‘Drawing Muhammed’ acknowledges acceptance of Islam into Western culture

This post is dedicated to all those who say:

“I believe in freedom of speech, but drawing Muhammed is a provocation, Islamophobia and hate speech!”

Or something along those lines.

And I answer you that nothing could be further from the truth!!!

When the original Danish Cartoon controversy erupted into worldwide violence, my son had a classmate, Abdulahee, whom he was very good friends with.  Abdi’s dad used to be a Math teacher before immigrating to Canada from Africa and their mutual love of Math led them into a great friendship.

As parents dropping off and picking up kids in the lower grades of school often get to know each other and chat together, I got to know Abdi’s parents:  his mom was shy, and would only return greetings and a smile, but his dad was more open and the two of us would often chat about the weather and such.

As an immigrant myself a few decades earlier, I was curious how the ‘new immigrant’ experience had changed since my days and so I would ask him and our conversation taught me some interesting things.  At times, we even discussed politics…

It was at the time that the violent reaction against the cartoons was at its highest that, while offering Abdi’s dad a ride home after we had dropped off our little ones at school, I asked him what he thought…

Yes, my dear readers, many have pointed out to me that asking a newly arrived Muslim immigrant his opinion on the cartoons and the violent reaction to them in the Muslim world was not politically correct and that I might have been ‘putting him on the spot’, so to speak.  Rest assured, I asked as politely as my little Aspie self was capable of and assured him he did not have to comment if he were uncomfortable.

Which he was not.

He thought the cartoons were totally horrible and should not have been published and that death was an appropriate punishment for the cartoonists and the publishers.

OK, I asked – and was told.

By this point, we had arrived near his house, but he seemed very reluctant to leave the conversation at this.  So, we sat in a parked car in front of his house and, for the next half-hour to an hour, we talked.  And talked.  And talked…about the cartoons, the reaction, and all that…

Because I knew this was an intelligent and educated man and I was truly interested in learning why he thought political cartoons were sufficient justification for killing someone, and he was open to explaining his reasoning to me, I sat, and listened, learned and, at times, asked questions.

This issue was front and centre in the Muslim community he was a part of and they discussed it a lot among themselves.  And the anger and bitterness were not faked:  they were truly felt.


Because their religious leaders explained to them that this action was a direct attack on the Muslim family, an act of intolerance and racism.  Islamophobia!

“You guys would not do this with an image of Jesus, so why do you think that you can do it to our prophet and get away with it?  If they did this about the Christian God, they’d be in jail or dead!”  he explained animatedly to me…

Well, you can see where this is heading, my dear readers.  With a smile of surprise on my face I asked why ever would he think this?

It seems that he was assured by his religious and community leaders that this is absolutely so!

At this point, I took the opportunity to tell Abdi’s dad about ‘Piss Christ’ and ‘Elephant Dung Madonna’.

He was incredulous.

So, I walked him through (in my limited manner) some of the reasons behind the reformation and enlightenment and how criticizing -nay, ridiculing, parodizing and blaspheming – political and religious figures in our society is the cornerstone of our culture and the root of our tolerance.

Yes, tolerance.

Because if nothing is so sacred that it cannot be lampooned and parodied, then nothing can be so powerful enough in our society as to force everyone to officially respect it, even if it is contrary to their own belief system.

If everyone can make fun of Christ, then nobody can force a non-Christian to bow to him as a God.

If everyone can make fun of a Guru, then nobody but his followers need to act as if he’s more than any other man and bow to him in respect.

If everyone can make fun of our politicians and famous people, then nobody gets pun in jail for telling political jokes – but, more importantly, nobody gets put in jail for pointing out when said politician brakes the laws.  It keeps them ‘human’ and not above the rest of us.

It is not a perfect mechanism, but it is the best one we have!

After his first incredulity, Abdi’s father started thinking.

And then he asked:  “So, when they make fun of Muhammed, it means he has become an important figure in your culture?”


It is precisely because Islam has become a part of our cultural tapestry that Muhammed has become an influential political figure in our culture, along side of Jesus and others.

And yes – apart from being a religious figure, Jesus Christ is also a political figure.  And now, since Islam has become a part of our cultural tapestry, so is Muhammed!

In a very real sense, criticism of Islam in general and Muhammed in particular, and drawing cartoons/caricatures of him, is far from ‘rejection of Islam’ or ‘Islamophobia’:  rather, it is the tacit acknowledgement that Islam is now part of our culture and that its leading figures – religious, political or cultural – are being treated equally to leading religious, political and cultural figures in the rest of our society.

Even at the height of the violent times, a reasonable Muslim grasped that drawing Muhammed was a symbol of acceptance, not rejection, of Muslims into our midst.  I just hope others can be as open minded!

Abraham Lincoln tried to patent ‘Facebook’

Oh, this one is for the ‘neat’ files!!!

Abraham Lincoln tried to patent – unsuccessfully – a hardcopy version of what we now know as ‘Facebook’:  from the profile picture, to likes, updates and ‘sharing’ all the way to who can see how much of the profile.

Really neat!

Which, of course, begs a gaggle of questions:  starting with ‘If Abe Lincoln was denied a patent – why is the Zuckerbaby’s one valid?’



‘Buy a soldier a coffee’ campaign by Kaffir Kanuck

Kaffir Kanuck is currently serving in Afghanistan as a member of Canadian Forces.

Kaffir Kanuck has a ‘Timmies’ coffee card.

Kaffir Kanuck has been using his ‘Timmies’ card to buy fellow soldiers coffee:  a little taste of home away from home.

Natasha, over at Moose and Squirrel, has set up and posted a Pay-Pal button through which all of us can help Kaffir Kanuck in his quest.  All the funds donated by August 15th, 2010, will be put into one anonymous ‘pot’ and transferred to Mrs. Kaffir Kanuck, who will then load them onto the’ Timmies’ card that Kaffir Kanuck has right there, in Afghanistan!

So, if you appreciate the good men and women of the Canadian Military, and if you can (and would like to) show your appreciation by buying a cup of coffee for a few of them, here is your chance!

Thank you!


A delicious way to help others

If you will be in Ottawa on Saturday, June 19th, 2010…

If you like to help others…

If you love delicious food…

Then you just might be interested in the MSMF India Food Fest 2010!

It starts at 11 am, and takes place at the Andrew Haydon Park – and, from past experience, I have to say the food is fantastic.

On the menu:

An enjoyable way to spend a Saturday!

Autism Registry: a pilot project by Ottawa Police

If you read my blog, you are probably aware that I have a strong interest in Asperger’s Sydrome:  I am an Aspie, I am married to an Aspie, both my children are Aspies, most of my friends are, if not full-Aspies, at least ‘almost-Aspies.

Hence the interest.

Or, perhaps, obsession…

While I like to explain that Asperger’s is to Autism like ‘wearing glasses’ is to ‘being blind’, it is an Autism spectrum disorder, there is some overlap (OK – I’d have to  go on a tangent to explain this ‘right’:  let it suffice (for here) that both Autism and Asperger’s have the same ‘thing’ which affects how the brain is wired ‘differently’, but the difference is that each affects a different bit of the brain….some people have a bit of ‘re-wiring’ in both areas – thus, the overlap).  So, I am always paying attention when I hear about both…

So, I was quite interested when I heard that the Ottawa Police were doing some sort of a pilot project to do with interacting with members of our community who are Autistic or have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Thanks go to my favourite Ottawa City Councillor, Eli El-Chantiry, for getting me in touch with the people running the pilot project.

It looks excellent!

This – in a nutshell – is what it is about…

When a call comes in to the ‘911’ emergency service, the operator pulls up the info on the address where the call is coming from:

  • the address
  • map
  • other relevant info (like the much reviled gun registry, and so on)

A person who looks after an Autie or an Aspie (or the Autie/Aspie themselves) can register in this program.  When they do this, the ‘relevant information’ will include some information about the Autie/Aspie that lives there.

This can save lives!

The information can be, say, there is a small Autistic boy who fears loud noises.  If there is a fire alarm, he is likely to hide under the bed or in the closet.  Only answers to ‘Xxx’ nickname….  Touching him makes him panic.

Or, it can say something like ‘this is a group home for adult Auties.  These are their names, this is how they react to being agitated,’ and so on.

Information is power.

When emergency responders are walking into a situation where they know they will encounter a person who is not fully functional – and, the stress of emergency situations does often push ‘partially functional’ people (especially kids) into a non-functional state – they will be able to do their job better.

This Autism Registry pilot program harnesses the power of information into better helping vulnerable people in emergency situations.  Into saving live.

I liked what I learned about the program so much, I offered to help out as best I can.  And, perhaps, there may be a tiny role I can play.

One way I – and you – can help is to ‘spread the word’!

If you know someone in the City of Ottawa who would benefit from registering – tell them.

If you live outside of Ottawa, tell your police department to check out this pilot project in Ottawa.  The model is highly portable – perhaps your community would benefit from something similar!

Support ‘One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’

If you’ll be in London, UK, on the 28th of January, 2010, you might be interested in this (this is an email I received):


As you know, working against Sharia and religious laws, or coming out publicly as an ex-Muslim to break the taboo that comes with renouncing religion (an act punishable by death under Sharia) is not easy in this day and age. We’ve managed to do quite a good job nonetheless, thanks in large part to the support of people like you. But there is much more to be done and we can’t do it without your financial support, however small.

If you haven’t already done so, one way you can support the work of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All is to join the January 28 fundraiser dinner, which is only two weeks away. Tickets are still available so if you’re in London or can get here, please do try and come to the event. It is a good opportunity to support our important work whilst also enjoying a three-course dinner in an intimate environment.

The event’s keynote speaker will be AC Grayling, the renowned philosopher, author, writer, reviewer, and broadcaster. Comedian Nick Doody, Singer/Songwriter David Fisher and Magician Neil Edwards will also be there to entertain our guests.

To purchase a ticket(s) at £45.00 per person, you can either post a cheque made payable to One Law for All or CEMB to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX or pay via Paypal: http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/donate.html or Worldpay: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/indexDonate.html. If you’re paying by cheque, please make sure you email us so we know to reserve a place for you.

If you can’t come to the event but would like to support us nonetheless, please send in a donation so we can cover the cost of the activities we have planned for 2010. These include a March 8 seminar on legal and legislative ways to get rid of Sharia and religious laws in Britain; an art gallery show in spring; a June 20 rally against Sharia and political Islam and in support of people resisting it everywhere; a December conference on apostasy and Sharia law and much more…

We hope to see you at the fundraiser event or hear from you about how you can help us with the important work that lies ahead.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,


Maryam Namazie
One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

Why do people do this?

This is one of those tear-jerker stories I usually avoid:  it shows people at both our worst and our best.

About 150 km North-East of Ottawa, there once was a musher who bred Huskies as sled dogs.  Then the economy went bad….

This is the ‘worst’ bit….I will never understand how anyone, anyone can just leave animals tied up, without food or water….over a hundred of them!

I don’t know the full story, but my ‘educated guess’ is that the owner permitted rescuers to look after the dogs and eventually surrendered ownership to them in exchange for not facing charges.  Personally, I would find it difficult to be so generous with such a person.  The animal rescue folk are better people than I!

OK – here is the ‘best’ bit:  people are helping.  Complete strangers are opening their hearts and homes, and many others are opening their wallets. Looking after and protecting those who are not able to do it themselves (and, let’s not forget, in our society, we do not permit dogs to ‘look after themselves’!) is one of those best qualities we have.

My son brought this story home from school and asked me to blog about it, to make sure that as many people as possible learned about it. He proudly told me that his teacher was one of those good people who are helping.  And, he himself is dipping into his allowance…

Like I said – a tearjerker of a story!

Hats off to John Dietsch!

A WWII hero, Mr. Dietsch proved he’s still a hero!

And, Mr. Gray is cut from the same cloth!

These veterans proved that they still ‘have it’.

Mr. John Dietsch (84 years strong) and Mr. Earl Gray (20 years his junior) had just finished counting some $10,000 in donations to their Legion (Oakridge Legion, Branch 73), raised with the Poppy Campaign.  A gunman walked in and tried to rob them.

The octogenarian vet – obviously a man who is not afraid to face evil – stood up to him, not even bothering to cower before the would-be-robber’s loaded gun.  What a man!

Simply said, the two veterans refused to be robbed.  Mr. Dietsch is quoted as saying:

“But nobody was going to get that money we had worked so hard to collect. It’s for the veterans and the widows and the community.”

And that is it, isn’t it?  It was not his money:  it was money to help the vets and the widows – his community!

To all those collectivists out there, who think that people must never act as individuals, of their own accord, because ‘the group/society/community’ has a monopoly on decision making:   see, here!  Individuals CAN work for the good of the community without sacrificing their individuality!

Two such individuals – Mr. Dietsch and Mr. Gray – refused to buckle and I, for one, salute them.

Thank you, gentlemen.

For protecting the money which will go to help those who need it and who have earned it.

And, for still being an example and role model to us!


McGuinty’s ‘all-day schooling’ harms low-income women

This rant is a follow up to my State is Mother, State is Father… and Why young kids should not be ‘institutionalized’.

Why the rant?

The Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, had – on the advice of an ‘educator’ – suggested that children should be put in schools from 4 years of age:  from 7:30 in the morning to 6 in the evening (yes, that is a 10.5 hour work-day for the child), 50 weeks per year (only 2 weeks of holidays per year)…

There are many motives for doing this:  McGuinty’s announcement said that he would begin implementing this program in areas where school enrolement was falling, and in economically depressed areas.

In other words:  Canadians are having fewer children, so the school enrollment is falling.  That means fewer jobs for teachers – like the premier’s wife!  So, he is doing something about it: if you have fewer children going to school, then to keep the number of teaching jobs up (or even raise it), you must increase the number of hours the kids are kept there!

This is a make-work-for-teachers program! Nothing more!

The kids are just pawns!

What will be the impact on our society?  It will make it more and more difficult for parents to look after their children themselves… It will be another nail in the coffin of the ‘nuclear family’!

Please, consider the following:

Our tax system penalizes families which choose to have one parent stay at home to raise their kids.  These families are taxed at a much higher rate than those who choose to use daycare (the cost of which is, in many cases, also subsidized from taxpayer dollars).

In order to make ends meet, many young mothers (it is mostly mothers) who choose to stay home to raise their young children will start a small, home-based daycare.  They’ll take in two or three other kids, pick them up from the schoolbus and care for them after school in their home.  I have seen these home based daycares – several of them.

They are loving homes and, in most cases, the care-giver and the child develop strong bonds. This is good:  small, home-based daycares mimic the ‘extended family’ scenario in which children have traditionally grown up and which, in my never-humble-opinion, is the best social setting for the healthy social growth of a young child.

What will happen under the newly proposed McGuinty plan?

McGuinty will have destroyed thousands of small, women-run business!

McGuinty will take away their jobs and give them to the teachers!

Because now, parents will not pay a neighbour or a friend to look after their child:  it will be cheaper and more ‘convenient’ to just put them into school for 10.5 hours!  And the taxpayers will pay for it all – so, why not?

And the women whose daycare income (now gone) used to allow them to stay at home will have to pay higher taxes, to pay the salaries of teachers (who get paid much, much more per hour than the caregiver was) who stole her job from her!!!

These women will be forced to work outside of home to make ends meet….and their own children will end up in the educational institution as well…because they will no longer be able to afford to look after them themselves.

In one punch, McGuinty has destroyed the ability of many parents to raise their kids themselves by depriving them of income and raising their taxes all at once!

People do not get rich running small, home-based daycares!  Their income is pretty low – just enough to let them ‘make ends meet’, so they CAN raise their children themselves, with the love their children deserve!

Taking away from low-income women and giving to the fat-cat unions!  That is ‘education – McGuinty style’!

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Why young kids should not be ‘institutionalized’

Perhaps I am a little bit more obsessive about ‘parenting’ than most people are.  Frankly, I think all kids (but especially MY kids!!!) are too precious for us NOT to be obsessive in learning all that we can about all various facets of ‘raising them’ before we decide to have them.

So, before I went on to have kids, I read up on it.  Obsessively.  Exhaustively – I hope.

Of course, this was a 15-20 years ago….before I became a parent.  So most of it was not ‘online’…and I would be hard pressed to remember all my ‘sources’!  Much less ‘look them up’ and post links to them…  Therefore, what follows cannot be categorized as anything other than my ‘never-humble-opinion’!

Still, this opinion is based on having done my homework…and having read a lot of studies – many of them not really popular with the current ‘educators’ – still, these were bona fide scientific studies, publishes and peer-reviewed and from all various spectra of scholarly schools.  I will do my best to put it into ‘common sense wording’, in order to get the main point across as clearly as possible.

In order to understand what ‘we need’, psychologically speaking, it is a good idea to examine how – historically speaking – children were raised.  It is, after all, the societies which ‘did OK’ that survived – so, considering the circumstances of how they raised their kids may help us understand which ‘circumstances’ are most favourable to raising adults who are most predisposed towards perpetuating the most successful societies.  To re-phrase:  let’s look at what ‘worked’ in the past, and what did not – and why.

The ‘traditional’ way of raising children is in an ‘extended family’ unit.

This is true of every race, on every continent…so, perhaps, we ought to take heed of this lesson.

Very young children are raised in small groups:  the younger the child, the smaller the social group it is exposed to.  This is very important, for various reasons:  but, it is easiest to think of it in terms of ‘attachment’ and ‘social bond’.

The very first bond a child traditionally forms is with its mother.

This is due to in-utero conditioning (when the mother experiences ‘good/pleasurable’ things, from food to sounds and so on – her ‘feeling good’ chemistry is shared by the foetus:  thus, some ‘preferences’ are being programmed into the brain even before one’s birth) as well as nursing/early care.  (We are talking pre-baby-bottle times…nowdays, a father can step in and forge a bond with an infant much earlier than it used to be possible ‘traditionally’.)

As the child grows a little older, immediate members of the nuclear family (plus the maternal grandmother – but that is a different post) begin to forge social bonds with the infant.

These are very important:  from ‘father’ (in addition to ‘mother’) to ‘older siblings’.  The infant is still the youngest, most vulnerable – and thus most protected – member of the family.  It is difficult to explain just how important this last bit is:  it is essential in forming the ‘I am special’ bit of the personality – the bit from which ‘self-confidence’ and natural (not twisted) sense of ‘self-worth’ come.

As the child continues to grow, it is more and more exposed to a social group of ‘siblings and cousins’.  The important thing about this ‘group’ is that there is a significant variation in the ages of the ‘siblings and cousins’ – the older one becomes, the ‘higher they rank’ – but the greater the responsibility for their younger siblings/cousins they have to shoulder!

This is a natural means through which children learn that ‘growing’ brings BOTH privileges/status AND responsibilities.  This process is very positive, good for the ‘psyche’.  Our own history has shown it to be so.

It is also a natural ‘drive’ enhancer:  one wants to ‘catch up’ to the skills of the older children, while working hard not to be ‘passed’ by the growing skills in the younger children… with ‘special allowances’ to individual variations being possible because of the ‘family’ nature of the structure:  the differences are seen as ‘special talents’ – most of the time…

To recap:  there are 3 significant aspects to ‘traditional family’ method of child rearing

  1. The size of the social group the young child is exposed to is closely tied to it’s age:  the younger the child, the smaller the social group – and the ‘clearer’ the ‘social order’ withing that group.  The younger the child, the smaller the group.  Since this ‘group’ was usually left in the care of one adult – plus the ‘older children’ – the size of this group usually did not exceed 10-12 (in the first decade of a child’s life).
  2. The ‘social order’ within this group was, to a great degree, dictated by the age of the individuals in it:  the group was made up of children of VARYING ages – which brought along a structured ‘social order’ of status coupled with age.
  3. Each child was motivated to ‘catch up’ to the older children and ‘not be caught up to/surpassed’ by the younger ones:  exceptional skill was recognized, and did not ‘denigrade’ others…but, this was a strong motivator to want to succeed.  It was a ‘natural’ way of teaching kids that as one gets older, the expectations of them grow:  to earn respect, they must grow to fill these expectations.

This was not ‘forced’: allowances were made for ‘special skills’….if one had shown a special talent in a specific field, their responsibilities would grow in that field and lessen in others.  That is the flexibility inherrent in a small, family-based unit.

Also, because the children were of different ages, they could compete constructively with each other…the older children could acknowledge the growth in the younger ones without being threatened and all that….(most of the time, anyways).

The ‘modern’ method of ‘early childhood education’ violates this process in several important ways:

  1. The size of the group  in ‘state-sponsored’ pre-school/kindergarten is much larger than the size of the social group a child would  traditionally be exposed to.
  2. In ‘state-institutionalized care’, the children are ‘sorted by age’. That means that there is – at most – 1 year age-difference between the oldest and the youngest child in the group!  This is justified by the commonality of the ‘age-appropriate developmental stage’ the children share. It is not possible to understate the destructiveness of this ‘grouping’ to the children concerned!!!

OK – let me rant on the second point:  if the implications thereof have not become clear by now!!!  And while they are ‘obvious’ to me, perhaps I ought to explore them in another post….

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