Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is it Pick on a Muslim week or something?

This is a rant, I warn you.

I've been inundated with stories of people doing stupid things because they fear the big bad Muslim. I mean, I know that there is a serious problem with bigotry going on, but it seems this week has been selected for a couple of big boners.

First, there is the story of Lowes under pressure from some right wing Christian fundamentalist group removing its advertising from a show on TLC which follows an American family around who happens to be Muslim. The group Florida Family Association whines that the show "The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.."

Damn you for appearing to be ordinary! We all know that behind closed doors Muslims kick puppies and eat Christian babies. And how dare that show actually show ordinary Muslims! Oh my goodness, because there isn't nearly enough coverage on the media about the crazies who claim to be of the same religion...oh wait, yeah, I forgot, Fox News. Heaven forbid that all that media frenzy and madness about psychopaths hurting people in the name of religion be countered with people, I dunno, actually living lives more in line with that religion, and those lives are actually pretty similar to those of zealots...except a lot less bigoted and a lot more educated. I understand, it's pretty scary when you're trying to promote "good Christian values" in a very wrong way, that the media actually shows one of the enemy not being very enemy-ish and way smarter, peaceful and loving than you. But there it is.

As for Lowes...seriously? Seriously? Maybe you decided that not enough Muslims were shopping so you could afford to alienate the bunch, but can you afford to alienate those Christians who take the Greatest Commandment seriously. *waiting as the fundamentalists look that one up because CLEARLY they don't know what it is*.

Get this world, as much as there are folks out there who are going to demonize Muslims and try to negate the possibility that like us, most of them are pretty fond of peace and just living their lives, there are folks like me who are getting pretty pissed off with your attitudes. Frankly, those Christian fundamentalists scare the crap out of me far more than any Muslim extremist ever could. And I've got news for you fundies, there's a good chunk of the Christian world who think you're not all right in the head and loathe the day you ever get into power of any nation, because we know that the minute you do, the body count will go up. You're no more interested in peace than terrorists and you've taken the acts of a few very disturbed individuals and used it to declare war on millions of others. 

Anyhow, next target of my rant is closer to home, tell me if you're surprised...the Harper government. I know, you're dying in shock that *I* would have a beef of them right? lol The last election night was greeted with such elation as my beloved NDP party soared to new heights, it was then greeted with dread as we learned that the Tories got the majority vote. I would be groaning enough if these were just fiscal Conservatives, but they're social conservatives, no matter how much they try to sell otherwise and that scares the life out of me.

So, if you're not living under a rock, Muslim women who wear the niqab have been told to take it off or be denied citizenship when it comes time to say the oath. Jason Kenney yammering about how it goes against Canadian values in supposedly treating women as equals. Now let me get this straight, the Harper government who has yanked funding from so many causes meant to ensure that us gals are treated as equals, who have told us to "shut the fuck up" about protecting our rights to choose are NOW coming in as the knights on horseback to save all these heathen women from the oppression they face by telling them how they should be dressing.

Lets just say in the extreme case that that woman is being forced to wear the veil by her family, how the hell is denying her citizenship going to protect her? If us Canadians, defenders of women's rights are so great, maybe we should be ensuring they get into the fold? And how about those women who choose to wear the veil, I know they're all considered backwards, stupid, poor little lambs ready for the Muslim slaughter, but assume for a second they are educated women who freely chose to veil themselves, how is telling them how they should dress any better than those men you claim to be protecting them from?

I don't want to be told how to dress by the Conservatives, I might end up in some God awful sweater or stuck with hair like Harper himself. Me, as a Canadian born woman, who's relatives have served in the world wars for king/queen and country, who has a long heritage on this continent, I am not happy with this sudden move to tell women how they should dress to be Canadian. I'll wear whatever the hell I please thank you very much, and so should any other woman!

The excuses of judges not being able to see if they are actually taking the oath, come on! My 6 year old comes up with better excuses...truly, he does. Anyone and their mother can say the words, but unless you mean them, they count for nothing. If it's THAT serious, how brutal would it be to have a girls only swearing in? Not very I'm assuming.

Don't like it? Well guess what? If you think for a second that when your ancestors came and colonized this part of the world they blended in seamlessly with the people who were already living here, I've got some news for you. The world is getting smaller, people who have been separated forever are now sharing communities together. The name of the game isn't assimilation, it's evolution, which means we all have to change a little if we're to progress into brand new shinier and better higher beings. It doesn't take much really, I think of all my Muslim friends, the biggest difference of opinion I have with any of them is choice in hockey teams. I know, shocking huh? What a gap, who knows if it can ever be bridged. ITS LEAFS VS THE HABS PEOPLE! While a war hasn't been started over it, any person in these two huge rocks of provinces know its only a matter of time.

Anyhow, time to wind this rant down since it's all over the place.

1. Christian Fundamentalists, get the plank out of your eyes. You're behaving like a bunch of bigoted barbarians and it's high time you actually sit, think and reflect on that book you profess to put so much stock into it. You're pissing the rest of us Christians off, and I don't know if you've checked facebook recently, but the groups for progressive Christians are growing exponentially daily.

2. Lowes, you're not getting my business ever again. Learn how not to bow to pressure of clearly insane bigoted groups of people and we might talk.

3. Muslims=Not scary puppy kickers. Pretty normal people who believe in a religion which is no more scary than any of the other ones kicking out there, least of all Christianity. Some have questionable taste in hockey teams...you know who you are.

4. Jason Kenney, don't tell Canadian women how they should be dressing and claim you are protecting the rights of women. Your government's track record of doing that is abysmal, and most of us are smart enough to see you lying through your teeth. Jason, see point number 3, lather, rinse, repeat til it sinks in, since if you're really honest with us and yourself, this is the real issue at hand.

5. Christians...fundies out there. When you have the choice to be kind and loving to your fellow man vs being willingly in the dark, frightened and lashing out, which choice do you think Jesus would rather you make? Something tells me it's the former. There isn't a war on Christianity. There has been so much blood spilled in the name of religion, and at the rate you're going fundies, you're going to spill even more. I've never been told not to say Merry Christmas in my ENTIRE life of living in a very multicultural city. My values have never been threatened nor has my way of life. Reality check, as far as Canada and the US goes, we're still in control of this horse and buggy. So stop being frightened and start learning how to foster loving communities, we have so much to gain from being stronger and united with those different than us and it is a remarkable opportunity.

Let me close by adding a quote by Desmond Tutu, I can only aspire to have as much eloquence and grace.

"The 9/11 attackers were labelled “Muslim terrorists” and evil personified was given a Muslim face. We were told that these Muslim terrorists were aided and abetted by Muslim countries. Clearly, this logic went, Muslims were not to be trusted. The West developed special security procedures and sophisticated software to identify and track Muslims. Adherents of the Muslim faith were harassed and humiliated across the world. It was the computer-age equivalent of the Nazis daubing yellow Stars of David on the doors of Jewish homes.

If these were “Muslim terrorists,” why did we not label the Oklahoma bomber a Christian Terrorist? Why did we not label members of the Irish Republican Army Christian Terrorists? The people responsible for the genocide of Bosnian Muslims were not labelled Christian fundamentalists, and nor are members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The simple truth that we all know is that there are many good Jews out there and some bad ones, many good Christians and some bad ones, good Hindus and bad Hindus, good Buddhists and bad Buddhists, good Muslims and bad Muslims. That’s the human condition. All of us have our fair share of frailties and imperfections.

There is no religion I am aware of that propagates violence, yet many are they who commit violent acts in the name of religion – and who falsely justify cruelty as something that is sanctioned by God. As Kofi Annan so eloquently put it, the problem is not with the faith but with the faithful.

We may be differently pigmented, have different facial features, speak different languages and worship in different temples. But we know that we can successfully transplant the heart of a member of the Christian faith into the body of a Hindu patient, or a Jewish accident victim’s kidney into a Muslim.

We failed the biggest test posed by the 9/11 outrage: In our anger and dismay we failed to recognize our common humanity, that we are made for love and that acts such as those committed on that day are an aberration.

When we looked at the terrorists we did not see ourselves, we did not consider how our actions and posturing in the world may have contributed to the crime. No. We saw “others,” and we demonized them."


Dawn S said...

very well said Joy. You have summed up my feelings. A simple solution to the veil is to have a seperate ceremony so that the women may remove their veil and not have to compromise their religous beliefs..goes along the lines of religous freedom which is one of the cornerstones of this country.
And just so you know better the SENS are the better team.

sharvey said...

Sanctimonious, bombastic, knee-jerk, theatrical and unoriginal. I'm going to be brave now and disagree.

FWIW, many more enlightened and informed literati have pointed out that Islam is way overdue for a reformation, and the resulting belief system is out of step with the rest of the modern world. In fact, there has been a longstanding war on christianity by islam since before the fall of Constantinople. And the fact that there's been no reformation in islam while christianity has experienced it's own is a good indicator that those long standing problems will persist. The fact that western cultural values are based heavily on christian ideals will ensure it. The niqab is totally at odds with the western definition of feminism and independence and shouldn't be tolerated during the citizenship ceremony. Or, wait a sec, should we check with Gloria Steinam first before adopting an opinion?

I remember taking the oath of citizenship, studying for the test and being part of the ceremony. I was so proud, I felt so lucky. And i wanted to share it with everyone, every fellow Canadian. It was one of the happiest days of my life and it showed - on my big, brown face.