Monday, July 30, 2007

The MCC Has No Importance

I was amused today to see both Warren Kinsella and Queer Liberal play up the MCC's lack of support for John Tory's plan for funding religious schools.

The MCC has zero credibility amongst most Muslims in Canada, as far as I can see. Many of us see them as left wing loons, with a few solid ideas, but so removed from religious orthodoxy that what they say has no weight. This is isn't to say that other Muslim groups are very credible (there is a crisis of leadership) but as far as the MCC goes, not many particularly even like them.

If the Liberals want to focus on education (and they should - no labour problems in last four years, class sizes down, etc.) they would do well not to remind ethnic voters about the Tory plan (most Hindu, Jewish and Muslims are in favour of funding faith bases schools AS LONG AS the Catholic system is also funded). Letters like the MCC's play no part in dissuading them from this fact - rather enforce the idea of discrimination that exists.


Anonymous said...

I apologize this is off-topic. I've just been reading some of your past postings, and was very impressed! You write extremely well. I'm not sure what kind of work you are in, but it seems to me you could definitely write for a living if you so desired.

I am intrigued by your comments on a number of topics because I don't have any Muslim friends. It was particularly nteresting hearing your take on funding of religious schools, and your thoughts on gays (I am a gay man, partnered for nearly 14 years). I know two different women whose families were from Iran, but both were born in the west, and neither practice as Muslims.

At any rate, didn't want to drone on about my life. I just wanted to tell you it was interested reading many of your past posts - on this and your other blog. Look forward to reading your opinions in the future.



KC said...

I dont understand why the MCC would be disliked. They seem quite reasonable.

s.b. said...

I'm sorry Mezba but to most people those immersed in religious orthodoxy are the "loons", and i mean any religious orthodoxy. Seems like you are the one who might want to re-evaluate the credibility of your position if you describe moderate Muslims as loons.

mezba said...

Joe: thanx for the comments. I try to comment on social issues as much as I can from my own viewpoint, which is an orthodox liberal Muslim viewpoint. Please continue to visit and comment.

Kc: MCC is not disliked, it just doesn't have any credibility. It's not because they are not reasonable - some of their positions (such as on the recent knighting of Rushdie) are quite reasonable and mainstream. Indeed, one of their debates on Sharia law, where an MCC gentleman squared off against a fundamentalist Taliban-lite, is applause worthy. The debate is available here; unfortunately it's only in Bengali.

Where they get into trouble is when they frequently take positions that most (majority of) Muslims cannot support, and then they claim it is part of Islam, which most recognize as not true.

Some of their positions are (a) legalizing homosexual marriage - while most Muslims are OK with gays in the society and some like myself even are passive about gay marriage, it's another thing to say it is our duty to support it (b) not recognizing that discrimination exists when catholic schools are funded and other faiths are not (c) adovcating positions not acceptable to common Muslims such as women leading mixed prayer services which is just not on.

Sb: I think I am more in touch with the muslim community than you are.

KC said...

Mezba - I took a look at the MCC press release you linked to. While the MCC doesnt explicitly call on the government to abolish the Catholic school board (which that probably should have) they certainly strongly allude to it:

For this reason the MCC demands that every province in Canada should have a single public school system, available to every child. We believe that only a single unified school systems should be supported by tax dollars.


The Muslim Canadian Congress does not want to see tax dollars taken from public schools to support segregated schools. We are committed to work toward a unified education system, providing equal opportunity to all Canadian children.

It sounds like the MCC's position is no different than my own and not far off from yours. While I certainly believe that equality dictates that we not fund one religion to the exclusion of all others, and believe that its "all or none" I also believe there is great evil in letting religion get its "foot in the door" so to speak to our education system. Once all the religions have funding--particularly the protestants of which there are an equal number in Ontario as Catholics--it will be much much harder to reverse due to pure electoral calculus. Hopefully the unfortunate continuation of discrimination will pay dividends when we have a wholly secular public school system. Other provinces have gotten rid of their Catholic school boards and Ontario can to.

Equality is only one of many values I hold dear. Secularism is of equal importance. I wont blindly pursue the former and ignore the latter.

mezba said...

KC: Since the MCC is calling for Muslims not to support John Tory's position, I feel they should also clearly state they want the Catholic system to go.

As I said some time last year, I don't support state funded religious schools. However as long as one is funded, then it is a sort of discrimination.

Anyways, as I said, if you poll the Muslim population of Toronto, you will find not many agree with the MCC population. I have done a rough straw poll on Sikhs and some Jewish (not many I am afraid) friends I have, and they are of the same belief: it is OK for other schools to ask for funds as long as the Catholic system is funded.