Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Beware the Extremists - 2

Let's see if I understand this properly.

 Same Sex (or being gay)Adultery (having sex with someone you are not married to)
Sin?Yes (mostly)Yes (most definitely, clear and unambiguously stated)
Destroys the institution of marriage?DebatableMost definitely.
Number of Canadians involved?Negligible portion of the populationSignificant portion of the population - and I am counting premarital sex, one-night stands, live-in, common law - all of which are 'sin', as defined by religion.
Number of protesters againstA lotZero
Number of politicians against?Quite a fewZero

This is where I stop understanding. If you are going to apply religion, why apply it selectively? Why not all of it? If you believe homosexuality is a sin and that is why you are opposed to gay rights in Canada you should also be supportive of legislation to punish adultery, as well as a host of other things your religion tells you to.

Conservatives will rally against a Muslim who wants allow voluntary arbitration by religious clerics but will endorse (and associate with) their own candidates who want to implement their version of Sharia. Calling it 'traditional' does not make it any less than an equivalent of Sharia - it is still religious law. A lot of it doesn't even make sense.

I am a definitely straight Muslim. I believe homosexuality is a sin and gays are living in sin and all that. There is no way around it, that's what God said to us and you are free to reject it if you like. At the same time, I know in Canada I have to live with people whose values and religious beliefs are a lot different than my own. I would not like my rights as a minority curbed, so why should I deny another minority their rights?

And why is that always the people to deny others the rights are always the same 'type' of people? First they supported slavery because the Bible allowed slaves. Then they didn't want Sikh RCMP officers to wear turbans in the name of 'tradition'. Now they are targeting gay rights. Will Harper become the first Prime Minister to take away a right?

And they call us religious fundamentalists.

See also:
Beware The Extremists - 1
Contraception and you


Monday, October 23, 2006

Jane Pitfield Grabs My Attention

"but her pledge to build two kilometres of new subway line each year for 25 years drew some scepticism. She reiterated her claim that the subways could go in for $100 million a kilometre, although the new subway line to York University will cost more than twice that." [Star]

That's the best idea to come out of a councillor in decades. I don't care how much it costs. I don't care if garbage pickup is once every two weeks. I don't care if she flip-flopped (allegedly). This single issue will most likely clinch the deal for me.

I have to now pay more attention to her.

And best of all, she has the hair of a mayor.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tories Worried About ...

Here's another story that some of the Blogging Tories don't want you to see. After all, it would destroy their nice little fantasy that we are out to violently take over the world.

For their kind information, the soup kitchen at Nugget Mosque serves over 600 people a day during some of the busiest weekends.

Whereas from the Blogging Tories we get post denouncing women's rights to clothe themselves as they see fit, 10 ways to fight Islamofacism (BTW wtf is Islamofacism), alleged persecution of Christians, and so on. Coupled ofcourse with a post on how the Court Challenges Program is not dead enough.

Stephane Dion said it best: "Liberals, we need to get back to power as soon as possible."

Being Murdered While Black

When someone tells me that there are no racist police in Canada or that racism is not a problem for immigrants in Canada that person is usually not of a visible minority. I would be one of the first to believe that yes, there is some racism in Canada. However, even I am loathe to concede that the delay in the conclusion of the murder investigation of Chantel Dunn has anything to do with racism.

Dunn vs. Creba [Star]

Jane Creba was shot in broad daylight in one of the busiest intersections of downtown Toronto while shopping in one of the busiest days of the year. She was totally a random figure and was not connected in anyway to the shootings.

Chantel Dunn was killed as she left the darkened Northwood Community Centre near Jane St. and Sheppard Ave. W., on a dead-end street in a quiet residential neighbourhood. She was connected to the killers - the bullet was meant for her boyfriend. And her boyfriend, Shane Morrison - as I suspected when I read the first paragraph - though not a member, was associated with a gang that became divided. Rivalries escalated, and one group shot at the former high school basketball star to send a message. He was hit, but the fatal bullet struck Dunn.

The public outcry that followed Creba's shooting was because the bullet could have hit anyone on that day, and people were outraged at criminals that displayed such brazen disregard for human lives. In comparison, the killers of Dunn clearly aimed at her boyfriend, according to the police.

I am all in support of the black community when they want to complain about racism. However, in Chantel Dunn's case, if you want to blame anyone for the delay in the investigation, blame an uncooperative Morrison. If you want to blame anyone for bringing death to Dunn, blame Morrison.

Moral of the story: Stay away from gangs and gangmembers. They kill.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Harper Exactly Right On Reverse Onus

I don't usually find myself in agreement with the Toronto Sun, so today is a rare day. Their editorial today praises Mr Harper's recent decision to place a reverse onus on a criminal convicted for the third time, a plan opposed the Liberals and the NDP. To quote:
We were particularly amused to see the federal Liberals and Toronto mayor David Miller criticizing Harper's proposal almost as soon as he announced it.

Remember in the last federal election when former Liberal PM Paul Martin and Miller, along with Premier Dalton McGuinty, announced they favoured placing a reverse onus on people accused of gun crimes who seek bail?

They said that following a wave of shootings in Toronto leading up to the horrible Boxing Day massacre on Yonge St.

So, to review, less than a year ago they advocated placing the onus on someone simply accused of a gun crime to prove he was not a threat before being granted bail.

But now they're against a law to place a similar onus on repeat offenders who have not just been charged, but convicted of violent crimes not just once, but three times?
The Conservatives have got it right on this occasion.

I always felt the Liberals started to lose support around Boxing Day, and not because of the RCMP investigation into the income trust tax scandal. It was after the shooting of Jane Creba on Boxing Day. Toronto had been struck by gun crime for the last year, and the government seemed to do nothing. I lived in Toronto, and I always voted Liberal, and I was frustrated at the Liberals.

Especially when Paul Martin unveiled his good-for-nothing plan to ban guns that were already banned. Especially when he suggested a policy of reverse onus on a person not yet convicted of anything. That showed to me that the Liberals were desperate, willing to do anything and say anything to cling on to power, and such governments rarely do any good.

Though I disagree with Mr Harper on most issues, on the problem of crime he has got it exactly right. As I wrote before to the Sun,
There are two aspects to dealing with crime - social and judicial. We need social policies to distribute wealth to the poor, to provide education and health care. We need to identify and assist "at-risk" youth. But once a crime is committed, the criminal no longer deserves our sympathy. We don't need to find reasons why they committed the crime. We have to provide justice to the victim - by hunting down the criminals and punishing them with a tough sentence that will act as a deterrent to others. The criminals involved in the Toronto Boxing Day shootout had the same health plan, education and opportunities in life as their victims. Where is the "exclusion?"

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Converts Breaking The Law

I would urge everyone to watch Canada's entry for the Oscars, Water, an excellent film about injustices faced by widows in India due to religious fundamentalists. Another negative aspect to emerge from religion in India is the caste system, and today thousands of lower case Hindus converted to Christianity and Buddhism to escape the discrimination faced by lower-caste Hindus. However they will now face troubles from the law, as several Indian states have outlawed "conversion".
Thousands of people have been attending mass ceremonies in India at which hundreds of low-caste Hindus (Dalits) converted to Buddhism and Christianity.
Udit Raj, a Dalit leader, told the BBC that around 2,500 people converted to Christianity and Buddhism.
Similar mass conversions are taking place this month in many other parts of India.

Several states governed by the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, have introduced laws to make such conversions more difficult.
Hinduism teaches that most humans were created from parts of the body of the divinity Purusha.

According to which body parts they were created from, humans fall into four basic castes which define their social standing, who they can marry, and what jobs they can do.

But Dalits fall outside this system and are traditionally prevented from doing all but the most menial jobs or even drinking from the same water sources as other castes. [BBC]


Friday, October 13, 2006

When Ignatieff Was Right ...

Despite my criticism and misgivings about Mr. Ignatieff, I stand behind him 100% when he issues a statement such as this:

Yesterday, Stephen Harper used my statement that war crimes were committed in this conflict to launch a personal attack on me and on my colleagues running for the leadership of the Liberal party of Canada.

Mr. Harper's remarks were a disgrace. A disgrace for a man who holds an office that is supposed to represent all Canadians. A disgrace for a man who is supposed to defend our constitution and our national institutions, including the integrity of our Parliament. There is no basis for Mr. Harper to suggest that the Liberal Party is biased against Israel. The Prime Minister showed a profound lack of respect to the official opposition and a profound lack of respect to the Canadian people who elected him.

For Mr. Harper, all issues are black or white. He believes that you're either with him or against him. He believes that the blind pursuit of ideology and power should trump all else.

It is because of this one sided, black or white, blind to the realities of the world approach that Mr. Harper failed Canadians this summer.

Mr. Harper and the Conservatives failed to address the damage that the conflict was doing to relations between the Lebanese and Jewish communities in Canada.

Never mind, failing to stake out the positive role that Canada could play in defusing the crisis.

Finally, by taking an entirely one-dimensional position on the conflict, the Conservatives may have weakened Canada's ability to contribute to the potential long term resolution of Middle East tensions.

Leadership means talking honestly and directly with Canadians. Leadership means putting aside the political game now and again to talk about what is in our country's best interests.

Canadians deserve a Prime Minister that helps Canadians from all communities to find a common language in which we can speak about difficult issues together.

One of the first facts about you learn when studying for your citizenship is that once elected, the elected official represents ALL the people in the constituency. A Prime Minister represents the office, not a partisian political party.

To see how good the Conservatives are at dividing Canadians, splitting friends against friends, and provoking rather than defusing, check this comment left on Michelle Oliel's blog by a conservative.

The liberal party is embracing an ever-growing muslim immigrant community that despises us. The liberals don't hate Jews or Israel, they are opportunists who will do anything to get votes. The writing is on the wall. Soon the muslim vote will mean more than the Jewish vote. Iggy's just being a good little red. Jews helped the liberal party get where they are and now they don't need you anymore, Michelle.

Iggy's words are typical of the left. Throw out an accusation for consumption of the unclean masses and hope it sticks. He said these comments to gain support of Quebecers and muslim immigrants in Quebec who are viciously anti-Semitic and viciously anti-Israel. My family is from Quebec and that's how it is there. To deny it shows you don't know Quebec.

Michelle, when Ignazieff wins your nomination and turns the entire party into an anti-Semitic basket-case, what will you do? Or you can sit back as they lie to your face that they're friends of Israel. Don't believe them. And look at Ottawa Liberal's comments for what the NEW liberal grassroots thinks about you as a Jew.

Stephen Harper, you are without class. I can't wait to defeat you out of office under the next Liberal leader, whoever it is.


2006 Nobel Prize For Poverty Bankers

As a Bangladeshi-Canadian Muslim this makes me extremely proud. Atlast they have recognized this great man for his simple yet practical solution to eliminating poverty from the world. With his business venture he has enrichened himself as well as empowered thousands of poor, rural women. He also shattered stereotypes of the country, by allowing women not only to earn and make financial decisions for the family, but to act as a role model for others.

Just out of curiosity, and as a thought exercise, I wonder if such a project will work in Canada. For starters, Grameen Bank only lends to women - because they don't waste the money on gambling, drinks or women unlike their husbands. Pretty soon someone will bring a Charter challenge to that, citing discrimination by gender. Second, the bank uses a system of collective co-security. For example, if four people want the loan, the bank will assign it to one of them, but each of the four will have to co-sign as guarantor. When the first person pays it back, the loan goes to the second person, and so on. If the first person wants to default or slack off her project, the others pressurize her and "motivate" her to succeed. Could this be intimidation in Canada?

Interesting how concepts work differently across different cultures.

This year the Novel committee has struck twice; first by awarding the Literature prize to Orhan Pamuk of Turkey they have promoted freedom of expression, and second by awarding it to Muhammad Yunus they have promoted a practical way of fighting poverty and realising visions.


Gaza fishermen risk Israeli fire

Now This Is A War Crime in my book.
According to Mr Habeel, it did not issue any verbal warning, but opened fire first at the cables holding the nets - cutting them adrift.

Then he says the Israelis circled the unarmed fishermen spraying their craft with machine gun fire from no more than 20m away.

Mr Habeel says that one of the bullets hit Hani al-Najaar - ripping open the side of his head.

"I saw him killed," Mr Habeel says. "I couldn't bear it. God bless him."

Mr Najaar leaves two children.

I am against such policies of collective punishment by the State of Israel. Does it make me anti-semitic? I don't think so, as I don't grudge Israel's right to exist, however such policies need to be condemned by our Foreign Affairs minister and Prime Minister when they talk about Middle East issues.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Where Does Ignatieff Stand?

"I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." - John F. Kerry, 2003.

I have compared Ignatieff to Kerry before. Smart man, a not so smart politician.

On the Israeli war against Lebanon he told the Canadian Press on August 12 that he had miss-spoken when he told the Toronto Star earlier that he was "not losing sleep" over civilian deaths in Lebanon. But the words and the attitude behind them were not the least bit hesitant at the time. In the Star interview -- where he was asked to comment on the Israeli bombing of the village of Qana, where at least 28 Lebanese civilians were killed, he said dismissively:

"It wasn't Qana. Qana was frankly inevitable in a situation in which you have rocket launchers within 100 yards of a civilian population. This is the nature of the war that's going on ...This is the kind of dirty war you're in when you have to do this and I'm not losing sleep about that. [link]"

And now, we are to suddenly believe Ignatieff thinks Israel has committed a war crime [National Post]? Why did Michael Ignatieff change his position? What new evidence does he have? And if there is no new evidence, what changed his views?

This (new) view of Ignatieff is actually closer to my views. I have always held the belief that Israel went overboard in its reaction and thought it could finish off the Hezb ollah, and then got stuck in a war it couldn't "win" in the technical sense of the term. Typical neo-con mentality. At that time, after perusing all of Ignatieff's quotes, I had the feeling he was very pro-Israel.

Which is fine. You are free to be pro-Israel. When I choose my leader, that is just one factor I take into consideration. I know Bob Rae is staunchly pro-Israel and that does not discourage me from him (his NDP past does that). I know where most of the other candidates stand.

But now, I don't know where Ignatieff stands. And please - don't give me the crap about he stands for the truth. Either he

a) made a gaffe when trying to explain another gaffe
b) genuinely switched his views after coming into contact with some new evidence that the rest of the world does not know about
c) saw that he was the most popular person after Super Weekend and thought changing his position would help him more
d) didn't change his position at all - huh?

So, which of the above is it?


Friday, October 06, 2006

Jack Straw's Veil Comments

I wasn't originally going to post anything on this issue on this blog as it's not a Canadian issue; however a couple of the Blogging Tories (the usual suspects) have raised this topic as their latest excuse for Muslim bashing comments, perhaps as a distraction from the soldier's pay cut issue. My comments on Jack Straw's statements are on my personal blog.

As an aside, I fail to see where most of the supposed outrage in the Muslim community is coming from. For example, during the Pope fiasco, the media focused on this group in Bangladesh, Khatme-Nobi Andolon, that protested and led a march against the Pope. Number of people = 200. Number of people at a nearby political protest against the government = 10,000. They are a small group of fundamentalists - however they are more fun to interview.

If the media wants to know what the average western Muslim thinks, they should interview Western people like Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Dr. Zakir Naik, Br. Tarik Ziad and so on, not zealots who crave attention.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Toronto Election Watch - 1

With the Super Weekend gone, it is time to focus on the upcoming municipal elections. As far as Toronto is concerned, I am going to vote for the candidate that will solve (or attempt to solve) our no. 1 problem - traffic.

Right now the big idea promoted is dismantling the Gardner (east of Spadina) and building a Front Street extension (similar to four lane University Ave.), as if University Ave. is such a high speed expressway.

Traffic on southbound University Ave., 5.10 pm

So far both the primary candidates (Miller and Pitfield) have decided to focus on crime as their main issue - whereas statistics show crime is down in the city. I hope the community takes them to task on the issue of gridlock - we need to increase the outdated TTC subway system and upload the cost to the province.