While Western nations will generally preach “separation of church and state,” are they now combining mosque and state? Certain critics say yes, citing as a case in point Canada’s fining of a man $12,000 — for failing to remove his shoes upon entering an apartment he rented to a Muslim couple.
The fine was levied by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (OHRT) on 53-year-old father of three John Alabi, a Christian and an immigrant himself. The charge? “Religious discrimination” against Egyptian-born couple Walid Madkour and Heba Ismail. WND.com provides more detail:
The tenants were planning to move out of his rental home, and he says he gave the couple the required 24-hours notice that he would be showing the apartment to another tenant.
They told him not to come while they were praying, and to text first. He agreed. But when they stopped answering his text messages, he showed the apartment.
The Muslim tenants waited eight months before filing their grievance with the human rights tribunal, where they receive free representation, the Toronto Sun reported. The couple even searched his Facebook page and found a joke they considered offensive and used [it] to bolster their case. The tribunal agreed he harassed them and failed in his duty to accommodate their religious needs — and awarded them $6,000 each — plus interest.
Unsurprisingly, there are conflicting stories here. According to the Huffington Post, OHRT adjudicator Jo-Anne Pickel stated that the Muslim couple’s request that Alabi go beyond the law to accommodate their religious practices was reasonable and that a video showed he was insensitive to their no-shoes demand. Alabi maintains that the couple was unreasonable and that he bent over backwards to satisfy them.
As for the shoes, “Alabi claims the couple never had a problem before when he wore his shoes to make repairs in the apartment,” reports the Toronto Sun. “And he wasn’t wearing outside shoes, but the shoes he wore in his own home. He’d come around to their apartment wearing rubbers over them and then take them off at the door. For that, he was accused of being racist.”
The paper continues, “‘I have been victimized,’ Alabi says. ‘They are using their religion to victimize me.’”
Whatever the case, is it the government’s role to involve itself in such matters and levy a draconian fine? It’s behavior some critics have likened to Sharia (Islamic law) statism. As Christian writer Ralph Sidway put it, “Canada is now blatantly implementing Sharia law … [and] is in essence behaving like a conquered, dhimmi state, extracting jizya from its citizens to appease its Islamic masters, who rank highest in the Canadian Human Rights Hierarchy.” “Jizya” is a special punitive tax non-Muslims may be required to pay in Islamic lands.
If Sidway’s statement seems an exaggeration, note that punishment for violating Sharia norms (such as not removing shoes in mosques) is common in Muslim lands; a current example is some Tanzanian Christians under arrest for frying fish during Ramadan.
Of course, what’s being enforced on Alabi falls not under Sharia but Canadian “human-rights” law. The critics’ point, however, is that the effect is the same: A non-Muslim is punished for violating Islamic norms — and consequently must pay money to Muslims.
Moreover, such actions are now common under Western governments. Just consider some recent and not-so-recent examples: