Where a Justin Trudeau-style of enforced progressivism can lead to could best be demonstrated by the recent decision of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to ban a book discussion by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad. She was awarded the prestigious prize in 2018 for speaking out on behalf of Yazidi sex-slaves kidnapped in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State terror group.
The decision of the Canadian school authority to silence the Yazidi victim of Islamist terror shows how inhumane, insensitive and contradictory Western-style progressive liberalism has become. The young woman was kidnapped in Iraq in 2014 when she was only 14, and after witnessing her own community being massacred, she was sold to an Islamic state brothel, where during a three-month ordeal, the teenager was subject to rape and violence by 13 different jihadists. After escaping and trying to tell the world of her and her community’s ordeal, the TDSB added insult to injury by blacklisting her book event.
In her book entitled “The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State” Murad describes a group of anti-free speech, anti-freedom-of-conscience fanatics only to encounter another group of fundamentalist trying to silence her in a country that she believed to be a bastion of freedom and human rights.
TDSB justified their initial decision to ban Murad from speaking by claiming that her book might generate Islamophobia. After a public outcry, they have, for now, reversed their decision and Murad’s book event is scheduled to go ahead in February 2022. However, the scandal shows the unbridled confidence and ruthlessness of today’s liberal decision makers, who believed had no reason to fear any consequences or scrutiny even when silencing such a high-profile human rights activists such as Murad.
Murad’s case is not isolated though. Many school boards in liberal governed countries have for some reason become the spearhead of woke authoritarianism, from Toronto to Loudoun, Virginia. As Canadian publicist Rex Murphy put it, “For those with a cynical mind, it might be concluded that equity departments actually hold existence for the sole purpose of contradicting their own purpose. And, in particular, those within school boards have honed that skill to supernal perfection.”
This is not the first time that a Canadian school board has undermined free speech and targeted literature that they deemed to be in violation of their own politically correct standards.
In Ontario, a “purification by flame” ceremony was held in 2019, during which around 30 children’s books were banned, and subsequently nearly 5,000 other books were destroyed as a gesture of reconciliation towards indigenous people.
Allegedly, books such as “Lucky Luke”, “Asterix and Obelix” and “Tin Tin,” portrayed indigenous people in a negative way, thus they had to be destroyed. A video explaining the act of destruction explains that “we bury the ashes of racism, discrimination and stereotypes in the hope that we will grow up in an inclusive country where all can live in prosperity and security.”
Liberals and conservatives have long quoted Heinrich Heine over the past decades, who said that “Wherever they burn books, in the end will also burn human beings.”
As to Murad’s case, the organizer of the Toronto school book event, Tanya Lee, said that “this is what the Islamic State means. It is a terrorist organization. It has nothing to do with ordinary Muslims. The Toronto school board should be aware of the difference.”
Lee, knowingly or unwittingly, seems to have put her finger on a disturbing fact that today’s self-appointed guardians of free speech and diversity have completely muffled not only any criticism of Islam, or as Lee put it, “ordinary Muslims.” They have also banned people, including victims, from pointing out that Islamic radicalism, fundamentalism and terrorism actually exist, that they are an increasing global phenomenon, simply because it fundamentally contradicts their narrative about Islam as a religion of peace.
Any factual reference to the phenomenon of the proportionate rise in sexual violence, religious intolerance and crime with the rise of Muslim communities in Western countries is banned and even penalized. They have elevated Islam, peaceful or radical, into a category that is beyond any possible scrutiny, let alone criticism, where it must be approached by unconditional acceptance.
This approach is fundamentally at odds with Western values of free speech and democracy, yet it is becoming the norm in countries led by left-wing governments, and where conservative, true libertarian political movements have been banned and pushed out of the democratic political process.