This Week in Religion 2017-10-16

by | October 16, 2017


Scott Douglas Jacobsen

“RCMP officers have been screening Muslim refugee claimants entering from the U.S. at Quebec’s Roxham Rd. crossing, asking how they feel about women who do not wear the hijab, how many times they pray, and their opinion about the Taliban and the Islamic State, a questionnaire obtained by the Star shows.

The 41 questions appear to specifically target Muslims, as no other religious practices are mentioned, nor terrorist groups with non-Muslim members.

Refugee lawyers representing the more than 12,000 men, women and children who have crossed from New York this year at the informal crossing on Roxham Rd., near the Quebec town of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, have heard stories of profiling, but it wasn’t until a client of Toronto lawyer Clifford McCarten was given his own questionnaire last month — seemingly by mistake — that there was proof of the practice.”


CALGARY — The tall, slim teenager asks a question that’s on the minds of many of the young people gathered around the cloth-covered tables in a small meeting room at a mosque in northeast Calgary.

“If someone from [Daesh]* approaches you, how would you respond to them, so that you’re not attacked any further?” wonders Zubair Tariq, 16.

“If they approach, you should be smart enough to know that [Daesh] is very big criminals in the eyes of Islam,” answers Imam Syed Soharwardy, founder of Muslims Against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.”


“Will newly-minted federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s religion or race revolutionize politics in Canada?

In the U.S., the election of Barack Obama was supposed to not only revolutionize politics, but improve race relations.

It didn’t!

Initially, for some, Obama was “not black enough”.

Many only jumped on the bandwagon when they realized Obama was inspiring the younger generation to follow him.

Race and religion are inextricably woven into and complicated by complex human emotions.”


MONTREAL, Canada – Canada’s Ministry of Public Safety has suspended the use of a controversial questionnaire used during interviews with asylum seekers crossing illegally from the US because it is “inappropriate” and inconsistent with government policy, a spokesperson said.

The move comes after civil rights groups raised concerns over the questionnaire that Canada’s federal police have used during interviews with asylum seekers.

Thousands of asylum seekers have crossed the US border without visas in recent months. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police intercepted 2,996 asylum seekers who had crossed into Quebec without visas in July, and another 5,530 asylum seekers in August.”


(CNN)A Canadian man who was freed along with his family after five years in militant captivity in Afghanistan said his captors authorized the killing of one of his children and raped his wife.

“The stupidity and the evil of the Haqqani network’s kidnapping of a pilgrim and his heavily pregnant wife engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorizing the murder of my infant daughter, Martyr Boyle,” Joshua Boyle told reporters upon his arrival Friday night at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
He said his goal now is to build “a secure sanctuary for our three surviving children to call a home … and try to regain some portion of the childhood that they have lost.”

OTTAWA — Human rights expert Irwin Cotler has the ear of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.The former Liberal MP and human rights lawyer is advocating for political prisoners and has advice for how Canada can seek a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Cotler spoke to the Post in Ottawa this month, the morning after the Raoul Wallenberg all-party parliamentary caucus discussed major human rights issues and just a couple of hours before a sitdown with Freeland.”


“The problem with politicians who bring up race or religion is how it inevitably reveals more about the politician than it does citizens.

 The latest example comes from Naheed Nenshi, who in recent comments to the leader of a local Pakistani community group, expressed a concern. “Everything we’ve built together,” said the mayor — who self-identified as the “the first Muslim mayor” of any western city — is “very, very tenuous.”

He then remarked on “forces” that wanted the city to go “backwards.”

Nenshi later pointed to racist and anti-Muslim remarks on social media as justification for his comment. But cranks, misogynists and bigots have long populated the netherworld of online commentary. They are nothing new and explain little about the motivations of most Calgarians, unless one believes in stereotypes.

Nenshi’s language about “backward” is curious. It implies that pre-2010 (when Nenshi was first elected), Calgary was … what exactly? — an abyss of antebellum racism from the deep American south, circa the 1960s? Some of us were alive in Calgary in 2009. We recall a rather more positive civic culture.”


What should be an investigation into systemic hate in Canada often feels like a referendum on one word mentioned in M-103: Islamophobia.

From the start of the hearings, witnesses have weighed in, with the active support of some committee members, about whether Islamophobia exists, where the term came from, and whether it is an appropriate term of art. Perhaps, some have offered, we should instead use the term “anti-Muslim”; perhaps we should differentiate between hate that is directed at Islam and hate directed at Muslims; perhaps we should be focusing less on Islamophobia and more on Muslim extremism and radicalization.

Each of these theoretical forays into the technicalities of a single term represents a theft from the task of combating systemic hate, which is the mandate of the committee.”


2 thoughts on “This Week in Religion 2017-10-16

  1. Tim Underwood

    ‘Terrorism has no religion’

    Religious leaders, the humanist personality type, want to believe this. This obviously isn’t true, insofar as the original compilation of the various faiths is concerned. Terrorism without a faith is a rarity. Even North Korea has deep roots into supernaturalism.

    The religious fundamentalists in the United States are engaging in a cold form of terrorism in their current efforts to destroy the American heath care system. What is their motivation to do this? Do they want more autonomy for their religiously controlled heath care institutions?

    Grouping our homegrown religious fundamentalists together with the newly arrived immigrant fundamentalists will prove to be a big hurdle for the slim majority of progressive minded Canadians to democratically overcome.

    Canadian Atheists’ contribution to our enlightenment is one of the few activists organizations that is helping to preserve our progressive heritage. Maybe our moto should be ‘Democracy without humanism is no better than humanism without democracy’.

  2. dusttodust

    RE: Nenshi’s “backwards” comment
    I interpreted it more as backwards in a general progressive society. Not like the conservative mindset where they would like to see full xtian churches and women barefoot and pregnant and all that. 🙂 I didn’t think it was backwards for specifically Calgary. Just general.


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