Toronto Imam Shabir Ally explains death penalty for “criticizing” Islam, Muhammad

Toronto Imam Shabir Ally explains death penalty for “criticizing” Islam, Muhammad

In October of 2020, Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, an 18-year-old Muslim Russian refugee of Chechen ethnicity, killed and beheaded a French middle-school teacher Samuel Paty. Paty was murdered because in a class on freedom of expression, he showed his students Charlie Hebdo’s 2012 cartoons of Muhammad the Prophet of Islam.

After Samuel Paty’s brutal murder, Emmanuel Macron stated: “We will not give up caricatures and drawings, even if others back away… Our citizens are waiting for us to act… Dozens of operations have been launched against associations, and also individuals who support a plan of radical Islamism, in other words an ideology to destroy the (French) Republic.”

Following president Emanuel Macron’s words many groups including those on the right are expressing similar views and are calling for stricter surveillance, monitoring of Mosques and regulating accreditation of Imams. Some are worried this could enflame Islamophobia.

Imam Shabbir Ally, President of the Islamic Information & Dawah Centre International in Toronto, contextualized in detail the classic Islamic teaching and understandings regarding execution for “criticizing” Islam, Allah or Muhammad.

Here are excerpts from Ally’s statements (the video was uploaded to Let the Quran Speak YouTube Channel on November 2, 2020):

Imam Shabbir Ally: Well in Islamic societies it has been very commonplace for a long time that blasphemy is taboo… There are classical books written that explained the religion of Islam. And these classical interpretations of Islam make it so objectionable to criticize God or the prophet or the scriptures of Islam to the extent that they prescribe the death penalty for the critic. There are different ways of understanding this. The most cautious way would be to say that okay if somebody is openly criticizing the faith that person may be brought to the court and be given a chance to recant. If that person has some doubts things would be explained to that person, maybe he’ll be called in three days one after the other to give him a chance and to rethink. And then when he recants especially when he knows the axe is going to fall on him, then naturally he is going to want to recant unless somebody is really on principle sticking to his guns and saying I fear nothing, what I believe [is] I want to say. So people might recant. That’s the most cautious way.

Question: Sorry, are you saying that this is part of Islamic law then?

Well, yes. This is known in Islamic law. This is quite common in classical Islamic books. So that’s the most cautious way. But somebody else may say: Well, wait a minute. There is a report saying that the prophet Muhammad PBUH validated the actions of a person who took the matter into his own hands and slaughtered the critic. With this in mind you can very much imagine that, if this is being acculturated among Muslims, that this is how we regard blasphemy. If somebody blasphemes you might kill him. Then, even if you say it’s only through the legal process that he would be killed, you are automatically saying that this person deserves death. And if you’re thinking that this person deserves death and there is no law that’s going to inflict the death penalty on him, especially where you live, whether it be France or Canada or the United States or Australia or wherever, then you might well imagine that somebody may take this up into their own hands and saying: This guy deserves death but no law is going to give him the death penalty so I’ll do it myself. And the worst case scenario is with those rulings which say that the individual can take it upon himself and do this. So when we see that something like this, which is totally shocking and unexpected happening, we need to retrace our steps and ask ourselves how did we as a society get here. This is one of the things that I find we need to go back and revise.

Question: What to do you think we can do with that part of our tradition?

Imam Shabbir Ally: We have to confront that tradition.

Progressive pro-LGBTQ statements by Toronto Imam Mustafa Khattab

Progressive pro-LGBTQ statements by Toronto Imam Mustafa Khattab

Dear Dr. and Imam Mustafa Khattab is the Imam of the Anatolia Islamic Centre and a senior member of the Canadian Council of Imams.

In recent years you have made the following statements on LGBTQ:

  • “Members from the LGBT community… have always been welcome at my mosque for years for open houses and observation.”
  • “We believe that sexuality is a private thing… Whatever a person does in his bedroom it’s his own business… A person is a straight or a LGBT, they can do whatever they want… God is their judge and He will judge them in the end.”
  • “My apology for the uninformed and immature comment” (referring to your statement from 2012: “So for me somebody who is homosexual is like somebody who has diabetes, or cancer, or AIDS. He has a special case and this person needs a special treatment. Can I talk to them? Why not? Just like I talk to everybody, okay. Personally I don’t like to be associated with them.”)
  • “I have come to terms with and apologized for misinformed and insensitive comments I made about members of the LGBTQ2S community in 2012. Since that time, I have made concerted and humble efforts to learn more about my unconscious biases and unlearn the incorrect beliefs I had towards individuals who are different from me in the near past. I have connected with LGBTQ2S people who have graciously been willing to spend time learning from one another about life, culture and faith.”

I’ve sent the a media inquiry to Mustafa Khattab and the Canadian Council of Imams:

  • Do your statements on LGBTQ go in line with the the Sharia Law and the position of the Canadian Council of Imams on this matter?
  • Abdullah Hakim Quick, a Director at the Canadian Council of Imams stated in 2010: “So they said, ‘What is the position of Islam on homosexuality?’ They asked me this, a newspaper, right? So I said, put my name in the paper. The position is death.” He later stated: “Many years ago I made hurtful comments against homosexuals for which I have apologized. My views have evolved over the years. I am fully committed to peaceful coexistence and respect among all people.” Has the hadd (prescribed punishment of execution) for commuting the sin of homosexuality been repealed?
  • Does Islam accept members of the LGBTQ community as equal members of the Muslim community, including respecting their right to pray in any mosque and become Imams?
  • An article on this issue will be published soon, so it would be great if you could respond by 11am November 16, 2020. If more time is required please let me know. Thanks!

As of November 16, 2020 both Mustafa Khattab and the Canadian Council of Imams have not responded to the media inquiry.

Trudeau, Muslim lobby are silent over France’s war on “Islamist separatism”

Trudeau, Muslim lobby are silent over France’s war on “Islamist separatism”

France declared war on radical Islam. On September 30, 2020 French President Emmanuel Macron revealed his government is in the process of drafting a law to fight “Islamist separatism” which will be presented to Parliament in December.

In a speech in the Paris region Macron described Islam as “a religion that is in crisis all over the world today” due to “an extreme hardening” of positions. Macron declared that “Islam in France must be freed from foreign influence” promising to promote secular values in France while conducting improved oversight of the financing of mosques.

Macron acknowledged that the French state was partly responsible for the “ghettoisation” of communities with large numbers of Muslim residents, saying that non-secular organisations have sought to make up for “failings” of “integration policy”. “Where we stepped away, they stepped in,” he said.

The French President urged immediate crackdown on radical Islamists following the beheading of the teacher Samuel Paty by a Muslim immigrant in reaction to displaying controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by Paty to his pupils as part of a discussion about free speech

On October 20, 2020 Macron said the Sheikh Yassin Collective – an Islamist group named after the founder of the Palestinian militant group Hamas – would be outlawed for being “directly involved” in the killing. He said the ban was a way of helping France’s Muslim community, Europe’s largest, from the influence of radicalism.

The French government also ordered a mosque to close for sharing videos on Facebook calling for action against Mr Paty and sharing his school’s address in the days before his death.

Sheikh Ali Al-Yousuf of the International Union of Muslim Scholars said in an October 18, 2020 interview on Channel 9 (Turkey) that from the perspective of Islamic law, one cannot say that the Chechen teen who recently beheaded French history teacher Samuel Paty is guilty of a serious crime. Rather, he said that the teen’s transgression was that he took it upon himself to carry out the death penalty for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, while the sentence should be carried out by a shari’a court in an Islamic state.

Sheikh Al-Yousuf said that people should focus on the fact that Paty had been teaching people to “hate” the Prophet Muhammad, and he argued that France is undergoing a crisis, since “Islam is growing because of its moral values.”

Imam Karim AbuZaid, the Imam of the Colorado Muslims Community Center (Dar Al-Tawheed) in Aurora, Colorado, mocks Macron’s policy emphasizing that Islam is not in a crisis but France due to the changing demography.

In an Friday sermon at Colorado Muslims Community Center Karim AbuZaid said:

Islam is spreading like fire spreads in dry wood. His own people are accepting Islam. One out of every ten in France are Muslim. Can you imagine that? So where is the crisis Mr. Macron? People are liking the whole religion. What is wrong with you? Oh you’re afraid because they say in less than 50 years in the year 2050 Islam will pass Christianity. Is that why? That is the real crisis… This religion will reach as far as the day light and the night the darkness of the night reaches. Basicaly every place in the face of this Earth. And it will enter every single home…

Brothers and sisters in Islam it is so great to feel good to feel confidence about your religion… So don’t worry about Islam Mr. Macron. Islam is not in crisis we have actually a long-term plan beyond your life and the life of your kids. But the question that I ask myself and my brothers who are listening to this sermon what are you going to do?… How did they (Muslim sons) feel when they heard this guy saying this about Islam? How did they feel? Did your son come and say what is this guy saying about my religion? Huh! There is where we can make a change… It’s going to take time. Now we have to contribute to this. Look at your child and if you don’t have one to look at a Muslim child that’s why we have schools. I tell you if there is a project out there that is of benefit to the Muslim Ummah (brotherhood) it’s Islamic schools.

As of yet a thorough search of social media has not indicated any comment on this issue by Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau, the leading Muslim advocacy organization (National Council of Canadian Muslims – NCCM) and the Muslim Parliamentary Caucus.

Trudeau’s position on Islam stands in stark contrast to the policy espoused by the French government. In 2015 Trudeau said “we need to make sure that we’re working with communities like the Muslim community, for example, to demonstrate that Islam is not incompatible with free and open Western societies.” According to Trudeau, “Canadians are quick to point out that ISIS is wrong, that Islam is not incompatible with the Western secular democracy, a free place like Canada.”

Muslim Parliamentary Caucus in Canada calls on confronting far-right movements

Muslim Parliamentary Caucus in Canada calls on confronting far-right movements

Canadian Liberal Muslim Members of Parliament have formed the “Muslim Parliamentary Caucus” that focuses on issues pertaining to the Muslim community.

Members of this Caucus are:

  • Sameer Zuberi, (Chair) M.P. Pierrefonds—Dollard
  • Omar Alghabra, M.P. Mississauga Centre
  • Ali Ehsassi, M.P. Willowdale
  • Ahmed Hussen, M.P. York South—Weston
  • lqra Khalid, M.P. Mississauga—Erin Mills
  • Maryam Monsef, M.P. Peterborough—Kawartha
  • Yasmin Ratansi, M.P. Don Valley East
  • Arif Virani, M.P. Parkdale —High Park
  • Salma Zahid, M.P. Scarborough Centre

In a statement “on Toronto Mosque Threat and Growing Far-Right Extremism” issued on October 12, 2020 the Muslim Parliamentary Caucus highlighted the “urgency to confront far-right movements that threaten the safety of Canadians and our society.”

Statement by the Muslim Parliamentary Caucus

Statement by Liberal Muslim Parliamentary Caucus on Toronto Mosque Threat and Growing Far-Right Extremism

In the last several months, Canada has had a sustained conversation about systemic racism. The federal government and key societal institutions have acknowledged that systemic racism exists and have committed to act.

In this vein, the Muslim Caucus is raising grave concern around recent events in Toronto and elsewhere across the country.

On September 12, Mohammed-Aslim Zafis, a volunteer at Toronto’s IMO mosque, was killed in cold blood at the institution’s doorsteps. This was allegedly committed by a man who subscribed to neo-Nazi ideologies.

And now, during this Thanksgiving weekend, a Toronto mosque received a threat. The threat references the Christchurch, New Zealand, terrorist attack which killed 51 people and injured 40 more.

These two cases did not occur in isolation. We have watched with growing concern acts of violence that have occurred around the world due to racism, Islamophobia, and white supremacy. In our own country, on January 29, 2017, we saw an all too vivid consequence of unchecked Islamophobia. The Quebec City mosque shooting left 6 dead and many seriously injured, at the hands of a terrorist who espoused far-right extreme views and peddled hate. We have also seen harassment, intimidation and violence against those who are perceived as Muslim, in particular, Muslim women.

We acknowledge our government has acted to combat white supremacy, racism and Islamophobia. We have had ongoing engagement with our Minister of Public Safety, Hon. Bill Blair and other colleagues. Whether it has been the listing of two white supremacist organizations on the terror list, support for targeted communities through the Security Infrastructure Program (SIP), a commitment to redouble efforts to tackle online hate by Prime Minister Trudeau in the Speech from the Throne, and other concrete measures – progress has been made.

However, incidents of hate, violence and murder continue to occur and far-right hate groups fester on dark corners of the web and in person. We recognize much more needs to be done. Lives are being lost, and there is deep concern. We have a responsibility to do more.

For this reason, we, the Liberal Muslim Parliamentary Caucus, will be speaking to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety in the coming days on the recent events, and how we must act with urgency to confront far-right movements that threaten the safety of Canadians and our society.

Hon. Omar Alghabra, M.P. Mississauga Centre Ali Ehsassi, M.P. Willowdale Hon. Ahmed Hussen, M.P. York South—Weston lqra Khalid, M.P. Mississauga—Erin Mills Hon. Maryam Monsef, M.P. Peterborough—Kawartha Yasmin Ratansi, M.P. Don Valley East Arif Virani, M.P. Parkdale —High Park Salma Zahid, M.P. Scarborough Centre Sameer Zuberi, (Chair) M.P. Pierrefonds—Dollard

Yesterday, MP Sameer Zuberi, the Chair of the Muslim Parliamentary Caucus, was asked on CBC News about our ask on the…

Posted by NCCM on Saturday, October 17, 2020
Ottawa Freedom Rally – Challenging Authoritarian Covid-19 Restrictions

Ottawa Freedom Rally – Challenging Authoritarian Covid-19 Restrictions

The start of the day in Ottawa at 5:30 am, August 29, 2020, was not promising. Rain was steady and dark clouds covered the horizon. By 9 the rain was more of a fine spray. By 11am the rain stopped all together.

I made my way to the Ottawa Parliament grounds. To my surprise there were at least 2000 thousand people and a steady flow entering. In the end it was a crowd of at least 7000. I met people who came for this event, from Edmonton, Calgary, Region of La Bosse, Toronto, Orillia, Montreal & Quebec City.

What struck me was everyone made eye contact with everyone. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was happy & they all shook hands. I shook hands and got some hugs.

One thing left me with a less than favorable impression was the speakers and the content of the speeches. I as a journalist was permitted access to the press area in the very front of the stage. I should have remembered to bring ear plugs. At times, some most of the time, those speaking were screeching. Other than rhetoric not much was said. However the important point of this success was the thousands that made a concerted effort & spent their money to attend.

I left the media pit and made my way back into the crowd. I wanted most to meet the people. I was soaking in the atmosphere and getting a feeling for this movement. Time will tell where this movement goes. One thing is certain no intimidation, destruction of property or violence will be a result.