In an age of minority power it does not help when some groups only direct their anger outwards while ignoring problems within.
Canadian Muslims, and Western Muslims in general, have had a hard time of it since 9/11. That one act of catastrophic terrorism committed by 19 men who proclaimed they were acting in the name of Allah led to mass distrust, hatred and even violence by many who now saw Islam as ‘the enemy’. Ordinary Muslims were harassed in the street, women had their hijabs ripped off and were called ‘terrorists’, and we just lived through a US president who actually banned immigration from Muslim lands.
Of course not all Muslims are to blame for the actions of less than two dozen back in 2001. Nor are they to be taken to task for the other acts of terrorism committed by those who maintain that they are Muslim. Every faith has its extremists and it is simply unfair to paint all believers with the same brush.
Still, in my opinion, Muslims, including Canadian Muslims, have made two critical errors. First, they have gone to great lengths to convince us that so-called ‘Islamist terrorism’ has nothing to do with Islam. This is fundamentally incorrect.
Islamist extremism has a lot to do with Islam, albeit not normative Islam. Terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda (AQ), Islamic State (ISIS) and far too many others sprang from within world Islam. Their very soul is Islamic, as demonstrated by their liberal use of Quranic excerpts, hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) and ideas from other Muslim scholars over the centuries.
I happen to think that what these terrorists advocate is not shared by the vast, vast majority of the planet’s one billion plus Muslims – some would disagree with me on that point – but to try to argue that there is no tie to Islam is simply disingenuous.
Don’t get me wrong: I completely understand why most Muslims reject any relationship between those who rape and kill and their own faith. After all, who wants to acknowledge that there are those who share your deepest religious feelings yet have gone off in a completely opposite direction from what the faith intended?
But true believers can accept that terrorists have twisted and abused certain aspects of their religion and choose to fight back. And many have: I have met and worked alongside them. These brave people deserve our praise and thanks.
And yet I am still surprised when individuals have been getting away with religious nonsense for decades and nothing is done about it.
Here is the second error. Let me introduce you to Younus Kathrada.
He is am imam in British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast. He is also a hateful figure. Here are some of his ‘ideas’:
- he openly calls Jews, Christians, atheists and free-speech advocates “filthy” and “evil”
- he called Samuel Paty, the French teacher beheaded for talking about the Muhammad cartoons “a cursed, evil-spirited filthy excuse for a human being.”
- he has appealed to his followers in Victoria and beyond to “destroy the enemies of Islam, and annihilate the heretics and the atheists.”
- he has told members to not vote for “filthy” and “evil” political candidates who support homosexuality or “Zionism.”
- he called Christmas a “false festival” and said it is worse for a Muslim to wish someone “Merry Christmas” than it is to engage in adultery or murder.
I think you get the point.
So, what has been the response to this idiocy?
Not surprisingly, the Jewish organisation B’nai Brith has called for action to be taken against Kathrada for his hate speech. Kudos to them.
What, then, have local Muslims said? Not much. Three leaders of the BC Muslim Association, which represents most Sunni Muslims, either did not return messages from journalist Douglas Todd or declined to comment. One said that Kathrada was ‘sidelined’ within BC’s 70,000 Muslims. At least one – a trustee at a mosque – had the courage to say that “it makes some sense for people to push for the Victoria imam to be charged with a hate crime.”
Which people, Mr. Khan? Not you? Not other trustees? Not the BC Muslim Association? Not ordinary Muslims? If not, why not? Why are BC Muslims standing idly by while this moron misrepresents your faith? Can you imagine a Catholic Church ignoring a priest who called for the deaths of Muslims and Jews? Coz I sure can’t.
It gets worse.
Mr. Kathrada’s rants are not recent. I was aware of his ideas more than a decade ago when I worked as a strategic analyst at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) focusing on domestic Islamist extremism. More than a decade ago! I retired in 2015 and it is plainly obvious that the garbage spewing from this imam’s lips has not ended.
Despite his ‘sidelined’ status according to some, how many people have fallen under his sway? How many followers have been radicalised by him? Have any left Canada to join terrorist groups like AQ and ISIS? Are any contemplating action here? How is it that he has gotten away with this for so long?
Muslims in Canada and the West justifiably complain about anti-Islamic prejudice and we as good citizens have a duty to shout down the bigots and the racists. But shutting these idiots up goes both ways, doesn’t it? In the end, hate is hate and good people have an obligation to stop it.
Are you listening Muslim brothers and sisters in BC?