Canada is fight­ing for Mus­lims

National Post - (Latest Edition) - - ISSUES & IDEAS - Ra­heel Raza Ra­heel Raza is Pres­i­dent of The Coun­cil for Mus­lims Fac­ing To­mor­row and ac­cred­ited with UNHRC in Geneva.

This fed­eral elec­tion is a wa­ter­shed event in Canada’s po­lit­i­cal his­tory. For the first time is­sues re­lated to rad­i­cal Is­lam and ter­ror­ism have be­come elec­toral fac­tors for the coun­try as a whole. This is not an aber­ra­tion in our po­lit­i­cal dis­course. It is re­flec­tive of sim­i­lar changes in other western coun­tries and is likely to re­main a per­ma­nent fix­ture of our elec­toral re­al­ity for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

The Lib­er­als and the NDP though seem lost in the new land­scape. Both see Canada as largely de­tached from the glob­al­ized evil af­flict­ing vir­tu­ally all of our al­lies. Rail­ing against Harper’s “changes” to our se­cu­rity pro­to­cols, they are cam­paign­ing on a plat­form of “chang­ing back.” They seek to rem­edy the prob­lems of the present by re­triev­ing what they be­lieve is a truer Canada of the past. One that ex­isted long be­fore the likes of ISIS, Char­lie Hebdo, and the Syr­ian refugees mud­died our wa­ters.

Even the ghosts of Pierre El­liott Trudeau and Tommy Dou­glas have been sum­moned in re­cent de­bates to en­dorse a re­turn to a Canada of “peace keep­ers” that will fi­nally re­turn to its senses and re­store its tar­nished cred­i­bil­ity with the to­tal­i­tar- ian ma­jor­ity at the UN.

These pur­vey­ors of the new old Canada prof­fer “change.” One that will re­place the cur­rent “yes we can” with an un­con­scionable “no we won’t” by pulling Cana­dian planes from an in­ter­na­tional coali­tion whose air­craft have suc­cess­fully tar­geted ISIS lead­ers. One that will re-em­brace the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran ­— a state spon­sor of ter­ror that has tor­tured and mur­dered Cana­di­ans; bru­tal­ized its pop­u­la­tion; and sanc­tioned rape as a puni­tive mea­sure against thou­sands of fe­male prison­ers for a wide ar­ray of “un-Is­lamic” be­hav­iours. It is change that will also be ac­com­pa­nied by a change in Cana­dian at­tire, by re­in­stat­ing blue-hel­meted diplo­macy and re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing the much ma­ligned niqab.

A defin­ing im­age of this “change” might well con­sist of blue hel­meted Cana­di­ans veiled or not, aid­ing the vic­tims of ISIS who had some­how sur­vived the on­slaught that Mul­cair and Trudeau had cho­sen to sit out. Be­cause as Mr. Mul­cair has bluntly de­clared “this is not our fight.”

As a Cana­dian and a Mus­lim I am as­tounded. What gra­da­tion of geno­cide would be re­quired to make it “our fight”? What scope of atroc­ity would com­pel Mr. Trudeau to dust off his party’s prin­ci­ple of the “re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect” and par­tic­i­pate in the mod­est mil­i­tary cam­paign to save the lives of Mus­lims whose rights in Canada he claims to cham­pion? How many tens of thou­sands of Mus­lims, Baha’is, gays, mi­nors and oth­ers must be hanged from cranes in Iran for ei­ther leader to per­haps sug­gest dur­ing this elec­tion pe­riod that the Mul­lahs be sanc­tioned for their ex­tra­or­di­nary crimes rather than re­warded with Cana­dian con­tracts?

Per­haps the NDP and Lib­er­als are sim­ply re­flect­ing the pos- itions of some Cana­dian Mus­lim in­sti­tu­tions whose vote they have vo­ra­ciously courted. These or­ga­ni­za­tions are ral­ly­ing Canada’s one mil­lion Mus­lims to vote with the un­stated but thinly veiled agenda of un­seat­ing Mr. Harper. In one Toronto area mosque this cam­paign was in­tro­duced un­der the motto of “know your en­emy and vote wisely” while ser­mons in some other Cana­dian mosques ref­er­enced the Is­lamic obli­ga­tion to get rid of an “un­just ruler.” The “en­emy” is not named in the pub­lic dis­course. But the al­lu­sion is clear. And many of the Mus­lim groups back­ing this ef­fort have in fact steadily main­tained that mea­sures like C-51 and C-24 are anti-Mus­lim, as is Harper and by ex­ten­sion those who sup­port him.

Once again as a Mus­lim Cana­dian I can­not con­cur. Mr. Harper’s planes are be­ing sent to pro­tect largely Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions from Is­lamist sav­agery. Mr. Harper’s poli­cies in C-51 and C-24 will be uti­lized to tar­get Is­lamist ex­trem­ists who are hunt­ing the souls of Mus­lim Cana­dian chil­dren. And Mr. Harper’s leg­is­la­tion against “bar­baric prac­tices” will help pro­tect Mus­lim girls from fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion (FGM), forced mar­riages and hon­our-based killings.

We Cana­dian Mus­lims are be­ing pro­tected by these mea­sures from the worst el­e­ments within our own com­mu­nity. And Mr. Harper’s po­si­tion on the niqab — shared by many Cana­di­ans in­clud­ing Mus­lims like my­self — does not change that fact.

If any­one is cyn­i­cally ex­ploit­ing the racial di­vide in this elec­tion it is Cana­dian Is­lamists and their apol­o­gists who falsely la­bel oth­ers as racists for tac­ti­cal po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage. And our politi­cians and pun­dits should be far more cir­cum­spect be­fore blithely par­rot­ing these charges of big­otry. Big­otry is the one of the most defam­a­tory al­le­ga­tions in our civic lex­i­con, a calumny no less de­plorable than any ra- cial slur when wrongly or ma­li­ciously wrongly ap­plied.

If there is a sig­nif­i­cant threat to Cana­dian Mus­lims, it does not em­anate from Con­ser­va­tive Cana­di­ans, but from Mus­lim groups that sow fear among Mus­lim Cana­di­ans — groups that pro­mote a spu­ri­ous nar­ra­tive of Mus­lim vic­tim­hood in Canada which lays the ground­work for the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of Mus­lim youth.

And if there is a dan­ger to Cana­dian democ­racy it is not from C-51 or C-24. But from those who hurl un­fet­tered ac­cu­sa­tions of Is­lam­o­pho­bia against all and any that chal­lenge their be­liefs, in­hibit­ing free speech and si­lenc­ing dis­cus­sion re­gard­ing the Is­lamist ex­trem­ists in our midst.

Like our al­lies, we in Canada are fac­ing an era in which the threats from ex­trem­ists seek­ing to re­cap­ture the glo­ries of a me­dieval caliphate are likely to re­main para­mount. But given the con­vul­sions they have wrought on hu­man­ity they seem to me un­likely to be de­terred by those seek­ing to re­gain the os­ten­si­ble glo­ries of our blue hel­meted past.

So I too the call on my fel­low Cana­di­ans, Mus­lim or oth­er­wise, to “know your en­emy” — who is cer­tainly not the leader of any of Canada’s fed­eral par­ties — and to vote wisely in­deed in Canada’s 41st elec­tion on Oc­to­ber 19.

What gra­da­tion of geno­cide would be re­quired to make it ‘our fight’?

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