THE ISLAMIST ROLE IN THE 2008 CANADIAN ELECTIONS
By Raheel Raza
As a political ideology, Islamism, in the longterm, seeks to establish an Islamic state in the North America, but this is barely mentioned by the suave and polished young Islamists who appear in expensive suits and with a flourish of legalese and the right disarming accents. While a Taliban-style overthrow is unlikely, in the shortterm, Islamists hope to fundamentally change Western foreign policy in favor of the foreign governments that fund them and the organizations they ideologically adhere to, such as, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Recognizing this threat, Marc Lebuis, who runs Point de Bascule, invited moderate Muslims Tarek Fatah, Salim Mansur, and me to participate in a conference in Montreal to address the infiltration of Islamists into the Canadian political system, where the first real arena has been the NDP.
The NDP was founded by Social Democrats, or Democratic Socialists, and was originally, as noted by Mansur, a critical opponent of Communism, and a key element in "denying Communists in Canada the opportunity to acquire any shred of legitimacy by posing as defenders of the working people." Today, however, it allows itself to be used by an equally potent ideological enemy, radical Islamism. The working class in the West now includes immigrants, who, as ethnic and religious minorities, complain of the classic oppression against which the NDP wishes to be a voice of protest.
But, the NDP fails to distinguish between the socio-economic concerns of Muslim immigrants in Canada and the well-funded, ideological organizations that purport to speak for them.
The Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) is one such organization. The President of CIC, Mohammad El-Masry, is notorious for his anti-Semitic statements, his call for Shari'a courts in Canada, and agitation for an anti-Israeli foreign policy.
Canadian Muslims mattered in this national election because they were, some argued, a swing vote in certain ridings. El-Masry endorsed the NDP, and encouraged voter registration to bolster it. John Gilbert "Jack" Layton [NDP Leader] should have repudiated Elmasry's support, but did not.
Toronto NDP candidate and lawyer, El Farouk Khaki caused a stir recently when he defended a Muslim youth convicted for his involvement in a terrorist camp in Canada. After the judge threw out the youth's defense that "no real Toronto terrorist group existed because its goals were too fanciful to be achieved," Khaki stated that, if you are Muslim in Canadian courts, you will be presumed guilty until proven innocent. He went on to accuse the judge of having an anti-Muslim bias. This plays into the victimhood complex Islamists want Muslims in the West to fall into. Khaki was not chastised by NDP leader Jack Layton or any other party candidate.
In Montreal, the NDP paraded Samira Laouni, as "the first veiled candidate," in the province. She ran from the riding of Bourassa and made no attempt to hide her support for what she referred to as "real Shariah." She did not win. Jack Layton should have vetted out NDP candidates who favor Sharia like Laouni, whom Mansur has called a "CIC operative."
It seems strange that, with Canadian forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, the same support for Taliban style orthodoxy is allowed in Canada. Besides pro-Shari'a politicians like Laouni, Islamists are spreading their message on the street. In Mississauga, Ontario, a woman by the name of Farhat Hashmi runs an Islamic school for girls. Hashmi wears a full niqab (face covering) and encourages young girls to emulate her. She is known for promoting a very conservative [reactionary] Islamic ideology that is based on Wahhabism. She, like other Islamists, is in favor of Sharia in Canada.
The results of the Canadian election were an eye-opener because all Muslim candidates from all parties lost, with the exception of Yasmin Ratansi, who, for some time, has been trying to distance herself from her Muslim identity, despite being the first Muslim woman to get elected to the Canadian parliament..
This is a clear indication that, because of the incessant and unreasonable demands by Islamists, Canadians punished all Muslims. Most ordinary Canadians, well-meaning and decent folks, are fed up with demands for unreasonable accommodation and are no longer willing to put up with politics disguised as religion in the public sphere. Although Canadians are politically correct and diplomatic in public, the election result shows their true feeling about the trend that Muslims who may have an Islamist agenda are not welcome in Canada. Of course, the usual suspects are already screaming Islamophobia -- again.
There is no rampant Islamophobia in Canada -- only an attempt at gradual Islamization.
Yasmeen Ratansi was first elected in 2004, but, when she sought the nomination of her party, some Imams denounced her as not being Muslim enough because she did not cover her hair and wore skirts. She is currently Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of women.
In two districts (ridings, as they are called in Canada), the Muslim candidates who lost were openly hostile to the Islamist agenda. Wajid Khan in Toronto and Rahim Jaffer in Edmonton. It is rumored that the full force of the Islamist establishment and the mosque structure came out to defeat these two Muslims because they were seen, in the words of one cynic "too good looking to be considered authentic Muslims."
Elsewhere, a leading supporter of the Islamist causes and past Member of Parliament, Omar Alghabra, was defeated. He has previously condemned Canadian newspapers that called Hamas and Hezbollah "terrorist" organizations, advocated the complete repeal of Canada's anti-terrorist laws, and supported Sharia law in Ontario. Throughout the urban districts of Canada, many Islamists tried to sneak through, but met with thumping defeats. Along with the Islamists, many secular and liberal-minded, progressive Muslims were also trounced in what may be described as "collateral damage."
The lesson for all Muslims is written on the wall: If they are unwilling to stand up to the Islamists in their communities and stop the influence of Saudi Arabia and Iran, we will all suffer because of the actions of a few.
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Raheel Raza writes for Islamist Watch, a project at the Middle East Forum. She works as a journalist, author, public speaker, film maker, and inter-cultural, inter-faith diversity consultant. She is author of Their Jihad. . .Not My Jihad!: A Muslim Canadian Woman Speaks Out (Ingersol, Ontario: Basileia Books, 2005).
Born in Pakistan, Ms. Raza attended Convent schools, where she obtained her elementary and secondary education. She graduated from Karachi University, majoring in English and Psychology. In Canada, she has taken courses in Writing and Public Speaking.
The foregoing article by Raheel Raza was originally published in the American Thinker, November 8, 2008, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum, a foreign policy think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat. (Article URL: http://www.meforum.org/article/2007)
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