The Muslim Student Association’s library is not a breeding ground for radicals
The last week has been an interesting one for the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Concordia. On Feb. 27, Quebecor-owned TVA aired an “exclusive” report “uncovering” the “scandalous” content in the MSA’s library.
According to the report in question, the MSA’s library contained books by authors who had voiced extremist views such as advocating for husband’s beating their wives as long at it doesn’t leave any marks or promoting the death penalty as punishment for homosexuality.
It’s important to note the books in question did not contain these problematic ideas directly—the authors had apparently said these things during separate interviews and presentations.
The report implies that the MSA library is spreading extremist texts and views throughout its membership and that it has no business having these ‘radicalized’ books.
So let’s dissect this outlandish story a little. First off, the reporter states that Concordia has approximately 6,000 Muslim students. The university does not keep track of their students’ religious beliefs—obviously—so how did they come up with this number? We’re stumped.
He goes on to comment, as he enters the MSA Library, that many “veiled women” were seen sitting in the room.
You mean to tell us that women wearing hijabs were spotted at the MSA’s library? What. A. Shock.
According to a 2010 study, Islam makes up over 23 per cent of the world’s population. That’s 1.57 billion people. To assume that any member of the MSA is more likely to become a radicalized than anyone else is blatantly unjust.
Since its publication, the story has been shared across the country.
Shoddy journalism aside, why was this on the news in the first place? All libraries contain books with extremist views. Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, for example, can be found at the Concordia library and no one felt the need to do an exposé about it. No one protested it, or made a report with a dubious statistic about the number of German students at Concordia.
There is a difference between reading about a subject and taking its radical ideas to heart. People aren’t banned from reading Karl Marx for fear they will be indoctrinated and start plotting to slaughter the bourgeoisie. It doesn’t happen that way.
In the spirit of this, is it really necessary for us to explain to TVA that having access to a book, and maybe even reading it, does not in any way mean that you agree with what the book states?
Apparently, it is.