All Islamic Extremism is Unacceptable
Tarek Fatah/The Toronto Sun
June 3, 2015
On Sunday, over 700 Canadians braved unseasonal cold and non-stop rain for four hours outside an Islamic centre north of Toronto. They came to protest a bizarre celebration honouring the life and deeds of the late Iranian theocratic dictator, Ayatollah Khomeini. There were politicians from the left to the right, writers, poets, artists, former prisoners and exiles, grandmothers, refugees, victims of torture. They were mostly Iranian Canadians, but also Pakistanis, Jews, Kurds, orthodox Muslims, Marxists and Monarchists.Inside the sprawling mosque other Canadians were bused in to participate in the macabre display of contempt for life and liberty.
It was encouraging to hear Liberal MPP Reza Moridi praise Prime Minister Harper for his stand against Iran. Such bipartisanship is rare. Denunciation of the Khomeini celebrations came from across the political spectrum, including Defence Minister Jason Kenney. He tweeted: “Disturbing to see anyone in Canada celebrating the murderous depravity of Ayatollah Khomeini’s brutal dictatorship.” Misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and cursing of non-Muslims are routine at Islamist centres across Canada.
But there is another reality that does not bode well for our country. After all, there are other Islamist centres across Canada where misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and cursing of non-Muslims and secular Muslims are routine. Yet politicians of all stripes shrug in the face of these facts, embracing those who would want to see a caliphate in Canada, with sharia law as this country’s constitution.
The difference being, these mosques are pro-Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood, rather than pro-Iran and the ayatollahs. Apparently politicians have determined embracing pro-Saudi Islamists can generate votes while rejecting pro-Iran Islamists will cost almost none. Why else would NDP leader Thomas Mulcair in March visit the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) mosque in Mississauga and declare: “For years, this mosque has played a vital role in Mississauga — promoting education and charity for all. And it’s been a leader in promoting unity—a lesson so important to the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him”?
Perhaps Mulcair isn’t aware of a 2005 story in the Globe and Mail identifying millions of dollars worth of Saudi funding to the ISNA mosque where he spoke. (The Globe reported the funding was touted on the ISNA’s website although a spokesman officially denied it.) Or a 2013 Toronto Star story on the Canada Revenue Agency revoking the charitable status of the ISNA Development Foundation after concluding it “facilitated the transfer of (charitable) resources that may have been used to support the efforts of a political organization . . . and its armed wing,” in Pakistan. (The charity denied the allegation.)
Or that the parent organization of ISNA in the U.S. has been listed by the U.S. Justice Department as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a terror funding trial. ISNA was never charged with any crime, but prosecutors listed it as one of the “entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.” (A federal judge later ruled the document should not have been released and ISNA said its inclusion was guilt by association.) In 2013, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau spent an evening at ISNA’s Islamic Centre with the congregation during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This same organization Mulcair and Trudeau embraced recently refused to allow its boys’ school soccer team to play against a Catholic school team with two girls on it.
Does this mean Islamism Saudi-style is fine, while Islamism, Khomeini-style is not? Canadians need to put this question to all three political party leaders before this fall’s election. Tarek Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.