National Post (Latest Edition)

Canada is fighting for Muslims

- 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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