Jul 1 2009
Saying “GOOD MORNING” to a Muslim female neighbor can get you killed.
When the landlady of my Toronto apartment building said an outraged neighbour had filed a complaint about me over an apparently inappropriate hallway interaction with his wife, my mind raced through the countless conversations I’ve had with fellow tenants, none of which seemed a possible source of offence.
It turns out, it wasn’t a salacious transaction that had caused the complaint, but rather a neighbourly and — to me — entirely forgettable greeting, little more than a brief “good morning” as I passed my neighbours on the way to work.
Still, it was enough of an affront for the man — once a doctor somewhere in the Middle East, my landlady clarified — to feel I had broken a cultural taboo. The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included allusions to my impending death. I expect the battle will wage on, as we appear to be stuck at an impasse.
His Muslim upbringing has ingrained in him a sense of entitlement to demand I not speak directly to his wife; and my prairie upbringing has ingrained in me a duty to strive for polite cohesion with my neighbours.
My landlady, who has handled the complaint with tittering trepidation, hasn’t helped dispel the friction. She has told me to adhere to the demands because the man “could be dangerous,” directing me to literally turn my back to the couple as they pass, never make eye contact and never hold the elevator for them, no matter what.
Life among neighbours has become increasingly complicated by multiculturalism, in this case making even the most affable salutation or good Samaritan gesture a practice in walking on eggshells. But in trying to adapt to a patchwork of often conflicting cultures, has civility become the casualty of accommodation?
Of course, denying me the right to greet a woman in our shared hallway fails to measure up to reported conflicts that have caused a culture clash, such as Canada’s reaction to a recent Afghan law allowing some husbands to withhold food until their wives agree to sex, or the case of a Toronto-area father and son accused of killing a daughter who refused to wear a hijab at school. ISLAMIST WATCH
The terrorist-supporters at CAIR like to tell us that Islamophobia as a term and as a phenomena gained currency in part due to the popular thesis developed by Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington that argued about an impending clash of civilization between Islam and the West. When 9-11 happened, the people already predisposed to viewing Islam with suspicion jumped on this bandwagon and through a multitude of primarily right wing outlets have been successful in creating a climate of extreme prejudice, suspicion and fear against Muslims. This sentiment has also been aided by many pro-Israeli commentators such as Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, Judith Miller, and Bernard Lewis, (BARE NAKED ISLAM?), among many others.
Islamophobia has resulted in the general and unquestioned acceptance of the following:
Islam is monolithic and cannot adapt to new realities.
Islam does not share common values with other major faiths.
Islam as a religion is inferior to the West. It is archaic, barbaric and irrational.
Islam is a religion of violence and supports terrorism.
Islam is a violent political ideology.