My friend Elsa was told by some New Agers:

New Age Truth #1: You are where you are meant to be.
New Age Truth #2: Everything happens for a reason.
New Age Truth #3: You have chosen everything that happens to you.

These things were told her as ‘truths’ and, as an intelligent, thinking person, she found them, well, for lack of a softer yet sufficient term, idiotic.  They inspired this installment of “The This Is Not Reality’ show (remember the ‘Nicies’?), the ‘High Priestess’:

 

 

Pat Condell: A cure for Islamophobia

 

Dear Campbell’s Company Canada:

UPDATED BELOW!!!!

The following is a comment I have just submitted at the Campbell’s Company Canada’s contact page – if/when I get a response, I will be sure to post it here:

Hello Campbell’s!

I have always enjoyed your soups, especially Cream of Mushroom. I love cooking and used it a lot.

However, the last time I went to purchase it, I noticed that it had a ‘Halal’ certification marker on it. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but Christian and Sikh teachings strictly forbid the consumption of Halal food. Some of my Hindu friends also avoid it, because of Halal’s meat connotation of animal cruelty.

Sikh religion forbids Halal food explicitly.

Christian religion, in both the Old and New Testament, forbids the consumption of food that had been prayed over/sanctified to any religion/god other than its own. Since ‘Halal’ means ‘having been made ritualistically pure in the eyes of Allah’, that makes ‘Halal’ food sanctified to a non-Christian religion and thus forbidden for observant Christians to consume. As more Christians are becoming familiar with what it means for food to be Halal, more of them are becoming aware that it is indeed forbidden for them to consume it.

On the other hand, Sharia rules that in non-Muslim land, the consumption of Halal food is not compulsory, only recommended when easily available: ‘If no transgression is intended, then none is incurred, for Allah is merciful’.

As mine is a very inclusive home and I love cooking for my friends from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, I cannot, in good conscience, purchase Halal food and serve it to people for whom it may be religiously forbidden. Therefore, it will be more culturally sensitive for me to shy away from purchasing your brand of products from now on.

It saddens me greatly that I will not be able to include your products in my household in the future. If, however, you re-introduce your soups without Halal certification, please, do let me know and I will be very glad to become your customer once again.

Sincerely yours,

Alexandra Belaire

UPDATE:  Here are some additional comments submitted to Campbell’s:

Hello Campbell’s,

I have long been a Campbell’s soup fan.

But I have just noticed that you are doing Halal certification. As an animal lover, and supporter of the humane slaughter of animals, this means that I can no longer buy your products.

Please watch the Halal slaughter of animals. Animals that have been Halal slaughtered show high levels of stress hormones – unlike, for example, animals that have been slaughtered to be kosher. The traditional slaughterhouse methods are bad enough – Halal is far worse. Again, please watch.

Then, there are also religious reasons not to do Halal certification, as this is against Christian doctrine, and also other religious doctrines. I don’t know why you are doing something that is against Christian doctrine, but conforms to Muslim doctrine. Please let me know.

A friend who is more versed in religion has put together the following:

Christian and Sikh teachings strictly forbid the consumption of Halal food. Some of my Hindu friends also avoid it, because of Halal’s meat connotation of animal cruelty.

Sikh religion forbids Halal food explicitly.

Christian religion, in both the Old and New Testament, forbids the consumption of food that had been prayed over/sanctified to any religion/god other than its own. Since ‘Halal’ means ‘having been made ritualistically pure in the eyes of Allah’, that makes ‘Halal’ food sanctified to a non-Christian religion and thus forbidden for observant Christians to consume. As more Christians are becoming familiar with what it means for food to be Halal, more of them are becoming aware that it is indeed forbidden for them to consume it.

On the other hand, Sharia rules that in non-Muslim land, the consumption of Halal food is not compulsory, only recommended when easily available: ‘If no transgression is intended, then none is incurred, for Allah is merciful’.

As mine is a very inclusive home and I love cooking for my friends from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, I cannot, in good conscience, purchase Halal food and serve it to people for whom it may be religiously forbidden. Therefore, it will be more culturally sensitive for me to shy away from purchasing your brand of products from now on.

It saddens me greatly that I will not be able to include your products in my household in the future. If, however, you re-introduce your soups without Halal certification, please, do let me know and I will be very glad to become your customer once again.

Best regards,

Elsa [redacted], PhD

And:

Dear Public Relations,
I disagree with buying anything that is ‘halal’.  Firstly, halal is cruelty to animals and standards of hygiene are less. Secondly, part of the money paid for halal supports supremacism and misogyny.
For those reasons, I will not purchase any halal product ever and will encourage all my family and friends not to buy them as well.
I hope Campbell’s will abandon their support for misogynistic totalitarianism immediately.
Cordially,
[name redacted]

Why ‘moderate Muslims’ are silent

Sometimes, it takes me a really long time to ‘get’ even the most obvious of things – I know I am a very, very slow thinker.  But, I really ought to have seen this one clearly much, much earlier…

Like many others, I understand perfectly well that the first targets of fanatics within any group (and this applies not only to human groups) are the moderates within the ranks of that group.  This makes it that much more important for these moderates to speak up, in order to preserve themselves and protect their group from being overtaken by the extremists.

We have seen this though our history and the modern-day Muslim community is no different from the rest of us.

Yet, most of the voices we hear speaking ‘for the Muslims’ in today’s world are increasingly more and more only the radicalized ones…

In the past, I, too, have asked:  “Where are all the moderate Muslims and why are there so few of their voices being heard?”

Now, I think I’m beginning to understand…

In order to explain, please, indulge me in telling you a story or two.

When my mother was just an iddy-biddy baby, following WWII, the communists took over my homeland and stole her grandparents’ properties.  Her mom’s daddy made (and repaired) washing machines and her mom’s mommy operated a chain of stores that retailed them.  Her daddy was a top engineer at her grandpa’s factory, but had been born to a farming family.  Very successful farming family.  Her daddy’s mom was actually one of those women who went to work in the fields even in early stages of labour, went home to give birth – and returned to the fields afterwards.  No joke!  That is how hard they worked – and it showed:  the were known far and wide as THE people to go to for help with anything, without any obligations in return.

Yet, when the communists were in power, they labelled my grandpa as ‘a son of a kulak‘ – a deeply pejorative term in the 1950′s for a person living behind the Iron Curtain.

What I am trying to say is that even in one of the most industrialized countries in the world at that time (as Czech was), a country where people had unlimited ‘class mobility’ (my own grandfather had gone from ‘farmer’ to ‘engineer’ to ‘industrialist’), it took very little for his status to ‘devolve’ to that of ‘a son of a kulak’…

I must stress, before WWII, Czech was philosophically a fully ‘Western’ country, with emphasis on individual rights, even if located in Central Europe.

Yet, it took a few short years for the decades of individualism to devolve into judging a person by their parents’ and other relatives’ actions.  Guilty by blood association!

Now, please, let me jump to the second story.

This one takes place in Canada in the late 1990′s.  I had been running my own company and an ex-employee of mine approached me with a very unusual request…

When I had first hired him, I had not realized I already knew his father.  I had met him about 5 years earlier, at a party, under the table – we were both trying to sneak food to the host’s dog.  Anyhow, he was a capable young man and worked his way up, so that for about 5 years, he had been my second-in-command, and only left because his dream opportunity of working in the intelligence community presented itself.  By this point, I saw him as more of a brother to me than an employee and we not only parted on the best of terms, but remained close.

Which is why I was thrilled when he brought his girlfriend to meet me – and asked what my opinion of her was.  He thought she was ‘the one’, and I was happy to tell him I thought she was intelligent, beautiful and a perfect match for him.  They truly made a wonderful couple and I was very happy for them.

Yet, the path to their happiness was more complicated than I could have suspected!

When he had proposed to her, he came to me with a most unusual request:  would I please write a letter to the government of Iran to certify that I was still his employer, and that he had a sufficient income to comfortably support a wife and a family?

His fiance had not been born in Iran – she was born in Italy, to Iranian emigres.

Yet, if she were to get married without this certificate to the Iranian government that her fiance had sufficient income to properly support her and her children, the extended family she still had in Iran would be penalized for her parents’ acceptance of a marriage proposal without this document!!!

And, he did not want them to know of the particulars of his current work for the Canadian government, and so he had approached me for help…and as I had right away contracted him to do a ‘job’ for me, I could honestly write that letter – which I did.

Ok, enough stories…let us now look back to the origins of Islam.

Islam originated in Arabia in a deeply tribal society.

‘Right and wrong’ were not based on any absolute morality, but on tribal membership:  ‘right’ was what the leaders/members of your tribe deemed was ‘right’, ‘wrong’ was what their opponents/enemies deemed was’right’…

In such a tradition, ‘morality’ is a vastly different concept from what it is the ‘individualist’ tradition (though not nearly as different from the ‘communitarian’ tradition…which may explain the ‘socialist’ empathy for the Islamists):  rather than measuring ‘right vs.wrong’ based on some objective values (whatever their source), ‘right vs. wrong’ becomes ‘what gives an advantage to our group’ vs. ‘what gives an advantage to their group’.

In a tribal society, members of one clan/family are interchangeable for each other.

Aside:  Actually, that is where the ‘Western’ tradition of ‘bridesmaid’ and ‘groomsmen’  originates from:  if the bride or the groom were found to be unsuitable for the marriage union, the next-best-maid/groomsman’ would step in and replace them so that the clans could enter into a socioeconomic union through that particular marriage contract.

In such a society, if one member of a family/clan steps out of line, any other member of the family/clan can be harmed/killed in retaliation… because the bloodline’s ‘politics’ is answerable for by ALL the members of the bloodline.  Thus, if one of your relatives commits a crime, and cannot be caught, it is ‘fair’ for YOU to pay the price.  The ‘individuals’ are subordinate to the ‘clan’, instead of having individual rights and freedoms.

Now that I have set the stage, I need to go a bit into the history of the Koran.

Mohammed, the Islamic prophet, had, at one point, been excommunicated by both his mothers and his father’s Arabic clans.  Thus, Mohammed had been forced to seek shelter with other communities.

During this period, he had spent time with a Christian sect, and when he had been excommunicated from there, with a Jewish sect.  It was only after he had been excommunicated from the Jewish sect that his uncle had agreed to adopt him and thus gained a permission for him to re-enter the Arabic society…which is where he caught the eye of his uncle’s employer, Khadija, who then extended her protection over him by marring him (and thus defying her society’s standards).

While among the Christians. Mohammed saw just how splintered the Christian sects had become:  some believed that Jesus was the son of God who died on the cross and was bodily resurrected and lifted into heaven, others believed that he was a human who had been crucified and died on the cross, others yet believed that (whether the son of God or Man), he had escaped death on the cross (either by the use of a substitute or because he had been removed while unconscious but still alive and had then been revived by Esenne healers).  Yet other Christians believed that Jesus Christ could never ever have been imprisoned in a corporal body by ‘Rex Mundi’, but had always been a being of pure energy…

Mohammed really, really did not want his religious movement to be fractured among various factions the way Christianity had become.  Therefore, he said often that his revelations were literal and not open to interpretation – and that is why he stated clearly an openly that anyone who wishes to or attempts to ‘reform’ Islam of interpret any passages in any other way than literally is ‘a hypocrite’ and ‘an apostate’ and, according to the Koran, ‘hypocrites’ MUST be put to death…

Summary:

Mohammed decreed that anyone who attempts to interpret his teachings in any way other than literally is a ‘hypocrite’ and that ‘hypocrites’ MUST be put to death…and it comes from a tribal society which holds ALL members of a family/clan accountable for the tansgressions for all of your relatives…

Thus, if a moderate Muslim in Canada, the US or another Western country speaks up against the extremists’s interpretations of Islam, their (even distant) blood relatives who live within Islamists’ jurisdiction will pay the price for it with their lives.

It is one thing to stand up to an oppressor if it is your own life/well being on the line:  it is quite different if your relatives, even distant relatives and their children might be killed for you speaking your mind!!!

And THAT FEAR  - not for their own selves, but for the well being of their even distant relatives’ children – is why most moderate Muslims are silent…

After all, if it were not just your own neck, but the necks of your cousins’, their children, and their children’s children – how likely would YOU be to stand up to the radicals?!?!?

Pat Condell: Message to offended Muslims

Ezra Levant: gets a Free Speech award on the weekend, goes to court on Monday to defend himself for exercising it!

In Ezra’s own words:

And in his own words from an email his supporters receive:

Dear [name redacted],
 
After two delays, my week-long free speech trial finally starts tomorrow in Toronto. You were kind enough to contribute to my legal defence fund. Thanks to you, I feel like I’m well equipped with an excellent lawyer. I appreciate that.
 
You may remember that the person suing me is Khurrum Awan. He’s the former youth leader of the Canadian Islamic Congress, the same guy who went after Mark Steyn at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. In fact, he’s suing me for my critical comments about him at Steyn’s trial.
 
So this is the next battle in that same war.
 
The trial is expected to go till Friday. If you’re in the Toronto area this week, I’d love it if you could stop by the court house – seventh floor, 393 University Avenue. I hear Mark Steyn might even be there himself!
 
I wanted to tell your contribution didn’t just help me financially, it’s an enormous morale boost, too. To know that so many Canadians care about freedom of speech, and want me to stand up to these bullies, gives me great confidence.
 
The whole point of Islamic lawfare is to exhaust their target”. In fact, even though Mark Steyn technically “won” his case in B.C., Awan still boasted afterwards that “we attained our strategic objective — to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.”
 
He admits that lawfare is his official strategy. So I’m so glad you’ve helped cover my costs.
 
Since this lawsuit deals with events that happened before I joined the Sun News Network, the Sun’s lawyers aren’t helping me. I’m on my own – but you’ve made sure I’m not alone. 
 
If you can’t come to the court house, you can still keep up with the trial on my website, www.StandWithEzra.ca. We’ll give you a brief daily update and post links to any press coverage.
 
Thanks again for your help. And if you know anyone else who might want to join our fight for freedom please ask them to visit www.StandWithEzra.ca too.
 
Yours gratefully,
 
Ezra Levant
 
P.S. Thanks again. Now let’s go win this thing!

Video dedicated to the Kenyan terrorism victims

Who are the ‘moderate Muslims’?

There is a number of questions people have been asking me about Muslims.  I’ve tried to answer some before, but, upon further reflection, there are a few I’d like to re-visit.

Here, I would like to explain why I consider some Muslims to be ‘moderates’ – but not others.

Yes, there are some who do not see the distinction, pointing out that to follow Islam, one would have to skip large bits of the Koran in order to practice a ‘moderate’ version of the faith.  True.  But that is also true of the Bible – Jesus famously claims to bring not peace, but the sword.  And it is not that many generations ago that my paternal grandmothers’ relatives were burned alive by the Jesuits for practicing the ‘wrong’ branch of Christianity.

In other words, it is not the dogma itself that makes a person a ‘moderate’:  rather, it is the bits of the dogma that one takes and ‘owns’ and lives by that makes one a ‘moderate’ or not, regardless of the faith/religion (theistic, atheistic or non-theistic alike)/doctrine/dogma.

When it comes to Islam, I see the divide as being between those Muslims who demand official recognition of Sharia (Islamic jurisprudence) and those who do not.

What is Sharia?

Books have been written on this, but, in short, it is ‘Islamic Law’.  There are 4 main Sunni and 4 main Shia schools of Sharia and they do indeed differ in some minor aspects, but, on those bits that they all agree, the ‘Islamic Law’ is unalterable.

Sharia evolved over several centuries.  Scholars studied the Koran, the sayings of their prophet Muhammed and stories about the life of the prophet Muhammed as told by his companions.  None of these were written during the life of Muhammed himself, but rather when many of his companions began dying off and the rest of the Muslims were afraid that his teachings and traditions would be lost, the ruler at the time had all the companions write down all they remembered, gathered all the materials, weeded through them to pick out the ‘most authentic’, recorded those as the only permitted version and had all the rest burned.  A lot like the role the Council of Nicaea had in writing the Bible.

So, for centuries after the Koran and the Sayings and Traditions of Muhammed were written down, jurists would look to the scriptures themselves to see what the proper sentence should be.  Not all jurists read the same things in these texts, yet, still, over the centuries, a body of jurisprudence had indeed been built up from which some rulings emerged as so common as to constitute laws.  The formal collection of these laws is called Sharia.

While it is still being added to (in the form of fatwas, or pronouncements/rulings of learned clerics on legal questions),the major body of it had been codified at around 1100 CE or so – just as the end of the ‘golden age’ of Islamic science came to its end.  Those two are closely connected, because Sharia is very inimical to any form of inquiry, including the scientific one.

It is important to keep in mind that while Sharia is based on early scholars’ reading of Koran and the life of Muhammad, it is not actually the Koran and Sunna itself.

The way Sharia is implemented in various Islamic countries does vary, even if the cores are common to them all:  the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man, her inheritance is half that of a man’s, a woman is a perpetual minor in they eyes of the law so any and all of her property is managed for her by her guardian, and this guardian is also the one who enters into legal contracts on her behalf (including marriage:  under Sharia, a woman is herself not a party to her marrige contract, only her guardian and husband have legal standing in the contract),  apostates must be put to death (though one school of thought says female apostates are only to be under house-arrest for life), and so on.

Many Muslims do not like living under Sharia and its harsh rules – or, at least, the way it is imposed on them from the outside.

Thus, they have come to The West in order to practice Islam according to their own understanding and without the straight jacket jurisprudence that is Sharia.  These are people who are happy to follow our secular laws and impose any additional religious rules onto themselves, from the inside, without compulsion from anyone else.

These are the people I consider ‘moderate Muslims’.

As opposed to the Muslims who want to live under Sharia – but to do so in our lands, in The West.

The problems with this desire are numerous – not the least of which is that in order to retain integrity and social cohesion in a land, one set of rules has to apply equally to each and every citizen.  Equality before the law is such a fundamental cornerstone of our society that to have one class of people ruled by a parallel legal system means it has already been destroyed.

Another problem with Sharia is that it is deeply supremacist.  It sees itself as above all mere man-made laws, and wherever there is a conflict between the two, Sharia demands supremacy.  And since only Islamic scholars are permitted to issue Sharia rulings, permitting Sharia in a country effectively takes the application of law from the hands of trained jurists and places it in the hands of Islamic clerics…which could, indeed be problematic, to say the least.

Did I mention that non-Muslims are not permitted to speak at a Sharia court, even to defend themselves – even though Sharia reserves the right to rule over them?

And then there are the moderate Muslims – the ones who immigrated to the West specifically to get away from Sharia…if we permit it in our lands, they will automatically be subject to it, whether legally (as in Indonesia) or through peer pressure (as in the UK).  Do we not owe them equality under our laws, just like every other citizen?

Though I have barely scratched the surface, I do hope I have demonstrated both that Sharia is incompatible with our governance and that we owe it to the moderate Muslims among us to protect them from it.

Which brings me to the other type of Muslim – the ones who demand Sharia in our lands, under the terms of ‘religious accommodation’, necessarily at the expense of our ‘freedom from religion’.

Sharia is the politico/judicial arm of Islam and not theological teachings.

As such, anyone who wishes for any form of Sharia to be implemented (accommodated is the term used, but due to its supremacist nature, in reality, this ‘accommodation’ requires putting Sharia above our own common laws) in The West is calling not just for freedom of religion, but for the imposition of Islamic law.  And not just for themselves, as an act of private worship, but as something to be imposed on the whole of society because Sharia’s laws extend to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

This, by definition, makes them Islamists and not ‘moderate Muslims’.

To recap:  those Muslims who call for Sharia accommodation/implementation in The West are not moderate Muslims, they are Islamist colonists who ought to be called out as such and resisted, if we want our culture of tolerance preserved.

 

 

 

 

First mosque planned for Slovakia

A reader sent me some interesting information…

This is very surprising because second perhaps only to Poland, Slovakia is one of the most Catholic nations in Europe.

In fact, the profound depth of the Catholic faith in Slovakia and the historically ingrained animosity towards Catholicism in Czech was one of the many factors in the ‘velvet divorce’ that saw the division of Czechoslovakia into Czech and Slovakia.

Which is why the construction of a mosque in the staunchly Catholic capital of Slovakia is so very surprising.  Emphasis added by me…

Aside:  the information was sent to me in Slovak, so if the translation is inaccurate, the fault lies completely with me.

“The citizen association ‘Islam for Slovakia’, in co-operation with Friends of Islam in Bratislava have purchased real estate for the construction of the first mosque in Slovakia.

The first mosque will be built on Kamennom Square next to the department store.

The construction of architect (?) Radoslav Abdulmesih will commence in May 2014.

Within the grounds of the mosque, there will also be created the first Muslim primary school.  It’s opening is scheduled for the 2015/2016 school year.

The name of the project:  Mosque on Kamenn (Kamennom) Square in Bratislava

Project leader:  Ing. Radoslav ‘Abdulmesíh  (note:  ‘Ing.’ denotes level of education, but not field and is often used as a title)

Lead Builder:  Jozef Nagy

Commencement of building (groundbreaking):  May 2014 (Ašhadu anna Muhammadan rasúlu-l-láh!)

“Good day, we would like to answer the most frequently asked questions which we have received from you.

The groundbreaking celebration will be held on the 3rd of May, 2014.

The grand opening is planned for the 31st of June, 2015, and the school year 2015/16 will see the opening of grade 1 of primary school at our mosque.  In accordance with what we have replied to those who have expressed their interest to us in writing, registration for grade 1 will begin on the 1st of August 2015 and will close on the 16th of August, 2015.

Instruction will follow a bilingual format where the Slovak Language, civics (incl. history and geography) and science shall be taught in Slovak, all other subjects will be taught in Arabic.  Starting in grade 3, an additional foreign language may also be selected, we are yet working on this.

Worship will be, as always, every Friday.

The Muezzin will, of course, fulfill his duties and announce all prayer times.

In the rear of the mosque, there will be a small store with Korans, prayer mats and the like.

The fact that some of you don’t agree with the building of this mosque saddens us, but, as you live in a democratic society, you ought to learn to tolerate other people’s needs, not just your own.

If you have other questions, do not hesitate to contact us.  ” ‘

 

 

 

MUST ACCOMMODATE! ACCOMMODATE!!!

Today, my son and I were discussing that whole York University misogyny-accommodation fiasco on the way home from school.  We discuss a lot of things during our drives – best time of my day!

As we were discussing that York issue, I mentioned that I had come across this article at The Beaverton :

‘TORONTO – After permitting a student to be excused from course work on religious grounds so he would not have to publicly interact with female peers, the Dean of York University is also permitting another student to have the right to ritually murder people to appease his gods.

“We are legally obliged to heed to the student’s wishes of human sacrifice” said Dr. Martin Singer, Dean of the faculty of Arts and Science at the university. “This wouldn’t affect many students as the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli only lasts 20 days to celebrate the spring equinox and sometimes occurs during reading week. Additionally, the student has assured me that obsidian blades are so sharp that you will barely feel them.”

“I understand that people may be uncomfortable with the idea of firing arrows at someone tied to a wooden board until their blood fills a copper bowl, but York University is an inclusive campus that appreciates the values of all religions,” the Dean added.’

Yes – very funny.

But that was not my point…rather, having forwarded this article onto several people, one of them actually believed it.

Sad, very sad…because as we discussed this, my son pointed out that if the intended human sacrifice were the one demanding this religious accommodation on the grounds that they have a terminal illness and believe that being a human sacrifice to the sun god will cleanse their soul and therefore their belief ought to be accommodated – this becomes a much less far-fetched scenario than most of us would like.

Which brings me to the title of this post…

As we drove on, and as we left the uncomfortable reality and resorted to levity we got to the title of my post.  Please, put on your best Dalek voice, but, instead of ‘Time Lord DNA has been detected!  Must exterminate!  Exterminate!!!’ we changed the wording a tiny bit:

RELIGIOUS* DNA HAS BEEN DETECTED!

MUST ACCOMMODATE!

MUST ACCOMMODATE!

ACCOMMODATE!!!

Later on, trying to relax before bedtime, I checked my YouTube subscriptions to find this little installment in the accommodation insanity:

ACCOMMODATE!!!

What I find most disturbing is that this martial arts instructor caved in, segregated the class – and even let the Muslim student proselytize at the dojo!

And the young woman, being told by her sensei to get used to it – outrageous!!!

My own experience with a dojo and Muslim demands for accommodation are refreshingly different!

Let me tell you the story.

I was always fascinated by martial arts.  But, while I lived on the wrong side of the iron curtain, being a daughter of a political dissident, this was a closed door for me.  Once in the refugee camp in Austria, I traded babysitting and tutoring a martial arts’ master’s kids for lessons…but, it was barely a taste…

Once in Canada, I pursued my dream of learning martial arts.  And, to my parents’ credit, even though they were rebuilding their lives from nothing, they did send me to martial arts classes.  But, being new in the country, my parents could not afford to send me to the dojo of my dreams:  Takahashi Dojo.

Oh, how I dreamed of it!

Once I started competing, I came to the Takahashi dojo to watch Tina Takahashi and June Takahashi compete, I bought a glossy calendar featuring the one and only Phil Takahashi, and on and on.

So, once my sons were old enough to start learning some martial arts, guess what place I picked?

Because of their age difference, they were in consecutive classes, which worked out very well.  And what worked out even better was that during my younger son’s class, I could take Tai Chi classes at another part of the dojo.  The dojo was then run by June Takahashi (then in her late 70′s or early 80′s) and Tina Takahashi was the principal teacher, with Phil Takahashi teaching some of the classes, too.  How much better could it get?!?!?

What a pleasant surprise it was for me that June Takahashi had decided to take the Tai Chi class too!  All of a sudden, I was classmates with one of my idols.   It was awesome.

After the Tai Chi class, I would still have an hour to wait while my older son’s class was on, but, being classmates and all, if she was not too busy, June would often spend that time chatting with me.  I learned so many things from her!  She told me about her childhood in BC, where she and Masao (her husband and founder of the dojo) met as children during WWII in one of those shameful camps the Canadians of Japanese descent were sent to, and much, much more.

One day, she was busy in the office and so I watched my older son’s class.  He was about 11 at that time, and had been going to classes for a while – and though still a novice, he was diligent and thorough and knew all the ‘rules’ (typical Aspie!).  So, it was natural that he got assigned to take a new student who was there for his first class under his wing, explain the ceremonies, why and how and what, what the significance was, and so on.  He was good at this and loved helping out.

In this role, he was teaching the newbie how to bow properly during the opening ceremony, that it shows respect, and also how to show respect by bowing to your opponent before you commence working or sparring with them.  So far so good – except that the boy’s father started yelling at him from the sidelines, saying ‘No bowing!’ and being loud.  The father got asked to wait for his son in the changing room and the rest of the lesson went well.  The new student was a good kid and did all he was asked quickly and well and with respect.  End of story, right?

Not exactly…

My younger son and I were waiting outside for my older one to come out of the dojo – but so was this boy’s father.  He was a big man, 190+cm tall and very buff.  As soon as my son came out, he marched right up to him (my son came barely up to his chest), loomed over him and, gesticulating wildly, started screaming at him:  “We don’t bow!  We are Muslims!  How dare you tell my son to bow!”  I was afraid he was going to hit my son!

He did not get the chance because I ran over and stepped between them.  Though he was much bigger than I, I put on my best mamma-bear face (and body language) and told him in no uncertain terms that he was not going to speak to my son in that manner!  I have been told that in that mode, I can look a tad intimidating – and the man stepped back and visibly shrank – but continued to tell me to tell my son not to tell his son to bow during judo.

Well, I was not having any of it.  I explained that my son was in the right and invited him to go back to the dojo and discuss it with June, Tina and the other instructors there.  Without another word, he left rather hurriedly.

The adrenalin was coursing through my veins with so much fervor I was shaking.  With my sons in tow, I went back to the dojo and spoke to June in the office.  Since we were on friendly terms, she knew I was not likely to make something like this up.  And, my sons were both quite pale following the experience and confirmed my story’s veracity.

So, what did June Takahashi do?

Right there and then, she looked up the kid’s record:  the dad had pre-paid for a full year of classes.  Not cheap.  But, to June, some things were more important than money.  On the spot, she reversed the credit card payment and said that neither that man nor his son would ever step into her dojo again!

June Takahashi is a true Canadian hero!

All of us felt very bad for that man’s son…

 

*  ‘Religious’ refers to both theistic and non-theistic religions like ‘big-satetism’, communism, feminism, warmism and other irrational yet dogmatic belief systems.

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