On July 1 of this year, Professor emeritus Jacques Frémont will be the 30th president and vice- chancellor of the University of Ottawa. The nominee is a 74 year-old lawyer who, after a “rigorous and vast process of selection” has been unanimously chosen and then appointed for a four-year term. After having held a number of prestigious positions in the past, since 2013 he has been the president of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec.
Professor Frémont comes with extensive administrative experiences but also with heavy baggage. It appears that the Nominating Committee was looking precisely for this baggage because it is ideological in nature. Ideology or religious affiliation, in many appointments and institutions, appears to trump most, if not all, other qualifications of candidates, and Frémont, to the discredit of UO, comes with the “right” ideology.
The president-elect has been the prime promoter of the Projet de loi n° 59: Loi édictant la Loi concernant la prévention et la lutte contre les discours haineux et les discours incitant la violence et apportant diverses modifications législatives pour renforcer la protection des personnes.
As feared by those who value freedom of speech in general and academic freedom in particular, the projected law widens rather than restrains the purview of the existing Charter, thus giving the Quebec Human Rights Commission even more powers to investigate and judge than it already has. Currently it is required that there be a victim, a person who is harmed and wants redress. Frémont wants none of that. The Commission, by the way, has the power to impose fines up to $250,000 and in case of recidivism double the amount, which clearly can financially ruin somebody or some institution.
The proposed modifications are important in that they do away with the requirement of a person being hurt or discriminated against. Every Muslim, for example, can come forward, call himself a “victim,” and request compensation (read: money) for his hurt feelings or perceived discrimination if he reads something critical of Islam or the “holy Prophet,” such as the Prophet’s flight in one night on Rajab 27, 615 from Mekka to Jerusalem on Buraq (a real rather than an oneiric or metaphorical horse) and then from Jerusalem on a ladder up into heaven and back again. Buraq is the name of the winged, centaur-like horse with a woman’s head, that is embellished by a golden crown, the horse being the speediest means of transportation at the time although available only for the Prophet.
For the reader less versed in Islamic theology: The nightly ascendency of Muhammed from Jerusalem into heaven and back again is the basis of the argument for the claim of Jerusalem as the third holiest Muslim city that must be under Muslim governance. Were Muslim religious authorities to consider that the mi’radj was just a dream or fantasy, the claim to Jerusalem
could hardly be made. Could anyone dream of ascending into heaven from Rome and then lay claim to the city? Could the Jews claim the Sinai for Israel on the basis that this is where Moses received the Ten Commandments? Or should the Vatican perhaps claim Jerusalem because this is where Christ was crucified and from where he ascended into heaven? Homeric laughter would break out were this to happen. Very soon, however, criticizing will not be a laughing matter at the University of Ottawa!
I personally sharpened my ears and became even more alarmed when I heard Professor Frémont explain in an interview that he was inspired by the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, arguing that this august body with its leader “goes in the same direction.” He apparently likes the intellectual company he keeps.
Since 1999, under the pretext of wanting to contain “religious intolerance,” the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, with 57 member states that typically vote as a bloc, under the leadership of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan, all countries that imprison, flagellate or execute blasphemers, urges the United Nations to formulate a universal blasphemy law. This coveted law shall prohibit religious intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization, blasphemy and, of course, “islamophobia,” the panchreston that comprises anything one dislikes. The activist countries consider “islamophobia” more reprehensible and offensive than the kind of “justice” that is administered by the mullahs or emirs, such as decapitation for apostasy. By the way, according to the 34th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, in 2007, Islamophobia is “the worst form of terrorism.” Right!
Reader, nota bene: Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. argue for religious tolerance while at the same time criminalizing blasphemy! Are these countries not the most “christianophobic” nations in the world?
Is Professor Frémont being accused of advocating decapitation of apostates or hanging of homosexuals? Of course not. Then, what is the common agenda among Jacques Frémont with his revision of the Quebec Charter, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations? It is their advocacy of censorship, their active pursuit of curtailing our right to unfettered freedom of expression, a sine qua non for any democracy, unless there is immediate danger of harm. A president who at his university piously talks about academic freedom and in his other life actively enables religious fanatics and opportunists to have somebody prosecuted who exercises his right to speak his mind, is probably not the best person to represent his university. Who can still have hope that we may find common ground for defining hateful speech («discours haineux» ) or defamation of religion («diffamation des religions» ) that are to be proscribed?
In 2002, the French author Michel Houellebecq was taken to court in Paris by four Muslim associations for insulting and defaming Muslims for his characterizing Islam as the “most damned stupid religion” («L’Islam est la religion la plus con du monde» ) and for stating that after reading the Quran he collapsed in disbelief («effondré» ). Of course, the notion of
«incitation la haine» , key concept of all Human Rights legislations, played a central role in the adjudication and acquittal of Houellebecq to the great astonishment of the Muslim
organizations in France. The worse a law is the more courageous a judge has to be to neutralize its toxin.
As of this writing, the Egyptian-German author Hamed Abdel-Samad is being prosecuted in Berlin on the basis of an anonymous denunciation, his sin being his characterization of Muhammed as a “mass murderer and pathological tyrant” in his book Mohamed. Eine Abrechnung (2015) (“Muhammad: A Reckoning”). It is to be hoped that the German judges have a better understanding of freedom of expression than professor Frémont. But the price that our avant-guard pays is high: both authors have to live under police protection.
In conclusion, I want the reader to know that I “hate” Islam in as much as it is violent and murderous.
I “hate” what has become known as Islamism in as much as it pursues jihad with the goal to impose shariah law on the unwilling.
I further “hate” the aspirations of our useful idiots in the West who in a surreptitious and disingenuous manner impose undemocratic, if not fascist, elements into our Western liberal democracies.
Finally, a precious little jewel in the ongoing debate. Hillary Clinton, as Foreign Secretary, in Muslim company once opined that to determine what constitutes blasphemy we are “sufficiently intelligent to substitute our judgment for that of God.”