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Lies, hate feed Canadian Islamophobia

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By Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan

Two Canadian journalists write for the same newspaper chain and show the same contempt for accuracy and truth. One is Ezra Levant, who has a record of irresponsible writings bordering on hate. In one recent  column, he produced two lies – that Muslim students wanted to avoid commemorating Remembrance Day (which honors Canada’s fallen soldiers) and that a school board kowtowed to their demands.

Levant wrote that the Greater Essex County District School Board of Ontario told school principals that they should be ready “to exempt Muslim students from Remembrance Day.” Levant called it a “disgrace that any family would object to it – especially an immigrant family who came here to benefit from our country.”

He added that “even if some old bigot from a backwoods village in Pakistan or Somalia doesn’t want to respect Canada, that’s where our schools come in and teach those bigots’ kids and grandkids what it means to be Canadian.” He said the same thing in a show on the Sun News Network. It turns out that the bigot in this case is Levant himself and he’s the one who needs to learn what it means to be Canadian.

The school board denied that any Muslim student or parent had objected to Remembrance Day celebrations or had asked the school board to exempt them from the ceremony. Because the request had not been made, there is no question of the school board agreeing to it.

The school board had sent a memo that Remembrance Day has been observed in Commonwealth countries since the First World War to honor those who served in the armed forces. The board suggested that some schools conduct their own assemblies while others might wish to join in the ceremonies of their local municipalities. It asserted that since some families might be reluctant to have their children attend municipality ceremonies (presumably for safety concerns) schools should provide “alternate activities” for such children. The board provided a DVD and ideas on how to do so.

Levant invented the lie that some Muslim students or parents were boycotting Remembrance Day and that the school board had succumbed to their request. This is hate-mongering.

The other distortions came in a column, also published in the Sun papers, by Toronto journalist Tarek Fateh. He wrote about his appearance at the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defense and his advice to them.

“Some senators looked at me with incredulity, taken aback by what I had said,” Fateh wrote.

I was taken aback too by what he said, so absurd were his comments. The points he made:
 

  • The de-radicalization efforts of Canadian security agencies were doomed because the RCMP’s partners were “not just part of the problem, but in many ways the cause of radicalization.” 
  • “In mosques across Canada, our Friday congregation begins with a prayer to Allah for a victory of Muslims over the kuffar (Christians, Jews and Hindus). In such a climate, relying on Islamic religious clerics and Islamists to fight radicalization is like asking the fox to guard the chicken coop.”
     
  • Lay hate speech charges against any Muslim cleric who hides behind religious rights as he attacks and demonizes other religious faiths or people of no faith.
     
  • Monitor every mosque for such hate speech.
     
  • Revoke the charitable status of a mosque indulging in active politics.
     
  • To curb money laundering allow donations over $20 by credit card or cheque only.
     
  • Suspend immigration from Pakistan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Syria until such time that documents, identity papers and university degrees cannot be bought on the black market or from state agencies.  

There were the main suggestions.

If followed, these recommendations would not only cripple Canada’s immigrant policy but turn Canada into an apartheid state with different laws and treatment for Canadians, depending on their religion or ethnic origin, eliminate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and drag Canada back into the dark ages.

Most of his statements are plain wrong. He accuses security agencies of partnering with people who were in “many ways the cause of radicalization.” If they were, wouldn’t security agencies have acted against them?

His assertion that Friday prayers begin with a call for victory over Christians, Jews and Hindus is absurd. If he is not familiar with the prayers, he should study what they say. I know of no imam who demonizes other faiths.

I am sure that since 9/11 all mosques are monitored for hate speech and Muslim leaders are not objecting. Some tipped security agencies on suspects and helped them foil terrorism attempts. Certainly mosques will lose charitable status if they indulge in political activity.

True, documents in some countries are forged. But these are few. I doubt if Fateh came to Canada on forged documents. I did not.

Fake documents are not a problem only in Pakistan, Iran, Somalia, etc. but also in China, India, Mexico and numerous other countries. If Canada formulated its immigration policy on the basis of a corruption-free  world, it would have to wait for ages before it could accept immigrants.  And if his other recommendations were implemented, Canada would be forced to jettison the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and become an apartheid state.

(Source: Saoudi Gazette)
  
— Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan is a retired Canadian journalist, civil servant and refugee judge. 

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