Jew-hatred infects Muslim world, activist says: Urges Jews to distinguish between Islam and Islamism
Jew-hatred infects Muslim world, activist says "Islam is not Islamism"
By DAVID LAZARUS, Staff Reporter
Canadian Jewish News
MONTREAL — Tarek Fatah turns 61 on Nov. 21, but the controversial, Pakistani-born Muslim, a fierce and unrelenting activist and critic of Islamist extremism, doesn’t expect to make it to 71.
Speaking last week at Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation as part of a tour to promote his second book, The Jew is Not My Enemy, Fatah described how at a book signing earlier in the day, he was spat on and insulted by a young Muslim.
The insults included calling Fatah “a Jew.”
The incident was consistent with the type of treatment the Toronto writer and broadcaster has come to expect, part of the “cancer that can’t be excised” from an ever-increasing number of fanatical Islamist Muslims who see Jews as vile, subhuman creatures, and the entire West and Israel as entities to be destroyed.
“And it is getting worse,” Fatah warned a receptive audience, despite several thousand enlightened, tolerant Muslims that he cites as being like-minded supporters of an authentic Islam rooted in humanism, tolerance, and faith.
Over and over again in his talk at the synagogue, Fatah emphasized that there’s nothing in the text of the Qur’an or genuine Islam that speaks against Jews, and nothing that justifies the hatred of Jews, Israel, and the West that started to develop three centuries after Muhammad died.
“Islam is not Islamism,” Fatah stressed.
A founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, Fatah said Islamism is rooted in a centuries-old myth that Muhammad committed mass killings of Jews – an act that therefore remains not only justified but praiseworthy – combined with eight and ninth century shariah laws and “European anti-Semitism.”
“It is all based on a legend that does not exist,” Fatah said, adding that it’s now part of an “Islamo-fascist agenda” encroaching on so many nations.
Fatah has noted that Islamic radicalism, ironically, also grew out of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency providing massive funding to Saudi Arabian-based jihadi groups after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan 30 years ago.
As Fatah describes it, it is all a “toxic mixture” that threatens the world.
Never was this clearer to an incredulous Fatah, he recounted, than when he visited his native Pakistan in 2006 and attended a swank gathering of elites, where he heard “Harvard-educated, secular Muslim nationalists” tell him how “Jews had brought down the twin towers,” that the bird flu was a “Jewish conspiracy,” and that even the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 was an “Israeli attempt to destroy Indonesia.”
Now, he said, Pakistan has become a place that produces terrorists who target not only its usual arch-enemies, Hindus, but Jews, as in the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, where a Jewish centre family was tortured and murdered.
In Pakistan today, he said, “falling in love is a sin,” and women can be whipped, beaten, or even conceivably beheaded for allegedly breaking shariah law.
“It is a tragedy of enormous proportions,” Fatah said.
He added that the world has one billion Muslims, 60 per cent of whom are illiterate, and they deserve the world’s – including the Jewish community’s – empathy for being so subjugated and shielded from the forces of modernity.
During a question-and-answer session, Fatah, without hesitation, said he opposed the planned “Ground Zero mosque” in New York City and suggested that its funding is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
This 14-storey “repository” of Shariah law, as Fatah described it, should reserve one floor for a synagogue and another for a church, and if it doesn’t, it loses all credibility. He said founder Abdul Rauf should not necessarily be trusted just because “he speaks fluent English.”
Fatah also spoke in support of Quebec’s proposed Bill 94, which would ban the wearing of niqab face veils at provincial public institutions.
Fatah sees niqabs and burkas as nothing less than “symbols of slavery” for Muslim women. He also criticized an Orthodox Jewish group that recently opposed Bill 94 for, in his view, effectively supporting racism.
Fatah also criticized such prominent Canadian figures as activist Naomi Klein and writer Margaret Atwood for supporting a woman’s right to “choose” to wear the veil, suggesting it was hypocritical to in effect support women being treated as “second-class citizens.”
Despite Fatah’s mostly pessimistic views, he said that his message has so far gained “huge traction” among 4,000 Canadian Muslims, whom he described as “ordinary Canadians” who “dress like you and me” and share his faith in genuine Islam.
As for the audience he was addressing, “have faith,” Fatah said, “and pray for us. We need people who fight for justice and human rights.”
Fatah was also due to speak last Thursday evening at McGill University.