Tag Archives: faith

why a christian cares about islamophobia

posted by missmsian

Because I could be the victim tomorrow. It seems that all it takes is for a news network or political party to create an invisible, overpowering fear and we, as media consumers, either become really stupid or remain purposely ignorant to the truth (which is worse?)

I know it’s almost ludicrous to put myself in a Muslim person’s shoes in the West where Judeo-Christian values are so celebrated–and I have relatively light skin, to boot! But there are places where Christians are discriminated against as badly as Muslims are here. It just shows how precarious our “rights” are and how much they depend on respect and the recognition of one another’s humanity.

Because disagreeing theologically isn’t the same as being racist. Do I believe that my religion has the answers to questions about faith? Yes.

However, this belief doesn’t give me any right or reason to be Islamophobic. Islamophobia deals with feelings of hatred and/or suspicion of Muslims that is often coupled with actions meant to curb their civil and/or human rights. The Park 51 Islamic centre (misnomer: “Ground Zero mosque”) debate is one example. In Canada, we have the proposed niqab ban in Quebec and the unfair detention and trial of Omar Khadr, to name a few high-profile cases … not to mention the numerous “everyday” situations where we attempt to expel Muslims from the community via verbal threats, economic exclusions, etc. 

Disagreeing about faith, on the other hand, means that I still treat those who disagree with me over who Jesus is as precious people, loved by Him.

Because the church doesn’t have a clean slate, so how dare we speculate on what Muslims are or aren’t.

We don’t even need to go as far back as the Crusades to see this. When people say Canada and the U.S. were founded on Christian values, I always feel uncomfortable, because these nations were founded on the rape, plunder and killing of Indigenous peoples and their land. How can we call Muslims “terrorists” when churches have allowed and encouraged the Atlantic slave trade and Canadian residential schools, to name only a few injustices done in the name of God?

Because I believe in a gospel of love and that’s a gospel nobody’s going to pay attention to if I’m speaking about it while holding matches and a Quran in my hands.

*When I use “we,” I’m loosely referring to Western society, which I believe is overwhelmed by white, Christian discourse even though not everyone in the West adheres to those beliefs or even fits into those categories.

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invaded: august

posted by missmsian

Another wild month for Azns in North American media. Check out July and June for more news.

Good Pakistan, Bad Pakistan

Prime Minister Harper appoints Salma Ataullahjan a senator–making her the first Pakistan-born person to hold that position–and paints her face into Duccio’s Madonna and Child. Not really. But close; she does give the standard I-love-diversity-and-integration speech. And every self-righteous liberal gives himself a pat on the back, satisfied he’s fulfilled his affirmative action quota for the year.

Not everyone is fooled by those crafty, crafty Pakistanis, though. The National Post reminds us that while some Pakistani-Canadians are diversity-loving political puppets, most are actually TERRORISTS. The best way to remind us, of course, is by running three articles called “All roads lead to Pakistan,” “Canada’s battle with radicalization” and “Don’t call it Islamophobia” in the same issue a few days after the devastating floods and basically implying that if we contribute to relief efforts, we’re funding terrorist activities. Thanks for enlightening me.

Dear Ignorant …

The opposite of blatantly racist reporting is the equally annoying “pitiful immigrant story” some newspapers like to run.

In response to a Toronto Star editorial called “Exploited immigrants,” letter writer Robert Manders opines:

“Is Ford in Oshawa treating Asian immigrants like slave labour? I don’t think so. Are the Bay or Sears hiring young Asian women to work long sweaty underpaid hours in their alterations department? No. Do stylish shops on Queen St. have secret employees toiling unseen and in distress? Highly unlikely. If the miscreant employers are of Asian origin, say so.”

Actually, yes, they are–here and overseas. Exploitation has a broader definition than you would imagine.

The Muslims are boarding!

Creepy dude films a few women wearing veils boarding a flight and extrapolates from his little vignette that the West is letting terrorists onto airplanes for the sake of political correctness.

BUT IT GETS WORSE BECAUSE …

The Tamils are landing!

Run! Away! Criminalize them before they arrive on shore! Falsely conflate a liberation movement with terrorism!

Wasn’t it John “Father of Liberalism” Locke who defended the right to revolt against an unjust government in Two Treatises of Government? So, actually, you could say the LTTE is operating within a liberal-democratic system. Okay, there may be gaps in this argument, but it’s no more flawed than this logic, which has been popular among mainstream media:

Brown people –> on boats –> terrorists

Do you speak wif broken Engrish accent?

You may not be able to get job interviews, but you’re welcome to attend a diversity casting call.

No, they’re not casting for a particular show. But, hey, if there’s ever a biopic about a white woman who rescues inner-city kids or a movie that requires slumdog millionaires, murder victims, enemies of the U.S. army or an IT geek-best friend … well, you might get a call after all.

At least networks now look like they’re doing something about unequal representation in the entertainment industry–a point brought up by this report that says Sikhs are misrepresented in pop culture.

Groundbreaking research

Victims of stereotyping and racism are screwed in life. You read it here first.

These are a few of my favourite Fordisms

Trigger warning: contains racial slurs

“Those Oriental people work like dogs. … They’re slowly taking over.”

“Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?”

On a video about homosexuality in Toronto’s South Asian community: “I have no problem giving money out to physically or mentally handicapped children or seniors, but spending $5,000 on this video is disgusting, it is absolutely disgusting to spend this amount of money on this, whatever it was called, video.”

Oh, Calgary

The private deck at this home, that “will only sell to a white buyer,” won’t have “colored people peaking [sic] into your backyard.” Good to know.

Let’s face it. We’re all terrorists.

In previous months, we at least had a celeb scandal (thanks, Tiger) or exotic food story to balance out the coverage of Azns. Not this month.

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niqab isn’t the issue; racism is

posted by missmsian

This week, the highest court in Ontario will rule on whether a woman should be allowed to wear her niqab while testifying in her sex assault case.

The lawyer asking for the removal of the niqab argues that “face-to-face confrontation with witnesses is vital to an effective cross-examination.”

Would a woman be asked to remove her cross necklace before testifying?

I see the eye rolling. “It’s an unfair comparison ,” some may say.

No; it’s perfectly fair. The niqab and cross necklace are both worn for religious reasons. Neither is more/less threatening or more/less conspicuous than the other. (Whether something is “conspicuous” rarely has to do with its size and visibility, but more often to do with how the viewer judges it. If Christianity offended me and I took the cross necklace as a representation of Christianity, even a tiny pendant tucked under a shirt, barely glimpsed by me, would seem extremely conspicuous.)

“But one covers most of the face and the other just hangs from the neck.”

What is with this sick, Orientalist obsession with unveiling, exposing, “seeing”? The woman in the case would be testifying in front of the court. That means everyone in the courtroom would see her. Maybe they wouldn’t see her bra straps and neck tattoos, but one would hope a lawyer wouldn’t have to in order to make a fair assessment of her testimony.

To borrow from the arguments this woman’s lawyer makes: what if the lawyer or judge were visually impaired? Are people who are visually impaired incapable of making accurate judgements because they don’t see facial expressions?

What about witnesses who are nervous and exhibit all the apparently ‘telltale’ signs of lying–shifty eyes, etc.–while trying to tell the truth?

Here’s another one the woman’s lawyer didn’t mention: what about protection for victims of sex assault?

There are rare cases where victims are allowed to testify from behind a screen–usually when the victim is a child, I think.

Why isn’t this sort of protection an option for all victims? Is there no recognition that it could be re-traumatizing to make a victim look at the assailant?

By demanding that the woman remove her niqab, the lawyer is implying that she would be unbelievable otherwise–calling her character into question before her testimony even begins.

Three male superiors will be making a precedent-setting ruling. Sex assault is already an under-reported crime. Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund lawyer Susan Chapman has said, “It’s no coincidence that this is a sexual assault case. This is the last case in the world where the court should be ordering a woman, over her objection, to remove her clothing.”

I hope they keep this in mind.

And for those who haven’t been paying attention to the proposed Bill 94 because it ostensibly affects only Quebec, think again. Depending on the ruling in this case, something similar for Ontario might not be far behind.

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