Some Are More Equal Than Others

The Webber Academy is an acclaimed secular private school in Alberta. It treats all religious faiths equally: no religious observance is permitted in school. No prayers, no worship services. Not for any religion. Period.

That is, until some parents of Muslim students filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The HRC found against the Webber Academy, and ordered it to pay a fine, and to accommodate its Muslim students, to avoid discrimination.

In other words, Muslim students must be treated differently from all other students, otherwise they are being discriminated against.

The following video features Ezra Levant’s take on this farrago of “justice” in Modern Multicultural Canada:

The text of the HRC decision on Webber Academy

Below are excerpts from an article in the National Post on the judgment against the school:

Calgary school slapped with $26K fine for refusing to let Muslim students pray on campus

A Calgary private school unlawfully discriminated against two Muslim students by refusing to allow them to pray on campus, says the province’s human rights tribunal.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission fined Webber Academy a total of $26,000 for distress and loss of dignity after the boys were forced to hide at the school or leave the property during the city’s chilly winter to fulfill their faith’s obligations.

Neil Webber, the facility’s founder and president, said he was disappointed with the ruling released Thursday and said an appeal with Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench will be filed.

“A key pillar of our founding principles is that the school be a non-denominational environment in which children can thrive and focus on their academic success,” Webber said.

“This remains our goal.”

A human rights law expert at the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre said the ruling is a reminder to providers of public services in Alberta like schools and businesses that there is a duty to accommodate religious beliefs so long as they don’t cause undue hardship to the organization.

“It could be a Jehovah’s witness who wants Saturday off from work or a few students who want a space to pray at a school,” Sarah Burton said.

“If someone has a protected ground under human rights legislation and you can reasonably work around that request, then you’re obligated to provide it.”

The ruling focussed on the treatment of 14-year-old Sarmad Amir and Naman Siddique who were admitted to Webber Academy in late 2011.

The tribunal heard undisputed evidence that in the first few weeks they attended the school staff accommodated their request to pray by allowing them to use an empty classroom.

When the parents received a call from Webber in mid-December saying the children would now need to leave the school premises to pray, the boys began going outside on the school grounds when timings of some of the five daily devotions coincided with class hours.

If there was a blizzard outside or if it was too cold to pray, Siddique testified the pair would use a nook or cranny inside instead.

In early February, Webber wrote the parents to say that because the school’s policies were being ignored the boys would not be accepted for enrolment for the next academic year.

A few days later when Siddique violated the school’s directive by praying in the library, he testified that school vice-president Barbara Webber approached him and asked him repeatedly what he was doing such that he felt compelled to stop.

“I had this intense sense of shame and humiliation, despite the fact that I was just exercising my right as a Canadian citizen, as a human being, to practise my faith,” he said.

Hat tip: Vlad Tepes.

28 thoughts on “Some Are More Equal Than Others

  1. Well, after all Human Rights Crap Commission can carve itself a job to do. We are not like communists without human rights organizations.. We have noble organizations, beloved by jihadis. That’s what matters. The whole of the west has been turned into gulags for non- what? ye non muslims. If a muslim student is present in a classroom, please professor ask his permission before you go to the washroom. Hey, whenever school, college starts identify the master race muslims and take a sheet of paper and make a list of all the demands. And accommodate them blindly while bowing to them in the most abject dhimmi cowardice capitulation.
    Are we not proud of our freedom to do whatever muslims order us to do? Are we not thankful that multiculti started 40 years ago? It should have never stopped by King John III Sobieski. What a disappointment Sobieski defeated Kara Mustapha.

    • That was awesome, even if it was totally irrelevant.

      Unless the point was that attempting to exclude faith from any sphere of human existence is a misguided project in the first place. The notion that prohibiting all expressions of religion is “non-denominational” is ludicrous on the face of it, because secular humanism is, in point of fact, a religious denomination (even if it is a particularly pointless one when compared with pretty much anything other than Islam).

      It is telling that secular humanism has made itself the officially established state religion of pretty much the entire Western world, and yet collapses in the face of Islam. It tells us how tolerant modern Christianity was, how intolerant secular humanism is, and how even less tolerant Islam has always been.

      For better or worse, the surviving remnants of Christianity are necessarily less tolerant than the modernist version, and the days in which secular humanism was allowed to stamp out all other religious expression in the name of “tolerance” are coming to an end. ‘Tolerance’, except in the unambiguous sense of patiently suffering and forgiving personal injury, is not originally a Christian virtue.

      • Yea, that’s kind of the problem with “non denominational” things. In order to have that you have to come up with a new non-denominational denomination.

        If you try to just embrace radical pluralism then you end up with things like Islam getting involved and interfering with common standards like being in class at certain times.

        I didn’t actually watch that cartoon, I just read the article, but I really have to wonder if it addressed the real problem which is more neo-Marxist than classical Marxist. That is, the “social justice” zero-sum “class” warfare theory that says that any “disadvantaged” group needs special privileges in order to achieve equal outcome regardless of any failures in individual action or self-destructive beliefs they have.

        There is also this which is related:

      • Sorry Chiu, but this is [material that I hold in low esteem]! Secular humanism is an absence of religion, as a vacuum is an absence of air or other gases.

        • He who uses the first case of attack by name-calling, loses the argument. That includes attacks on the argument itself. Address the content, don’t smear things on it. And don’t begin an attack with a “sorry” – if one is really “sorry” then one doesn’t attack.

          Thank you.

          • Well, I would tend to disagree in principle. There have been plenty of things that I have deemed worthy of being termed “[material that I hold in low esteem]!” Even Christ once said of certain religious observances, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?” And this was AFTER the disciples asked if He knew that the previous statements about those (perfectly inoffensive, in my opinion) observances had given offense. There is a time and a place for calling something unmitigated B.S. (or some even less desired material). But one should have at least have a defense of that characterization ready at hand if it is challenged.

            One might term atheism a lack of belief in any divinity-centered religion, but secular humanism is clearly a religion insofar as we define religion non-recursively. Nothing about any accepted etymology of the term “religion” suggests that the piety, devotion, and moral obligations associated with the term must be directed towards a conventional deity or even a supernatural being (secular humanism only evades that charge by claiming that the view in which human reason and will are beyond the constraints of natural law is somehow not assigning supernatural significance).

            And while I have no particular use for atheism, I have no special objection to it either, since all genuinely sincere atheists see no difficulty with going through the motions of whatever religious observance is most likely to keep them safe. I have noted before that most nominal Muslims don’t really believe in Allah, they just don’t see the point of getting killed over their disbelief. They would be quite happy if someone would exterminate all the sincere Muslims for them and then leave them free to disbelieve in some less onerous religion. Some might prefer secular humanism, most who consider the question carefully and intelligently (which is obviously going to be a distinct minority) realize that sincere Christians make the most tolerant and least aggravating majority in which to hide. But, being sincere atheists, they’re rarely willing to personally put much on the line for that preference.

            No, secular humanism is a problem precisely because it is a religious observance, demanding piety and adherence to an irrational dogma centered on the supernatural qualities asserted to be present in humanity (as a whole, at least, even if not found in any particular human). Claiming that it is not a religion so as to evade the Constitutional prohibition on establishing it through the power of the Federal government is as transparent a ploy as claiming that the FBI, DHS, BATFE, and other such heavily armed groups are not standing armies. You could as easily and plausibly say the same thing of the Marines, and deploy them against the American people in time of peace…except that the Marines might not follow any such orders.

        • Mark H: It’s scientifically impossible for there to be a “complete absence of religion” in someone’s mind. Here’s some evidence but you can find more:

          Religion is tied to social cognition, and nobody is actually without social cognition. This is a computational subsystem that will necessarily have some sort of software, otherwise you’d be as unable to function as a computer missing key operating system drivers.

          Trying to define religion in terms of whether or not a supernatural being is involved results in an arbitrary semantic distinction. For example, communism is a religion yet the figure of God is simply replaced with a human such as Lenin or Mao. Neo-Confucian monarchy, such as that in North Korea, follows the same pattern.

          Secular humanism actually ends up being a least common denominator religion composed of commonly accepted beliefs (such as murder being wrong) from multiple religions, each with their own sources of authority, without endorsing any specific authority.

          You’re going to end up with a de facto religion of some sort in your head as you decide which things to believe or not belief. The sources of authority will end up being a combination of yourself and other people.

          I think what you’re actually objecting to is the mindless following of a specific source of authority, such as Mohammed, and then having that forced on you. I’d object to the authority of Mohammed as well, but the fact is that you’ll still end up with some sort of common denominator beliefs from various sources.

          These beliefs will seem like “common sense” because they’re learned automatically but if you need proof that common sense is not just some instinctive thing, all you have to do is look at all the Muslims who think that Islam is just “common sense” (because of their socialization it will seem like it) or even more extreme cases such as people who think that beheading someone for apostasy is “just common sense”.

          Anyway, key point is that all government can do to be “secular” is adopt common denominator policies, but make no mistake these ultimately originate from multiple religions and thus arguably form a sort of common denominator religion.

          • I would only point out that the fact that religious impulses are a fundamental aspect of social cognition in neuro-typical humans does not imply that there cannot exist atypical persons who may still have some social cognition but no innate religious impulse. In fact, I happen to be one such person (I also am incapable of becoming truly fluent in any human language, though certain invented languages such as are used for computer programming are more compatible with my natural thought processes). Of course, the corollary of this is that I also lack the normal human impulses which generally lead people to embrace the logically untenable idea that it would be possible for any self-aware consciousness to exist if God did not exist.

            Then again, that also leaves me perfectly aware that, if one is not insistent on believing that logic is valid, a logical impossibility may well be the case. I also have no vested interest in personally existing aside from the observed fact that God might be somewhat upset if I didn’t. As a genuine nihilist, I cannot possibly take the position that my disinterest in existing can matter more than God’s interest in my existence. And if I am not indeed a pure nihilist anymore as a result of God’s interference, then I have a positive interest of my own in my existence, and thus logically most accept God’s existence.

            It would appear that being a genuine nihilist can leave one inconveniently vulnerable to perfect, divine, unconditional, love. But I am still sufficiently nihilistic to not be terribly concerned about the inconvenience. It’s not like I would have been doing or being anything else, after all.

          • Chiu, I still think you’re somewhat caught up in semantics, though unfortunately it’s impossible to communicate using any language without being limited by semantics.

            Anyway, I think what you’re getting at is this:

            In computationalism terms, some of us implement a significantly different machine architecture than average.

          • That is an interesting study, but it relied entirely on neuro-typical individuals sorted by superficial similarity to traits found in the autistic spectrum of behaviors. This kind of superficial analysis is inevitable, as autism is currently a syndrome (identified strictly by symptoms) rather than having a truly clinical definition.

            As neuro-typicals, they had an undiminished instinct to place an irrational value on their own existence compared to the existence of others, and this naturally leads to atheism when the instinct to irrational value others is diminished. Of course, finding out the opinions of the profoundly autistic is generally quite difficult, since most of them never learn human language well enough to communicate effectively, and human language is probably inadequate or unsuited to express their deepest thoughts and perceptions anyway.

  2. This is a put up job, rather like all the demands for girls to wear Burkas and Jilbabs in UK schools. I think the world would be a better place without islam.

  3. It’s quite simple, really. It’s a private school, therefore it can pick and choose its pupils. Just choose not accept muslim students as there presence in the school disrupts the school’s principles.

    In other word, there’s the gate, go out it, don’t come back.

    • I think the very p.c. private Friends’ Schools will take any Muslim who can afford the 15-20 thousand a year tuition.

      Friends’ schools are nominally Quaker schools, but not anymore, in reality. I served on the Spiritual Formation Committee of one of them and when asked for feedback on this event, which was an hour set aside weekly so the girls could groom one another and the boys stared off into space, the kids said: “religion sucks”; various other equally erudite comments were forthcoming.

      For the most part those kids come from atheist leftist backgrounds. No doubt the Sidwell Friends’ where the Obama children attend is no better, which appears to be fine with the parents.

      Few leftists believe in “organized” religion. Even an hour spent in agnostic silence is questionable.

  4. It’s actually a matter of property rights and the rights of association. The school is private and has decided that no religious activities, including prayers, be allowed on the campus. The students appeared reasonable enough, trying to find an unoccupied room or corner to do their prayers. There was a Muslim where I worked, and he would duck into corners for prayers, even mentioning using my office occasionally, and would not push his requirements on other people.

    But, one of the requirements of private property is limits. The owners of the school want to keep it free of any issues of religious observance. So, no prayers. If a student can’t accommodate those requirements, the student will simply have to study elsewhere. If a private institution is not allowed to maintain its chosen character, then all unique identities will dissolve into a gray goo.

    The politicization of this situation is obviously Muslim dawa, the spreading of the faith, obviously the intention of the parents and the organizations involved, regardless of the motivations of the students involved.

    The question is, why are government officials so anxious to accommodate a pushy religion like Islam, when a moment’s thought will reveal the overwhelming desirability of true diversity, which is allowing individual discretion on the individual’s property. There have been many articles and essays in Gates of Vienna to address the dilemma, and none has really answered the question.

    We probably need to treat the problem like we do quantum mechanics: without really understanding the underlying principles, if any, we can describe the behaviors with high accuracy and act accordingly. We know the dynamics of government officials and mainstream politicians. It’s interesting to delve into their motivations, but unnecessary and probably not productive. They act as they act and are predictable. That’s what we need to know.

    In the US, the American Freedom Law Center provides legal resources for private organizations under attack by official, taxpayer supported groups. The only way to fight this political dawa is through grass roots and private groups like this, not through expecting government officials to do their job.

    • Your one sentence hits the nail squarely on the head; why indeed are so many government officials so anxious to accommodate the pushy cult of islam?

      Is it fear? Certainly there is apparently a huge difference in the thought processes of government officials and the great unwashed when the subject of islam arises, with the latter tending to exhibit rage rather than fear at the disgraceful grovelling of virtually all the western world’s governments to the pushy barbaric cult, which exhibits absolutely no laudable characteristics, and is in fact so disgusting on every level I find it amazing that the western world tolerates it, let alone bows before it.

    • I don’t know why people keep saying it hasn’t been answered. I’m constantly answering this question. If you read about neo-Marxist conflict theory (aka class warfare theory) it will make perfect sense.

      The thing that logical people may be having a hard time understanding is that conflict theory principles trump all other considerations such as what the a
      beliefs of a designated “victimized out group” actually are.

      The other thing that people may be having a hard time understanding is how a group achieves the “oppressed victim” status and how their victim hood priority is assigned. These things are a bit less obvious, but I would argue that victim groups are defined and assigned a priority based on their political utility.

      So, for example, neo-nazis could be defined as a “victimized” group because they’re an out group due to their nazi beliefs, but there’s no political utility in granting them victim hood status. This is partly because of their bad reputation, but also because there’s no sizable neo-nazi country out there with lots of oil or some other resource. Furthermore there was a really big nasty war with nazis in the past.

      Obvious to anyone who bothers to do the research, islam has a bunch of nazi-like beliefs, but those all get ignored because of political utility. The average westerner still seems to believe Muslims are victims of the west, and their various demands they make create conflicts. Furthermore, various Muslim countries are willing to donate money for Muslim causes and they have oil people want to buy. All of this increases their political utility beyond that of other traditional “out groups.”

    • “The school is private and has decided that no religious activities, including prayers, be allowed on the campus”

      And that is the beginning and the end of it. Or should be.

      This Webber School saga, being at the very pointiest end, lowers the Islamification of the West to another level. One can no longer have a non-denominational school in Canada.

      We can be sure that the two Muslim students – there since 2011 – didn’t decide all by themselves to launch this legal action to be allowed to pray on campus. I very much doubt they, or their parents, are interested in their being able to pray on campus at all. Why would their parents send them to such a school in the first place?

  5. What about the right to be free from religion? The Alberta Human Rights Commission has declared that this school had the duty to accommodate Muslim prayer because the Muslim students were part of that particular “public” served by the school, and there can be no discrimination allowed against any member of that “public” on religious grounds. I think this will be a crucial point in the appeal. Webber Academy is a private non-denominational school. Those who send their children there should know and respect that. What about the rights of the other students to be free from religion?

    This decision by AHRC is as disappointing and outrageous as their past (failed) attempt to prosecute Ezra Levant for publishing the Muhammad cartoons.

    • The religion of AHRC is neo-Marxism. Nobody has a right to be free from this de facto religion based on the semantic argument that it has nothing to do with a deity and thus “it’s not a religion, it’s a philosophy”. The purpose of this religion is “social justice” and you have no freedom to deny justice. Therefore, all fatwas issued must be followed regardless of whatever sort of illogic they are based on. This is the state religion and you must follow its fatwas.

      • More to the point, freedom from religion is not what the Canadian constitution guarantees. It is freedom of conscience which is protected. So religion or not, the distinction is irrelevant if one regards the constitution as having any distinct and definite meaning (which, let’s face it, nobody does, it being the Canadian constitution, after all).

        That said, the AHRC probably would be better of going with a positive assertion of their own conscience rights rather than denying that anyone else has their own conscience rights.

        • I think you know that constitutional provisions are always abrogated by judicial precedent, and eventually become eroded to the point where constitutional rights provisions no longer rememble their original intent. Either that or they’re adjudicated out of existence entirely.

          I would certainly hope it would not be total freedom of conscience anyway. Otherwise a jihadi would just argue that killing the Mohammed-insulting infidel was simply them exercising their freedom of conscience. I would bet they have already tried this argument.

          • Yes.

            Then again, judicial precedents are even more fragile as a basis for protecting “rights”, a fact that those relying on court majorities to permanently alter society ought to remember.

            I have no essential problem with a conscience right to kill people you sincerely believe really need killing. Properly instituted, it would very quickly solve a lot of our “multiculturalism” problem and leave society much stronger and more cohesive. Of course, it can’t really be properly instituted without massive political cooperation from the existing ruling class. On the other hand, it somehow always seems to become instituted once all else fails, with or without the cooperation of the ‘authorities’.

            Funny how that works…but not so funny how it works out.

  6. Once a HRC became involved a Muslim victory was inevitable.

    For examples of the bizarre thinking which thrives in these organisations, Google “Gillian Triggs controversial”.

    She is the leader of Australia’s HRC and is paid about $600,000 pa to manufacture idiocy.

    • Being a state employed high priest (more like a high imam) of the state religion can be very lucrative. I’m pretty sure that’s always been the case everywhere.

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