On Friday, Canadians were treated to the rather distressing spectacle of a protest being held outside a mosque in Toronto, calling for, among other things, an end to Muslim immigration and a ban on the practice of Islam in Canada. The total number of protesters, according to reports, was only 15, so one should not blow this out of proportion. But it should give pause to all those in the Conservative party, who have been lying and otherwise making a fuss about the M-103 motion.
I wouldn’t have much to say about the whole thing, except that I heard a great interview with one of the protesters on CBC radio (which I can’t seem to track down online). Now I know that many, many people in small-l liberal societies are not actually small-l liberal. Nevertheless, it is seldom that one hears the anti-liberal viewpoint expressed so compactly and efficiently. The interviewer asked one of the protesters, basically, “what’s the difference between what you’re doing and someone who dislikes Judaism, protesting outside a synagogue?” The answer was, roughly, “the difference is that Judaism is not evil, whereas Islam is.”
It doesn’t get much better than that. There’s no need for freedom of religion, all you have to do is look at each religion, one at a time, figure out whether it is “good” or “evil,” then allow only the good ones to be practiced. Someone should suggest this to Kellie Leitch, as an even better way of screening immigrants: just separate the “good” ones from the “evil” ones, and only let the good ones in. Who could possible oppose such a policy? Only those who support evil…
Actually, the whole thing could serve as a great test, to determine whether and to what extent people really “get” liberalism. If your first response, upon hearing the protester’s argument, was some variation on “that’s ridiculous, Islam is not evil,” then you’re about as much of a liberal as she is. If instead your response was some variation on, “that’s ridiculous, questions of individual freedom cannot be settled by first-order judgments about the good,” then welcome to the mainstream of elite opinion!