May 20, 2016

OPINION: Searching for “Islamophobia” in Canada

Josh LiebleinGuest Post

The inhabitants of the peaceful Canadian island paradise of Nova Scotia were forced to scramble this month to maintain their reputation as a beacon of tolerance when the Halifax-based Centre for Islamic Development filed a formal complaint to the Nova Scotia Alcohol, Gaming Division (AGD) against the microbrewery located next door for what it called a “frontal attack to our way of life.”

In the past, the Centre for Islamic Development’s media-savvy imam, Zia Khan, has released videos calling alcohol "the path to the devil." He has also filed a complaint with Nova Scotia's Human Rights Commission over a newspaper cartoon depicting a burqa-clad woman fundraising for her terrorist husband's "training camp" in 2008.

It may have been inevitable that Good Robot, self-styled as Halifax's "most questionable brewery and taproom," would offend the religious sensibilities of its neighbors. Its trio of proprietors openly admit to not having the greatest life management skills on their website, promising a safe haven for "misfits who don't want to grow up."

The Centre for Islamic Development, which underwent a $2.4 million refurbishment in 2014, has been a fixture of Halifax's Robie Street neighbourhood for 15 years -- far longer than Good Robot. Khan is quick to remind others who was there first, and he apparently believes that Good Robot's current location "doesn't make sense."

The basis of Khan’s initiative to revoke Good Robot’s liquor license was his complaint that the brewery's patrons have frequently vomited and urinated in the Centre's doorway, and that loud music disturbed the services inside. He said his accusation had less to do with religion, and more to do with bylaws.

Khan hoped the brewery would change its practices so that all music and drinking will take place inside the bar, and that the outside fence delineating the brewery's beer garden would be dismantled.

For their part, Good Robot's founders took to Twitter and distanced themselves from "anti-Islamic remarks" made by "some people who have heard of the complaint." They spoke of an "amicable relationship" with the mosque, but bemoaned the fact that the complaint "is not reflective" of their company’s practices, saying they have personally seen few if any instances of public urination or vomiting.

This raises the question of why the media is giving this story such prominence. Canada's media – such as the state-run Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – has gone out of its way to find an “Islamophobia” angle, shifting the focus of its coverage from the original complaint to ugly backlash against the mosque on social media.

Even as it was reported that Good Robot and the Centre for Islamic Development were trying to arrange a sitdown to resolve the matter peacefully -- which they eventually did, releasing a statement together -- the CBC devoted the last few paragraphs of their story to hateful messages being received by the mosque with little additional context. Halifax News website The Coast devoted an entire article to the racist trolls poisoning the situation, despite only referencing a single post from a Facebook group.

Indeed, the joint statement released by the two parties pleads for a respite from “odious public commentary” as well as “sensationalistic reporting.”   

Charges of racism are deeply hurtful to Canadians, especially Nova Scotians, who take great pride in the fact that their island was a safe haven for runaway American slaves before the Civil War. 

In Canada's ultra-liberal and solicitously polite culture, opportunities to point the finger at “Islamophobia” are so few and far between that there is a rush to judgement whenever anything smacks of possible religious prejudice. 

Most Canadians are far more interested in protecting their reputations than in defending their values.

But is the unending search for “Islamophobia” leading progressive Canadian institutions – state-owned media, government organizations such as Service Nova Scotia, and the Human Rights Commissions themselves – to unwittingly provide cover for an illiberal religious agenda?

(Josh Lieblein is a Toronto-based writer and activist who writes for Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.)

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2016-12-16 20:06:37 -0500
There is no “Islamophobia” in Canada. A phobia is an unreasonable fear of something. Islam is a definite threat. Look at what is happening in europe, Britain, Italy Australia, Dearborn michigan,Iraq,Syria,They want to take over the world and rule by sharia law. I doubt if you will see anymore WJC in europe. We’ll see what happens with the Spengler cup, IIHF world championships.
commented 2016-12-10 22:29:28 -0500
The nose of the camel is in Canada’s door. It is always a slippery slope. Look at Europe.
commented 2016-11-19 11:47:22 -0500
“…island paradise of Nova Scotia.. "
How cute, considering that Nova Scotia is neither an island nor a paradise. However…

There is a big difference between alcoholism and consumption of alcohol. The latter can be done in moderation and even for Christians it is okay (I refer you to the gospel of John ch.2).
Bad behavior on the part of patrons can damage reputations at any establishment, so the mosque in question has a legit complaint.
However, remember that alcoholism has almost doubled in Muslim nations in the last decade. They too have problems with alcoholism, mostly because they stupidly ban it outright.
Now, when their homeland of Saudi Arabia allows other faiths to establish churches and preach there without penalty, only then should we ever allow Islam into our country on an equal basis. Perhaps this Halifax mosque has huge problems recruiting the next jihadists because of the close proximity of alcohol pleasures next door…
commented 2016-11-18 08:57:35 -0500
It is a well known liberal tactic to infiltrate all real information with disinformation, that is how they control the said information’s ability to be taken as factual, but people are awake now and that is a very good tool in the fight against the practice.
commented 2016-11-17 22:35:27 -0500
You below do we really need your comments? If you are not a fan, then dont waste your time here and do something else. You are the one who make a lot of assumptions. Good night and dream Ezra!
commented 2016-11-17 20:25:50 -0500
Quote, MODERATE LIBERTARIAN: Ezra Levant is dangerous. That’s why he’s not on Tv anymore. Some people who are gullible and have never traveled more then 50 miles from where they live take his politicized hyperbole too seriously. I would not be surprised if any fans of his have assaulted people for being Arab or attempted to burn mosques or Sikh/Hindu temples because conservatives are stupid. Ezra is a racist because he talks about people as if they’re dangerous animals because he does not approve of their place of origin.

This is what you call political shaming and lying. It’s a typical adverse assault based on nothing but negative personal opinion and a want of facts. Perhaps our accuser works for the CBC. Levant is in fact a former lawyer who is not dangerous and well educated. He is vocal, opinionated and has the same fn right as you to voice his opinion and present facts, whether you like them or not. Perhaps it is you who is projecting your racism and hate. If there is one thing islam is good at, its representing it’s penchant for violence, hate, and intolerance. You seem a good fit for one of its adherents. You can’t stand Levant’s opinion, you have no facts, but plenty of innuendo, and you accuse readers of doing things that you most probably would be more comfortable in executing yourself. There is little I can see that is moderate about you. Your seething accusatory tone is thinly veiled. I’d like to leave you with this. The Federal Liberals got kicked out of power for 10 years for theft in Canada. In the United States they’ve lost all but 4 states to the Republicans for doing the exact same thing you are doing right here. We’re tired of the rhetoric and we are not taking your thinly veiled race baiting any longer. Equality means just that and if you don’t like it, you had better learn to lump it. The Jurassic Progressive period is coming to a close and with it, the political correctness that has been fingers around our throats since 1986. Harvard, your experiment failed. It failed with the election of Donald Trump and the public rejection of political correctness. race baiting, and protected victim status. We are either equal or not. The right is not taking this .hit any longer and your false narratives will be refuted. Every time. Wake up readers. Wake up.
commented 2016-11-17 19:31:56 -0500
So right you are Karan Singh!
commented 2016-11-17 19:01:35 -0500
Boo hoo, head on over to Saudi Arabia if you don’t like it. Oh yea that is right they don’t allow immigrants to become citizens. It is canada, we drink beer.
commented 2016-11-17 18:12:17 -0500
-So, here we have an imam from an islamic cnetre/mosque in a Canadian city saying that a microbrewery next door is a frontal attack; “on our way of life”.

Also The Centre for Islamic Development, which underwent a $2.4 million refurbishment in 2014, has been a fixture of Halifax’s Robie Street neighbourhood for 15 years — far longer than Good Robot. Khan is quick to remind others ‘who was there first’, and he apparently believes that Good Robot’s current location “doesn’t make sense.”

Ironically, mohammedans always forget to respect ‘other peoples way of life", i.e. the way of life of people in adopted countries and also very conveniently they forget who was here first, who made this country, what were the values this country was founded on?? The truth is no mohammedan (or anybody for any third world country for that matter) made this country and this country was based on neither islamic nor hindu/sikh/buddhist values but Judeo- Christian values. It’s a historical fact.

- Then couple of days ago in another news a mohammedan developer of muslim only housing project in montreal said:
“Non-muslims would be welcome to move into his project of prefabricated homes, but they would have to share the values of their Muslim neighbours.”
“You don’t drive drunk on the street. If you want to drink alcohol, you drink it in your house,” he said. Women could choose whether to wear the headscarf but they could not walk around in a halter-top and shorts."
“There must be some modesty in the way you dress. We don’t want women living there going half-naked down the streets. We don’t like that,” he said. “If they want to do that, let them go and live in downtown Montreal.”

To live in a muslim neighbourhood we’ve to share (abide by) their islamic/muslim values. He objects to people drinking (or eating pork) and women not covering themselves according to sharia tradition.
When mohammedans come to Canada do they share the long established Canadian values like eating pork, drinking beer & giving freedom to their womenfolk??

Again we see muslim values trump over canadian values.
commented 2016-11-17 17:58:23 -0500
If the Mosque has legitimate complaints about noise or public disturbance then that should be addressed, but prove there are legitimate reasons, not Sharia ones. There is no way there should ever be any accommodation of Sharia law in Canada.
MSM are always going to try to find a ‘hate’ crime where none exists. Baiters and trouble makers the bunch of them.
commented 2016-11-17 17:52:18 -0500
What name are you going to pic for yourself next Jimmy? You are going to need another one real soon You insulting low life scum sucking bottom feeder.
commented 2016-11-17 14:58:48 -0500
You’ve said that before, Moderate. We’ve already heard it. Time time come up with something new.