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Eric Brazau is a Canadian writer who specializes in the topic of Islam and anti-Islamophobia. He is the author of Muslim Reformers vs. Fundamentalists. Brazau’s journey to becoming an author began in 2012. From 2012 to 2017, Brazau was in and out of jail for a total of 3 years. The most significant conviction during this time took place in 2014. He was sentenced to nine months in jail for “willful promotion of hate” in 2016 he was charged with “incitement to commit genocide” and incarcerated for ten months. This charge was dropped to “cause disturbance”. During his years in prison, Brazau chose to fight the inevitable boredom by reading and copying verses from the Quran. He did this for 8-10 hours a day. During this time Brazau’s opinions on Islam began to acquire context. The transformation of his thoughts was completed when he was thrown into a fountain at the behest of a mob at a mass shooting memorial in 2018. Brazau describes this experience as an “epiphany/baptism” that changed the course of his life.
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[0:00] Can an Islamophobe be redeemed? And can a non-Muslim speak about the complex relationship between progressive and orthodox Islam with any credibility? Eric Brazau’s look at Islam began in an unexpected place, while he was incarcerated. His enlightening perspectives and observations are shared in his book, Muslim Reformers vs. And he is our guest today. I’m Doug Berger, and this is Secular Left.
[0:50] Our guest today is Eric Brazau. He’s a Canadian writer who specializes in the topic of Islam and anti-Islamophobia. He is the author of Muslim Reformers vs. Fundamentalists, Winter Contributes to Diversity, Multicultural Enrichment. Brazau’s journey to becoming an author began while serving jail terms for such crimes as willful promotion of hate and incitement to commit genocide, which was later dropped to cause disturbance. To alleviate his boredom while he was incarcerated, he really studied the Quran and his views on Islam began to change. His transformation was complete after he was thrown into a fountain by a mob at a Toronto mass shooting memorial in 2018. Thank you for joining us today, Eric. Glad to be here. And I was intrigued by your book and I did read not all of it, but I read most of it, a good majority of it. But you flipped through a good portion of it. Right, right. I mean, it’s a quick read. It’s like 200 pages. So, I mean, it’s not anything impossible to get through. And I was intrigued by this idea that you basically were an Islamophobe.
[2:13] And doing flyers and harassing people and getting into trouble. And and then you did a complete turnaround once you were incarcerated, and you’ve been working to get a better understanding about Islam here in the West, especially in your native Canada, or not native Canada, but you’re in Canada now. And so that’s why I decided to have you on as a guest, because this is a topic I think some of my listeners would like to talk about, particularly in the atheist community, there is a virulent strain of Islamophobia, and I kind of want to define what I’m talking about, Islamophobia. I don’t know if it’s different than what you have, but basically it’s the intentional denigration, of Muslims simply because they’re Muslims. Not for anything, usually we judge people by the actions that they take and how they live their lives. We don’t normally denigrate people because of their beliefs in general.
[3:26] And so one of the people in the atheist community that does this quite a lot is Sam Harris. He has a podcast and gets interviewed quite often. And he’ll make outlandish claims about Islam, making it into the boogeyman. In fact, he claims that Islam is worse than evangelical Christianity is here in the United States, more dangerous and something to keep a check on. So that’s why I was having you on today, Eric. And I really appreciate you joining us. What exactly was your purpose in writing this book? What drove you to write this book? I noticed that many books were being written and have been written that were either pro-Islam, or negative Islam. It was one or the other.
[4:28] And I was reading a book by Zuhdi Jasser and another book by Irshad Manjib who are two Muslim reformers. And it came to me that many people want to believe either or about Islam. Or Islam is, this, or Islam is that. And I started to think no one has actually looked and investigated what is the reality of what the vast majority of Muslims say Islam is. That’s number one. And number two, if there is going to be a quote-unquote Muslim reformation, the, reform Muslim movement, how likely is that to actually occur?
[5:21] And what is the reality of that happening, or when could it happen? And so So that’s what spurred me on to write the book, and I thought it interesting to put the two voices together in one place. So as you can see in the book, you have Irshad Manji and Zuhdi Jasser, who are leading the Muslim reform movement, and on the other side you have what we would call fundamentalist Islam. Or the Islam that most people don’t particularly like. Like it’s safe to say no one likes the ISIS style of Islam or the Taliban. Everyone prefers the reform LGBTQ free speech Islam. So when you put these two Islams together, it doesn’t matter which one we prefer or we would like, but the reality is Islam will affect western civilization.
[6:22] And so the book looks at, well, how is Islam affecting western civilization? Will it be the reform Islam or will it be what we call the fundamental Islam? That’s the book. Yeah, and I do know that, I believe, I should say I believe, not that I know, I believe that Islam is the largest religious group in the world.
[6:46] Largest organized religion, and like we experience here in the United States with, Evangelical Christianity, you know, we do have liberal and more conservative, Christians, and I’m assuming that that is also the case with Islam, that you have more liberal, Muslims and you have more conservative Muslims. So in the book, I don’t spend a lot of time and effort looking at what Muslims believe, which is, maybe odd. What I try to look at is what does the leadership say Islam is? What do the schools and the madrasas teach, Islam to be? There may be, like when I was a Christian, I mean a practicing Christian, I still could not wrap my head around the the virgin birth. That was not an essential, I said, I don’t know about that, but I’m still a Christian.
[7:54] But I would never deny that the virgin birth is part of Christianity. That’s a belief in Christianity. Similarly, not all Muslims in the secret of their own mind believe that the Quran is the actual literal word of Allah.
[8:17] Because people realize this book was written by men. by men but not many Muslims will stand up in the mosque and say I do not believe that the Quran is the literal word of Allah because to say that would be very problematic so my book does not focus and I have learned over the years, to not discuss or even think about what Muslims say they do and do not believe I I focus only on what major organizations such as Care Canada, Care America, Muslim Council of Europe, the Fatwa Councils. You know, there’s basically three, four, five councils and organizations that are the overarching umbrella organizations that control and influence all the way down to your local mosque. And that happens to be close to 95% are contained underneath those umbrellas. That’s what my book looks at. And very carefully, my book does not say, you know, obviously, we would like to hear what Irshad Manji and the reform movement has to say about Islam.
[9:33] That’s just not a very large percentage of the actual Muslim zeitgeist. There’s not a lot of impetus behind this Muslim reform movement. Most of the impetus behind the Muslim Reform Movement is from non-Muslims.
[9:54] And my book basically puts the two of those together. Okay, and you did say that you were previously practicing Christian, so you converted to Islam? No, I haven’t converted to Islam. What I mean is that I used to go to church for about three years. I don’t go to church any longer. Sometimes I still do. On Easter I’ll go, etc. But as a culture, for me, Christianity is culture.
[10:24] Spiritual to some extent, but I don’t believe in virgin birth. All of these details are not important to me. What exactly is your ultimate goal from this book? What do you want to see happen as a result? What I would like to see happen is for many people on either side of the debate to understand that there might be aspects to Islam that they are not aware of. We have to really discuss whether or not whoever what we believe could be the true Islam. Now many people will say Taliban, ISIS, and I’m just using those just because it’s very simple to on one extreme. Many people will say Taliban and ISIS is wrong. That’s the wrong Islam. However, if under multiculturalism and diversity, tolerance and acceptance.
[11:32] Is it legitimate to reject what is quote-unquote fundamental Islam? And if we can’t reject fundamental Islam because all cultures are equal and all people are free free to believe their religion, does it matter whether this Islam is right or this Islam is wrong, if 95% of the mosques in North America, such as Zuhdi Jasser has said clearly, and, he’s an important voice in the American Muslim community amongst the reformers, he says the vast majority of mosques do not preach a directly violent form of jihad. However, what they preach is a clear precursor to violent jihadism. That’s what he says. He’s saying that the vast majority of mosques preach ultimately words that lead to fundamental terrorism. Is that an issue, that we need to care about, to discuss. Some people will say, you know, yes at some point as the Muslim community grows and the Islamic values and Muslim values become more part of our civilization, that is a good thing. But.
[12:56] Others might say, well wait a second, do we want our civilization to become Islamized on some level. Now people say that the idea of Islamization is a far-flung conspiracy theory. It’s never going to happen. It’s very possible that it won’t happen. But if you bring a culture and an ideology into your nation or into your civilization, why would it not happen? Because now that those values in that culture is part of your culture. So cultural enrichment mandates that Islam will become part of us, whatever quote-unquote us is. So right-wingers, of which I was one in the past, would say I do not want the culture of Pakistan and Afghanistan or Yemen and Qatar or Saudi Arabia to become part of the culture here in Canada. I would openly say that.
[14:14] And that would be considered right-wing. So I no longer say that. What I do say, and I use the book to speak, is this is what’s actually happening. In all of the madrasahs of Canada, you’re aware of what a madrasah is? Okay, so I mean some people aren’t. Yeah, it’s a school. It’s a school where they study the Qur’an. Well, okay, a madrasa can also be a school from K to 12, can be certified, like a private school.
[14:48] And the ethos in that school is, like if you would go send your children to a private Catholic school, they learn mathematics and reading, but within a Catholic framework. So madrasa now can give your child a certificate from high school, but they spent the last 11 years learning all of that within an Islamic context. The question then becomes what is the context that they’re learning all of their studies within? So if I sent a child to a Catholic school we would be aware of what the Catholic framework is, correct? Yes. When we send our child to a madrasa, what is the framework of that Islamic understanding. Many people are not aware of that. I am, and that’s made clear in the book. The book has all of the references, they’re all there. So it’s not me making anything up, and I give you everywhere where you can go to verify. Basically, what the Prophet Muhammad lived at his lifetime, the Caliphate, the Sahaba, the Rashidun, the understanding of Islam within the first, what they call the first four rightly guided caliphs, the Sunnah of the Prophet, and they reference the hadith right on their website. That is what little children are being raised as and within that ethos.
[16:14] Some people might say, do we want our next generation of many children, Muslim children, many of them will become leaders, counsellors, politicians, lawyers. Do we as a society care or are we concerned that some of them are learning that they should live Islam as the Prophet Muhammad did, as the Sahaba did, and everything that that entails concerning free speech, concerning women’s rights, concerning LGBTQ, concerning Riba, Zina, stoning women to death, you know, Satan, music is satanic. I mean.
[17:00] That might be something that we prefer not. It might be something that we all actually endorse. But are people even aware that that’s what’s actually happening? Okay, well, so you’ve written this book you’ve presented the reformers and you’ve presented the, more orthodox versions of Islam that exist in the world today and, you want to inform people. So So what do you think, or is there a certain thing that you want to happen by informing people about the negative side of Islam? I don’t see this as a negative side of Islam, if I may say. I just see this as a side. So forest fires, if we want to just use, forest fires can be considered negative, but apparently you need forest fires and civilized forests to be alive. It’s a cycle. A fire can be a very positive force when you need it to heat your home or you need it to create some metal, orji. But then again, fire can also be a negative. So the two sides of Islam are neither negative nor positive. They just are. And that’s how I present the book. These are just two sides.
[18:29] Okay, well, we see extreme versions of religious beliefs elsewhere, like in history we’ve had the Jonestown massacre, well, not massacre, mass suicide. We have Orthodox Jewish men who refuse to sit next to women on airplanes, and the sexual abuse scandal that just rocked the Southern Baptist Convention here in the United States. And I’m not a fan of religion in the least. I’m an atheist. But aren’t all organized religions open to being used negatively? And it hurts people? Good question. Even reform-minded religions? Sure. Now, and I speak to that again in the book. I touch on that, what you just spoke of. We could say, and I’ll answer your question in two parts, and if I don’t, please remind, me. Santa Claus doesn’t exist. I will go out on a limb and say Santa Claus doesn’t exist. And neither does the Tooth Fairy. This is make-believe.
[19:40] But I will not say that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy is detrimental to the lives of children. You could say that it’s nice for children to believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy when they’re children. There’s something magical about that. So not all lies or not all misinformation is detrimental.
[20:04] We could say that within Christianity, which of course Christianity did give us to some extent Western Christian civilization for the good and the bad. That’s why it’s called Western Christian civilization or Judeo-Christian civilization. It’s got its good and its bad. Then you have Islamic civilization that has its good and its bad. However it’s defined by the person defining it. If I had to choose between living in a somewhat Western Christian Judeo-civilization or an Islamic civilization, personally myself I will always prefer the Western Judeo-Christian civilization because.
[20:57] Fundamentally within Islamic civilization are certain core beliefs, such as freedom of speech is not a concept. It’s not even thought to be a concept. The actual very opposite of that is a very held, strongly held value, that there is no freedom of expression. Within In Islam, there is no opportunity to be a non-believer. You cannot be an atheist. Being an atheist itself is a death penalty under Islam. If you speak out loud that you’re an atheist in a Christian civilization, you know, I’m, talking today, even last year or 50 years ago, you were not killed. In many Islamic countries, if you were to say that today, it would be problematic.
[21:51] So all of this relativism, yes, correct, there are funny things in all religions and no religion is perfect. Just like, is there any political system that is actually perfect? As Thomas Sowell says, who you might be aware of, Thomas Sowell, there’s no solutions, only trade-offs. So on the balance of everything, right, do I have to wait around for the perfect home? You know if I have a good home with a roof on it and no water leaking in the basement you know that’s already a start.
[22:26] So again civil you know all that we call civilization didn’t grow out of nothing, so if we take away Western Christianity well there’s a reason why churches are closing and being sold and being turned into mosques. And that is a reality here in Toronto. Just in my neighborhood, I can tell you within the last 10 years, within a five-minute drive, five, six, seven to ten churches have closed, been sold, and turned into mosques with madrasas and a lot of little children. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, But it is a thing. And as a leftist yourself, I mean, physics says nature abhors a vacuum, correct? Okay. So something’s going to fill the vacuum. The question just is what? Something will. And again, that’s, my book doesn’t, my book lays it out, you know, very simply. Something is filling the vacuum, and that vacuum will be filled either by fundamental Islam or reform Islam.
[23:47] And if I was a betting man, I would be betting not on the reform Islam. The reason, you know, I was asking you about this, about whether or not, you know, you were just presenting both sides, is that at the start of Chapter 2, you wrote, in this chapter we will consider whether any particular Muslim is an authentic representative of Islam. Yes. And what that drew in my mind instantly was the classic no true Scotsman argument, where, someone tries to defend a view by claiming actual adherence would or wouldn’t do that, thing or such and such, whatever it is. In my limited understanding of the details of Islam… People would say that the reform people, the people that have the more liberal view of Islam, are actually the not, it’s not, it’s not the authentic Islam.
[24:59] Right? Well, okay, two things which you said, and I’ll read on. Okay, so Now, when the reformer Muslims or the progressive Muslims say, this is what I believe Islam is, unfortunately, they don’t have a lot of doctrine to back up what they’re saying. Basically, they’re saying, this is what I prefer Islam to be. Whereas when the fundamentalists say, this is what Islam is, and they also quote the verse and the Sunnah and the Hadith and the life of the Prophet Muhammad or the Sahaba or what they would call jurisprudence, or what they have even within the Quran, you have like the footnotes that explain certain verses in the Quran. So this is what they cite. So they have Islamic doctrine on their side, whereas the progressive liberal Muslims do not have much, have very little doctrine on their side.
[25:59] That’s number one. But number two is, If we would want to promote and believe that progressive Islam is the true Islam, which I myself, Eric, prefer it to be that.
[26:22] That’s like 0.05 percent of the Muslim population. 95 percent, 90 percent, believes, is to varying degrees on the other side of what we would call fundamental. Okay, yeah, we, yeah, we have, you know, there’s a similar thing that goes on when those of us on the secular part deal with evangelical Christians, or Christians in general, is, you know, they’ll say, well, we can do such-and-such because this is, in the Bible, it says this. And then you can say, well, in the Bible it says this, which is the complete opposite. And then they’ll tell us, well, you’re misinterpreting the Bible. You know, it’s how we say it is not how you say it is because you’re not a Christian, Okay, and and and so I think when you have a human created religion, And it’s a human created holy book That’s subject to interpretation, you know, I I personally think that both the the Orthodox Muslims and the progressive Muslims, They have they both have a claim. Sure.
[27:44] Yeah, and because because you know when the Quran was written What in the first century? You know after Supposedly Jesus existed, you know, so it’s always open to interpretation like the Holy Bible is, misinterpreted because when the when King James had a version written he tailored it to his own beliefs and, not the the actual text of the Holy Bible at that time, so I I just, It just I just want to point out. I mean, I’m not making a real point here I’m just pointing out though that that you know Islam and, Christianity and some of these other religions are like that you’ll have people that are are, are fundamentalist about everything, and it’s in the book, and then you’ll have other people that cherry pick stuff. However, there’s something I must say here, is a fundamentalist Christian is still very different.
[28:50] From a fundamentalist Muslim. And there are drastic differences. There’s a reason why Christianity is Christianity and Islam is Islam. And to say that fundamentalists of either religion are the same is very, it would be like saying I’m a fundamentalist communist and he’s a fundamentalist capitalist, but because they’re both fundamentalists, they’re similar. So how are fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims different? Well, in very simple, nowhere.
[29:27] And I read the Bible, I should say the New Testament anyway. And I did go to church for three years, meaning for every Sunday for three years, I was a full-on Christian. There is no Islamic text or understanding or mandate that people who leave the religion of Christianity should be executed. That doesn’t exist. It does exist in Islam. That’s right in the text. That in itself is already a lot.
[30:08] The whole idea of women their face, being completely covered and then being completely eliminated from the public space is, contained within the Islamic doctrine, Now when I say doctrine I’m including the hadith and I’m including the Sunnah, The Quran says there should be a curtain so segregation of the sexes is, Not part of some weird extreme Islam. That’s mainstream fundamental every day in the mosque Islam, Men and women must be segregated, that is very not Western civilization and, That is just off the top of my head and I can go on and on and on and there’s a lot of reasons why, fundamental Christianity Even no matter think of any religious Christian sect that you know of when the man and the woman get married what happens, There’s a celebration, They sing and they laugh and they have joy and they play musical instruments, well that Never happens in Islam in virtually no Islamic sect, the women Are separated from the men very often the woman never even has met the man before often.
[31:30] So again just on those that in Islam in the doctrine says musical instruments are the call of Shaitan.
[31:41] You’ve heard the stories of Isis and Al-Qaeda smashing musical instruments when they take over a village, Didn’t everyone think that was kind of weird and strange? But why would somebody be smashing musical instruments, right? That’s why. That’s their religion. That’s not them being fanatical. That’s just their doctrine, their religion. And I also need to point out too that Christianity does have a history, maybe of not executing people leaving the religion, but they’ve executed Jews, They’ve executed atheists. They’ve executed people that didn’t adhere to the doctrine on the creation of the earth. Right. Okay. And that was a history. I mean, there’s a long history. That’s why they called it the Dark Ages. There’s a good point. That’s, okay, that’s in itself, me and you can have a whole conversation and a debate on that. But even if we leave it, I say, yeah, fine. Leave it at that. I agree with you. I’m agreeing. Where I’m not agreeing, and this is again the big difference, You could use Christianity for political ends.
[32:56] But killing people who leave Christianity is not contained within the actual doctrine of Christianity. There’s a difference there. Whereas if you leave Islam you are mandated to be killed by the actual religion itself. So killing people in the name of Christianity because you left Christianity we could say is a perversion of Christianity. Because that’s not Christian. Actually Christianity says says when you leave the town, if they didn’t listen to you, wipe the dust off your feet. That’s actually in Matthew. Pay unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, pay unto God what belongs to God. All of that stuff. None of that is in, there’s nothing similar in Islam. Islam very specifically within the doctrine itself says that it is the political system. It makes that clear. That’s the difference. So you can have a society that fashions itself on Christian ideals, Christian values, in, the Islamic understanding of everything. You do not fashion society within Islamic values. Islamic values are the society. Islamic law is the society. There is no separation. And if you advocate for separation, that in itself is another reason to be killed.
[34:24] And a lot of these details I know of, only because I’ve been studying this for the last 10-15 years, that comes very clearly in the book, in a much more subtle way, and it talks about what’s called bid’ah. One who advocates for anything that is considered new against the religion or like a new way of interpreting the religion or behaving within the religion, that in itself is a death sentence. Christianity doesn’t have that contained in the doctrine of Christianity. So when we talk about the Reformation, Martin Luther, he actually used Christian doctrine to support his Reformation.
[35:20] The fundamentalists, the traditionalists, are calling for a Reformation, and their reformation calls for a return back to the original Islam. And they use their Islamic doctrine to support the reformation to the return back to the fundamental Islam. So in a sense, Martin Luther was saying, we have perverted Christianity with all of this new indulgences, etc. So he wanted to go back to the original understanding of spirituality and of Christianity. For more information about any of the topics covered in this episode, check out our show notes at secularleft.org.
[36:10] In your book you point out that in Canada. There are many laws and regulations against Islamophobia and in fact some of those laws were used to, Prosecute you and and led you to be put in jail in the first place By pointing all this out is your intention to say that those laws and regulations are dangerous or a burden to free expression, Though yes those laws, so that’s why we have, That is why I no longer speak negatively about Islam in any of its manifestations.
[36:48] I, because it’s not the government and the powers that be have said if you say anything in a certain manner it will be you will have problems or we will bring problems upon you. Now a way that we can shut down any conversation is by labeling the person who’s instigating that conversation as something. Supremacist, colonialist, bigot, etc. So I just don’t go there any longer. The whole idea is that these laws were introduced to a large part, now especially, by the Muslim lobby in Canada. Very, very much so. That’s what they’ve been lobbying for. Why would they be lobbying for this? There could be many reasons why, but the fact remains that right now, I’m not sure if it passed and it probably did or it’s in its third reading, in the new law if someone accuses you of a potential hate speech crime, hear what I just said, you could, in the future you might commit a future hate speech crime, you can be punished for that. That’s turning natural law on its head. So, how are we going to talk about subjects?
[38:18] So, you think it’s okay for, let’s say, for example, you leave your house one day, and you’re walking, I don’t know, to catch a bus and some Muslim person comes up to you, and starts haranguing you about your religion or lack of religion and that you’re not following the true path and if you’re going to hell and they keep talking to you and keep talking to you until you actually get on the bus. So you think that that’s free expression. I hear what you’re saying. Okay, so if I was wearing a t-shirt that said Led Zeppelin is the best rock band. You’ve heard of Led Zeppelin? Yeah, I have. And I’m at the bus stop and you come up to me and you say, hey, Hey, Deep Purple is a better rock group than Led Zeppelin.
[39:13] Well, obviously you’re talking to me about Deep Purple being better than Led Zeppelin because my t-shirt’s advertising Led Zeppelin. That would be legitimate, correct? Yeah, that would be two people having a chat, right. Now, if after 30 seconds or 40 seconds, I said, look, buddy, I don’t wanna have this conversation anymore with you, thank you, it’s been nice, but you know, I wanna, You’re supposed to respect that, and just you now stop the conversation. Right, there’s a line. There’s a line. Now, even if I found you, now say you didn’t stop the conversation right away because you were annoying, which sometimes people are annoying, correct? Mm-hmm. Well, that’s all part of living in a society.
[39:58] And if I want to never be annoyed, then I should get myself a car or make enough money and become, chauffeured everywhere. Other than that, I have to live in the public space. And in the past, we had a public space and people had conversations that were sometimes annoying or sometimes people didn’t like, but that’s why it’s called the public space. Whereas today, if I was wearing a large cross that said I’m a Christian, and I was walking around with my, you know, my Christian cross, and you came up to me and said, hey, Christians are bad people and the Crusades, and then you went on your thing about Christianity and the Crusades. I would have to accept that. Because if I’m going to advertise my Christianity for everyone to see, I should be willing to accept that people have something to say about my Christianity.
[40:54] Now I would agree with you in some circumstances where people have taken a comment or a social media post or something and claimed it was a hate crime and got the legal process involved. But you know, just like you said, there is a line.
[41:17] And the job, the job in politics, when you have people that have different belief systems and different, they live their lives differently. That’s the negotiation you have with the line. And if you cross the line, then that’s when we venture into court cases and jail time. And I think that’s what happened to you in one of your incidents, is you were talking to somebody and haranguing them, whether you were or not, intentionally, and I think you stepped over that line. And so I, myself, I’m for free expression or free speech, but it’s not absolute. Well, again, I don’t want to go into free speech about absolute, You’re probably right. Maybe I was haranguing, and I’m not even sure what you’re discussing, but I’ve moved on from all of that. Right. No, I agree. I’m just trying to point out, because you talk about that in your book, about these laws that, as you say, was instigated by the Muslim lobby. But remember this, and this is what you might not be thinking of, that why did we not have these laws 50…
[42:40] We didn’t have these laws 50 years ago. We did. Blasphemy laws. We had blasphemy laws. I don’t know, I don’t think you still do in Canada, but we did here in the United States. We also had blue laws where businesses had to shut down on Sunday so that people could go to work. Okay, so… So we’ve had, we’ve had similar laws. The point is this. If I smashed a window and stole, took a watch, I would know that that’s theft, and that was a crime.
[43:11] We seem as a society to be getting, we’re making laws not by culture and by precedent, but by like a new idea. Like, okay, let’s make that a crime. It’s never been a crime in the last 100 years, 500 years. It was not a crime under British law. It wasn’t a crime under common law, but now we’re developing laws. What if I told you that many of these laws, many lawyers cannot even understand them. Many judges are having difficulty understanding them. When these laws went to the Supreme Court, because there was a case here with LGBTQ and flyers and AIDS information and kind of complex, The Supreme Court of nine judges or seven judges, it’s actually seven judges, the decision came down four against three, that it was hate crime. But three thought it wasn’t a hate crime, that’s superior judges at the highest level of the land.
[44:15] Now, if they’re having difficulty understanding these laws and what they mean and what they’re not supposed to mean, how are regular citizens supposed to navigate these laws? Not only that, keep in mind, one justice—it’s a very famous quote now—said some truths need not be spoken. Oh, that’s an interesting turn of events in law. So if some truths need not be spoken, how are we as people supposed to know what truths are not supposed to be spoken? Under what circumstances?
[44:54] But that’s kind of what we’re getting into right here now is kind of a quagmire that, brings us away from the thesis of this book, which is a Muslim is not Islam, and Islam is not a Muslim. We should not judge Islam and what it’s doing or going to do or how it’s affecting civilization based on the Muslims that we know or the Muslims that we see or the Muslims or the Islam that we want to prefer. Let’s judge Islam, if, we’re going to judge Islam that is, based on what the vast majority of Muslims, believe it to be? But even more important than that, what do the vast majority of Muslim leaders and Muslim organizations, what do they say Islam is? Because Muslim leaders and organizations control 95% of all the mosques and they preach to all of the Muslims, therefore they will be the ones who influence the Muslim community. So my book is based on that. So, So it’s based on that voice, and then the voice of the Muslim reformers and the LGBTQ-friendly mosques.
[46:16] Now, which of these two voices will ultimately drive the Muslim community? That’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter which voice is right and which voice is wrong because that’s somebody making a judgment call. What matters is what is. And what is, is very clear. And Care Canada, I mean, or I should say Care in the U.S. You are familiar with Care? Yes. Muslim Brotherhood. Care. That is a big voice within the Islamic community in the world, especially in the West. And the big voice that represents any number of Muslims, is not the reformers, unfortunately. They are very, very small.
[47:07] Okay. All right. Sorry, I don’t mean to cut you off. I kind of need to start wrapping things up today. And as we do so, what I do is I like to give everybody an opportunity at the end to either briefly restate a major point that you want us to take away from this, and also if you want to promote your book, let us know where we can get it, that sort So go ahead and do that. Amazon.com. I have two books, one called Learning Islam, and the other, which is the one we’re talking about, The Muslim Reformers vs. Fundamentalists. You can go to my blog, ericbrazau.com, where I discuss many issues, of course, issues regarding Islam here in Canada.
[47:58] The fundamental message, which I said earlier, is the reality of Islam is what the vast majority of Muslim leaders say Islam is. And that is the voice that will end up influencing our Western civilization. You might like it, you might not like it, but at least we should be aware.
[48:19] Of what’s really happening regarding Islam because Islam is a is growing exponentially I think you will agree will you not oh sure yeah because it is apparently Islam is only 1.5 percent of the American population and look at the voice that’s being that that’s Islam in North America it’s powerful and that’s 1.5% of the population. That’s not 10%. That’s not 5%. And a lot of laws and values are being turned on their head. What will be when Islamic, when Islam represents 5% of the population? What’s most most likely to be. Momentum. Momentum means a lot. That’s it. All right, from the zone.com, go to Amazon, get the book. All right. Thank you very much. And I really appreciate you were with us today. And it was a very lively discussion and I do appreciate it. Thank you and you asked some very good questions. Good day.
[49:46] Again, I wanted to thank Eric Brazau for being a guest here on the Secular Left. I just wanted to add this note here on the end, and I appreciate people that have gotten this far and is listening to this part of the podcast. I just wanted to add my personal viewpoint about this interview. The reason why I had Eric as a guest is I was interested in his story that he was an Islamophobe who was jailed for his actions. He harassed people on buses and in public and in Canada that was a no-no and he was put in jail for it, for causing harm to people who were just going about their day who happened to be Muslim. That’s what I can’t … and he didn’t seem to understand that when I pointed that out. That when you leave your house and you’re walking to the bus stop, you don’t want to get accosted for your beliefs.
[51:11] You know, that’s the definition of Islamophobia. You know, when people can’t let you go about your mundane life, mundane day. And I get it. I get it. am also concerned about radical Islam killing people in the name of Allah. I get that and I’m concerned about that too. But you know Suzy Q and John Q public who just happen to be Muslims have nothing to do with that normally. You know in our country you know you’re presumed innocent until you’re found guilty. And so you should be able to go to your go to the bus stop but do your Muslim and you want to wear the whole United States. And so Eric complaining, telling. It was telling. You know, he claims he’s not an Islamophobe anymore. He doesn’t let Muslims, doesn’t believe that Muslims should just go about their day. His book is, it’s an interesting take on it, but I, and that’s what I have a problem with people like him.
[52:41] And it happens here, we have that with the Republican Party in the United States, particularly Representative Jim Jordan in Congress, who tweets, you know, there was 12 shootings in Chicago today. It’s run by Democrats.
[52:59] You know, and you call him out on it, he’s like, hey, I’m just pointing out the facts. Well, he has an agenda. That’s why he’s pointing those things out and I think Eric has an agenda. It’s anti-Islam and the fact that he is not Islam, he’s not Muslim, it’s a problem. People writing about a religion and they’re not a member of that religion, that can be a problem. You know, unless you’re doing an academic study where you’re doing research and he’s read these reformers and he’s read these things, but if you go to his website, he’s pointing out all the bad stuff, all the negative stuff, and to me it’s cherry picking. I am not a fan of Islam. Like I said in the interview, I’m an atheist and I think it’s full of crap, just like Christianity is, but it really is not any more dangerous than evangelical Christianity is. I think either side, either kind of religion, if you get bad actors, they can take it to the extreme.
[54:22] And I think that we should prosecute the bad actions. We should try to prevent the bad actions. But not at the expense of common everyday people going about their business who happen to be a certain religion. And to me, that is where Eric is wrong. It’s like, okay, and I get it, and this is the question I ask with many political actions. I was like, okay, you’ve pointed out the bad stuff. Now what? What is the point? It’s just, what is the point? If you’re pointing all this out, well, this guy blew up this thing, and da da da da. It’s like, okay, you’ve pointed out the bad stuff, Now what are we going to do about it?
[55:18] It was an interesting interview and he’s taking advantage of the marketplace by self-publishing his book. And it’s available where you can get these types of books at. I’m just not a fan of it. I’m not a fan of his take on it. and That’s I just thought it was interesting to talk to him simply because he’s had experience being in prison, for for being a dick, Essentially and I don’t think that he’s got new stripes. I think he’s still, He’s still a dick about about Islam and he just makes it he dresses it up, He dressed he’s wearing a disguise But I don’t think he is not an Islamophobe. I think he still is. He’s just straddling that delicate line. So if you want to check it out, check it out. I don’t recommend it.
[56:29] But you know, I can’t tell you not to do it.
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