Tonight’s mashup of stories includes events surrounding Motion 103 put forward by a Liberal MP in the House of Commons; the chair of the Edmonton public school board’s idea of cost-saving measures is to offer Catholic faith programming; A website promoting a Muslim conference in Melbourne, Australia does the magic trick of making women speakers disappear; animal rights activists storm church demanding pets be treated like Christians; Cardinal Raymond Burke tells attendees of medical ethics conference in Columbus, Ohio that the need for Catholic health care has never been greater; police investigate anti-Muslim rally outside Toronto mosque as possible hate crime.
Kevin Francis from Left At The Valley (http://www NULL.leftatthevalley NULL.com/) joins us in discussing issues du jour: More religious interference in assisted dying; a human rights complaint over court-mandated attendance in Alcoholics Anonymous; Islam: The Tour; and From the Regressive Left Files: Black Lives Matter demands Vancouver Pride ban police from participation.
In this, the 161st episode join Christine and me, the Supreme Irreverend Doctor Randy Tyson, in welcoming Dr. Ali Rizvi to our humble periodical. Ali is Pakistan-born Canadian physician/writer residing in Toronto who grew up in a number of locales, including Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, as part of a progressive Muslim family. Ali’s writings advocate for secularism, science, and reform, particularly in the Muslim community, and is a regular contributor to The
Huffington Post. His new book, scheduled to come out later this year, is called The Atheist Muslim (https://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Atheist-Muslim-Journey-Religion-Reason/dp/1250094445).
Raihan Abir is a Bangaldeshi academic and biomedical engineer and for the last five years Abir has been working in the Department of Biomedical Physics and Technology at Dhaka University. He is a recipient of a International Science Program Fellowship from Uppsala University Sweden and is a science writer, human rights activist, freelance journalist and respected blogger in the Bangladeshi community. He is the author of two published books, including ‘The Philosophy of Disbelief” which he co-authored with murdered writer Avijit Roy. Before and after the killing of Ananta Bijoy Das, Abir was followed, threatened and extremists demanded The Philosophy of Disbelief be removed from publication. He came to Toronto for a biomedical conference in June of last year and extended his stay in the hopes that the situation in Bangledesh would improve. When his friend and fellow Mukto-Mona blogger Niloy Neel was attacked and killed in his own home, Abir decided to apply for refugee status for himself and his family. The violence in Bangladesh against secularists continued when in October of last year Abir’s publisher was seriously injured and fellow writer Faisal Arefeen Dipon was killed.
Abir, his wife Samia and their daughter Sophie now reside in Canada.
Thanks to Eric Adriaans of CFI Canada for helping Raihan and his family obtain refugee status and for facilitating getting in touch with him for the interview.
Later on in this installment, Christine, Twyla and yours truly, the Very Irreverend Dr Randy Tyson give kudos to CBC Marketplace (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/marketplace/episodes/2014-2015/drugstore-remedies-licence-to-deceive) demonstrates how ridiculously easy it is to obtain a license from Health Canada to sell a natural remedy; yet another Conservative MP comes out of the creationist closet (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/ID/2656936485/?page=3) and we get to listen to former leader of the Canadian Reform Alliance Party (which, by the way, in Freudian manner spells out ‘CRAP’) confuses the right to hold a belief with demanding respect for beliefs; Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons calls the niqab “anti-women” (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/politics/harper-says-overwhelming-majority-agrees-with-tories-on-niqabs-1 NULL.2990439); and finally while Islam needs its Voltaire, the town of Taber, Alberta needs its Kevin Bacon (http://www NULL.taber NULL.ca/DocumentCenter/View/1006, http://www NULL.calgarysun NULL.com/2015/03/10/town-of-taber-alberta-moves-to-ban-swearing) to Footloose away the anti-swearing and anti-assembly provision of its “Community Standards” bylaw. But first, our very own Christine Shellska read a statement to the Commission for Social Development (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=Eok1jRSsBtc&feature=youtu NULL.be) promoting secular values (as well as some unfinished business involving a bottle of Johnny Walker).
Later, Kris, Twyla and I, the Very Reverend Dr. Randy Tyson, discuss happenings a-transpirin’ in Pennsylvania, where a teen is facing two years (http://news NULL.kron4 NULL.com/news/teen-could-get-two-years-for-facebook-photos-with-jesus-statue/) in juvie hall for a Facebook photo of himself saying ‘hello’ to Jesus in a special way; another mockumentary is coming out, this time it’s Nick Cage in a remake of that classic comedy Left Behind (http://www NULL.leftbehindmovie NULL.com/) trying to scare us in to conversion with fictional threats of the rapture; a US cardinal warns (http://www NULL.rightwingwatch NULL.org/content/cardinal-francis-george-says-american-catholics-are-being-forced-live-under-pro-gay-sharia-l) that America is under pro-gay Sharia law (say that without doing a spit-take). But first, local Imam Syed Soharwardy was threatened (http://calgary NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/calgary-imam-attacked-1 NULL.2005185) in very red-neck fashion and I reveal a recent exchange I’ve had with him.
There are many Muslims who feel the need to remain in the closet when they stop believing. Apostasy in Islam is a taboo with serious consequences. We are pleased to have with us to day Canadian representatives of EXMNA (http://www NULL.exmna NULL.org/) (Ex-Muslims of North America), a group dedicated to supporting and helping ex-Muslims through outreach and advocacy. Nas Ishmael (a pseudonym) is Director of Media Relations at the Ex-Muslims of North America. Sadaf, a local Torontonian, became an ex-Muslim in 2009. Sadaf is the Director of Community Development for EXMNA. Out of their and others’ desire for a safe space for those leaving Islam, Sadaf and Nas Ishmael (among others) founded EXMNA and join Christine, Haysn, Nate and Randy from Toronto for a discussion of the issues involving Islam in North America, and share their stories of how they left the faith.
In this, Episode 74 recorded September 1, 2013, amongst the meandering discourse, Twylla, Haysn and I present two items this week. Later in the episode we discuss Calgary Herald op-ed writer Licia Corbella’s claim that atheism, like Christianity, has much to answer for with regard to atrocities committed in history (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/opinion/op-ed/Corbella+Will+atheism+held+account+like+other+creeds/8854835/story NULL.html). Oh, wait. No it doesn’t. And Hitler wasn’t an atheist, either! In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon.” But first we start with a little small talk and get into Brampton, Ontario Muslim cleric Faisal Hamid Abdur-Razak’s wonderful take on stoning (http://www NULL.torontosun NULL.com/2013/08/28/brampton-muslim-cleric-preaches-adulterers-gays-can-benefit-from-being-stoned-to-death). Did you know that both the person being stoned, and the one doing the stoning benefit? Wow!
This is a special edition of the Legion of Reason. Helen brought this story to my attention and we played at being investigative reporters. The owners of a bridal boutique in North Hill Mall here in Calgary is being forced to move their business (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/player/News/Canada/Calgary/ID/2320390400/). Ostenibly, this is because Alena’s Boutique and Bridal broke the specific use clause in their rental agreement with the mall and taking business away from other stores. The problem with this excuse is that this store sold clothing specific to Muslim women. Even if there was another bridal boutique in the mall it is difficult to see how the contents of the two stores would overlap at all. Alena’s sold hijabs and abayas, for crying out loud, which the mall management characterized as ‘scarves’. Suzanne Chybli-Taylor and Scott Taylor kindly invited us into their home to tell their story and to talk about their experiences as Muslims living in Calgary.
Welcome, welcome and a thousand times welcome! The Legion of Reason is once again on the march and we have a surprise co-host this week! Edward Falzon (http://www NULL.beinggayisdisgusting NULL.com/), on a North American tour promoting his new book “Being Gay is Disgusting” (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Being-Gay-Disgusting-Edward-Falzon/dp/9993187011/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343080259&sr=8-1&keywords=edward+falzon), with us in this episode. We have an update on the unfortunate result of low vaccination rates in rural Alberta. A six-week old infant died in Calgary’s Alberta Children’s Hospital due to complications from pertussis (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/family-child/Alberta+baby+whooping+cough+death+renews+health+calls+vaccinations/6959771/story NULL.html). We also talk about why Sun TV would give a Toronto Islamic street preacher (who proposed a law forcing women to dress modestly (read: “made to disappear”)) Andy Worhol’s 15 min in a very undeserved fashion (http://www NULL.torontosun NULL.com/2012/07/16/muslim-street-cleric-wants-to-protect-canadian-women-from-sex-assault-by-forcing-them-to-cover-up). And we digress all over the place in a discussion on biblical morality and how it has no place in a modern society. Thanks to Kris for bringing Edward. We had a lot of fun!