Anti-Islam among Canadian writers, columnists and broadcasters has not changed. They remain the same after 9/11 as before, and they remain the same after 7/7 as before.
Some are Muslims, some are not, but all have nothing good to say about Islam or about Muslims — absolutely nothing.
David Warren is a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen. "Have the Muslims given up on their project of conquering Europe?" he asks, then reminds his readers that Germany, for example, has "3.5 million Muslims living in it."
If similar comments were made about any other European minority, they would immediately qualify as hate propaganda. But because Muslims everywhere today are victims of hate, it seems that smearing them and bashing their worldwide religion has insidiously become an acceptable part of Western culture.
When religion is manipulated for political ends — as is the case among veteran anti-Islam writers — open bias and discrimination inevitably result and the potential for disaster is always at hand.
Over the past 1400 years, Christians historically were more than three times as active as Muslims in propagating wars, violence, killings, destruction, and human misery. Further, if you factor in the relative population and years in power, Muslims contributed far less to this same list of evils than adherents of any other religions.
But these facts are hard to believe if you read only the same anti-Islam writers.
For the sake of fairness and accuracy, the teachings of Islam on a given issue must be compared to the teachings of other religions on the same subject. Also, the status of Muslims in a given developing country today must be compared to the status of other peoples in developed countries — but only on the same timeline of overall human development.
For example, the teachings of Islam regarding women are as progressive and liberal (or even more so) than parallel teachings of any other religion. But to understand this, the status of women in any given Muslim country today, must be compared to that of European or North American women some years ago.
Then why do Canadian writers not recognize such fair and rational logic?
On the same day as David Warren’s article appeared (August 24, 2005), Janet Bagnall wrote in the Montreal Gazette (belonging to the same chain as the Citizen), an article that simultaneously demeaned Iraqi and Canadian Muslims.
Why was Ms Bagnall so angry?
"That’s the reality today that is facing the women of Iraq," she writes, referring to Iraq’s new constitution, which draws upon Islam as one of its legal sources. She continues, "If all forms of legal protection are stripped away from Iraqi women, what can they turn to? When their property is seized by a male relative? If they are raped or brutalized?"
In turn, Muslims of Ontario receive a goodly share of Bagnall’s wrath because they’ve asked their elected government for equal treatment alongside Canadian Jews, in that Islamic faith-based mediation and arbitration should be recognized and regulated by Ontario’s courts and judicial system.
"To our enormous shame, we have allowed sharia law in Ontario, under the guise of promoting a kind of perverted multiculturalism," she wrote, without referring to the similar use of Jewish religious law. "Ontario has allowed the use of sharia law in civil arbitrations in matters such as property, divorce, child custody and inheritance since 1991, under its arbitration act."
Warren, like Bagnall shows just how much he is a "friend" of Islam and Muslims. "There is, in the end, no one to whom the obedient Muslim may turn, to get a formal answer to such a question as, ‘What is meant by Jihad?’ There is none, for instance, to declare, definitively, that ‘Osama does not speak for Islam; I do’."
The good news is that the likes of Warren and Bagnall are still a small minority among fair-minded Canadians. And that is hopeful news indeed, when sometimes it seems there is none.