by Howard Rotberg
In a press conference after a Liberal Party policy retreat, Prime Minister Trudeau told the press that Canada, having been tolerant enough to admit many Muslim immigrants, including some 25,000 Syrians this past year, should now go “beyond tolerance”.
I like press conferences and also debates, because it is hard for our politicians to be “scripted” and therefore they tend to say what they are really thinking, not what their PR people tell them to say.
And so, Trudeau, whose response to Islamism seems to involve something called “inclusive diversity”, manages to avoid the gist of the issue, which is to what extent radical Islam or its political ideology of Jihad and Sharia Law is a threat to Canadian values. This politician who never finished university, seemed rather uneducated in the matter of ideology. Should we welcome evil ideologies as part of our inclusive diversity? Do we still believe that some things are Good and some are Evil? Do we think that a nice Canadian welcome, together with conduct and words not just tolerant, but beyond tolerant, will turn intolerant Jihadists into tolerant Canadians?
The problems we are facing are legion. Just last week, a report was issued on the extremist literature found in Canadian mosques. In The Lovers of Death? Islamist Extremism in our Mosques, Schools and Libraries, a former RCMP security analyst and an Egyptian born expert on Muslim extremism concluded: “It is not the presence of extremist literature in the mosque libraries that is worrisome,” the new report contends. “The problem is that there was nothing but extremist literature in the mosque libraries.”
If our Prime Minister thinks the solution to jihadist pro-Sharia law extremism and terrorism is to be more and more “inclusive” and “beyond tolerant”, we may have a problem.
Before discussing what Trudeau may have been trying to say, let us first look at the problems of contemporary Islam, and second examine some statements by American President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The term “Islam” literally means “submission”, and whether that submission is confined to the personal realm of man-God relations, or it is extends to acceptance of not only a system of law (Sharia) but an entire political ideology of outer-directed Jihad, is a matter of much contention.
Those who seek to conquer and restore a Caliphate and force submission to this entire political ideology and system of Law, are generally called Islamists. Whether President Obama admits it or not, reasonable people will conclude that Islamists, and their terrorist minions, have in fact declared War on the liberal democracies, starting with countries close by, such as Israel, and now undeniably extended to Europe and now America and Canada.
The true nature of the confused reaction to Islamism in the West concerns whether there is a significant number of Muslims who publicly renounce Islamism and take steps to limit the death and destruction and threat to liberal freedoms posed by it. Those willing to confront the radical, totalitarian, expansionist, jihadist, terrorist menace are unfortunately in a minority, and being in a minority amongst violent radicals is seldom desirable. Were there a significant number of true “moderates”, that is those who leave Sharia Law and an illiberal ideology at our borders when they are given permission to immigrate here, then Western attitudes and policies to Islamic nations, and Islamic immigrants, could be based on clear divisions, which at present do not exist in sufficient numbers; to the extent that everyday Muslims feel unwilling or unable to challenge the Islamist hegemony within Islamic centres of power, the problem of assimilating Islamic immigrants or working with Islamic nations, is a problem stemming from Islam and its tolerance of Islamism, not from Western lack of tolerance.
And so, to decry as “racists” proponents of liberal democracy who want Islam to clarify its compatibility with Western liberal traditions of human rights and justice, including rights for women, gays, children, ethnic and religious minorities and those who choose to leave the religions, is foolish, notwithstanding it is standard practice among cultural relativists and the politically correct. Moreover, the allegation that someone is “racist” is meant to conduce to shunning and censorship, so it is unfortunately an effective weapon. It should not be a weapon but a conclusion reached only after a lengthy dialogue and weighing of values and arguments which necessarily last longer than the usual 20 seconds of uninterrupted time given by the media to proponents of “intolerance” to Islamism, its leaders and even its passive supporters.
Of course, Barack Hussein Obama grew up in one of the largest Muslim nations in the world – Indonesia. It is not entirely clear whether his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, worked for the Indonesian military during Indonesia’s genocide against ethnic Chinese and Communists. At any rate Obama, in the opinion of many, has become infamous for that mainstay of cultural relativism – the notion of tolerance. In my book, Tolerism: The Ideology Revealed, I argue that tolerance has morphed into a full-blown ideology holding tolerance to be just as important, if not more so, than the traditional western Biblical values of justice, liberty, and human rights and responsibilities. Excessive tolerance of the intolerant illiberals, who, if they could take over, would end all tolerance, is the essence of what I call Tolerism.
Obama, for his first foreign trip as President, chose to go to illiberal Egypt to propound America’s new Middle Eastern doctrine of giving more “respect” to the Muslim world in word and in deed. He stated:
“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
To any student of the Middle East, where most Islamic countries do not allow the residence or citizenship of Jews, and do not extend to Christians or Jews full rights, this talk of “mutual respect” made no sense at all. Then, Obama’s equivalency between American notions of justice, tolerance and human dignity to that found in Muslim countries, was quite simply, shocking and bizarre. So was his invitation to several members of the Muslim Brotherhood, widely viewed as a terrorist supporting Islamist organization, to attend his speech.
But Hillary Clinton took the matter even further. Clinton, whose close friend and top aide is the Saudi raised, Muslim Brotherhood allied, Huma Abedin, has some very odd opinions, which she expressed at a speech at Georgetown University. She claimed in her speech that women are superior to men in diplomacy and security and, strangely gave as an example a couple of female Philippine Muslims who were instrumental in negotiating (submitting to?) Muslim rule over an area of the Philippines. She cited their feminine skills as part of something she called “Smart Power” and then claimed that Smart Power would use “every possible tool…leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect even for one’s enemies, trying to understand, and insofar as is psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view, helping to define the problems (and) determine a solution.” (emphasis added).
So Hillary wants to show “respect’ even for one’s enemies. We can’t be sure what Hillary meant in her own mind, but the Oxford Dictionary defines “respect” as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.” But to me, Islamists who use beheading, rape and sexual assault, torture, persecution of ethnic and religious minorities and gays, and disregard most human rights, do not deserve our “deep admiration” and do not show any great “qualities or achievements”. The fact that Hillary argues otherwise should give us a great deal of concern to place in her hands the responsibility for war and peace and the fulfillment of American values for liberty and human rights, not admiration for our enemies.
Would a confused young second generation Muslim young woman attracted to the romance of a mission with ISIS become more or less interested in leaving for the Islamic State after listening to Hillary’s speech? Has Hillary taken us “beyond tolerance” into admiration and submission to the enemy’s values?
Beware of the tolerists preaching compassion and empathy for our enemies, because once you commit to empathy, that constitutes entering the other’s perceptual world; once you learn to feel what he or she feels, and unless one has a firm grasp of your own values, you may never return from your empathetic journey into the mind of the enemy. Ask Patty Hearst.
Our third example is young Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who gave a press conference in August after his Liberal Party held a two-date retreat to discuss and prioritize policy initiatives. A reporter from Quebec, which is the least tolerant province in Canada towards illiberal foreign cultures, asked Trudeau about his recent trip to Toronto to visit some of the 25,000 Syrian refugees that his government admitted into Canada, and whether his feelings are the same about the ability to assimilate them into Canadian values. His response (translated from the French) was as follows:
“There are countries in the world where tolerance is essential. You have to be tolerant towards your neighbors.
“I think in Canada we should go beyond tolerance, being tolerant is accepting some people, but you don’t want to be too bothered, but you have to have an openness, comprehension, understanding, and this is what do we are aiming for, this is what we see every day when we see diverse communities enriched by their communities. This is what they have to aim for.
“Obviously there are small controversies here and there. We will continue to have those, but I think that the respect for rights and the choices of individuals has to be central to our public debate.”
Perhaps Trudeau is not aware that giving “rights and choices” to some illiberal people may deprive existing liberal citizens of their rights and choices (as I once found out when some Arabs shut down a lecture I was giving at a bookstore about a novel I had written, yelling that I had no “right” to speak if I offended their opinions and that I was “a f—ing Jew”…I found out that the police do not distinguish between a writer invited to give a lecture and some anti-free speech hooligans). Trudeau has supported something he calls “inclusive diversity” which I suppose is based on the flawed concept in multiculturalism that all cultures are equal. He believes that diversity is a goal in itself, and like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, we must respect and admire our enemies, the Islamists. Tolerance, he might not understand, refers to something negative – in our discourse, we say that we tolerate “pain” not “pleasure”. Prime Minister Trudeau now seemingly believes, that tolerating those with illiberal opinions, is not enough; we must give them “understanding” and a special place for their choices in our public realm.
Going “beyond tolerance” is dangerous indeed. Anything beyond tolerance is submission. Respect for our enemies is to admire Evil. If terrorism furthers our tolerance so that we become beyond tolerant, then terrorism is successful indeed and these leaders are therefore paving the way for more terrorism. What is wrong with these people, and what is wrong with us for electing them?
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