Gavin Boby delivered his speech at the Ottawa Public Library last Monday night without incident it turns out, but there was a fuss raised locally from various politically correct prigs who obstinately accuse Mr. Boby of promoting hate against Muslims. Their objections, aside from the content of Mr. Boby’s public speaking, is that the Ottawa Public Library rented him space to speak. Thankfully, they refrained from coming out in force to shout him down as was the case when Ann Coulter came to Ottawa for a speaking engagement at the University of Ottawa in March of 2012. Strangely enough the people who shout down those whose thoughts and opinions they dislike deny this is censorship. On the contrary, they insist, it is about stopping the likes of Mr Boby from inciting hatred against vulnerable minority groups in our society. In the case of Mr. Boby’s speech, it seems that any criticism of Islam is viewed as hate speech by the politically correct. I chose not to go hear Mr. Boby speak, but Mika and I have since viewed the segments of his recent speeches on video which is published on the internet. On the basis of what we viewed, we are satisfied that this is not hate speech. Mr. Boby is not without his critics either. In his opening remarks, Mr. Boby shared with the audience some of the epithets he has received in the press back in England. He gets more than his share of unflattering commentary in the British press, to say the least.
My only criticism of Mr. Boby’s opinion is he fails to make a distinction between Islam as a religion and Islamism as a political ideology. Islamism is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as follows:
2 : a popular reform movement advocating the reordering of government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.
If his concern is with Islamism, then I share his concern. The last thing I want is to live in a society whose laws and mores are based on religious doctrine, Islamic or otherwise. Having said this, however, I accept that in a liberal democratic society where governance is non-sectarian, as we have in Canada, the law allows for religious liberty. Canadian citizens are free to have faith or none at all as they choose. Churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, meeting houses, etc., can be found across the country in Canada and this is fine. Clerics and religious folk are free to express their thoughts and opinions and to petition governments as to the legislation of laws just as any non-believing citizens, but we are careful, as a society to maintain the distinction between religion and the secular nation state.
The danger I see with Islamism is that its adherents want to impose Islamic doctrine on society, making it the law of the land, or at the very least establish what could be described as a parallel society through the imposition of Sharia law alongside the civil law of the land. I insist there be one law for everyone. Religious institutions have their own laws of course, such as Canon law in Roman Catholicism and Talmud in Judaism, but these laws pertain to religious matters exclusively and the rulings of ecclesiastical tribunals and courts have no bearing on the application of the Criminal Code of Canada or the Common law in English Canada or the Civil Code in Quebec. Muslims are free to practice their faith in Canadian society just as Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, so long as the understanding remains that religious belief and its obligations remain a private matter and that there is a strict separation between religious belief and civil society.
Posted by Geoffrey