Wednesday, 6 March 2019

God’s reclamation project

 I just finished reading an article by  Jordan J. Ballor[1], on  the Acton Institute website from which I felt I needed to share on my blog since it relates to my underlying theme of stewardship. I primarily use direct quotes and suggest you read the main article yourself. Here are some relevant excerpts:

The basic elements of the gospel message are familiar territory for most Christians. God created things good. Human beings fell into corruption and the rest of the world along with us. God’s care for his creation led him to send help in the form of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the basis for the inbreaking of a new order, one in which “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4 ESV).


In a radical sense, God needs nothing other than himself. So why is there anything at all? Theologians, philosophers, and everyday people have struggled with these questions for a long time, but the best answer is that God, in his absolute and utter freedom, out of his liberality and love, chose gratuitously to create. And he didn’t just create one thing; he created many things. He created everything

He decided to reclaim what had been taken away, and in this sense the gospel is all about God’s reclamation project.

When the integrity of that creation was compromised, he would have been entirely within his sovereign rights to renounce it. We get an idea of what a world without God’s ongoing care and provision would look like in the depiction of the time before the Great Flood in Genesis 6: a veritable hell on earth. There’s a sense in which to let things decay and return to the nothingness which evil strives for would have been just. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23 ESV).

But instead of abandoning his creation, corrupted and fallen though it was, God chose to remain faithful despite the unfaithfulness of what he had made. He decided to reclaim what had been taken away, and in this sense the gospel is all about God’s reclamation project.


Even though humanity embraced sin and death, God has given creation the gift of new life. And along with that life, God has given us a purpose, a role to play in his reclamation project.

This too is something utterly gratuitous. God is all-powerful. No doubt he can do whatever he desires to do as easily as he called everything into existence in the first place. But God has graciously deigned to give his fallible and frail human children some responsibilities in his larger work of redemption and reconciliation. And this is one of the places where the basic contours of the gospel really hit home with us. God has saved us, but he has saved us for a purpose. Yes, he has saved us for eternal life in Christ Jesus, but that eternal life already begins in some real sense right here, right now. God hasn’t just saved us from death; he has saved us for life. He has saved us not only for ourselves, but also for others, and indeed, all of creation. 


God is concerned not only for human beings but also for all of creation. And he has placed humanity in a position of influence and responsibility, so that what we do matters not only for ourselves and for those around us, but indeed for everyone and everything.


And the resources he has given us include our own abilities. God has given us reason, will, and emotion. And he wants us to use everything we have to serve him. The first great command as Jesus teaches us is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30 ESV). God wants us to see things as he does and to care for them as he does. 

God …uses each one of us, in our unique situations and with our unique sets of concerns, worries, relationships, and gifts to play a small part in his grand reclamation project and to reflect some aspect of his image in that work. If God is the master builder, we are some of the construction workers he has put into his service to restore his great temple. 

This means that as wide and diverse as God’s creation itself is, so too are his children called to serve faithfully across all of creation. There is work to be done in seeing God’s will done in every area of our lives and in every aspect of existence. We have work to do in physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry. We have responsibilities in music, painting, poetry, and literature. Christ taught us to pray for God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10 ESV), and this is as true for the classroom and the dinner table as it is for the factory line and the church pew. 


God’s design encompasses all of creation, and so his servants need to be able to be equipped in a similarly universal and comprehensive way.


Jesus gives us the basic lesson in stewardship when he concludes that “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48 ESV).

 God has given us new life in Jesus Christ…. But he calls us as well to serve him and to promote life and flourishing in this world. 

This applies not only to our own daily activities but also to our role of citizen in our nation. We must search out and advocate government policies to further that end—including political economics—even if it is only to the extent of commenting/debating on blogs such as this,

Monday, 21 January 2019

NAFTA to USMCA: We won because we didn’t lose (much)!

Source: Gary Clement, National Post, Oct. 2,2018, P. A1 
After a year and a half of uncertainty, we finally have a successor to the  North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (assuming it is ratified by Congress and the Canadian and Mexican legislatures). As Canadians, our biggest win is that we have an agreement at all—after all, Trump did promise to tear NAFTA up!  A loss of our very largest export market would have had disastrous consequences for Canadian jobs. While we might possibly have reached agreement faster if the Liberal government had not wasted efforts on trying to incorporate “progressive” elements, e.g. gender, it is unlikely that another Canadian government would have achieved much better results given the elephant next door and the current incumbent of the oval office who believes bullying is an effective negotiating tool.

 As I have written before[1], efficiency is achieved by “specialization of labour”. That is, instead of all of us trying to grow our own food, our own clothing etc. (and providing our own health care), we are much better off by many people specializing in those things they do well and trading for the many things that others produce--by selling and buying products and services in a free market. Less labour is used and better quality is provided. Moreover, when we specialize, we can improve our skills so that even less resources (material, labour. etc.) are used to produce a given quantity. In our modern world, that specialization occurs within businesses (people working together). Trade theory teaches us that free trade between countries encourages companies to produce as efficiently as possible. We can build bigger plants and attain economies of scale (world-scale plants). We have less waste of God’s resources and both countries and its consumers are overall, better off.
Canada, in fact, is heavily dependent on trade. Just over 40 percent of our production (GDP) is exported. Of that, about 75 percent goes to the U.S. Our next important trading partners are only a fraction of that: China 4.3% of our exports, the U.K. 3.2%, Japan 2.2%. etc. While we have tried to diversify our trade to other countries, that has proven very difficult. After all, the U.S. market is close; the cost of transporting goods anywhere else is higher. With small variations, the Americans speak the same language we do. They have the same basic institutions; our highway, rail and pipeline systems connect. Obviously, any company considering exporting will first look at the U.S. The fact remains, that we badly need our U.S. customers.

The Elephant Next Door

The Americans, however, are not nearly as dependent on Canadian trade—or trade in general. U.S. exports amount to only 11% of GDP (versus Canada’s 40%).   Of those U.S. exports, Canada’s share is only 18%  (versus 75% of ours to the U.S.). While that 18% is the largest share of U.S. exports, Mexico at 16% is only slightly behind and the European Union in total also has 18%. Thus, U.S. trade is less important to its economy and that trade is better diversified than Canada's. In the final analysis, they need us a lot less than we need them.
Given the size of the U.S. economy, its land mass and its diverse climate, the U.S. is able to obtain some of the benefits of trade merely by trading within the country. Moreover, Donald Trump appears to adhere to old-fashioned protectionist trade theory—whether for real or as a negotiating tactic. He called for the renegotiation of NAFTA—not us. His mantra is “fair trade” (whatever that means) rather than free trade. Even the new name, U.S.M.C.A --by dropping Free Trade--at least recognizes that we do not have free trade but instead “managed trade”. There is a widely shared belief that the U.S. made no real concessions (only the dropping of new demands) while Canada and Mexico had to make real concessions. In the rest of this post, we’ll review a few highlights of the USMCA.

Dispute Settlement

The most important “gain” of the agreement for Canada was probably to fight off the Americans’ determination to get rid of NAFTA’s independent dispute settlement process which would have left us dependent on U.S. courts to settle any “dumping” and “subsidy” disputes. While imperfect, the independent process provides some defense against the U.S. use of punitive tariffs when Canadian exports seemed to do too well. Actually one part of the dispute settlement mechanism which allowed individual companies to sue the individual governments if they believed they had been unjustifiably harmed by government action, has now been eliminated. While a gain for all three governments, the effect on business investment is unfavourable.

The Milk Cartel Preserved

For Canadian producers of milk and other supply managed products the U.S.M.C.A. is largely a success. The monopoly system is maintained with minor harm. The new agreement will broaden American access to these markets by about 3.6 percent. This access will, however, cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars in compensation promised to the farmers concerned. With little indication that the inflow of U.S. products will reduce consumer prices, the result is a win for farmers—a loss for taxpayers and status quo for consumers. The piece-meal compensation for farmers is likely to cost far more than what it would cost to dismantle the whole system.[2] The Americans have also gained by being able to impose a tariff on a special category, class 7 milk products such a high protein milk powders and baby formulas, in which Canadian producers had managed to carve out a competitive advantage. It is unfortunate that while Canada has now given foreign producers limited access to our milk markets, it has not provided similar opportunity for beginning young Canadian farmers who have difficulty buying quota. Moreover, there has been no discussion of reducing U.S. agricultural subsidies  which would improve Canada’s ability to compete in the U.S.

Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

One thing our negotiators failed to get was a Canadian exemption of U.S. tariffs of 25-percent on our steel and 10 percent on our aluminum exports—even though Trump had tweeted at one time that these tariffs would be lifted once an agreement was reached.  Contrary to NAFTA’s free trade provisions, Trump has instituted these tariffs using a loophole in American trade laws claiming that these products pose a threat to U.S. national security. How imports from Canada could possibly threaten U.S. security is something no Canadian could visualize! Perhaps Trump is afraid we might attack them? How can you have a trade agreement which leaves the U.S. this massive loophole? While our negotiators are continuing to negotiate this issue separately, it is unclear what cards they might have available to deal.  The Americans apparently want to negotiate limits on the amounts of these exports (quotas) far below our normal export levels. Our government has so far rejected this. Perhaps we need to follow Mexico’s example and refuse to ratify the new treaty until these tariffs are lifted.

Vehicles and Parts

Since negotiation of the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact in 1965, the Canadian and U.S. auto industries have become highly integrated with parts and components moving across the border many times before a car is finally assembled. In fact, over 90 percent of our auto exports go to the U.S. Our auto dependence on the U.S. market was not lost on Trump who threatened us with a 25% tariff on auto exports. We “won” this round because we agreed to a tariff-free vehicle quota of 2.6 million units, well above the 1.8 million units we currently produce. A meaningless victory for Trump perhaps but the departure from “free-trade” is established and we may become constrained in the future. No doubt, auto companies will simply keep that in mind as they decide not to build their next plant in Canada. The recent G.M. Oshawa closure has already indicated that Canada has no significant advantage for the car manufacturers!
Canadian auto part suppliers also stand to benefit from new “content” rules. 75 percent of vehicles traded between the three countries must now be made in North America. That is up from 62.5 percent under NAFTA. While this provision may bring some production “home” from low-cost foreign locations, the increase cost will no doubt become reflected in the price of new vehicles. Similarly, the provision that 40 percent of an auto’s content be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour is likely to appeal to Canadian auto workers (since it will make them more competitive with Mexican workers) but will cost consumers in higher car prices. The provision defeats the tenets of free trade in that it will prevent Mexico taking advantage of its “comparative advantage” of lower labour costs.


Of our most important export product, mineral and fuel, 90 % goes to the U.S. That is natural, since most of our pipelines run north-south. Of our last three major East-West pipeline projects, only one is still alive but on life-support. We have, as yet, no operating Liquefied Natural Gas export terminals although we may be getting close. That the new agreement maintains unimpeded access to the U.S. market for our oil and gas is a major success. As the U.S. has now become a net exporter of oil, that access cannot be underrated.

Benefit to online Shoppers

Canadian consumers have gained one small advantage in that the limit for individual tax-free imports has been raised from $20 to $150 for custom duties and $40 for sales taxes. At $20 the Canadian limit was one of the lowest in the world and the U.S. had pushed to have this increased to $800. While it would seem that if we have free trade, individuals also should be able to import freely, that was never the case. Canadian retailers are understandably not happy about this provision. A 2017 study estimated that an increase to $200 would have caused 286,224 retail or retail-related job losses, an $8.8 billion dip in labour income and an $11.5 billion drop in GDP.[3] Obviously, not something to be introduced overnight!



Canadian consumers face extra costs due to a provision on patents on biological drugs. Patents on these have been extended to 10 years from 8. That’s two years longer we will have to pay the brand name price of drugs before generic ones can be introduced. An obvious win for U.S. pharmaceutical companies!

Influence on Canadian Autonomy

The new agreement gives the Americans a veto[4] over any trade deal that Canada might make with “non-market” countries i.e. China. It is, in fact, a good thing to be cautious in trading with such countries since many of their large companies are in part or whole owned by the government. Thus, making a profit may not be as important to these companies as other objectives e.g. exercising Chinese influence. They can, therefore, export their products at below cost and compete unfairly. Nevertheless, we appear to have given up a portion of our sovereignty to the U.S. with this provision while getting caught in between the U.S. and China in their trade war!
Furthermore, The USMCA contains provisions for a tripartite committee to monitor its exchange rates and tax policies. It is not clear whether this committee is consultative only or will have power to force changes. Some argue that this section has the possibility of undermining the independent authority of the Bank of Canada.[5]

In Sum

A deal that allowed president Donald Trump to proclaim victory (“truly historic news for our nation”) cannot be a win for Canada. Nevertheless, having basically maintained the status quo will provide us with reasonable trade stability. Canadian companies will, hopefully, face no new surprises.

[2] Martha Hall Findlay, of the Canada West Foundation quoted in Jesse Snyder “Deal does no Harm, breaks no new Ground”, Finanacial Post, Oxt. 2, 208, p. FP1
[3]  Taka Deschamps, “Benefits for online shoppers, trouble for some retailers”, Financial Post, Oct. 2, 2018, FP3.
[4] Technically, it gives the U.S. (and Mexico) the right to withdraw from the USMCA on 6 months notice if Canada were to sign a trade agreement with a non-market country.
[5] Malcolm Buchanan, “Is the USNCA a good deal for Canada

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Should the government limit Muslim immigration?

 President Donald Trump’s long-touted campaign to implement a (temporary?) ban and introduce “extreme vetting” has eventually come into effect. In Canada, the federal Conservative leadership candidate Kelly Leitch pushed for vetting immigrant for “Canadian values”[1]. Since she, as a member of the last government, sought to ban the wearing of the hijab and burka, her call has been interpreted as anti-Islam. What should a Christian position be on this issue?

On the one hand, it is argued that the teaching of Islam is fundamentally violent and hateful and Muslims seek to eventually dominate the world by force; the Islamist extremists like ISIS represent the true Islam which all Muslims believe in their hearts.  All Muslim immigrants and refugees should, therefore, be rejected. On the other hand, it is argued that many Muslims are moderate and that Christ’s commands to love your neighbor and to love your enemy should lead us to accept most Muslim immigration—certainly those who are refugees.

Before we examine this issue in more detail, a word on immigration in general:  Not only should we recognize that Canada and the U.S. are nations of immigrants, but also from an economic perspective, continued immigration is essential. Declining birthrates and smaller families means our populations are graying. Statistics Canada recently announced that the number of seniors is greater than the number of youth. Our birth rate, currently at 1.6, has been steadily falling over the last several decades: 1971 was the last year when the average number of children matched the 2.1 replacement level needed for the population to renew itself, without being bolstered by immigration. Without immigration, the burden on the working-age population to support increasing numbers of seniors would grow “bigly”. This graying of populations is increasing also in other countries and is a major reason for Germany, for example, initially welcoming large numbers of refugees. Conclusion, economically speaking, we need immigrants—a fact, not necessarily recognized. A recent poll reports that the majority of Canadians believe that Canada should accept fewer immigrants and refugees.[2]

Moreover, Love of Neighbour demands that we take seriously the refugee problem facing the world. The number of refugees accepted into Canada, 40,000, is a drop in the bucket compared to the major displacement of Syrian refugees. Jordan with a native population of 6.5 million, hosts at least one million Syrians. Lebanon hosts about 1.5 million—about a quarter of the countriy’s population and Turkey is thought to have close to three million Syrians on its soil.[3]

Actions of Muslims that Inspire Fear

It is not difficult to find reasons to fear Muslims. Consider only:

  • ·       Police in France brought a dramatic end to a suspected terrorist attack, storming a supermarket in the southern town of Trèbes, shooting a suspect dead, and freeing several hostages. At least three people are reported to have been killed in the man's morning-long spree, which began in the nearby municipality of Carcassonne when he hijacked a car, executing a passenger and wounding its driver
  • ·       The attack by a van mowing down pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbings in Borough market in which seven were killed and 36 injured. One of the attackers was identified as a U.K. citizen who came to the U.K. with his parents as refugee from Pakistan. Another was from Moroccan origin.
  • ·       The Manchester suicide bombing by Salman Abedi killing 22 and injuring  59 (including many children). Abedi is alleged to have links to a radical imam, Egwilla, now in Libya but formerly a cleric at an Ottawa mosque (becoming a Canadian citizen). He has been accused of promoting violent jihad in Libia [4] He issued the following call to arms: Allah break the backs of the tyrants and the oppressors and the unjust and those nations of the world that are with the…We are waiting for martyrdom in the name of Allah. And by Allah this is our path until we push back evil. We will not stop or resign.
  • ·       The April killing of a policeman on the Champs Elysees in Paris
  • ·       The April attack in Stockholm where four people were killed and at least fifteen were injured when a man drove a truck down a busy shopping street. The man has allegedly admitted being a member of ISIS and told police investigators that he had “achieved what he set out to do”.
  • ·       A militant attack on a bus in Egypt, killing 28 Coptic Christians—the fourth deadly attack against the countries Christans.
  • ·       A takeover of Marawi in the Philipines by a group led by Isnilon Hapilon, an Arabic-speaking Islamic preacher known for his expertise in commando assaults who pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2004 leading Dutarte, the Philipine president to declare martial law[5].
  • ·       In March a London attacker mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two men and two women and injuring many others.
  • ·       December 2016, Christmas market truck attack in Berlin killing 12 and injuring 48. 
  • ·       In July 2016 in Nice, a terrorist in a lorry mowed down revelers who had just finished watching a firework display to mark Bastille Day in France. The horrific rampage killed 84 people and injured hundreds of others.
  • ·       March 2016, two suicide bombings in Brussels  killed 32 people and wounded more than 300 other victims in a day of terror. 
  • ·       November 2015-A series of terrifying attacks in Paris killed 130 victims and injured hundreds of others.
  • ·       The 2009 “honour killing” of his three daughters and first wife in a car submerged in a canal in Kingston by Mohammad Shafia , his wife and their son (who were imprisoned in 2012 for life with no chance of parole for 25 years).
  • ·       ISIS  still in Syria and elsewhere although their dreams of a caliphate have been shattered. Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan,Pakistan, Somali etc.,
  • ·        Boka Haran and other Islamists in Northern Nigeria have killed thousands of Christians and kidnapped many.—6,000 Christians were killed in the first six months of this year alone[6].
  • ·       In a sermon in Montreal, at the Al-Andalous Islamic Center, Imam Sayed al- Ghitawi included the following: “O Allah, destroy the cursed Jews. Oh Allah, shows us the black day you inflict on them. Oh Allah, make their children orphans and their women widows”[7]

This list is only a sampling of the most recent attacks, Wikipedia lists a total of more than 20,000 killed plus 52,000 injured[8].  Moreover it ignores the violent struggles between rival Muslim factions /countries—Shiites, Sunni etc.

Government’s Task

In light of such incidents, governments obviously have a duty to protect its citizens. As Romans 13 teaches (vs. 4) “he is God’s servant to do you good…he does not bear the sword for nothing…an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer”. As the Westminster Confession's chapter 23 [9] states, "It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever.” The government, then, has to protect its people from being harmed by others-- also those who are motivated by religion-- including Islam.

Within the country, that is likely to mean increased surveillance and, perhaps, detention of suspects. It is striking that several of those involved in the incidents above were previously “known to police.” As for immigration and refugees, extreme vigilance is required to, as far as possible to exclude potential terrorist attackers.

Are all Muslims to be feared?

Does that mean the government should simply ban immigration and visits of all Muslims since the noted terror attacks were carried out by Muslims?  Most Muslims would vehemently object to such a ban since they argue such attacks have nothing to do with Islam. Two recent letters to the editor, for example, argue:

The Manchester attacks were conducted under the concept of “jihad”—the concept of killing innocent civilians in the name of religion. The irony here is that this is completely false. These ‘jihadists’ are conducting violence based on an extreme misinterpretation of jihad. Causing any sort of harm, or suffering goes against the peaceful nature of Islam. In fact, the word ‘Islam’ literally means ‘peace’ and the Qur’an—the Holy Book of Islam—unequivocally rejects any such violence. As an Ahmadi Muslim, I strongly condemn these attacks against humanity and want to assure Canadians that the Muslim majority does not subscribe to such extreme beliefs.[10]


As a member of the Ahmadi Muslim community, I extend my condolences to all the innocent civilians and stand with them in mourning their loss. Like many others, I am at a loss for words and confused. … As a Muslim, I am taught to forgive, tolerate, and promote peace. I don’t know what ISIS is trying to accomplish by claiming responsibility for this disgusting act of terrorism. But, it has nothing to do with Islam[11].

This claim to peace is also found in the introduction in an English translation of the Quran[12]

The Quran is, from the beginning to end, a book which promulgates peace and in no way countenances violence. It is true that jihad is one of the teachings of the Quran. But jihad, taken in its correct sense, is the name of peaceful struggle rather than any kind of violent action.

On the other hand, other letter writers stress that these attacks are a matter of religion.

We comfort ourselves with such bromides at our peril. Of course, it’s about religion—the religion that has jihad, the eternal holy war against the infidel, as a core tenet. …having the courage to state that unpleasant truth is a prerequisite for confronting and defeating those waging jihad in our time.

Islamic Fundamentalist Theology?

               The terrorism embodied in ISIS is not of recent origin but rather centuries old. Their goal is to establish an Islamic theocracy—to unite the Muslim world under the black banner of Khilafa (or Caliphate), and to establish their set of divine laws (Sharia) on Earth.[13] This author, Ahmed Shah, goes on to argue that it is hard to find any Isis atrocities that are not sanctioned by Islamic texts. For example, even the execution of apostates or the taking of female sex slaves can be justified by religious texts. He argues that the Muslim community must embrace bold thinkers who are prepared to reform Islam and its traditions and reinterpret violent passages within Islamic scriptures to combat Islamic extremism. It’s clear then that Muslim scriptures do support terrorist endeavors. As one of my relatives concluded:

A simple search of Google gives almost equal results that either say Islam is fundamentally flawed and evil, versus it being loving but just infected with bad people.

Cornelus Van Dam, in a recent article , “Is Islam a religion of peace?[14]” provides the following from a book by Quereshi:

The word Islam refers to the peace that comes from surrender (to Islam). ..If you convert, you will have safety through surrender. ..There are military connotations here and therefore,”to contend that Islam signifies peace in the absence of violence is incorrect. Islam signifies a peace after violence, or under the threat of it.’ Islamic history is full of war and violence ‘No one can claim that Islam is a religion of peace in the sense that the religion has been historically devoid of violence, neither in its origins nor in the history of the global Muslim community. Apart from the first thirteen years of Islamic history, when there were not enough Muslims to fight, Islam has always been an elaborate practice or doctrine of war.

Van Dam, in fact, concludes that progressive Muslims who want Islam to be a religion of peace do not have much of a foothold. They do not have the authority of Mohammad and the Quran to back them up. Rather, “Violent expressions of Islam adhere more consistently and more literally to the foundational texts of the Islamic faith, the Quran and the hadith”[15]

Moderate Muslims?

If Islam is really a religion of peace, wouldn’t we expect more widespread condemnation from "moderate" imams when these atrocities occur? Are there, in fact, many moderate imams who can lead the “reform” suggested above? One of my family wrote:

Are all imams fanatics in preaching Sharia law? I read plenty of former Muslims who say they are, and further, I have read that a part of the strategy that Muhammad laid out was for some imams to intentionally appear moderate until the bulk of the recruits are in the land they intend to take[16].  

The current cultural climate of Sweden and the U.K. are different than Canada and the US.  In those cultures it's hard to find moderate imams, whereas 20 years ago one could find them.  I suggest that Canada today, is 20 years younger than those countries.  The "moderates" in the Islam army have a role to play while the troops are immigrating to the country in question.  They say they are moderate to cast doubt on the true intentions of their brotherhood. But in the end when they develop critical mass in a society, the "moderates" take off their sheeps clothing.   Some suburbs of London are so heavily Muslim that white women are urged by the police to refrain from ever entering for fear of being gang raped (something the Koran allows them to do)[17].

My sister, who went to Mali on an evaluation trip, found that “the older established Imams and Muslims were very upset with the influx of the modern Muslims. Their interpretation of the Quran was quite different from what the new Imams were wanting. They were terrified of those groups”. This suggests both the existence of moderate imams as well as a recent reemphasis on the violent aspects of Islam.

Van Dam, in another article[18] reports on a credible study that found significant extremist influence in Canadian mosques and Islamic schools, e.g. “there is nothing but extremist literature in the mosque libraries” and “the voice of extremists is everywhere from the mosques and their libraries to the halls of government”. They conclude that “many Muslim youth in Canada are influenced by a steady stream of extremist messages…by mosques, schools, Islamic association and the Internet”. The report notes that there are humanists or modernist Muslims who want “Islam to be a modern religion based on its earlier beliefs in rationality, empiricism and a question for knowledge through the scientific process. However, the humanists are frequently ignored and “the Islamists are currently winning the struggle.”

Yes, there are moderate Muslims but their voices are not heard as often as necessary, nor do they appear to have strong “scriptural” backing.

 Should Muslim immigration be limited?

Given the above, what should government do about Muslim immigration and refugees? Since government is responsible for the safety of its citizens and especially to prevent attacks (physical and otherwise) inspired by religion (as noted above), the safe thing would be to close the borders to all Muslims—since the Quran can and is being interpreted as justifying hostilities against all “infidels”. However, I think that would be wrong. The command to Love your Neighbour (and even your enemies) would suggest that we do not penalize all Muslims[19] because some adhere to a violent Jihadist view of the Quran. That would apply especially to refugees--whether arriving at our doorstep or housed in refugee camps. Moreover, we need to recognize that freedom of religion cuts both ways. If we want freedom for Christians to go anywhere—including missionaries, we cannot exclude those of other religions.

That does not mean that we should not limit the numbers that we allow to enter. There are limits to the amount of immigrants that can be integrated even when they have skills, training and language ability as per Canada’s point system. Integration of refugees without language and work skills is even more difficult. The desirable amount will have to be a matter of ongoing discussion depending on variations in the economy. When lots of Canadians are out of work, the amount of newcomers should obviously be reduced even though their entrance will benefit the country in the long run. It is at such times that far right racism rears its ugly head with vandalism of mosques etc. Government must also be able to control such excesses.


Given the apparent underlying “theological” backing for violent jihadism and recent history of violent attacks, “extreme” vetting appears to be in order. All immigrants (and refugees) should be carefully interviewed as to background (an association with terrorist groups) and motivation including (for Muslims) their interpretation of Islamic teachings. This should be concluded by a sworn declaration before admittance is granted and repeated before citizenship is granted. Such declaration should include the following[20]:

  • · Promise to obey the law of the land
  • · Acceptance of freedom of religion
    • the equality of all Muslims and non-Muslims the right of every individual to choose his/her religion
  • Uphold the separation of church and state
    • Promise not to seek any application of Sharia law outside the mosque[21].
  • · Promise to do their utmost to integrate into the host society

Of course, this vetting and oath is no guarantee that violent attacks will be prevented. Apparently, it is permitted for Muslims to lie to “infidels”. Moreover, these attacks have also been authored by those who were born and raised in the West. Nevertheless, government must do its best to ensure that potential attackers are kept out of the country. It must also do its best to ensure equality of all religions within the country and protect against religiously inspired discrimination and violent attacks by those already within its borders. However, that’s beyond the scope of this post.

[1] This post arises out of a private family email exchange. In this post I have picked from an extensive discussion without specific credit. My thanks go out to Rev. Tim Black and Andrew Douma --who contributed at length to the discussion-- as well as Jack Boersema, Attie Sandink and Michelle Vandergriendt
[2]  Graeme Hamilton, “With faith comes altruism”, National Post,May 20, 2017,p. A6
[3] Michael Petrou, “The Greatest Exodus of our Time”, National Post, July 15, 2017, pp.A10-A14
[4]  Steward Bell, “Bomber linked to Canadian Imam”, National Post, May 26, 2017, p. A1.
[5] Jim Gomez & Teresa Cerojano, “Philippines launches anti-terror attack, National Post, May 26, 2017, pA11
[6] Cornelis Van Dam,” Nigerian Genocide of Christians”, Clarion Sept. 7,2018
[7]  Robert Lantos, “Words Matter”, National Post, May 26, 2017, p. A13
[10] Kashif Solail, Calgary, Letter to the Editor, National Post, May 30, 2017
[11] Saba Sadiq, Toronto, Letter to the Editor, National Post, May 30, 2017
[12] The Quran, translated by Maulana Wahidduddin Khan Farida Khanam, Goodword books, 2016
[13] Ahmed Shah, “Muslims must tackle radical theology issue”, National Post, Nov. 2,2017, p.A9
[14] In an article entitled “Islamic Reformation?” in Clarion, Nov. 3, 2017, p. 619 which is based largely on a book by Nabeel Quereshi, Seeking Allah, finding Jesus.
[15] Qureshi p. 92.
[16] The writer ascribed this notion to a book, A History of the Middle East by Peter Mansfield. There are also indications that Islamists such as Turkey’s Erdogan are encouraging Muslims to expand their influence through the cradle by having large families. See Cornelis Van Dam, “Conquest by the Cradle,”, Clarion, June 16, 2017, p.353
[18] Cornelis Van Dam, “Lovers of Death?”, Clarion, July 14,2017, p.401
[19] Of course, neighbor love can also be shown by marshalling government resources to support potential refugees in their own country or protected neutral zones. However, current reality suggests that is not possible as the only option. It’s not a case of “either, or” but all alternative.
[20] See a study by Sam Solomon and E Al Maqdisi, “Modern Trojan Horse: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration” in Van Dam’s article “Conquest by the Cradle”, op. cit.
[21] i.e. “church discipline” applies only within the “church”, does not apply to those who withdraw and cannot apply contrary to law, e.g. “honour killing.”