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Katherine Bullock. Photo: screenshot Vimeo Osgoode Digital Commons

U of T professor says it is not “radical” to support Caliphate and Sharia Law

Dr. Katherine Bullock is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto at Mississauga.

According to Bullock’s official bio, her teaching focus is political Islam from a global perspective, and her research focuses on Muslims in Canada, their history, contemporary lived experiences, political and civic engagement, debates on the veil, and media representations of Islam and Muslims. Originally from Australia, she embraced Islam in 1994.

On November 27, 2014 Bullock participated in a panel discussion on counter-radicalization in Canada that was organized by the Muslim Law Students Association of Osgoode and took place in York University.

In her presentation Katherine Bullock said among other things that supporting the establishment of The Islamic State, or Caliphate, and the implementation of the Islamic Law (Sharia), is not an expression of “radical” views, but a “normal” Islamic perspective. The following is an excerpt from her speech (24:13-25:28):

So let’s turn to Canada. I think the domestic policy is slightly different from the foreign policy, but again there’s this cultural and this approach, and it begins with the whole, even the word radicalization is wrong. It’s a problem. Because radicalization is being defined through this culturlist approach. In the United Kingdom anyone who supports the Sharia is considered to be an extremist. There was a U.K. think tank that with the help of Public Safety Canada did a series of interviews in Canada with Muslim youths about radicalization. They defined a radical as this: 1. someone who desires to install a Caliphate. 2. Someone who wants to impose for an Orthodox Sharia; and 3. the use of force, for example, resisting coalition forces in Iraq. So if you’re an Iraqi nationalist who doesn’t believe that the United States should be occupying your country and you fight against them, and you believe in the Caliphate, and you believe in Sharia, you are a radical you’ve been radicalized. But from an Islamic point of view this absolutely nothing radical about wanting Caliphate or wanting Sharia. These are completely normal traditional points of view.

ISIS, Violence and the Politics of Deradicalization from Osgoode Digital Commons on Vimeo.

Dr. Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian convert to Islam and the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at Western University in Canada, echoes similar views about the Caliphate and admits that she would like to see the Western culture becomes a little more Islamic.

The following is an excerpt from Mattson’s interview with CNN (October 18, 2001):

CHAT PARTICIPANT: Osama bin Laden made a reference that Muslims have been living in humiliation for 80 years. Did he refer to the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 that dismantled caliphates and sultanates?

MATTSON: Yes, he [Osama bin Laden] is referring to that, to the overthrowing of the caliphate, which was a plan of European powers for many years. This deprived the Muslim world of a stable and centralized authority, and much of the chaos that we’re living in today is the result of that.

The following is an excerpt from Mattson’s interview at Pennsylvania State University (2008):

QUESTION: There are six million Muslims in America. And I think in the U.S. and in places like yours many people want to know, are, and you talked about how diverse population is, but are Muslims interested in integrating, in separating, or in some way transforming Western culture to become a little more Islamic? What do you answer to that?

INGRID MATTSON: Yes to all of those things, and I think this is the key that we have to treat Muslims as individuals not as a collectivity. And Muslims represent our broad range of cultural and ideological positions just as Americans do. I think when we look in the United States in the history of religious communities in the United States, we see those utopian communities that try to be somehow a presence, spiritual presence apart from the world, to offer an alternative to the dominant culture, and then we see those who felt that it was best to live their spirituality and their ideals right in the midst of that and to try to to be part of everyday life, to be a moral voice… So I think we find the same thing with Muslims. In the United States I would say that the majority feel that it’s best to be active, to be part of every day society and most Muslims do that. The Muslim community in the United States is on average more educated and more well off than the average American. So we see that there’s, there tends to be more assimilation in the United States. The situation in Europe is a little bit different and many of the Muslim communities there come from countries that were colonized by the Europeans and now there’s a kind of blowback, you know, the Europeans invaded and occupied their countries and now these people are coming and living in Europe, struggling with racism and struggling with European countries that are not quite as open to diversity and pluralism perhaps as United States, and not quite as open to public expressions of religion as United States. So the dynamic is significantly different I believe in Europe than in this country.

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About Jonathan D. Halevi

Jonathan D. Halevi
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is co-founder and editor of CIJnews and a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is also a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.

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