Inquisitive Minds Podcast Critical Thinking on History, Religion, Politics and Culture

In this week's episode, we will see how the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel is more than just a political decision by Donald Trump. Many people are unaware that it was intended to please his evangelical electoral base. Indeed, many evangelicals believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel according to the biblical narratives, and that this city must play a leading role in the end times. Before addressing this issues, we will discuss in the first part of this week's epsiode the current debate in Canada concerning ISIS returnees.

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In this episode of the Inquisitive Minds Podcast, we will talk about two major events which happened in Canada and in the Province of Quebec concerning the place of religious symbols and attire in the public and political spheres. We will end this episode by briefly discussing what will happen to ISIS after its loss of Raqqa, the city which was seen as the headquaters of its Caliphate.

 

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This week on the Inquisitive Minds Podcast, we examine the problems with hasty conclusions and imprecise definitions. As news came of the identity of the suspect responsible for the bomb threat at Concordia University on March 1, 2017, people realized that a lesson against hasty conclusions and analysis needed to be learned. This unfortunate episode and others like it comes at a time when many feel a growing atmosphere of discrimination against Muslims and other religious groups. This has forced some Canadian parliamentarians to propose a motion against Islamophobia and systemic racism. In this episode, we discuss how this motion uncovered the uncomfortable reality that Canadians and Quebecers are quite divided over the issue of anti-Muslim sentiment and what some see as the threat of the Islamization of Canada.

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Two weeks ago, the parliamentary secretary of the Canadian Defense Minister insisted that ISIS was "criminal organization with a religious veneer on it". A week later, the Premier of Canada stated that the country would stop airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but would still participate in the coalition's effort to combat the jihadist group. In that same week, the Defense Minister was reportedly reluctant to call the conflict with IS a war. Is there a disconnect between the reality which the coalition forces face in the Middle East and the desire of the new Canadian government to keep its electoral promises at all costs?

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In one week (19 Oct. 2015), Canadians will be voting for a new government. A debate around the place of the niqab (a "religious" garment covering the face and worn by some Muslim women) during the oath of citizenship ceremony has caused quite a stir. Politicians take sides in this issue citing security, terrorism, Canadian values, women's oppression, individual rights and freedoms, religious liberty, etc. to state their case. The debate has revealed that people in Canada are unclear when in comes to individual rights, as defined by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the end, it seems that the niqab debate revealed that Canadians (and especially Quebecers) experience a certain malaise with their current political system. What seemed at first to be an insignificant issue has turned out to be something which might clearly affect Canada's political future.

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This week on the Inquisitive Minds Podcast, we discuss Canada's Supreme Court ruling which declared that the Government of Quebec had infringed on the religious freedom of Montreal's Loyola High School. This decision will have serious repercussions since it could incite other religious groups to request for the same exemptions as those of Loyola. This question is also at the heart of the current debate on secularism in Quebec. It is quite surprising to see how a secular state has so much difficulties establishing its own educational policies.

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