Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
 “Muslim Grooming Gangs: A Response feat. Sargon Of Akkad” (Video: 33:20)
This conspiracy theory really has more traction among British atheists – I’m constantly surprised at the otherwise intelligent Brit atheists who repeat it – but it has taken root on this side of the pond, too. It’s frequently trotted out as a talking point by islamophobes and “replacement theory” proponents. Before this video, I’d never seen a clear and thorough debunking of the source study – I wasn’t even aware that it was a Quilliam study! (That would have been a red flag right away.) In his video, LonerBox spends the first half or so meticulously dissecting the Quilliam study that claims that Britain is ravaged by Muslim “grooming gangs” that take young white – yes, very explicitly white – girls and grooms them into the sex trade, all while the authorities do nothing about it due to “political correctness” fears. I mean, to anyone with their head not up their ass, it’s obviously bullshit just from the description… but there was a study! And boy did people love quoting the study! Well, turns out the study is pretty bunk, as expected.
Last week in another item about these charges, I called them a
huge deal. I may have understated it. Surprisingly, though, there are a lot of Canadian atheists who don’t seem to understand why this is such a major breakthrough. (Most are spinning weird conspiracy fantasies about this being yet-another example of “liberals” caving into fears about being called islamophobic, but I’m not even going to bother engaging with that level of stupidity.) There’s actually a huge clue in this article, when it notes that lists 60 terrorist groups, and, in the article’s own words:
[a]ll except two are jihadist groups.Now, set aside the problematic accounting there (what makes a group a “jihadist” group? it’s clearly not merely being Muslim, because there are Buddhist and Sikh groups there. is it any religious motivation? but then organizations devoted to stuff like Palestinian liberation, and others like the Tamil Tigers; how do they fit? is it enough even if the stated goals are secular that the group merely has a religious connection of some kind? okay, but then how does FARC fit? 🤷🏼); instead ask… where are all the Christian extremist groups? How strange, there’s not a single one. Hell even Judaism is represented (once), and even “atheism” gets several nods (via organizations that have vaguely sorta-kinda “atheist” ideologies, like FARC, Shining Path, and the PKK)… yet until Blood & Honour and Combat 18 were added last year (and, frankly, that’s not even two groups, it’s just one), there’s really no group listed whose ideology has a connection to Christianity. And let’s be honest: they weren’t added for their warped take on Christian ideology… they’re there for being Nazis, with no mention whatsoever of their very Christian connections (like to the far-right British National Party, from which they were originally founded). And that is the problem with the old way CSIS was doing things, and why the new way could be such an important change. Previously, “terrorism” was “defined” (but not really) in such a narrow and idiosyncratic way that it somehow applied only to “foreign” religious extremism – usually only extremist Islam or extremist Sikhism – but never to domestic religious extremists – who tend to be Christian. (And of course, it oddly applied to leftist revolutionary movements but never to far-right movements, even if they were local and far more deadly… but that’s a whole other story.) Despite the fact that the clearly-Christian-inspired “Great Replacement theory” has by far a higher body count in Canada than every “jihadist” group on CSIS’s list put together… not a single group with that ideology is represented. Weird, huh? Only… not. You see, religious influence isn’t always as overt as a politician praying openly during government business; sometimes it can be insidiously subtle. Canada’s public safety sector has been rife with Christian influence forever (and pretty far-right Christian influence to boot), and its policies have always reflected that. They always looked for villains among Muslims and Sikhs, and completely ignored the danger brewing in far-right circles. They appear to be getting better about that, and the new charge and the direction toward recognizing dangerous ideologies rather than “groups” is a very good sign… but this is something we’ll definitely have to watch.
Science is so well respected that it’s no wonder people peddling bullshit try so hard to make it sound “sciency”. That’s the goal of the anti-abortion movement’s new branding apparently. They’re claiming that abortion “harms” women – and using bullshit pseudo-science to back that claim up – and thus being anti-abortion means being “pro-woman”. Of course, it’s based on nonsense, but even if it weren’t, it’s a truly Orwellian linguistic twist to say that denying women’s rights to control their own bodies can in any way be “pro-woman”.
It’s amazing how effectively COVID-19 completely pulled the masks off – figuratively speaking only – of hypocritical politicians. When trying justify banning religious accessories, two general categories of tactics are used. One stream of justification is the faux-“secularism” argument, where proponents claim that in order to be “secular”, a government has to police the clothing choices of private citizens. (Yes, yes, I’m well aware that they try to argue that somehow people cease being private citizens who can make their own clothing choices the moment they take a government paycheck… but that’s just ridiculous, and completely unsupported by every human rights law – and employment law! – ever written.) But the other stream is based on the “public safety/security” argument, where proponents claim that society somehow can’t function, and would completely fall apart, if people were allowed to cover their faces in public. François Legault and the CAQ have primarily leaned on the second category of justification… but not always! For example, the faux-“secular” argument can (well, it can’t, but let’s pretend) justify stripping government employees of their religious accessories… but it can’t be used to justify stripping private citizens accessing government services of their religious accessories. For that, the CAQ has used the “public safety” argument… which now looks laughably hollow, if not completely hypocritical.
Holy shit, I almost feel sorry for the Peel District School Board. Earlier this month, they finally published a response to the absolutely devastating review by the province that found the district was rife with systemic discrimination, and racism in particular. As if to prove the point, at the exact same time that was happening, the chair of one of their schools in Caledon was firing off a wildly islamophobic meltdown on Twitter in response to the city relaxing noise bylaws and allowing mosques to play the call-to-prayer during Ramadan. And now, just a couple weeks later, we have the principal of a Brampton school freaking out at a staff meeting about a provincial suggestion to stop splitting kids into streams based on perceived ability in science, because brown kids were being disproportionately excluded from the better science classes. The principal’s charming take on this? That if those brown kids were allowed to take the better science classes, they’d just learn how to make bombs. Yeah, really. So, yeah, we’ve pretty much confirmed that the province’s diagnosis of a severe racism problem in the PDSB is spot on.
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