The Canadian House of Commons recently gave unanimous approval to an anti-Islamophobia Motion. What does this mean for freedom, justice and society?
What is the Anti-Islamophobia Motion?
Most Canadians haven’t heard about the Anti-Islamophobia Motion, which was passed in the House of Commons on October 26, 2016. Even Thomas Woodley, President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, commented on the scarcity of its media coverage.
This Motion was presented before Parliament by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, following a petition to the House of Commons (e-411), which was initiated by Samer Majzoub of The Canadian Muslim Forum, and sponsored by Liberal MP Frank Baylis. The Motion depicts Islam as a major world religion which has contributed to human civilization since its founding 1400 years ago, in areas of “the arts, culture, science, medicine, literature, and much more.” On the basis of this, the Motion attempts to dismiss the terrorism committed by Islamic groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, amongst others, as un-Islamic. And it makes the following request, that:
We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to join us in recognizing that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and in condemning all forms of Islamophobia.
According to the record of debates, the House gave its unanimous consent not once, but twice, as prompted by House Speaker Geoff Regan. The distinction between a Bill and a Motion is that a Bill, if passed, will become law, while a Motion is merely the statement of an opinion. This Motion, therefore, is a symbolic expression by Parliament, that all forms of Islamophobia will be condemned. Consider, however, the implications of this Motion as it relates to the future of Parliament and Canadian life.
Why should we be wary of this Motion?
The Anti-Islamophobia Motion is much more than just a condemnation of ‘hate crimes’ committed against Muslims; symbolically it involves redefining the nature of Islam, amending what government considers to be ‘hate crime,’ and encouraging the religious worldview to contribute towards the nation’s cultural development.
Contrary to popular opinion, Islam that is consistent with the text and teaching of the Qur’an and the Sunnah (traditions) is not a religion of peace. To represent Islam as a religion of peace is to dismiss all the violent texts of the Qur’an, the military activities of the prophet Muhammad, and those of the subsequent caliphates who sought to expand the Islamic world by force. This Motion has successfully sold a false reality to Parliament regarding the nature of Islam.
When reading the press material about the purpose of this petition, we can acknowledge that with the growth of Islamic terrorism in the West, there has also been a rise in violent crimes committed against Muslims. But Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, and the Canadian Muslim Forum, are seeking a more far-reaching ‘protection,’ one that would essentially silence law-abiding critics, whether political or religious, who correctly perceive the threat that Islam as an ideology poses for Western society. Woodley fleshes this out in his definition of Islamophobia, which includes the “dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.”
At first glance, we may be inclined to support this Motion; after all, Christians are not commanded to hate our fellow man but to love our Muslim neighbors as we bear witness to the truth (Matt. 5:33-37). However, we must bear in mind that under the guise of ‘neutrality,’ our society operates on anti-Christian principles. It is for this reason that the late theologian Greg Bahnsen warns us:
Many issues might appear wholly unrelated to Christian concerns and seem unopposed to Christian truth claims. Yet because of their hidden nature they often can be the most alluring to the Christian and the most injurious to true faith.
We must ‘test the spirits’ with a discerning eye (1 John 4:1), that though this Motion may appear to agree with Christian principles, its true meaning and significance are utterly at odds with Christian liberty. In fact, it may well pave the road towards further injuring religious liberty in the Canadian landscape, considering that the unanimous consent of Parliament opens the door for future Bills on expanding the parameters of hate speech, censorship, and the eventual establishment of sharia (Islamic) law. It should not surprise us if we find newly-introduced legislation to be similar in nature to Bill C-16, which under the Criminal Code threatens two years’ imprisonment for those who civilly speak against transgenderism.
It is for this reason that Conservative MP Candice Bergen tabled another motion for the protection of Christians from “all forms of persecution,” because of the current and anticipated assault on our religious freedoms. For example, on January 30, 2017, a new motion was tabled, M-103, which calls on the Heritage Committee to commence a study on eliminating Islamophobia. Whereas the first motion in October was symbolic by nature, this new motion has teeth; time will tell whether Parliament honours one Motion over the other, and how this will play out with lawmakers.
How should Christians respond to Muslims and ‘Islamophobia’?
Christians need to be wise and discerning in responding to the charge of ‘Islamophobia.’ The term itself is novel in Western society, a product of cultural Marxism which seeks to silence any opposition to their agenda of realizing a just and equal society through a “humanly wrought oneness.” The same goes for ‘hate speech,’ which needs to be understood for what it is – a disagreement of worldviews. To say that Islam, as a worldview, is a religion of violence, is now being cast as hate speech and Islamophobic.
To say that homosexual behaviour is immoral and sinful before God would be considered hate speech and homophobic. Essentially, to speak God’s truth against the false realities of our world is hate speech, because man prefers his illusory and vain utopia over God’s perfect kingdom. In the very act of accepting the terminology of ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘hate speech,’ one is actually adopting the false presuppositions of the unbeliever, for such terms cannot be reconciled with the Christian worldview. The terms themselves are words of cultural subversion.
Social progressivists would like the public to think that Christians are hateful towards Muslims because they strongly disagree with Islamic ideology, and therefore they should be punished for this ‘hatred.’ This is a false and ignorant charge; Christians don’t hate our Muslim neighbors, or anyone else we happen to disagree with, for we are commanded to love one another, even our enemies (Matt. 5:44; John 13:34-35). Yet such is the natural result of attempting to substitute God’s law with man’s law.
As Christians, we strongly condemn all criminal violence and the incitement to such violence. This includes crimes committed against our Muslim neighbors, for we weep with those who have lost their families to Islamic terrorism, and to all other injustices. Love and compassion are the natural results of the gospel at work in the heart of man. When I had learned that, after the ISIS-led shooting in Paris, vandals had sprayed derogatory and racist graffiti on a friend’s mosque in Toronto, I reached out to him to see if he and his community were safe. As an imam, he expressed gratefulness on behalf of his community.
Indeed, we must be compassionate with our Muslim neighbors, for we ourselves were once blinded to the truth, repressing it by our own sin nature (Rom. 1:18), but God delivered us from our captivity to sin and freed us in the truth. Our hearts ought to desire the same for our Muslim neighbors, that being confronted with the truth of the gospel, God may grant them repentance (2 Tim. 2:25). They are just as much our mission field as the rest of the world. Of course, the faithful expression of Christian charity will not stop social progressivists from labelling us Islamophobes, for we must all be silenced in the name of some imagined utopia of equality and justice. Nevertheless, this is our calling and we must be faithful in it (Matt. 5:11-12).
Christians, let us work to protect the historic Christian freedoms that may soon be lost, to resist the ongoing Islamization of the West, and to expose the falsehood that is Islam. As Joe Boot writes, “It requires courage, faith, hope and love. Deception must be uncovered, falsity exposed, kindness and truth expressed, and Christ-like love made manifest.” We have a moral obligation before God to confront public injustice and corruption, to expose the lie as antithetical to the truth, and to work diligently in advancing his kingdom. And though the dark clouds that loom over our nation’s future may seem menacing, let us bear in mind that they are only temporary and pale in comparison to the bright future of God’s kingdom made fully manifest.
As we consider the sinister motive behind these recent Motions and what may follow, take heed of the words of our King as we engage our culture and proclaim the truth:
Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. But beware of men; for they will hand you over to their councils and flog you in their synagogues. On My account, you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to respond or what to say. In that hour you will be given what to say. For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you (Matt. 10:16-20).
 Thomas Woodley, "In case you missed it, Canada passed an Anti-Islamophobia Motion," Huffington Post, last modified November 2, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/thomas-woodley/canada-anti-islamophobia-law_b_12753924.html.
 House of Commons, "E-petitions: e-411 (Islam)," Parliament of Canada, accessed November 9, 2016, https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-411https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-411.
 House of Commons, "E-petitions: e-411 (Islam).
 House of Commons, "E-petitions: e-411 (Islam).
 Parliament of Canada, "Practical guide (9th edition) – 3 – Private Members’ Business,” Parliament of Canada, last modified October 2008, http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/PracticalGuides/PrivateMembersBusiness/PG4PMB_Pg03-e.htm.
 Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali identifies this as a form of religious pluralism in The Unique and Universal Christ: Jesus in a Plural World (Colorado Springs: Paternoster, 2008), 16.
 As just a few examples see Surah 2:191-93; 3:151; Sahih Bukari 8:387.
 Woodley, “In case you missed it.”
 Greg L. Bahnsen, Pushing the Antithesis: The Apologetic Methodology of Greg L. Bahnsen, ed. Gary DeMar (Powder Springs, GA.: American Vision Press, 2007), 10.
 Lea Singh, "Jordan Peterson exposes the creeping dictatorship of gender-rights movement," Life Site, last modified November 4, 2016, https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/jordan-peterson-exposes-the-creeping-dictatorship-of-gender-rights-movement.
 Anthony Furey, "Canada’s so-called anti-islamophobia motion is nothing but trouble," Toronto Sun, last modified January 28, 2017, http://www.torontosun.com/2017/01/28/canadas-so-called-anti-islamophobia-motion-is-nothing-but-trouble.
 Joe Boot, "Utopia: Always a Dystopian Nightmare," in The Coming Pagan Utopia: Christian Witness in Tough Times, ed. Peter Jones (Escondido, CA.: Main Entry, 2013), 15.
 Joe Boot, "A Muslim Apologist in the White House?," Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity, last modified February 6, 2016, http://www.ezrainstitute.ca/resource-library/blog-entries/a-muslim-apologist-in-the-white-house#_ftn5.