Special to IPT News
October 14, 2008
Canada's awakening to radical-Islamist penetration of its political, bureaucratic and social infrastructure, reached a watershed moment this month.
Quebec's new French-language anti-Islamist website, Point de Bascule – "tipping point" – sponsored a dramatic press conference in Montreal Oct. 2 on the dangers of hard-line Islamist penetration of Canada. But this was consciousness-raising with a powerful difference.
All three panelists were moderate Canadian Muslims. All three face death fatwas. And all three spoke unsparingly – some giving names and startling specifics – of the Sharia surge and stealth jihad in Quebec and the rest of Canada. Indeed, detailed allegations were heard about Islamist inroads into the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), Canada's social democratic party, and about infiltration of a government commission with power to define and silence "hate" speech. These were momentous claims in the context of Canada's national election campaign – the national vote takes place today. As evidenced by the number of journalists in attendance, the Quebec media were galvanized.
India-born Dr. Salim Mansur of the University of Western Ontario opened by calling on Canadians to end the political correctness and self-censorship that has muffled efforts to debate the stealth jihad – the gradual radical-Islamicizing of Canadian society. Like other speakers, he distinguished between moderate Muslims and Islamists, and warned of accelerating fundamentalist efforts "to establish a parallel society within Quebec and within Canada, as they are doing in Europe, that will be administered on the basis of Sharia."
Mansur cited Islamist demands, "in our multicultural society," "for gender exclusion ... for legal arbitration on the basis of Sharia in Ontario and Quebec, the promotion of Sharia finance." He pointed to demands for the right to have "veiled voting" in elections, complete with male-free zones in voting stations and female-only government cadres to verify veiled-voters' identity.
Professor Mansur warned stirringly of increasing radical penetration of Canada's political and social infrastructure. In the midst of the election, he turned his guns on Canada's social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP). The Party and its leader, he said,
"have gone to bed with Islamists, operatives of the Canadian Islamic Congress, and other organizations, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations Canada, the Muslim Student Associations in our universities, ISNA – the Islamic Society of North America ... for reasons of sheer political opportunism at the expense of the security of our citizens, and defending the fundamental values of our democracy."
(For those unfamiliar with Canada's radical scene, the hard-line Canadian Islamic Congress was revealed to have given a media-excellence award to the founder of a Canadian-Islamic newspaper said to have had as its editorial line the assertion that 9/11 was a success, that Iranian-style theocracy should spread worldwide, and that Canada is a "fully paid-up member of the Anglo-Saxon mafia, which is responsible for most of the recorded genocides in the world." The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), mentioned below, also recognized this individual with a special anniversary award.
During the first Gulf War, the CAF portrayed Canadian Arabs as victims of unnecessarily-aggressive interviewing by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), a portrayal that the independent, nonpartisan CSIS watchdog Security Intelligence Review Committee, found baseless. More recently, the CAF became notorious for campaigning against the outlawing of Hezbollah in Canada. For its part, the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR-CAN] is the Canadian chapter of the Washington, DC-based, Saudi-funded Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR], an unindicted co-conspirator in the US Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial. Like its American parent, CAIR-CAN engaged in unsuccessful lawsuits against media and other commentators who raised questions about its background and links; and, like its parent, CAIR-CAN is a defendant in the New York 9/11 lawsuit, Estate of John P. O'Neill, Sr. et al. vs. Al Baraka Investment and Development Corporation.)
Pakistani-Canadian Raheel Raza, a noted cross-cultural and interfaith facilitator and author of Their Jihad, Not My Jihad, rose to damn the radicals. She condemned Islamist grievance-mongering and attempts to alienate Muslims, particularly Muslim youth, from the mainstream. Noting that she was Number 5 on a radical-Islamist list of the world's most hated Muslims, she said she aspired to reach the Number 1 position.
But it was Pakistan-born pro-Palestinian socialist author, Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, who put a discernible chill through the assembly. A former senior official and candidate of the New Democratic Party (NDP), he declared that the NDP was the target of an Islamist takeover bid. This campaign was having success, he warned, and risked suborning the federalist party with the third largest number of seats in Canada's House of Commons.
Fatah highlighted the case of Dr. Samira Laouni, the NDP's veiled Moroccan-Canadian fundamentalist candidate for the Montreal constituency of Bourassa. A Canadian Islamic Congress Quebec operative, she had recently organized a visit to the city by British Taliban-apologist Yvonne Ridley. That event caused upset in Quebec, especially when it emerged that the federal NDP's Quebec "lieutenant," Thomas Mulcair, had rolled into the hardcore CIC session, yet continued to support Laouni despite her outlook. And all this came on top of the resignation of Laouni's Muslim campaign manager, when he was fixed with authorship of a published poem that contrasted the purity of veiled Muslim women with – as journalist Barbara Kay captured it – his idea of non-Muslim Quebec women as "promiscuous drunks."
But, according to Fatah, all this was only part of his concern about his former party. The 17-year veteran of the NDP, looked back with dismay on the Party's apparent unraveling by radicalism, and took careful aim:
"But slowly, I saw the Party open its doors to Islamists – first under [former NDP leader] Alexa McDonough, when supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah managed to join her personal legislative staff; and later, under [current leader] Jack Layton, when the doors were flung open. One Hezbollah supporter even managed to become the Ontario NDP's vice president."
Fatah claimed that "in the last NDP leadership campaign, I was witness to an attempt by a group of wealthy Islamists, to back one Member of Parliament for the leadership, with the stated objective of controlling the Party." He spoke of "six or seven" business people "who were advised that, of all the parties in Canada, the NDP was the easiest to take over and make to serve the Islamist agenda."
Fatah asserts that he "was present when this meeting took place," and would be prepared to "point out the people" who raised about $100,000 for the Islamist leadership campaign. The author of Chasing a Mirage and now a supporter of the Liberal Party, said he "informed Jack Layton of the scheme" including the radicals' attempts to portray Layton as "pro-Israel."
"But," Fatah added, "by 2006, I had come to the conclusion that the Party was up for grabs, and noticed a countrywide recruitment in the NDP by pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah activists," and withdrew from the NDP. "Today, the NDP is running Islamist candidates and its discourse is dominated by support of terror suspects in the guise of a defense of human rights."
Fatah expressed particular concern about certain Muslim NDP candidates' waging of a "relentless campaign to portray Canada as essentially anti-Muslim, and to instill a sense of forced victimhood among Muslim youth." He took to task one such candidate – a lawyer – for reportedly proclaiming that the judge who recently convicted the first of the alleged "Toronto 18" terrorists, did so because of anti-Muslim bias.
"Thia is a practicing lawyer accusing our judiciary of being anti-Muslim," Fatah declared. Practically demanding a professional-conduct investigation by the Ontario attorneys' governing Law Society of Upper Canada, he added, "Can you imagine what effect this [claim] is going to have on 10- or 12- or 15-year-old young men who are consistently told that this is a war against Islam?"
Infiltrating and Silencing
Depicting the NDP travails as a reflection of the broader international jihad by "political Islam" against the liberal-pluralist values of the West, Fatah then turned to the campaign against free speech. He reminded the audience that the Organization of Islamic Conference is pushing at the UN and elsewhere for Sharia-oriented "blasphemy" laws that would silence efforts to define and describe the enemy. He pointed to the way that the Canadian Islamic Congress had used Canada's human-rights' commissions, and their complaint mechanisms, to lay siege to publications such as Maclean's, Canada's leading newsmagazine. Then his focus narrowed to one illustrative aspect of this campaign.
Earlier this year, Commission chief Barbara Hall, handed down a decision that dismissed a complaint against Maclean's for publishing an excerpt from Mark Steyn's bestseller, America Alone. The CIC had complained that the publication was anti-Muslim hate literature.
Free speech advocates would have been satisfied with the dismissal, and this should have ended the matter. But Hall, in a virtually unprecedented departure from acceptable conduct, went on to proclaim that Maclean's had been guilty of anti-Muslim prejudice. Indeed, as though writing from the CIC's playbook, she even pelted Maclean's with that rather contrived construct, "Islamophobia." Few understood at the time, how such extraordinary and damaging conclusions could have been reached without benefit of hearings, evidence, or any opportunity for Maclean's to cross-examine or make a defense.
After the release of the Commission's statement, the middle-of-the-road Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC), an organization originally founded by Mr. Fatah, spoke for many in its official April 2008 response:
"... in editorializing and coming out to bat for Canada's Islamists, the OHRC is sending a very dangerous message to moderate Muslims who reject Sharia and do not take inspiration from overseas Islamic countries or groups.
On the one hand the OHRC criticizes Macleans for "portraying Muslims as all sharing the same negative characteristics," but then does the same thing by perpetuating the Islamist myth that Muslims in Canada are a persecuted group. Those of us Muslims who do not share this addiction of victimhood, seem to have no resonance with the OHRC.
The OHRC decision must be cause for celebration in Osama Bin Laden's cave and among the soldiers of the world Jihadi movement that love to spread the falsehood that Canada is at war with Islam and that Muslims in Canada live under a cloud of racism and persecution. Nothing can be further from the truth."
But how could a Commission of the Ontario Government have erred so seriously? At the Point de Bascule press conference, Mr. Fatah offered an answer:
"... if you're scratching your heads, reading the outrageous attacks on Maclean's magazine by Barbara Hall, ... let me share with you the news that the Ontario Human Rights Commission is itself infiltrated by Islamists, and I say that on the record. One of its commissioners ... is an admirer of Ayatollah Khomeini and has close links to the Canadian Islamic Congress. This is the CIC that filed the complaint against Maclean's, and this man was sitting as judge and jury. Another Commissioner also has close links to the CIC and is a former President of the Canadian Arab Federation – again, closely linked to the Canadian Islamic Congress. But how many Canadians know this is happening?
And, [as] if that was not all, let me assure you that the senior policy advisor at the Ontario Human Rights Commission who wrote the document that Barbara Hall signed, is openly supportive of Sharia law – in fact, he comes to work dressed in Saudi attire."
At the Montreal gathering, a small handful of hard-liners eventually made itself known during the event's question period. One mature, head-scarfed woman challenged the speakers' portrayal of Samira Laouni's involvement with Taliban proxy Yvonne Ridley – until the questioner was forced to admit that she, herself, was implicated with Laouni as an organizer of the radical forum. Neither was her case helped by a journalist at the back of the hall, who, offended by the attempt to spin the audience, declared that she – the journalist – had personally witnessed the Ridley performance. A few days after this, and the NDP hierarchy's unappetizing connections seemed beyond doubt.
Days after the Montreal event, on October 6, several controversial Muslim groups – including the Quebec wings of the CIC and Canadian Arab Federation – convened a candidates' debate in an Islamic community center in the Montreal-area constituency of Brossard-La Prairie. Heeding the Islamist summons, the Liberal, NDP and Green parties' candidates reported for duty, as did the incumbent Member of Parliament, the separatist Bloc Québécois' Marcel Lussier. Only the candidate for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's governing Conservative Party failed to show up. The others were in a close, multi-party fight to the finish for the four percent of the vote that would be Muslim.
As though determined to prove the accuracy of the earlier Mansur, Fatah and Raza warnings about betrayal by political elites, the politicos turned the "debate" into a reverse auction. Desperate to win over radical voters, candidates out-pandered and outbid one another, going farther than some of their jihadi audience in condemning counterterrorism, humoring altogether undemonstrated victimhood claims, and generally feeding radicals' propagation of persecution fears.
In the face of this, none of the candidates came to the aid of their country. None of them have argued, like Fatah, that Muslims have more freedom, rights and prosperity in Canada than in virtually any "Muslim" country. No one reassured those who were unnecessarily worried or alienated. No one mentioned that the real victims of racial and religious abuse in Canada were statistically the same as always – black Canadians and Jews – or that American statistics suggested that the extent of abuse of Muslims in the United States, while unacceptable, was only marginally greater than the combined level of abused Protestants and Catholics.
Instead, the candidates accepted without demur questions from their audience incorporating counterfactual premises about rampaging racial profiling, immigration restrictions, persecution and – according to one spectator – the need for "special laws" against such things.
Racial profiling – "le profilage raciale" – was "inacceptable", thundered incumbent Bloc MP Lussier. "[U]ne tolerance zero" for "Islamophobie," exclaimed Liberal Alexandra Mendes.
On the no-panderer-left-behind principle, the NDP's entrant, Hoang Mai, declared that Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act, the country's fundamental counterterrorism measure, should simply be "abolished." Sniffing the wind, Member of Parliament Lussier flashed his trump: the Hamas movement, he said triumphantly, is the legitimate government of the Palestinian people.
Canada is in trouble.
David B. Harris is a Canadian lawyer, Director of INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc's International and Terrorist Intelligence Program, and former Chief of Strategic Planning of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).