In an editorial today, the Ottawa Citizen praises the decision of Harper’s government to cancel a planned speech by a prominent imam.
To be clear, I think it is entirely appropriate to give the cold shoulder to an organization according to which Israelis over the age of 18 are fair game for killing. No argument there on my part.
But… the article goes on to discuss the practice of taqiyya, or “holy deception”, yet I think they’re guilty of a little bit of holy deception of their own, when they list the traits which they associate with Islamist extremism: denouncing Israeli policies as racist, or calling for the removal of Hezbollah and Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations.
Being a devoted atheist, I don’t think I qualify as an Islamist extremist, and having voted with my feet against the “workers’ paradise” I don’t think I qualify as a good left-wing extremist either. But… I tend to believe that some of the policies of Israel indeed qualify as racist, and I tend to believe that, in the interest of realpolitik if nothing else, legitimizing Hezbollah and Hamas may be the right thing to do.
Years ago, I argued that it should be possible to be critical of the actions of the government of Israel without being labeled an anti-Semite. The same way, it is wrong to denounce Muslim critics of the Israeli government as Islamist extremists. If we wish to live in a world that is free of Sharia law and of prohibitions against defaming a religion, we must realize that it also has to be a world in which one is free to denounce a government or be critical of an inflexible policy towards a popular political organization.