lot like “race” in practice.

          That’s what makes the “Muslims are not a race” retort especially offensively idiotic. No shit, Sherlock, we know Muslims and Islam are not a “race” (however you choose to define “race”). But “ethnicitisim” is not a word, and neither is “culturalism”. “Racism” is, and while it may not *PRECISELY* mean *PRECISELY* what *we* mean, it’s plenty close enough to be serviceable. To put it bluntly, you know damn well what we mean when we use it. Objecting to its use by banging on a dictionary is being deliberately ignorant, and worse, it’s trying to avoid the legitimate charge being made by quibbling over the semantics of the word used to make it.

  3. Rob

    I think we need to acknowledge the poor state of the English language when it comes to these topics. There is a sort of vacuum into which the Muslim Brotherhood was able to inject the deliberately confusing word “Islamophobia” despite English not being the first language of the I.B. – it’s OUR first language and yet somehow we let them do that.

    Some have suggested we do away with the word “agnostic” because no one understands it correctly anyway, and I’m inclined to agree. As would David Silverman of American Atheists, btw, since he understand this problem.

    “atheist” vs “agnostic” vs “none”
    “believe” vs “know”
    “theory” vs “fact” vs “hunch”
    “theist” vs “deist” vs “atheist”
    “evidence” vs “REAL evidence” vs “argument” vs “GOOD argument”
    “Islam” vs “Islamist” vs “Islamism” vs “Muslim”
    “Koran” vs “Hadith” vs “fatwa”
    “hijab” vs “headscarf” vs “niqab” vs “chadhor” vs “abaya”
    “right to (insert verb)” vs “right not to”
    “rape” vs “adultery” (some ppl even have trouble with this!)

    Anyone NOT see a problem? We need to somehow find language that clarifies rather than confuses and miscommunicates. These problems keep us talking past each other instead of to each other. The media is no help, more likely they are thriving off the confusion.

  4. Veronica Abbass Post author


    “ethnicitisim” is not a word.

    However, “ethnocentric” is, which means I have given you another word to call me and everyone you don’t agree with.

    1. Indi

      I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

      It *certainly* doesn’t mean anything even *remotely* analogous to “racism”.

  5. Shawn the Humanist

    “If the ignorant and criminal perpetrators of the “recent events” in Ontario were motivated by the events in Paris, and there is evidence that they were, then the perpetrators were particularly criminally stupid because at least one perpetrator didn’t know the difference between a mosque and a Hindu temple.”

    Well, yes. Have people been claiming that racists are well informed, intelligent people?


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