KUTTY: Islamophobia an ever-present danger in Canada

Of note, Kutty’s valid critique of Fatah’s column (There is no Islamophobia in Canada), including the examples of the “blame the victim” as applied to Jews, women, and Blacks. However, by focussing only on the violent extremists of Daesh, he understates the impact of non-violent extremist attitudes within different religious groups:

Reading Tarek Fatah’s recent diatribe, There is no Islamophobia in Canada, was a surreal experience.

A few adjectives quickly came to mind but, “subtle,” “nuanced,” “thoughtful,” and “honest” were not among them.

“Superficial,” “reductionist,” “misleading,” and “incendiary” came to the fore.

The thrust of the piece was that Muslims are to blame for a peaceful multigenerational Muslim family mowed down with a truck and killed while out for a Sunday stroll.

The rationale behind this “blame the victim” argument is that hatred of, or violence against, Muslims is pervasive because of Muslims.

If Muslims are encountering challenges “everywhere,” the argument goes, then it must be the Muslim faith or behaviour that is provoking this hatred.

To appreciate the mendacity of this argument, substitute any other targeted group or community.

Anti-Semitism growing? It must be something about the Jews.

Is sexual assault rampant? It’s because of how women dress and behave.

The police profile Blacks? It’s their fault as well.

Those arguments do not pass the smell test, and neither does the argument about Muslims and Islamophobia.

Islamophobia exists and is on the increase because demonizing, dehumanizing, and otherizing Muslims is acceptable and can be disseminated with impunity, as in the article in question.

Is there Islamophobia in Canada? The perpetrator of the London, Ontario killings allegedly targeted the family specifically for their faith.

The Quebec City shooter was enthralled with Islamophobic figures like Le Pen and Trump.

In the lead-up to the London murders, Muslim women reported a spike in attacks against them, and less than a year ago, the caretaker of a Toronto mosque was killed by a man whose social media featured Neo-Nazi posts as reported by the Sun.

Islamophobic violence has now taken the lives of at least 11 Canadian Muslims in the last four years.

Yet, according to Fatah, there is no Islamophobia in Canada.

The article pathetically attempts to “show” that the Qur’an teaches Muslims hate by selectively citing, out of context, an interpretation of verses from the Qur’an.

Yet, the Afzaals were known in their community as devout Muslims.

They were mosque-goers, almost never missing a prayer in congregation.

At their funeral, the Imam shared that the family were Syeds — descendants of Prophet Muhammad.

Their life was an embodiment of their faith. And what did that embodiment of faith look like?

According to the London Free Press, Salman Afzaal was a “caring physiotherapist” who worked at several nursing homes.

The administrator of Ritz Lutheran Villa described him as “deeply committed to his elderly patients” and “kind and caring … well respected and always had a smile and positive outlook.”

Madiha, studying for her PhD in Engineering at Western, was loved and respected by her colleagues.

As a professor of Islamic law, I am stumped searching for the hate incitement Fatah claims.

On the contrary, the Qur’an, like any text, is subject to interpretation.

It continues to inspire the vast majority of its readers to do good in the world and to search for peace.

That was the experience of Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul Jabbar; Cat Stevens and Arnoud van Doorn; Sinead O’Connor and Dave Chappelle.

Thousands of people continue to come into Islam precisely because they feel that sense of peace on reading the Qur’an.

Conversely, like extremists of other ideologies, Daesh recruits are ignorant haters who abuse Islam for their own political and nefarious purposes.

But none of this matters to Fatah, who has rarely penned a positive word about the Canadian Muslim community since his opportunist flip.

His subsequent track record is one of misrepresentation, selective quoting, and over-generalizations and only justifies and incites hate against Muslims.

It is bigotry. For the Sun to publish it is, at best callous and at worst reckless.

Source: KUTTY: Islamophobia an ever-present danger in Canada

FATAH: The census battle over mother tongues

Not sure to which extent the campaign mentioned by Fatah makes a difference. 2016 Census reported 502,700 Punjabi speakers, 211,995 Urdu:

There are times when one wonders if the policy of multiculturalism is a value worth enshrining as a Canadian value or whether it’s a time bomb that is slowly eroding the foundations of our country.

Where once we had to bring the Quebecois and Anglo Canadians together and bridge the Protestant-Catholic divide, today we are facilitating endless petty schisms among new Canadians, matters often seeped in the very hostility they escaped.

Source: FATAH: The census battle over mother tongues

FATAH: Anti-Chinese racism during Black History Month

While I agree with Tarek on most of the points in his article, I would have thought, given his bout with cancer, he would be less embracing about embracing or handshakes given the risks of physical contact in spreading colds and flus.

My bout taught me to be much more cautious and I generally try to avoid handshakes during the flu season and reduce my participation in group events.

But no need to be paranoid and leave the elevator. And if paranoid, all hospitals have stations with face masks and Purell:

There were six or seven of us inside the hospital elevator when a woman tried to make a last-second dash to enter the car. Under normal circumstances the passenger nearest to the door stops the closing door to let in the fellow passenger. But not in this case.

Instead, the gentleman closest to the coveted space where the elevator buttons are installed started fumbling for the ‘close’ button, trying to shut the cabin before the woman could get inside. He failed and she got through uttering a heavily accented “thank You” to the rest of us.

What followed was a scene fit for Alabama in 1920, not Toronto in 2020.

The men and women in the car covered their faces and turned away from the woman. She appeared to be of Chinese ancestry and that made her a default carrier of the coronavirus.

As the car stopped on the second floor, all the other passengers left the elevator even though the buttons to the 4th and 6th floors were lit indicating the good people in the lift had jettisoned to save themselves from the ‘cursed’ virus carrier who stood staring at the ceiling.

Chatting with her, I learned that she was a third-generation Canadian of Chinese ancestry who had never been to China. I had arrived a day earlier after a two-month stay in India and statistically had a greater chance of being a virus carrier than her, but she was judged by her facial features, and race, by a group of people none of whom were white.

Were the people who ran away from this Chinese woman racist? Damn right they were, but the academics teaching racism insist that people of colour (folks like me and my fellow elevator mates) do not possess ‘white privilege’ and therefore can never be accused of practising racism.

To give credit where it is due, on Tuesday Mayor John Tory, along with the Liberal federal health minister and her Conservative provincial counterpart, came together and visited Toronto’s Chinatown to address the discrimination some in the Chinese-Canadian community have felt.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott stressed that the virus is an international situation and is not related to any one group of people. “There’s still a lot of discrimination out there,” she said. “We want to make sure that people know it’s safe to go out. It’s safe to come to your favourite restaurants … it’s safe to go shopping.”

In Europe, the situation is far worse than here. According to the German news agency Deutsche Welle, anti-Chinese racism is “spreading across the globe in countries as far apart as Australia and Canada and others in between such as Malaysia and Indonesia. France has recorded just six cases of the coronavirus. But Chinese people and others in the East Asian community there say they are becoming targets for discrimination.”

Racism is ubiquitous across the globe and one reason is that racism, if not committed by whites, is not even reported. The dead in the genocide of Black Darfuris by Sudan’s Arab Janjaweed are only now getting justice by the arrest of the country’s former dictator Omar al-Bashir.

And five years ago, when Black Darfuri refugees in Jordan were being attacked by Arab mobs, it was only a report by Vice News that broke the story.

The Chinese may be victims of racism today, but they need to recognize that their community too is not free of contempt for others. Whether it is at Chinese restaurants in Toronto or in China itself, anti-Black racism occurs.

In 2018, Chinese network CCTV staged a segment that featured a Chinese actress playing an African woman in blackface followed by a monkey portrayed by a black actor. It was subsequently removed from the network’s YouTube content.

But first we take Manhattan. So, the next time you run into a Canadian of Chinese descent, shake their hand and give them a hug. Then we take Berlin.

Source: FATAH: Anti-Chinese racism during Black History Month

Huge pro-India fake news network includes Canadian sites, links to Canadian think tanks

Of interest:

A huge international network of fake local news sites that push a pro-Indian government position internationally has a deep Canadian connection, CBC News has learned.

According to the EU DisinfoLab, a Brussels-based non-profit group whose goal is identifying disinformation targeting the European Union, the network includes at least 265 sites in more than 65 countries.

At least 12 of those sites pose as Canadian news outlets and use names that either mimic current media publications or old media outlets that have folded, such as The Toronto Evening Telegram. CBC has also found evidence of a further 16 sites designed to look like local Canadian news websites, all registered by the Srivastava Group.

Some of the sites have either been taken down in the last week, since some of the EU DisinfoLab’s findings have been reported, or never had content uploaded to them in the first place.

All of the sites are tied to the Srivastava Group, an Indian corporation run by Ankit Srivastava, a self-described entrepreneur based in New Delhi. CBC was able to determine using website data analysis tool DomainTools. Some of the websites were registered to a bungalow in Edmonton.

The network of sites publishes content that is critical of Pakistan.

News sites with Canadian names but little activity

The purported Canadian news sites run by the network have names like the Toronto Mail, the Quebec Telegraph and the Times of New Brunswick. Many borrow the names of defunct Canadian newspapers. In all cases, the “about” section claims that the websites are local Canadian media outlets.

Most of the Canadian websites in the network have generated very little activity on social media, garnering almost no likes and shares, according to social media analytics tool BuzzSumo. Unlike many fake news networks, the sites don’t seem to make money through advertising since they don’t carry ads.

Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of the EU DisinfoLab, notes that parts of this network have been active since 2010. “It’s a network that has been operating for a very long time on these questions, promoting India or denigrating Pakistan,” he said. “It’s not only fake media sites. They have think-tanks, NGOs and so on. It’s very organized. It shows that this is something that is planned.”

Controversial visit to Kashmir

The Srivastava Group was also linked to a controversial visit by right-wing members of European Parliament to Kashmir in late October, which included a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The visit to Kashmir took place even though access to the region is extremely restricted by the Indian government, and journalists and NGOs are barred. In August, the Indian government revoked part of the constitution granting the Jammu and Kashmir state special status, instituted a curfew and cut internet and phone connections. The area has been under lockdown for more than 100 days.

According to Julian Schofield, an associate professor at Concordia University in Montreal whose studies focus on South Asia, the visit might be a way for India to promote its handling of the situation in Kashmir and make it look better when compared to its main rival, Pakistan.

“Bringing the Europeans over is saying, ‘Look, we’re a functioning democracy, just like you, we have the same issues as you, and essentially, we’re liberal. We’re multi-ethnic, multi-identity, just like you, not like Pakistan. Come visit Kashmir, we’re doing our best,'” he said.

According to Indian media, that visit was financed and organized by two NGOs with connections to Srivastava: the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS) and Women’s Economic and Social Think-Tank (WESTT).

IINS was founded by Srivastava and shares a physical New Delhi address with the Srivastava group. WESTT’s website was registered by M. Srivastava. The director of WESTT, Madi Sharma, is also described as the EU correspondent for the New Delhi Times — an obscure newspaper whose editor-in-chief is Ankit Srivastava.

Its website has 1.2 million followers on Facebook, but almost no interactions with its content, which is extremely unusual given that followers tend to interact with content, and suggests the followers may be fake. Sharma was reported by Indian media to have extended the invitation to the MPs to visit India, and accompanied those MPs during their time in Kashmir.

Several Indian journalists from fact-checking outlets contacted by CBC/Radio-Canada said they had never heard of the New Delhi Times before the controversy over the Kashmir visit erupted.

Schofield said that India’s rivalry with Pakistan is at the centre of its foreign policy and the visit was part of its propaganda effort. “It is viable as a technique against Pakistan. If Pakistan wasn’t there, India would dominate the sub-continent.”

Srivastava has also republished columns from Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah, who describes the two as friends, and also has links to former Liberal MP Mario Silva; the IP address used to register the website of a think-tank that was chaired by Silva is the same as that of the Srivastava group, and the site is hosted on a server administered by Srivastava.

CBC News reached out to Srivastava at multiple phone numbers, and in all cases, the person who answered the phone referred inquiries to an email address. Srivastava did not respond to multiple email inquiries.

Over the past week, Twitter has suspended several accounts linked to the network, including the accounts for EP Today, a purported news magazine centred on the European Parliament, and 4news Agency, a newswire service which served to boost the network’s content. Both these sites were used to push pro-India news items.

Since EU DisinfoLab’s report, all of the articles were also removed from EP Today. All that remains on the site is an apology by the owners for publishing articles from the Russian outlet RT.

Think tank website hosted by Srivastava

One of the Canadians linked to Ankit Srivastava is former Liberal MP Mario Silva.

Silva chaired a group called IFFRAS, the International Forum for Rights and Security, which describes itself as a “non-profit international think-tank” with headquarters in Toronto, Brussels, Geneva and Washington. Silva was the Liberal member of Parliament for the downtown Toronto riding of Davenport from 2004 to 2011, and is currently a distinguished visiting professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University and a board member at Toronto Hydro.

Using DomainTools, CBC found that the website shares the same IP address as the Srivastava Group and EP Today, and that website for the think tank is hosted on Srivastava’s server. The email address used to register the server is a Hotmail address for Srivastava.

Silva has given interviews to Times of Geneva, the New Delhi Times and 4News Agency, some of which were critical of Pakistan.

A YouTube video shows Silva sitting next to Fatah as Fatah gives a talk on Balochistan in Geneva in March of 2014.

A number listed on the IFFRAS.org website is not in service, and another number used by Silva previously in his registration of the site was also not in service.

When contacted by email, Silva said he does not “condone, participate in or support any organization that promotes inaccurate or misleading information and would never be part of any group that acts in such a manner.”

Silva said that IFFRAS, the think-tank, has been inactive for a number of years, and his involvement “was limited solely to advocacy for human rights in a broad sense, fully consistent with my long-standing commitment to the promotion of human rights and equality for all persons across the world.”

Silva further added he was unaware of any connections between Srivastava and the websites and newspapers that CBC had inquired about, and that he “emphatically” does not have “any connection with any group or organization you have referenced.”

Toronto writer’s columns reprinted on site

In an interview with CBC News, Fatah said that he was aware his columns were being republished in the New Delhi Times and said Srivastava paid him a small fee for it, though he declined to specify how much.

“Mr. Fatah is a freelance opinion columnist. Freelancers can generally resell their work after its publication in the Sun to non-competing markets, subject to the terms of their agreements with us,” said Phyllise Gelfand, the vice-president of communications for Postmedia, in an email.

Fatah was also listed as the executive director of an NGO called Baluchistan (sic) House, described as a think-tank focusing on the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The region has seen ongoing insurgencies against the Pakistani government by Baloch groups seeking independence.

The now-defunct Baluchistan House website was registered by Ankit Srivastava, as were other sites seemingly built for Fatah, such as whatthefatah.com and whatthefatah.net, which never published any content.

According to Fatah, the What the Fatah project is a proposed video series featuring him that he’s working on with Srivastava, while the Baluchistan House website registration may have come from an exiled Baloch leader living in London.

“I was merely involved and it never really took off, the Baluchistan House forum,” he said.

Fatah’s Baluchistan House organized a panel in 2017 in Geneva, where he appeared alongside Polish MEP Ryszard Czarnecki  to discuss Balochistan’s economic situation. Czarnecki, a conservative politician critical of Pakistan and supportive of India, was amongst the MEPs who visited Kashmir in October.

Fatah said he was not involved with the visit and did not help facilitate it. He also said that while he had met Czarnecki a few times in UN meetings, he didn’t speak or meet with Czarnecki outside of that.

Fatah said he was not aware that Srivastava was running a network of fake news sites.

“Why would he do that?” said Fatah, adding it must be “some ridiculous Indian bureaucrat’s idea of propaganda.”

Concordia’s Schofield said the network’s promotion of Baloch interests clearly marks it as serving the Indian government’s interests. He says that India has been supporting Balochistan independence as a way to put pressure on Pakistan.

“This is definitely political. It’s basically an open secret that the Indians have been helping the Baloch,” he said. “If [Ankit Srivastava] is doing this type of thing, that’s what you’d call a siren alert,” that he’s in line with the government’s policies.

Fatah said he wasn’t worried about his columns being used to promote pro-India views.

“Oh, I am unashamedly pro-India. If somebody uses my writing to be pro-India, hallelujah. India is the only place that will save this universe. You can quote me on that,” he said.

Source: Huge pro-India fake news network includes Canadian sites, links to Canadian think tanks

FATAH: It is time to stamp out immigrant-bashing

The consumer argument for large-scale immigration (based on larger GDP than increasing per capita GDP):

The word “immigrant” is slowly emerging as a slur among the fringes of Canada’s right-wing. This creeping phenomenon reminds me of the term “Paki-bashing” that was still in vogue in 1976 when I first visited Canada as a young TV reporter covering the Montreal Olympics.

Those dark days are well-documented by Tanya Sabena Khan in her 2012 PhD thesis at McGill University. She documents an article in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 7, 1976, headlined: “Unprovoked Racial Attack.”

It was a story by Stan Oziewicz who reported: “Two youths shoved a Pakistani fellow over the lip of the Islington subway platform.”

The victim, Shamshudin Kanji, was actually a 49-year-old Tanzanian immigrant.

Kanji was beaten and kicked on the platform by Steven Ingram, 22, and Thomas Allan Grimsdale, 19, while a third young man shouted “push the Paki.” Ingram responded by pushing Kanji off the platform onto the wood cover on the electrified third rail.

The attack left Kanji hospitalized for months and according to doctors “crippled for life.”

Fortunately, Canada stamped out such racism, thanks to outrage by decent mainstream white Canadians — from left-wing New Democrats to right-wing Conservatives as well as the domineering Liberals.

Xenophobia (fear of foreigners) is alas common among people around the globe whether it is faced by Kurds in Turkey or Darfuris in Sudan and Poles in Britain. It’s a sign of our collective insecurity compounded by self-righteousness that gives us comfort in our inner suspicion of fellow humans.

But once political parties of the left descend into playing politics with ethno-religious communities, using them as vote banks, it is only natural that there will be an opposite reaction from those who feel, they are “real” Canadians and the “immigrants” are free-loaders.

To those who are convinced Canada should shut its doors to immigrants, imagine for a moment the scenario in just two sectors of the Canadian economy if immigrants went on a strike and refused to come to Canada in 2020.

  1. 200,000 fewer mattresses will be sold along with countless unsold pillows and bedsheets.
  2. The housing industry will slip into a freeze with a downward spiral in rents and a dip in tax revenues at every level of government.

Across our economy, revenues in business income taxes and the GST will plunge, not just in a quarterly recession, but a possible long-term economic slowdown that will do serious damage. A lack of consumers can stifle economic progress.

Henry Hazlitt, the best-selling author of Economics in One Lesson, wrote: “U.S. consumers account for approximately 70% of the national economy. Spending is an important role of consumers. Free market economies rely on consumer demand to gauge the allocation and distribution of economic resources.”

Canada imported US$458.9 billion worth of goods from foreign suppliers in 2018 to keep its economy running. This included steel products, automobiles and a host of other goods and services. Missing from this economics equation are the 300,000 immigrants that Canada got for free, without whom the economy would have stuttered.

According to the financial management magazine Money Sense, it costs over $250,000 to raise a single Canadian 18-year-old adult “consumer” who drives our economy. Shouldn’t Canada pay for this immigrant? Or at the least say thank you?

How many of you realize that under one category of “skilled immigrants,” a family of four needs to bring with them a bank draft of $23,542 on landing in Canada. Imagine if this family has to put up with slogans of “welfare cheats” (as was heard in one Mississauga political rally recently).

Someone better teach the new breed of anti-immigrant hatemongers this lesson. Or else another Shamshudin Kanji may have to pay the price.

Source: FATAH: It is time to stamp out immigrant-bashing

FATAH: Bernier’s problems with multiculturalism cannot be dismissed

As usual, Fatah conflates populist discourse on multiculturalism with what the original policy, the subsequent act and the related policy instruments (e.g., employment equity) actually mean both in policy and practice.

The policy is all about integration through:

  • Assisting cultural groups to retain and foster their identity;
  • Assisting cultural groups to overcome barriers to their full participation in Canadian society;
  • Promoting creative exchanges among all Canadian cultural groups; and,
  • Assisting immigrants in acquiring at least one of the official languages.

And while identity politics is overly played, this is not new. After all, part of the historical playing out of French and British relations often involved identity politics and many critics of multiculturalism are playing on “white” identity.

Moreover, while there are pockets, analysis of Census level data by people such as Hiebert and Hulchanski confirm that fear of enclaves is exaggerated:

On Wednesday, Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, announced his party’s platform on immigration, calling for a 50% cut in the annual number of immigrants admitted.

Justifying this massive cut, Bernier cited figures from a 2011 study by the Fraser Institute that said the net “cost” to Canada per immigrant was $6,051, estimating an annual burden of about $24 billion. He told the cheering audience, that “is a lot of money.”

He then opined that “one reason for this is that immigrants generally have lower wages than non-immigrants” and thus pay less tax.

In arriving at his figure of $24 billion, Bernier did not take into account the fact that immigration is a way of importing consumers without paying a penny to the society that manufactured us. We are the only goods that arrive duty free with no price tag.

When I arrived as an immigrant, Canada paid zero for my degree in biochemistry and 20 years of experience as a journalist and advertising copywriter. Neither did my wife’s postgraduate degree in English Literature cost a penny to the Canadian taxpayer, yet we were both contributing to the economy of Canada as taxpaying consumers and renters from day one.

Having said that, it would be foolish to outright dismiss Bernier’s very sincere fears about the integration of immigrants like me into Canadian society. It is true that most of us who come to Canada from developing countries in Asia and Africa arrive with religious-cultural baggage that includes archaic values bordering on racism, tribalism, casteism and superstitions that have little to do with the values that shaped Canada in the last 400 years of Western civilization.

Bernier said, “in the past, immigrants who came here gradually integrated into our society. They kept some aspects of the culture of their country of origin, of course. And that influenced and changed our society. They became Canadian, but with a distinct flavour.”

“This is a type of multiculturalism that enriches our society. And it is perfectly fine,” he added.

However, Bernier expressed a problem with immigrants “living permanently in an enclave apart from the larger Canadian society,” a problem he said that gets exasperated by “being officially encouraged by the government to continue to do so rather than to integrate into Canadian society and adopt Canadian culture and values.”

A nation must be based on a sense of belonging, of participating in a common national project, sharing the same values, being different from the rest of the world.

As an example, Bernier cited the way ‘ethnic politics’ has become the norm among Canada’s political parties. “They don’t talk to Canadians. They address themselves to ethnic voting blocs. To Ukrainian Canadians, Italian Canadians, Chinese Canadians, Muslim Canadians, Sikh Canadians.”

Bernier is right to point out this slow disintegration of Canadian society into vote banks. As he said, “even our foreign policy now depends on appealing to these ethnic political clienteles, instead of being based on the interests of Canada as a whole.”

The Multiculturalism Act must be revoked for the simple reason that not all cultures are equal. The culture that treats my autistic daughter with the utmost respect, love and care is not equal to the culture that treats autistic children as a punishment by God for sins committed by others.

The culture that calls for slaying gays, permits polygamy, and imprisons women in black burkas is medieval and misogynist and is certainly not equal to the culture of gender equity and LGBTQ rights.

Bernier is right when he told his party faithful: “Among the threats to our values and way of life is political Islam, or Islamism, the fastest-growing and most dangerous radical ideology in the world today.”

Canadians dismiss Bernier’s fears at their own peril.

Source: FATAH: Bernier’s problems with multiculturalism cannot be dismissed

ICYMI: Some parties matter. The Islamic Party of Ontario doesn’t.

Good column by Michael Coren:

It’s not difficult to establish a political party in Canada. A few forms and signatures, a handful of supporters, and any of us can pretend to be aspiring premiers and prime ministers. Some parties matter, while others simply don’t. I’m reminded of Monty Python’s “Election Night Special” with its Silly Party, Sensible Party, and Very Silly Party. Now we have something called the Islamic Party of Ontario, which, according to the usual suspects on the political hard right, is an existential threat to all we hold sacred.

Well-known journalist Tarek Fatah wrote a column in the Toronto Sun about the new party, claiming that its founder, Jawed Anwar, had previously condemned him as an enemy of Islam who therefore deserved to die. If this is so, it’s deplorable. The column was syndicated throughout Canada, and picked up and commented on abroad. But it all seems a little tenuous, and the so-called party something of an illusion.

When this story broke, Anwar had a derisory 60 followers on Twitter, most of them conservatives, anti-Muslims, and bots. After Fatah’s column appeared, and various conservative writers and hard-right social-media warriors had screamed about this terrible foe of Canadian values, his followers increased to 160, including bizarre nationalist Faith Goldy, other well-known right-wing figures, and even some branches of the Conservative Party.

It all seems rather curious and odd, especially since Anwar has publicly and aggressively supported Ontario Premier Doug Ford. It’s also significant that Anwar and his party seem to be largely anonymous within the Muslim community, and when Muslim leaders have been informed about the new organization, they condemn it, not support it.

There is something else, and something that is deeply disturbing. A video purporting to be in support of this new party suddenly featured on social media, and was viewed numerous times. It labels itself a “Message for LGBTQ from the Islamic Party of Ontario,” and is hosted by a man dressed in what appears to be cartoon Muslim dress. He speaks of murdering gay people by fire or by sword, or throwing them from the tops of tall buildings. He purposefully mispronounces English words, and declares there is nothing to fear from Islam.

Truly awful stuff. But this man is actually someone called Eric Brazeau, a notorious Islamophobe who has long appeared at demonstrations and meetings, and who has even served time in jail for his dreadful and hateful activities. For this, he’s considered a martyr by some anti-Muslim zealots. They surely must have recognized him from the video, but said nothing about his true identity.

Yet none of this prevented a number of leading alt-right commentators from blogging and broadcasting about this new party and about the danger it posed to Canadian peace and democracy. Candice Malcolm, for example, is the founder and a senior fellow of the True North Initiative. She wrote, “Let’s talk about the Islamic Party of Ontario. They’re already threatening journalists and dissenting Muslims,” then broadcast about what she saw as impending doom.

It’s all a tempest in a teacup, really, and while the party’s ultra-conservative policies are grim, hardly anybody has even read them, let alone given them any credibility. It’s worth noting that the Christian Heritage Party has existed for more than 30 years, opposes abortion, euthanasia, and equal marriage, wants to eliminate secular education and to introduce “biblical values” into Canada. Very few people vote for it, which is what democracy and the right to choose and decide is all about. Perhaps it can form a working alliance with the Islamic Party of Ontario!

It’s one thing to expose and condemn the very real threat of genuine Islamist violence, but another to insist that support for such violence is ubiquitous, and to imply that the vast majority of Muslims support it. This is horribly unfair, downright racist, and plays into the hands of the authentic zealots who want to divide society and convince Muslims they’re not welcome in the West. There is nothing new about such politics, and it stinks of the approaches taken by historical despots against various ethnic and religious scapegoats.

By the way, in Monty Python’s political parody sketch, the Silly Party and the Very Silly Party split the silly vote. Someone should alert right-wing commentators; it could be a story.

Source: Some parties matter. The Islamic Party of Ontario doesn’t.

FATAH: Sealing western prosperity in a Ziploc bag won’t work

Every now and then, Tarek Fatah pleasantly surprises me:

Next Monday on December 10, delegates from countries around the globe will converge in Marrakesh, Morocco, to sign the ‘Global Compact on Migration,’ a non-binding United Nations agreement on a common approach to international migration.

Based on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was first drafted in 1948 by the Canadian jurist John Humphreys, the Global Compact on Migration has drawn unwarranted hostility bordering xenophobia, thanks to Marcel de Graaff, a right-wing politician belonging to Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands.

Despite the fact that the UN General Assembly — which created the ‘Compact’ —  says unambiguously that the document is “a non-legally binding, cooperative framework” and “upholds the sovereignty of States and their obligations under international law,” de Graffe declared at a press conference on October 23:

“The agreement wants to criminalize migration speech. Criticism of migration will become a criminal offense. Media outlets that give room to criticism of migration can be shut down.”

This was a complete fabrication and had no basis in facts, yet de Graaff’s statement and video clip went viral with hysterical anti-immigrant ‘sky is falling’ alarmists barely sounding different than their great-grandparents who lined the shores of Vancouver in 1914 to vent hatred towards what one newspaper described as “Howling masses of Hindus.”

Not content with his alarmist fabrication, de Graffe added fuel to the fire by declaring: “In fact, it will become impossible to criticize Merkel’s welcome migrants’ politics without being jailed for hate speech.”

I read the entire 34-page document that will be signed in Marrakech next week and could not find a shred of evidence that would back the claims made by de Graffe, which have now been shared by a number of Western newspaper columnists.

The UK Express led with the headline, “Criticising migration could become CRIMINAL offence under new plan” while a column in this newspaper was headlined, “The UN migration compact spells radical change for Canada.”

Nonsense. The Migration Compact merely asks Governments to “Promote independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets …  investing in ethical reporting standards and advertising, and stopping allocation of public funding or material support to media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants, in full respect for the freedom of the media.”

Of course, we should have concerns about fake refugees arriving from the United States into Canada as Brian Lilley has highlighted, but that is because of the incompetence of the Trudeau government, not the fault of Hondurans or Guatemalans living in cages on the U.S-Mexican border or sub-Sharan Black Africans left to die in the Algerian desert.

So far Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland have stated they will not sign the non-binding agreement, but it is not in these countries where the refugee and migrant crisis plays out.

A 40-second clip of children being trafficked in a sealed water tanker on the border of Iran and Balochistan shocked the world last week. Asia Bibi rots in a Third World jail, not in Britain and it is not Canada that is playing host to 10,000 Pakistani Christians abandoned in Thailand.

If refugees and mass migration resulting from wars and genocides in Africa, Asia and Latin America bother de Graffe and his minions in Europe and North America, then trust me, the Marrakech meeting is the first step towards a solution.

One cannot seal the West in a Ziploc bag to lock in our prosperity. Sooner or later the hungry will break open the padlock on the refrigerator.

Source: FATAH: Sealing western prosperity in a Ziploc bag won’t work

FATAH: Islamist groups eligible for share of $23M in federal funding? | Toronto Sun Corrrection

An example of fake news, where the original headline was “Islamic Relief and Other Groups to Receive $23M”, and the Sun was obliged to issue the following correction, not been picked up by the media and bloggers recirculating the story.

“Clarification

Tarek Fatah in a July 3, 2018 column incorrectly stated the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is receiving funding from a federal multicultural program. Liberal MP Iqra Khalid suggested organizations such as NCCM would receive funding in a video referenced by Fatah however NCCM has not applied for funding.  The Toronto Sun regrets the error”

Slightly reworded article to reflect the correction:

On the afternoon of June 27 while most of Canada was at work or watching the World Cup matches, a major funding announcement was made with little fanfare and in front of no more than a couple of dozen, mostly Muslim audience of Pakistani Canadians.

Mississauga-Erindale MP Iqra Khalid who has been the mouthpiece of the divisive Motion M103 on ‘Islamophobia’ stood in her constituency office to announce that the Trudeau government was investing an additional $23 Million into its multiculturalism program.

With no mainstream media in attendance to ask any questions, Khalid boasted that her “hard work has resulted into tangible action.” She listed the following two groups as being potential recipients of the new funding:

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a former branch of the U.S. based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) that was named in 2008 as an unindicted co-conspirator connected to the “largest terror-funding trial in U.S. history. NCCM has denied links to CAIR.

Islamic Relief, a worldwide charity accused of links to Islamist extremism by Middle East Forum, Israel and the United Arab Emirates among others.

There is no solid record that the Canadian arms of these two organizations have contributed to current problematic behaviour.  Nonetheless, for over a year many Muslim Canadians, including yours truly, my Sun colleague Farzana Hassan as well as other Muslim critics of Islamism had warned that the M103 initiative was much more than the victimhood culture of guilt being forced onto ordinary Canadians.

Khalid, in explaining during a press conference to announce the funding, suggested the $23 million is intended to “build bridges” between Canadians and to give new Canadians a “foundation” in this country by supporting community groups.

“NCCM that does a lot of data collecting on hate crimes and really pushing that advocacy needle forward within our country,” Khalid said. “Or like Islamic Relief, that does work not only within Canada, across Canada, across the world in really removing those stereotypes.”

So on Wednesday, we saw our fears come true. While Islamists are eligible to receive funds to conduct their Sharia agenda in Canada, Muslim critics of jihad, polygamy, FGM and Sharia have been left on their own to fight global Islamofascism.

In a message to MP Khalid, I asked her to clarify if any part of the $23M will be used to counter the daily denigration of Christians and Jews that takes place in mosques across Canada, from dawn to dusk.

I reminded her that “most Friday sermons at mosque congregations end with a call to Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims, referred to as ‘Qawm al Kafiroon’.”

“Will the $23M be used to de-radicalize mosque clerics and educate them to end hateful sermons from the pulpits,” I asked.

Despite reaching out to her office twice, I did not get a response, nor any press release or statement issued by any ministry of the Trudeau cabinet.

In making the announcement, the Pakistan-born Liberal MP told her scant audience, her M103 initiative was about “systemic racism and religious discrimination” and that “my goal was to study it and understand why does it happen and to find solutions.”

Most Canadians would have told her, ‘physician, heal thyself,’ but of course, ordinary Canadians are too scared to be labelled as ‘racist’ by privileged Islamists riding the waves of victimhood.

In recommending Islamic Relief as one of the recipients of the $23 million fund, Khalid covered up the fact that even Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country has banned Islamic Relief from providing either relief or aid to some 500,000 Rohingya refugees who have taken refuge in the country.

Khalid also shrugged off allegations that Islamic Relief has long been accused of funding terror. The United Arab Emirates has designated Islamic Relief as a terror-financing organization while in Russian authorities have accused Islamic Relief of supporting terrorism in Chechnya.

My question to ordinary Canadians is this: Who will stand up to the Islamist agenda in our country if it’s the government itself that funds their agenda?

Clarification

Tarek Fatah in a July 3, 2018 column incorrectly stated the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is receiving funding from a federal multicultural program. Liberal MP Iqra Khalid suggested organizations such as NCCM would receive funding in a video referenced by Fatah however NCCM has not applied for funding.  The Toronto Sun regrets the error

via FATAH: Islamist groups eligible for share of $23M in federal funding? | Toronto Sun

FATAH: Sandra Solomon’s bigotry helps the Islamists

I don’t normally post articles by Tarek Fatah given I find him overly alarmist but his critique of Sandra Solomon more than merited:

Just when the spectre of a Canadian law based on Motion 103 that would have criminalized the critique of Islam seemed to be receding, one Sandra Solomon has given Islamists a fresh lease on life. Solomon states she is an ex-Muslim convert to Christianity, saying she is a Palestinian who suffered sexual abuse in Saudi Arabia by her former husband.

Last week, Solomon visited a mosque in Mississauga where she tore up pages of the Quran and heaped abuse on worshippers, referring to the Muslim holy text as a “satanic evil book” and said she wants to see the Quran designated as “hate literature.”

Had Solomon simply stood outside the mosque with placards to criticize Islam and protest the Islamic texts that permit wife-beating and promote armed jihad, she would be in her right to do so. But that is not all what she did.

Video footage shows Solomon entered the mosque when worshipers were praying and yelled bigoted epithets. “What God do you worship? You worship Satan, that’s who Muslims worship,” she shouted as she was led out.

In a video that has since been deleted from the Internet, but captured by Global TV, Solomon speaks to the camera boasting that she has been visiting mosques for over a year. She then proceeds to rip pages out of a Quran, and places them on the windshields of cars in the parking lot.

If not hateful, at best Solomon’s behaviour was derisive, uncouth, ill-mannered, uncivil and most certainly undeserving of the cross she proudly wears as a symbol of her faith in Jesus.

On the two occasions that I have run into Solomon, she has come across as someone obsessed with herself, and seeking the attention of people around her. At an event hosted by “Muslims Against M103”, she had to be told to stop addressing the audience from the floor when she started ranting about herself.

If Solomon was protesting the alleged hatred some Muslims have for non-Muslims, then she played straight into the hands of the very people she was opposing.

Hatred cannot be fought with hate (or even love). Wisdom suggests hatred is fought only with truth backed by facts and reason. Unfortunately, Solomon has plenty of hate and totally lacks wisdom. Just a tiny bit of the latter would have made her realize that she is the agent provocateur who unwittingly serves the interests of the people she supposedly opposes.

Earlier this year my colleague Farzana Hassan wrote on these pages that the “M103 report seems to signal victory for citizens who sought to protect free speech.” Her optimism, she said, was based on the fact the wording on the M103 report “certainly appears to accede to their demand that ‘Islamophobia’ not be treated as a special case” as “twenty-nine out of the 30 recommendations in the report even avoid the nebulous and troublesome word.”

Now that Solomon has provided a fresh lease on life to ‘Islamophobia,’ Hassan’s words may well prove to be premature. Already a group The Muslim Council of Peel and some mosques say they are working with the police and “have asked for this to be investigated as a hate incident.”

As for the self-righteous Imams and Islamists who are crying “hate”, perhaps it is time for them to take stock of their own actions. At least 20 times a day, from dawn to dusk in every mosque of Canada, they should stop describing Jews as “people who are suffering the wrath of God” and Christians as people “led astray from the path of God.”

Source: FATAH: Sandra Solomon’s bigotry helps the Islamists