Posted by on 29July,2017 in Humanist Cafe | 0 comments

 


The Humanist Cafe

   Wednesday, August 2, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
     James Bay New Horizons
     234 Menzies Street James Bay

Topic: Islamophobia, Democracy, Misinformation, and Human Rights

Presenter – Dr. Barrie Webster

moderator – John Pope

Populist thinking and the conventional news media would have us believe that much of what is wrong with the world today is the fault of someone other than ourselves. Currently, Muslims and Islam are a good example of this ‘other’.

Interpretation of thorny human rights issues (e.g., the case of Omar Khadr), bring this to the fore. Crawford Killan, retired professor from Capilano College penned the following opinion piece:

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/07/24/Omar-Khadr-Target-Vindictiveness/

And Vancouver secularist, Ben Feral Selinger, ardently agrees. “Do you believe that you, as a Canadian, have the right to be presumed innocent, until proven guilty, as well as the right to a fair and quick trial?”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/07/12/viral-facebook-post-rips-right-wing-arguments-against-omar-khadr-settlement

Hatred for Muslims is also a convenient rallying tool for those on the far right

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41265-islamophobia-is-the-glue-that-unites-diverse-factions-of-the-far-right

And the trend towards normalizing this sort of thinking and the push to convert western civilization to accept a right-wing libertarian life-stance is backed by enormously powerful and well-heeled forces.

Misinforming the Majority is a deliberate strategy of right-wing Libertarians, such as the Southern economist, James McGill Buchanan (who won a Nobel Prize in economic sciences), and Charles Koch, who financed him.

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/history/2017/06/james_mcgill_buchanan_s_terrifying_vision_of_society_is_the_intellectual.html

The interview with Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains, discusses Buchanan’s thesis.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41206-misinforming-the-majority-a-deliberate-strategy-of-right-wing-libertarians

Do we value democracy? How many of us have relatives who have fought in various ways to defend it? What is the extent of the influence of our economic system? The following example is drawn for the UK:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/29/socialism-for-the-rich

And the following interview with Noam Chomsky is instructive:

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/38682-socialism-for-the-rich-capitalism-for-the-poor-an-interview-with-noam-chomsky

Questions to Ponder

Can we be critical of religious dogma such as that found in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and at the same time find the strength to resist the drive to harness the hatred fomented in the name of secularism to further the aims of the far-right?

Could someone please explain the previous question?

Is not extremism, whether religious, secular, or political, anathema to Humanism?

What about far left extremism?  What does that look like?

Islamophobia is defined fundamentally as ‘the fear of Islam’, but it is more commonly used to mean ‘hatred toward Muslims and Islam’.  Does hatred always stem from fear?

See you there!  Bring a theist.