You would think, given the intersectional ideology that seems to have gripped the imagination of North America’s chattering classes, that the persecution of a woman who happens to be of Lebanese descent would be a pretty big deal. After all, we’ve heard repeatedly that Western democracies are domineering patriarchies. Anti-Muslim bias is a blot on the Canadian body politic. So if any Canadian institution (let alone a university) targeted a Lebanese-Canadian woman, you would think there would be righteous indignation. But not so fast!
Rima Azur is an associate professor at Mount Allison University. I’ll let you guess her gender and ethnicity. Mount Allison has already announced that she will not be teaching this upcoming fall semester because of “complaints from students alleging discriminatory conduct stemming from blog posts and student interactions”. She has indicated that she has already been suspended without pay. What did she do that was so wrong? Apparently, Ms. Azur has blogged and her sins were as follows… and I will quote at length: “denying systemic racism in New Brunswick or in Canada, talking about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) students in unkind ways, labelling Black Lives Matter a radical group.”
Given that this is, after all, the Ragged Edges blog, let us speak the uncompromising truth about why she was suspended. It is because her opinions differ from those that prevail among the academic elite, and as a result, she’s being persecuted. I use the word “persecuted” carefully because it is and should be reserved for those suffer ill treatment because of “race or political or religious beliefs”. And I would argue that her sin (and I use this word carefully as well) is that she is challenging an orthodoxy that is more religious than rational in nature.
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Mount Allison seems to have extended an olive branch and offered her equity, diversity, and inclusion training at the university’s expense. That gives her an honorable out. But what if Ms. Azur takes the school up on this offer, and after it is all said and done, continues to assert that there is no systemic racism in Canada? Or will part of that training be the threat that if she continues with her heresy that she will be forever ex-communicated, i.e., will never work at Mount Allison or any other Canadian university again.