Opinion Piece by Jonathan Kay who suggests Islamophobia exists in Canada

The National Post – June 19, 2012

This opinion piece captures Jonathan Kay’s talk as a panelist at the “Message of Peace: Countering Islamophobia” conference, hosted by the University of Toronto’s Muslim Students’ Association and ICNA Canada. He says, “Contrary to what some pundits argue, I do believe Islamophobia is a real phenomenon. Which is to say: I do believe there are some Canadians out there who have an irrational fear of Islam. For these purposes, I define “irrational fear” as a fear that goes beyond (a) the very real, legitimate and widely shared fear of Islamist terrorism; and (b) the very real, legitimate and widely shared concern about retrograde Islamist attitudes toward women being imported into Canadian society.”

 

“Overall, I think Canada likely ranks as one of the least Islamophobic nations in the Western world (just as it is one of the least anti-Semitic nations in the Western world). This is not because Canadians are particularly wonderful people — but, rather, because we happen to have a generally well-educated and well-integrated Muslim minority population. Unlike many of the nations of Europe, there is no Canadian equivalent of the impoverished, ghetto-like Muslim cités on the outskirts of Paris, or the no-go (for non-Muslim) areas in central England. There are a few radical mosques in Canada with some bad apples, but they are well-penetrated by intelligence agents and informants.”

 

“The Muslim community in Canada needs to form a moderate, professional, authoritative NGO that brings together the alphabet soup of smaller groups that already exist; and which gives journalists and politicians a one-stop shop for liaising with Muslims on an organizational level.”

National Post’s Jonathan Kay asks how much should the state intervene in Islam’s internal debate?

June 24, 2011

Earlier this month, Jonathan Kay attended a Parliament Hill conference in Ottawa entitled “Terrorism in Canada: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Strategies,” put on by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), featuring prominent terrorism experts from both sides of the border.

In the Canadian context, David Harris, the former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, expressed doubt about whether even limited forms of community “outreach” were viable, given that governments generally have trouble distinguishing radicals from moderates. Naheed Mustafa, a CBC Radio producer and author with extensive knowledge of issues affecting the Canadian Muslim community, also critiqued the current approach – albeit from a different perspective. As she sees it, the constant focus on fixing Islam helps reinforce the incorrect idea “that religiosity is necessary and sufficient to create terrorism.”