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Uthman
06-11-2008, 05:40 PM
The wide-scale persecution of Muslims in Canada occurs mainly in the minds of an aggrieved and politically motivated few.

Most Muslim immigrants came here for personal freedoms, because Canada is a country where freedom of expression is a cherished value, writes Raheel Raza.

There is one particular aspect of the long-drawn human rights debacle involving Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine that continues to trouble me. This concern goes far beyond the principals involved in a hearing before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

My unease lies in the constant use of the term "Islamophobia." Since I don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time counting how many times the "I" word was used by the complainants in the Steyn case, all I can say is that it's one too many. One might think there's an epidemic of Islam-bashing rampant in Canada. We have conferences and panels on Islamophobia. It's a hot topic at the pulpit. The bungling of some Canadian institutions in handling terrorism suspects only adds fuel to the fire.

Let's take a moment to debunk Islamophobia. The term was first coined in the 1980s but gained momentum after 9/11. In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust think tank defined Islamophobia as the "dread or hatred of Islam and therefore ... the fear and dislike of all Muslims," stating that it also refers to the practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation.

But many Muslims in the West use Islamophobia as a penalty card against free speech whenever there is criticism of Muslims. This reactionary response is stifling dialogue, debate and discussion -- all signs of a healthy thriving democracy. When I last checked, Canada still was one, but I fear Canadians are being held hostage by a small group of people who insist they speak for all Canadian Muslims.

They certainly don't speak for me.

Don't get me wrong. As a devout Muslim, I cherish and respect my faith. However, the question I ask is how much Islam is harmed by those demonizing it. From Dante's Inferno to the Danish Cartoons, there have always been people who demean Islam. Does this harm the faith? No.

We would have to be very insecure in our faith to think that the workings of evil minds and dirty politics would harm a strong, vibrant religion that has flourished for 1,400 years despite hostility and hate. I see no need for us to be apologists or defenders of the faith. Islam will survive, thank you.

But will Canadian Muslims thrive while trying to choke anyone who says boo? If an illegal immigrant is deported, is it Islamophobia? If suspects are picked up suspected of plotting to behead our prime minister, is that Islamophobia? Only in the minds of those Muslims who want to give the impression that they are always the victims.

I would like to ask what these Muslims were thinking when coming to Canada. Did they imagine they were coming to a sacred land where everything would be halal and holy? Also, were they forced to come here?

Most of us came here for personal freedoms. Canada is a country where freedom of expression is a cherished value. This includes the freedom to criticize the followers of a faith if they're indulging in stupidities.

The most recent example of inane behaviour is a Toronto imam blatantly going against Canadian law and blessing polygamous marriages. I can't think of a single Muslim country where brazen actions against the laws of the land would be accepted. But if non-Muslims voice critical opinions on this murky issue, Islamophobia will be used as a trump card to shut them up. Many of us would like to be invited to this imam's farewell-from-Canada party soon.

My version of Islamophobia is an extreme fear at the way Islam has been misused, misquoted and misrepresented by some Muslims. Stifling intellectual debate; trying to pass off cultural values as Islam; unreasonable accommodation requests; intolerance against others while screaming racism for themselves and total disrespect for the culture of this land we live in and call home -- to me, this is Islamophobia.

We need to understand that one of Islam's strengths is the concept of reasoning. Perhaps Muslim communities need to reason that one person doesn't speak for all Canadian Muslims. Maybe we need to create better bridges and dialogue with our Canadian counterparts to understand that all new and settling groups face challenges, and it takes sacrifices and maturity to deal with a plethora of issues, including racism. This maturity means strengthening ourselves from within first, and learning to treat others as we want them to treat us.

Raheel Raza
is an intercultural and interfaith diversity consultant and author of Their Jihad ... Not My Jihad.

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The_Prince
06-12-2008, 10:11 AM
what a load of cr@p, especially this paragraph:

My version of Islamophobia is an extreme fear at the way Islam has been misused, misquoted and misrepresented by some Muslims. Stifling intellectual debate; trying to pass off cultural values as Islam; unreasonable accommodation requests; intolerance against others while screaming racism for themselves and total disrespect for the culture of this land we live in and call home -- to me, this is Islamophobia.

.................................................. ...........................................

there you go AGAIN, again you have these Muslims trying to brush Islamophobia under the rug and LIE to themselves and say no no these westerners just dont like the wrong version of Islam which some extremists Muslims have put for show etc etc.

last i checked Islamophobes were attacking many many many fundamental principals of Islam, and they attack many events in the life of the prophet Muhammad. do you Muslims really think that Islamophobes only have a problem with the way bad Muslims have wrongfully portrayed Islam? if you do then i am afraid you are sadly mistaken and need a reality check before its too late.

in the west they attack the the concept of hijab, niqab, they dont only attack it saying these clothes shouldnt be worn in the west, but they even say that Muslims who wear it in the Muslim world shouldnt do so and it is oppression. tell me does this have to do with a wrong extremist version of Islam? the hijab is part of Islam, and the niqab is optional, its nothing extremist or made up or cultural.

what about cutting the hand of a thief? is that a cultural and extreme thing? well Islamophobes attack that as well saying its barbaric and backwards, yet the cutting of the hand of a thief is a main law of Sharia, from the Quran, and Sunnah.

i could list many more examples of Islamic principals from the Quran and Sunnah which the Islamophobes are using to attack Islam and the Muslims, hence let us not play stupid and brainwash ourselves that Islamophobes only attack the wrong version of Islam portrayed by the extremists.

we Muslims have a problem it seems, it seems we dont want to accept the reality that hey, many of these people dont like us for simply being Muslim and following Islam, just like the Quran said. we Muslims continously like to brainwash ourselves and soft talk ourselves into making ourselves think that no no they dont really dislike us nah its something else.
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IbnAbdulHakim
06-12-2008, 10:18 AM
Most of us came here for personal freedoms.
may Allah forgive this ummah and guide it..

most of us have compromised our faith to enjoy the delicacies of a kaafir state
and to deny that is to be lying to yourself...


thats why when i see those devout few in london who even phone up their banks and ask to prevent all interest which can be prevented, who stay away from all haram and live upright... it really does feel amazing. But those are a minority, hardly anyone really
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Uthman
06-12-2008, 01:19 PM
Western ideals are incompatible with those of Islam. For this reason, conflict is inevitable. It's time we move to a place where we can practise our religion properly.
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IbnAbdulHakim
06-12-2008, 01:27 PM
^ but you will have an extremely hard time deciding exactly where to go bro. If the lands were open to us, if we could freely move and settle then that would have been beautiful. But just to go somewhere and work and live has so many complications. But then again im sure theres wisdom in the complications aswell, or places such as makkah/medinah etc would surely have no breathing space.
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Whatsthepoint
06-12-2008, 01:47 PM
Criticising Islam is not islamophobia.
When a clerck denies service to a woman wearing a hijab, that's islamophobia.
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tetsujin
06-13-2008, 03:01 AM
Originally Posted by Whatsthepoint
Criticising Islam is not islamophobia.
When a clerck denies service to a woman wearing a hijab, that's islamophobia.
Correction, that's discrimination based upon religious affiliation. The law already provides for such cases. There is no need for a sensationalist word of that nature, just as there is no need for words such as homophobia when describing basic acts of discrimination. A phobia is a fear, it's an intrinsic belief or trait that results in a negative response, it does not automatically result in discrimination as there can be no law against any thoughts until they surface as actions.

How many of you have actually read the original Maclean's article have followed the news?

It's a respectable magazine that allowed it's readers to send letters to the editor and actually published them continuously for 6 months after the original article, and it covered all of the fears and concerns the people had as well.

The ridiculous request made by the Muslim students was something no publisher in any jurisdiction would have allowed. To give someone the ability to write anything and everything they would like without any editorial restrictions in any publication is not going to happen. There was nothing sinister or malicious in the original article.

I don't agree with Steyn on a lot of issues, but he did nothing wrong.

All the best wishes,


Faysal
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