L’Islam est-il né dans un désert?

Par Louise V. Labrecque le 9 septembre 2010

Dans cinq ou huit langues différentes,  en fouillant bien, des savants ont trouvés des textes arabiques, qui n’ont aucune parenté avec l’arabe qu’on connait. Le défi, pour quiconque s’intéresse à l’avant-Islam, c’est de trouver des sources. Il faut donc, bien souvent, se tourner vers  la tradition orale et de la poésie archaïque, recueillis par les premiers savants arabo-musulmans (des milliers de textes antiques), souvent gravés sur pierre ou métal, espèces de graffitis  incisés par des passants sur les roches, le long des chemins et autres documents d’archives écrits sur des bouts de bois,  en alphabet cursif. En effet, cette diversité précède la conversion à l’Islam et porte le nom de Jâhiliyya ou « Age de l’ignorance »; en ce temps-là, la Mecque était une petite bourgade aux ressources limitées où la faim et la survie était lot quotidien de la population. Parce qu’elle n’a jamais été réellement conquise, l’Arabie n’est mentionnée qu’incidemment dans les sources orientales (annales  syriennes et la Bible).

300,000 abused?

Par Barbara Kay le 22 juillet 2010

domestic-violence-25394980.jpg“A bad statistic,” says sociologist Joel Best, “is harder to kill than a vampire.” Bad statistics come from bad intellectual faith. And in no field does bad intellectual faith run more rampant than that of domestic violence.
In an up-to-date example of the phenomenon, we find the “World Soccer Abuse Nightmare” out of England, in which the British Home Office carelessly endorsed a bogus study put forward by England’s Association of Chief Police Officers, purporting to find that a full 30 per cent increase in domestic violence (DV) during the World Cup. A subsequent investigation by reliable scholars found the so-called study to be riddled with errors and corrupt methodology. 


What Hampstead can learn from Syria and Tunisia

Par Dan Delmar le 22 juillet 2010

In their fight to prevent the Quebec government from passing Bill 94, niqab and burqa-wearing Muslim women have found support in the most unusual of places: The most heavily Jewish town, statistically, in the entire province. 
The face veil – the dehumanization of women – is where most reasonable people would draw the line. And evidently leaders in jurisdictions like France, Belgium, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt agree, having adopted various sorts of niqab restrictions. Why does Hampstead purport to know what is better for Muslim women than a growing number of Muslim nations?

Armageddon or no Armageddon, Secularists need to remain vigilant

Par Anthony Philbin le 22 juillet 2010

The recent publishing of Marci McDonald’s The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada, was timed to coincide with Canada’s annual National Prayer Breakfast (NPB). Though the first occurrence of the prayer breakfast took place when The Beatles arrived on North American soil, back in 1964, I have to say I’d probably still be in the dark about it if not for the clever marketing ploy by McDonald’s publisher.

Message to environmentalists: ‘Humankind needs energy!’

Par Mischa Popoff le 22 juillet 2010

global_warming.jpgHumankind needs energy; always has, always will. 

The emails from East Anglia University revealed that global-warming data were all fudged – plain and simple. This led to the collapse of a global-warming industry that had sprung up after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol. But die-hard environmentalists were never bothered by not having a leg to stand on. Not only do they still want us to quit driving our cars, they want us to quit taking flights.

Fifty years after – The Church today

Par P.A. Sévigny le 10 juin 2010

As one of the city’s more successful antique dealers, the late Conrad Martin used to tell stories about how he started out as a ‘picker’ when he used to go up into the Gaspé and the Lac St. Jean districts to buy up whatever he could find once the province’s Catholic Church began to close up its empty churches and assorted convent properties. 

“I used to make sure I had big rolls of cash,” said Martin. “I would go up to see the Abbess of the convent, put the money on her desk and make the deal right then and there before calling in the boys to load up the truck.”

La pensée de Tariq Ramadan selon Gregory Baum

Par Pierre Brassard le 10 juin 2010

Le théologien Gregory Baum, professeur émérite de la Faculté des sciences religieuses de l’Université McGill vient de publier: Islam et modernité : la pensée de Tariq Ramadan (Édition Bellarmin, 2010). À mon avis, son livre comporte de profondes lacunes.

Religious daycare: Pick your cultural battles

Par Barbara Kay le 23 avril 2010

Quebec is the most militantly secular of all Canada’s provinces. Its intellectuals and cultural elites are resolutely committed to the ideal of a lay society. References to the Church in the media positively bristle with thinly-sheathed scorn. Yet the Quebec government is inconsistent when it comes to religious instruction in publicly funded institutions. 

A Neighbourhood’s Rebirth: Shaughnessy Village

Par Sharman Yarnell le 23 avril 2010

shaughnessy.jpgIt’s springtime in Shaughnessy Village and the residents are out-and-about after a long hibernation. It has a wealth of cultural diversity. What an amazing mixture, a true melting pot, of not only cultures, but people from different social status. On one block alone there are Indians, Germans, Ukrainians, Italians, Haitians and Irish. Anyone thinking of purchasing property in the area would be joining actors, lawyers, architects, authors, a dentist, an opera singer and a playwright. 

Namur Jean-Talon: An eco-utopic condoville?

Par Dan Delmar le 23 avril 2010

njt-scalia.jpgCar dealerships, cheap office space, a cemetery, barren lots and a handful of sub-par apartment buildings; such is the makeup of the neighbourhood becoming known as NJT – Namur Jean-Talon. Within ten years, it is expected to undergo a complete transformation and the worth of the area is expected to increase tenfold.  NJT is a project twice as valuable to the city as Griffintown, but without the high profile and ensuing scepticism.

Griffintown: The limits of loss

Par P.A. Sévigny le 23 avril 2010

horse-palace-2.jpgDecades after there will be nothing left of Montreal’s Griffintown except for the name and Mary Gallagher’s headless ghost, more than a few urban planners will continue to wonder why so little was done with such a magnificent opportunity for truly sustained and  modern urban development. “This is such an incredible opportunity to build a real 21st century city,” said Montreal urban activist Judith Bauer. “Why can’t these people think of empty urban space as something more than just another opportunity to build another pile of condos?”

The private lives of public people

Par Dan Delmar le 25 mars 2010

Over one decade after American conservatives tried to demonize oral sex in the oval office, public figures are still being unfairly chastised for behaviour that should have remained private; behaviour that likely has no negative impact on their roles as politicians or professional athletes; behaviour that, while not admirable, is completely natural and may understandably result from attaining a certain level of success.

PHILIPPE CASGRAIN A renaissance man passes

Par Alan Hustak le 25 mars 2010

Casgrain_Philippe.jpgIf Philippe Casgrain hadn’t gone into law he might have been actor. 
Mr. Casgrain, who  died  Feb . 28 at 82 was one of those cultivated, old-world figures with a sense of panache.  A specialist in commercial and environmental law, he often relied on his natural charm to argue a case. “I’m always anxious for the judge to take his seat in the courtroom so I can put on a show for him,”  he once told a reporter, “You  have to be as well prepared as any actor if you are going to be convincing and win any sympathy for your client.”

L’infrastructure numérique du XXIe siècle

Par Marc Garneau le 11 février 2010

Pendant et après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, C.D. Howe, un homme politique canadien, a présenté un grand projet de société pour transformer le Canada en une puissance industrielle de premier plan dans la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. Anticipant l'avenir, il a commencé à créer les industries nucléaire et aérospatiale du Canada, ainsi que l'infrastructure essentielle nécessaire pour bâtir une économie prospère et dynamique.

The CSST and workers rights

Par Jack Locke le 11 février 2010

One day, Bob Morgan was happily working at his baking job when he was assaulted by a co-worker. The story is eerily reminiscent of the butcher who had a mishap while grinding beef to make sausage.\
The butcher was a skilled fellow with many years experience under his belt. As he was grinding the meat he realized he had to add more spices to the mixture. As he reached high atop the shelf, the pepper fell. When he tried to catch the falling container, he accidentally backed up into the meat grinder...

Liberalism and the Jews

Par David Solway le 11 février 2010

One of the strangest and, at first blush, inexplicable aspects of the current social and political scene, remarked upon by many writers, is the swelling tide of antisemitic sentiment and the orchestrated, international campaign against the very existence of the Jewish state. We see it in the divestment campaigns of the churches, NGOs, and trade unions, in the proliferation of “Israel Apartheid Weeks” on university campuses, in the modern blood libel perpetrated by the Swedish press, and in the ramifying anti-Israel resolutions passed by the United Nations, exemplified most recently by the mendacious Goldstone report. Why should this be so?

Les Sulpiciens et la liberté de presse

Par Pierre Arbour le 7 janvier 2010

A l’occasion du 350e anniversaire de l’arrivée des Sulpiciens en Nouvelle-France, de nombreuses fêtes, cérémonies et célébrations eurent lieu pour commémorer cet évènement ainsi que les réalisations des Messieurs de St Sulpice; ces réalisations ne furent pas des moindres surtout dans le domaine de l’éducation.  Un livre vient d’être publié “Les Sulpiciens de Montréal; une histoire de pouvoir et de discrétion 1657-2007, Fides”; curieusement, on n’y fait pas mention d’un épisode marquant de notre histoire ancienne où le Supérieur du Collège de Montréal, Etienne Montgolfier (1712-1791) joua un rôle important quant à la suppression du premier journal au pays.

A crash course in unwanted expertise

Par Kevin Woodhouse le 7 janvier 2010

PASSING-KLEENEX.jpgA true benefit of being a journalist is having the opportunity to meet other interesting people and hear their stories.  As a writer, it is a great by product to be able to amass information and skills from the good subjects.
This past November, my sisters, brother, father and I became defacto experts in the business of funeral arrangements.  Death and taxes are indeed inevitable and eventually for most people, they will outlive their parents.


Multiculturalism questioned at fiery Fraser debate

Par P.A. Sévigny le 3 décembre 2009

fraserinstituteprksfly_resize.jpgThe recent debate on the merits of Canadian multiculturalism between secular firebrand Djemila Benhabib and Montreal civil rights lawyer Julius Grey began to get personal after Benhabib accused the Canadian government of moral and intellectual cowardice. Hosted by the Fraser Institute at Peel Street’s Café Ferreira, an erudite crowd full of assorted academics and civil servants were especially eager to hear what Benhabib had to say about the province’s ongoing multiculturalism debate. Even as she read off a prepared text, Benhabib continued to insist responsible governments (especially those in the west) must continue to stick to their secular guns.

The kids will be alright!

Par Dan Delmar le 3 décembre 2009

There seems to be only one issue that unites politicians of all colours and creeds. It became painfully obvious how omnipresent this theme was as I had the painstaking task of interviewing dozens of candidates – some competent, some not – vying for city council seats leading up to last month’s election. In order to be considered as a credible politician, it appears as though one has to make the supposed plight of children a focal point in a campaign. More specifically, how to protect our little tykes from speeders, drug dealers, pedophiles and a myriad of dangers that lurk around every corner.

Why is the Dalai Lama so popular?

Par Stephen Schettini le 4 novembre 2009

When I wanted to meet the Dalai Lama back in 1980, I went to his door in Dharamsala and knocked. “Sure,” his servant said. “Tomorrow afternoon okay?” That, of course, was before he became an international superstar. 

From Small Beginnings

Par David Solway le 1 octobre 2009

Global warmists, environmentalists and ecological redeemers are a mixed bunch and come in every shape, size and color. There are those, of course, who adopt a sane and responsible attitude toward preserving our natural heritage.  One notable instance involves a new class of wealthy philanthropists, called eco-barons, such as the Chilean Sebastian Pinera, the American Douglas Thomas, and the Swiss Ernst Beyeler and Hansjörg Wyss, who have purchased, preserved and reconstructed millions of hectares in Chile, Argentina, the United States and South Africa. They are to be commended, not only because they are materially contributing to the planet’s well-being rather than whipping up public hysteria, but because they are not in the business of profiting from the latest environmental scare...

Wiesel in Montreal: “You are not alone! Somebody cares.”

Par Joel Goldenberg le 1 octobre 2009

Individuals should never think there is nothing they can do to help solve society’s ills, professor, Nobel Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel told an audience of more than 2,200 at Théâtre St. Denis recently...


Par Beryl Wajsman le 2 septembre 2009

elderly_hands_small_4k1i.jpgI’ve often said that the word vacation doesn’t exist in my life. I feel privileged to be able to do advocacy and journalism . You get used to not having normal routines. Perhaps I never wanted them in the first place. So you live your life out there – on the edge -  available, attackable, accessible. And you get used to pretty much all sorts of tragic stories and appeals. But every now and then there  is one that not only ignites a fury that propels you to act, but also floods you with sadness that moves you to reflect.

On the morality of bottled water

Par Dan Delmar le 2 septembre 2009

Journalists are often invited to all kinds of launch parties, cinq à septs, premieres; it’s one of the perks of the job. Most are fairly unremarkable and formulaic: Wine, women, tapas and, “hey, are you going to mention how revolutionary ‘Product A’ or ‘Politician B’ is in your article?” Not likely, no. But thanks for the chicken skewers...

No honour in murder

Par Beryl Wajsman le 6 août 2009

justice2.jpgWe need to take a step back and think about the use of the term “honour killings”. It has been much in the news of late as the horror of the deaths of the Shafia sisters sinks in. 

 On the one hand, the term gives a perverse cultural frame of reference for an act that can have no justification. On the other , since it is invariably used in reference to Islam, it denigrates a faith. Nothing in Islam justifies murder for the sake of a family’s “honour.” 


Par Joel Ceausu le 6 août 2009

I’ve walked by the home a thousand times. I’ve parked in front of it; knelt by its driveway to readjust heavy grocery bags in my hands; stopped my bike to tighten my kids’ helmet; and dragged my children on their sleds over the mounds of snow that lay in front of it.
In a neighbourhood that has seen its share of tragedies – albeit mostly of the règlement de comptes and the occasional corpse-stuffed-in-trunk types – this one has shaken the reserve of Canadians beyond the H1P postal code.

“I was molested!” An airport security check worthy of Penthouse Forum

Par Dan Delmar le 6 août 2009

I was molested. Seeing these three words in print is a stark reminder of my ordeal, from which I may never fully recover. He caressed my inner thigh, cupped my buttocks in his large, burly hands and gently ran his fingers through my hair. This trauma didn’t occur during my childhood; it happened just last week.I had managed to string together five days in late July to vacation in New York City and was making my way through a security checkpoint at Trudeau International Airport when it happened. A U.S. Homeland Security agent pulled me aside and informed me that I had been selected for a “random” search. I was separated from other passengers and, with apologies to actual victims of sexual assault, was fondled by the guard who evidently had mistaken me for a terrorist – or for his lady friend.

Save Our Suburbans! How the Obama Administration is going to change what and how you drive

Par Robert Presser le 2 juillet 2009

GMC-Yukon-XL.jpgVisitors to Havana marvel at the American automobiles of the 1950’s that have survived five decades of revolutionary communist rule to continue to ply its streets.  Some are still running due to modified Russian auto parts, while other have had their lives extended by craftsmen who lovingly reproduce each fallen piece of chrome so that the autos appear as pristine as they did on Batista’s last day in the Presidential Palace...

Will you get your money’s worth from “green” food?

Par Mischa Popoff le 2 juillet 2009

There are three basic types of “green” farming. On June 30th, one of them will receive the golden stamp of approval from the federal government. Will this have a positive impact for farmers, consumers and the planet? Sadly, no...

“Montreal needs the main”

Par Jessica Murphy le 2 juillet 2009

Surrounding Cabaret Café Cleopatre is a sex store and a nightclub, a vacant lot and sagging, boarded-up buildings with decades of grime ground deep into concrete and stone. On cloudy days the corner looks squalid. Sunny days don’t suit it. 
To get inside, you push through a gaggle of tough-talking strippers on a smoke break and through the music and black lights filtering from their ground floor establishment...

City taxi bureau’s RCG 08-022

Par P.A. Sévigny le 2 juillet 2009

As the poorest of the city’s working poor, Montreal’s cab drivers are caught between a rock and a hard place. Once a cab driver gets behind the wheel and puts the key into the ignition, city by-law RCG08-022 will define the next 12 hours of his working life. In section 1 of the city by-law, article #59 defines a working taxi as any vehicle on the road with a dome, a working meter, a working radio and a visible pocket number. As article #59 draws the line between the city’s working taxis and everybody else on the road, city cab drivers are warning city authorities there could be serious trouble if police don’t stop their discrimination against them and their business. While everybody is supposed to be equal under the law, several city cab drivers say the city’s by-law turns them into second class citizens subject to a series of rules and regulations which is ruining their business and their means to make a living...

Another incomprehensible ban

Par Iro Cyr le 28 mai 2009

It is beyond comprehension to see that Health Canada is calling for a ban on the sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in this country...

What do Concordians have to say about staying in school?

Par Teresa Seminara le 28 mai 2009

As I was walking to school one Monday morning, from Guy-Concordia metro station to the SGW Campus, I could not help but wonder what students’ motivations are to be in University and whether the recession plays a decisive factor in their pursuit of earning a higher education. Above all, the thought that lingered in my mind as I passed my fellow Concordians was whether they are in University because of what other people want or expect from them or because they simply consider education an investment in themselves...

The real, earnest life of Arnold Steinberg

Par Alan Hustak le 28 mai 2009

STEINBERG-bw.jpg“Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not the goal,” reads the caption in the 1954 McGill University Yearbook under Arnold Steinberg’s graduation photograph. Whatever life’s goal, as a commerce student at McGill five decades ago Steinberg never imagined that one day he would become the university’s 18th chancellor. 
In Jewish culture, 18 is considered a lucky number - representing as it does the numeric value of the word, Chai, which means Life and is also the 18th letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The irony that he will be sworn in as McGill’s 18th chancellor in November is not lost on Mr. Steinberg.  “On the day of the announcement I hadn’t even thought of it, to be perfectly honest,” he said in an interview.

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