My article at Huffington Post
Don’t Keep Yelling ‘Islamophobia’ To Silence Genuine Debate
On the day when Canada and its Prime Minister were getting ready to confer an honorary citizenship on Nobel Laureate Malala Yusufzai, and when Stephen Harper was going to moderate “Strong Girls, Strong World” session with Malala as a participant, the very foundation of Canada’s democracy and freedoms came under attack.
On that day, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, son of a Libyan immigrant, who had only recently embraced Islam committed an act of jihadist terror, killing unarmed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was standing in guard at the National War Memorial. He then stormed the parliament and was killed in a shootout. There are strong suggestions that Zehaf-Bibeau was influenced by the Jihadist ideology that may have become even more potent by addiction to drugs and other factors.
Just a few days earlier another recent convert to Islam, Martin Ahmad Rouleau killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and injured another soldier. He was known to Canada’s anti-terrorism agencies and his passport was seized under suspicion that he has Jihadi connection and may travel abroad to take part in activities related to ISIS.
Both these terror attacks took place after, “ISIS” had urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada.
While these incidents resulted in deep grief and anguish for all Canadians, various Muslim leaders raised alarms that any association of these terrorists with Muslims will give rise to Islampohobia.
AQ Mufti, former leader of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) tried to highlight, at a Facebook discussion had the audacity to write that, “Michael Zehaf-Bibeau has committed a heinous crime, against our motherland, and he has got his punishment.”
As if the death of a terrorist during a shootout, completes the investigative and judicial process, without finding out who else has been involved, and what other risks are there that need to be explored.
At a CBC program, lawyer Faisal Kutty suggested that glorification of violence, in the society, was one of the causes of the terrorist violence. His focus was on Islamophobia.
It seems that the Muslim leaders have not learnt any lessons from the acts or conspiracies of violence committed by Canadian Muslims within and without Canada. The have forgotten that Toronto 18 was a reality.
In a recently published book, Religious-Radicalization-and-Securitization-in-Canada-and-Beyond. Lorne Dawson, under the chapter, ‘Trying to Make Sense of Home-Grown Terrorist Radicalization: The Case of Toronto 18‘, writes:
“Long after the sensational news broke, many Canadians remained skeptical that there was a serious threat from home-grown terrorists…..Canadians were inclined to dismiss the group as ‘a bunch of bravado-filled but bumbling incompetents who were not capable of carrying out their plans…. slowly but surely, however, as the remaining 11 either pleaded guilty or were convicted, and as the findings of the court cases, in particular the “Agreed Statements of Fact”, became public, the reason for doubt dwindled. It became clear that a catastrophe was narrowly averted.”
In Call for Transnational Jihad, Lashkar-e-Taiba 1985-2014, Arif Jamal, established a connection between one youth who was convicted from among the Toronto 18, and Aabid Khan of a U.S. terrorist cell.
Since then, several young Canadian Muslim men have been arrested and convicted on terrorism charges, and some have died abroad committing terrorism. After Ottawa incident, Imam Yusuf Badat of Islamic Foundation of Toronto acknowledged at CBC that even Canadian Muslim girls are now getting involved in acts of possible terrorism abroad in Syria.
Contrary to what Muslim pundits keep pushing, Canada is not indulging in Islamophobia, but it justifiably reacts to real acts and threats of terrorism by Muslim Canadians.
The Canadian spirit of inclusiveness is evident everywhere. That hijab-clad Muslim women work safely from Tim Hortons to public and private offices without any fear of intimidation and harassment, is itself proof that the leadership of Islamic organizations is the one spreading false fears in an effort to trivialize the enormity of the jihadist challenge.
It is Jihadi rhetoric and conspiracy theories that poison the minds of Muslims.
The U.K. Telegraph reports:
“[T]hat Britain’s most high-profile radical Islamist preacher, Anjem Choudary, had influenced those involved in the Ottawa and Quebec attacks”.
Such rhetoric and conspiracy theories can also be found at the videos of North America Muslim Foundation (NAMF)’s TV program The Free Radicals, in Canada. In an episode titled Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s Letter to Malala Yousafzai, Imam Sheheryar Shaikh and other participants suggest that, the shooting of Malala was a western conspiracy, that Taliban are losing a PR war, and that their struggle is against Imperialism, and for liberating their land from the foreigners.
At a recent seminar, “Caliphate as a Political System? Myth or Reality” Imam Shaikh asserted that the Islamic Caliphate is a divine promise, and will materialize. Only a few weeks ago the same Imam and Farooq Khan the president of NAMF at a TV program hosted by Rawal TV, suggested that the beheading of western men by ISIS may also be a conspiracy, since one cannot determine as to who the masked executioners are?
These conspiracy theories and Jihadi rhetoric have so clouded the Muslim mindset in Canada that they rarely come out to denounce Muslim terrorism with a united voice. And if they do, they refrain from renouncing the doctrine of armed Jihad.
We Muslims should realize that if we need to save Canada from threats of terrorism, then we should shun the ruse of Islamophobia, and Jihadi conspiracy theories. We are living in Canada as a pampered minority, where the society accepts all our demands of exclusion, meets our request of providing prayers areas in private and public spaces, and lets us pull our children out of many secular programs. If we fail to reciprocate and keep yelling ‘Islamophobia’ to silence genuine debate, then the host society has an absolute right to act in revulsion towards us.