September 23 2022, in USA’s state of Minnesota forty-seven Somali Muslims have been charged with defrauding over 250 million, meant to feed hungry children. Somali Muslims Defraud Children
Of the 47 charged none is white, Christian or of European decent. Some are alleging that this is a clear example of systemic racism and Islamophobia.
April 2022: Canadian Law enforcement released across the nation a most wanted poster. It featured 24 faces. Only five appeared to be white and eleven were black. People of colour do not represent 40% of the population.
Many ask how Canada will become a model for equity and justice when it continues to over represent people of colour in the justice system.
OTTAWA, July 22, 2021 Government of Canada Concludes National Summit on Islamophobia During the summit, federal ministers, Members of Parliament, and officials from provincial and municipal governments, listened to the lived experiences of Muslim Canadians from across the country. LINK Canada Funding Islamophobia Projects
Attendees identified ways the federal government should work with Muslim communities to implement federal anti-racism initiatives that address Islamophobia and hate-fueled violence.
During the summit, the Government of Canada committed to:
Engage with Muslim communities on the government’s next Anti-Racism Action Plan, which will be launched when the 2019–2022 Anti-Racism Strategy comes to an end;
A renewed focus on dedicated resources to support the work within government to combat islamophobia and all forms of hate;
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, has requested that the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson conduct a systemic study to address the concerns of Muslim led charitable organizations;Mosque loses charitable status hate speech.
Take a whole-of-government approach by working with departments across the government to take further action on these priorities.
Minister Chagger also announced today support for 8 projects through the Anti-Racism Action Program that address Islamophobia and aim to remove systemic barriers faced by Muslim communities.
Additionally yesterday, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade and Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced funding for 150 projects representing over $6 million
Government of Canada Announces Funding for Anti-Racism Projects Tackling Islamophobia
At the National Summit on Islamophobia, the Government of Canada announced support for eight projects through the Anti-Racism Action Program that address Islamophobia and aim to remove systemic barriers faced by Muslim communities
$184,000 Canadian Arab Institute, The project aims to combat racism and discrimination experienced by Arab-Canadians by creating myth-busting videos and shows.
$75,000 Somali Muslim Hate Crime Summit, The project aims to improve the community’s capacity to address online hate on social media and other cyber domains, and to develop solutions.
$288,387 Urban Alliance on Race Relations , to improve Black and Muslim youth’s access to employment in government
$203,702 The Afghan Women’s Centre, address gaps in social participation and access to employment for Central Asian women in Quebec, primarily from Muslim backgrounds,
$199,000 Al Ihsan Educational Foundation, expansion of the online hate project addressing Islamophobia to also include anti-Asian online hate.
$349,210 Muslim Association of Canada, address systemic barriers to social participation for Muslim youth girls, more specifically in sports by providing them with tools and support to improve their representation.
Sunni kills Shia Albuquerque: On August 9 2022, CAIR, Center for American Islamic Relations, held a news conference in response to the arrest of a Muslim Afghan refugee for the murder of 4 Shia Muslims in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This conference was used as an opportunity to tell America that Sunnis accept the right of Shia to practice their distinct version of Islam and that messages of hate and violence will not be tolerated.
“A life that is not innocent can be taken.” Do Muslim Leaders consider Shia Innocent?
Important note: CAIR is a leading voice of the North American Muslim community. However, it is not the only leading voice. We are reminded that the religion of Islam is not a monolith. Within Islam there is diversity, tolerance and acceptance of certain differing opinions regarding accepting Shia as Muslims and ceasing hatred and violence toward them. Below is a transcript of the news conference attended by several leading Muslim advocacy groups. We will also learn from senior leading voices and sacred texts, which will add a more complete nuanced and contextualized understandingthat will bring us closer to appreciating the true Islam as practiced by mainstream Muslims.
Nihad Awad – CAIR – Exec. Director
I would like to thank the leaders from the Sunni and the Shia traditions for coming here in a sense of unity. To issue a statement of solidarity, a statement of unity based on the events we have witnessed in the last few days. So, allow me first to express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims. The four victims who have been killed senselessly since last year and three of them were killed just in the past few days. There is no justification for these brutal crimes that have terrified us. And the final note we have seen reports and we will see some speculation about the motives of the perpetrator of these crimes. There is no justification for this evil. There is no justification to take an innocent life in our faith.
A life that is not innocent can be taken. Do Muslim Leaders consider Shia Innocent?
The taking of an innocent life is equivalent to the taking of the life of the entire humanity and that’s what this perpetrator did. There is no way to explain, justify this deranged behavior. And we as a community regardless of our background we are united against hate and violence against innocent people. Lives taken brutally – the way they were and regardless of the identity of the perpetrator or the victims, we are all united by our faith which reminds us every day, that truly the believers are one brotherhood. I challenge myself, all of us, to keep that in mind, that our community is solid, our community is strong, our community is united, and our community will continue to show responsible leadership and love to one another. Thank you.
Shia aremushrikeen(idol worshipers) who are guilty of major shirk, which puts them beyond the pale of Islam. It is not permissible for Muslim women to marry them, and it is not permissible for us to marry their women, or to eat meat slaughtered by them. Complete question & answer
Shaykh Philips speaking at a conference clearly explains that Shia are not Muslim. LINK
As brother Nihad said, this is a very unfortunate set of circumstances. We are coming together. I really didn’t prepare a speech or I didn’t prepare words to say because it’s difficult to do so. The community is facing our challenge and this is something that is definitely one of the darker moments we’ve had in recent years. But any attempt to divide the community, any attempt to cause friction in the community will fail and my personal belief is the community is going to come out of this much stronger. I think we all have a duty and obligation to stress unity,
When CAIR advocates Unity does this Include Christian, Jew and Homosexual?
We are one body, we are one community and again any attempt to do so – any attempts to cause a wedge or divide and to spread hate will not be tolerated and will not succeed. I can assure you that all of us up here are committed to standing up against hate and against bigotry regardless of who it’s impacting and regardless of belief.
We learn from the above that those leaders that seemingly preach hate and violence are also influential in guiding the Muslim community. Will their voices be included and tolerated?
We dearly loved his generosity, his kindness and his ability to bring Shia and Sunni. – I actually had multiple different conversations with him and he was very indifferent to the whole Shia Sunni divide. His saying was we are all Brothers.
Many people can say many things. The issue is what do those that lead the Muslim community say? Shaikh Ameenah Bilal Philips and Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid have given the answer. Shias are not Muslims. Shia are idol worshipers. According to Islamic doctrine as interpreted by the Ulamah, mushrikoon are to be killed. While this particular Shia Muslim claims that he harbors no ill will toward Sunni Muslims, the fact remains that Sunni Muslim have immense ill will toward Shia. One could say, based on what the Muslim leaders teach, that hating and killing others, including Shia, is a pillar of Islam.
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, CAIR national board member
In this moment of loss we are reminded by the Quran that life is sacred, that all life is sacred. The Old Testament tells us that, as does the Quran invites us back – to take the life of one person unjustly would be as if you had slain all of humanity. And so, as people of faith, we stand together to send a simple, clear and undisputable reference, and that is that violence and hate knows no religion and that we must as a community redouble our efforts to come together, to stay together, to establish what is good and prohibit what is evil. Know that CAIR remains committed to work for freedom, religious freedom in America[as defined by Islamic law], justice and better understanding.
So today we ask for God’s mercy and peace on this community, especially in Albuquerque, suffering from the trauma of this event, and to know that in this nation we are a nation under God. We will be indivisible. We can stand together. With CAIR’s leadership around the country, we will stand to support law enforcement as they do the work to identify the individuals who are trying to resist the freedom of expression of faith in our country. To that I ask you to say, Amen.
ARTICLE 2: (a) …right to life is guaranteed… it is prohibited to take away life except for a shari’ah prescribed reason.
ARTICLE 12: Every man shall have the right, within the framework of the Shari’ah, to…
ARTICLE 17: (a) Everyone shall have the right to live in a clean environment, away from vice and moral corruption…
ARTICLE 22: (a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.
ARTICLE 24: All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah
Some point out, as we can deduce from the above, that conflict arises when Western values conflict with Islamic values as defined by Muslim jurisprudence. For further clarity on this potential clash, we turn to the following: France crisis teacher beheaded – Salman Rushdie.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder; cannot the same be said of justice?
Imam Farhan Siddiqi, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, Northern Virginia.
We would like to thank the law enforcement agents that were involved in the apprehension of this rogue suspect. (go rogue: to begin to behave in an independent or uncontrolled way that is not authorized, normal, or expected)
We would like to send our condolences and prayers to the family of those individuals who have passed… Being a representative of one of the most diverse communities probably in the entire nation, it is not strange to work with different brothers and different sisters from different backgrounds and different ethnicities and even different theological schools. Part of our community is the Shia community, and even in this catastrophe, and even in this calamity. If we look around, there is, and there will always be signs of success and part of that success is the fact that we are all standing here together.
There are those who point out that condolences for Muslim jihadist attacks in America would not be necessary if there were no Muslims in America. Such people are shunned, marginalized and canceled.
The fact that we all stand for each other, the fact that every time there is a calamity the true brotherhood is actually shown. And when Allah tells us, when God tells us, we the Muslims are a brotherhood. Part of that brotherhood is understanding and showing empathy when one of ours has fallen. And these rogue actors will never be empowered by us. These rogue actors will forever be condemned by us. These rogue actors will forever be shunned by our communities. I thank God that He (Allah) is the one who has given us this religion, that He is the one that has brought us together and He is the one that will continue to keep us together upon this path. May He protect us, our families. May He (Allah) shower his mercy on those who have passed and give patience to the family that has lost them. Ameen.
“These rogue actors will forever be shunned by our communities“
People who lean to the right in their politics will ask how shunning Muslim killers, that should not be among us in the first place, actually solves the problem of Muslim killers among us? They point to the fact that every Muslim jihadist killing was perpetrated by a Muslim. Therefore, to stop Muslim jihadist attacks we should have no Muslims in America or the West. These people refer to the following list starting with San Bernardino 14 Killed 22 wounded – LIST
Raha Hussain, Shia Muslim foundation
We really wish that all of our community come together Sunni and Shia. It’s not enough for us to call ourselves Brothers. Brothers implies a little bit of distance. We should call each other ourselves. And that kind of sentiment, that admission, that idea that Sunni and Shia aren’t even separate, we are one community has been echoed by the other respected speakers and it is one that I wish to echo.
Some say that wishing implies acknowledging a sort of fantasy thinking. “I wish upon a star” This is something children do.
We commend CAIR for for their statement earlier today that this is an incident of anti-Shia hatred. It is something that we all have to work to address. Our communities overall, Sunnis and Shias, enjoy a a great modicum of friendship and love amongst each other, especially in the United states. At the same time, it is important for us to address issues of radicalization or anti-Shia hatred or other types of statements or remarks that are made by others and really attack them. These statements, these ideas, have no place in our community.
“Sunnis and Shias enjoy a a modicum of friendship. …especially in the United states” People on the right will say that it is because of the constraints of the law and likely consequence of jail. In areas where Muslim demographics are higher or the state has less control, the Shia/Sunni 1400-year blood feud is unleashed. What is the cost to the non-Muslim population? Some compare it to grown men fighting in your living room. It is now your problem and your furniture and house are destroyed. Sunni vs Shia in Mexico, Europe and Latin America – SUNNI/SHIA ARMED GANGS IN COPENHAGEN. Those considered Right Wing have publicly stated they prefer this aspect of cultural diversity be kept out of North America. Could making such statements be considered Islamophobia?
Mustafa Aquan, Shia Rights Watch
People are your brother and sister in faith or equal in humanity. Right now in this moment we have to put aside our emotion and work together to bring the peace in our society. We are living in the country with a multi-religion, multiculture. And every one of us showing peace and love together. And let’s keep that peace and love and work together to be able to have a better society.
Nihad Awad – CAIR – Exec. Director
Thank you for your words of inspiration, words of wisdom, words of solidarity and words of comfort. Let me just say that this news conference was put together on a very short notice. We invited several community leaders to come, but because of the distance many of them could not come. I trust that all the words that have been said here are reflected of their [Muslim leaders not in attendance] feelings and their positions. As we said, God willing, we will see them in a more and happier occasion to get together. We ask Allah to strengthen our community.
Conclusion with Confusion
It is plainly obvious that Islam on many levels is opposed to Western values. This is made clear by Muslim leaders and Islamic doctrine. It is also clear that Sunni Muslims are enjoined to, establish what is good and prohibit what is evil. Imam Johari Abdul-Malik. But what exactly does this mean? Could it mean that if a Muslim sees wine bottles on the tables in a restaurants in Montreal or Seattle, he should smash then? Should a Muslim smash Musical instruments because Prophet Mohamad forbade them? Should Muslims, when they have the numerical and or political power, smash the Christian cross? Yes! Muslims Smash Musical Instruments – Church Bells are Satanic -“Prophet Obliterated the Cross”
Many Westerners who are more accepting of diversity and cultural enrichment state that Muslims that do bad things are extremists who are misunderstanding. The following by Shaykh Yasir Qadi: – Fanaticism and Righteousness can be the Same – will contextualize a deeper understanding of this phenomenon. Sunni kills Shia Albuquerque
August 2022. The Deen Center has just signed a contract to purchase a 35,000 Sq Ft Church Facility in Florida on 4 acres, built in 1978, for $2.5 Million and turn it into a Masjid and Dawah Center. The property is located at 2802 SR 60 E, Valrico, FL 33594. $1.4 Million is urgently needed to close on the property, please donate generously to help secure the facility!
The Dean show is one of the earliest Muslim media channels and has been serving Islam for over 15 years. It is now time to take the Dean show to the next level by building the Dean Center. The Dean Center will include a state of the art professional dawah studio.
Your donations are tax deductible. That means all American are helping to fund the transition. According to Muslim leaders Christianity is not dying it is reverting to its origin which is Islam.
INTRODUCTION: Eric Brazau’s Book Introduction, July 20, 2022
Do we need another book about Islam? A multitude of books on many aspects of Islam have been written. But all these books are either pro-Islam or anti-Islam. They either argue that Islam is a “good” religion that brings peace and justice to mankind, or that Islam is a “bad” religion that brings misery, destruction and death.
Which side is right? Which is wrong? This book does not concern itself with right or wrong, true or false. In every instance, what is will always be. Physicists say that the laws of physics change inside a black hole. Is that good or bad? Do we question the right or wrong of the sun shining? Do we need to know why the sun shines and gives just the right amount of warmth to Planet Earth?
Many people are involved in raging debates about who represents the right or true Islam. Is it the progressive liberal reformers or the traditional fundamentalists? To answer that question, we would have to adjudicate who the “traditional fundamentalists” really are. Progressive reformers Irshad Manji and Zuhdi Jasser argue that the original Islam was progressive, inclusive, tolerant and liberal; if they are right, then they, the liberal progressives, are the original fundamentalists. From the perspective of these reformers, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan do not represent the true Islam. Conversely, from the perspective of 97% of the Ummah (the global Muslim community), progressive Muslim reformers do not represent the true Islam.
I built this book around the views of Jasser and Manji because they encompass the essence of the reform movement, and they are both highly accomplished and credible.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a social conservative, married with children, served in the American Navy as a surgeon for a term of seven years. He currently specializes in internal medicine and nuclear cardiology. He has been a staff internist to members of Congress and Supreme Court justices and also President of the Arizona Medical Association. He is the author of Battle for the Soul of Islam, a filmmaker, and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Throughout his career he has given numerous interviews which have helped cement his reputation as a leading Muslim reformer.
Irshad Manji began her career as a speech writer in the early 1990s for Audrey McLaughlin, leader of the Canadian NDP party. She is the founder of the Moral Courage Project that provides seminars to major corporations and schools about developing moral courage. She has authored several books: Allah, Liberty and Love; The Trouble with Islam; andDon’t Label Me. Professor Manjihas given lectures and interviews throughout the world.. She is a social progressive who identifies as a lesbian Muslim. From 2008 -2015 she was a professor at NYU. Since 2015 Professor Manji is teaching at USC in California.
Progressives and Liberals champion the Muslim reform movement in the hopes that it will succeed in bringing Islam into “the 21st century” to live in peace and harmony with Western civilization, including the LGBTQ+ community.
On the flip side, others deride the leaders of the Muslim reform movement as well-meaning individuals spinning a fantasy which benefits them enormously. It affords them the means to live in ivory towers and ignore certain realities. They, the doubters, say that living in towers puts the reformers safely above the many consequences that affect people living closer to the pavement
I am one of those people who live close to the pavement, and I have suffered these consequences. Between 2010 and 2015, I was in jail for a total of three years for misdemeanors relating to Islam, such as ‘hate crimes,’ ‘causing disturbances,’ ‘breaching bail,’ ‘mischief,’ and ‘harassment’. One of the crimes I committed during my five-year crime spree took place on a Toronto subway car. I spoke to a Muslim man who had engaged me in interfaith bridge-building dialogue. When he left he repeated the perfunctory, “I am glad we had this conversation and it was good to meet you.”
I responded, “Not nice to meet you and I hate Islam and Muslims.” This could be considered not a “nice” thing to say. Some will interpret this as me simply being an ass. But that would be incorrect. At the time I was of the opinion that asserting “Western” values such as freedom of association and free speech was paramount. But to be so publicly rude? People on the subway who heard this were in shock. As the trial judge remarked, “you could hear a collective gasp.” Because for some strange reason Canadian society has accepted that Canadians should be profusely polite, acquiescent and apologetic.
Several times in a line for coffee I bumped into a person who then apologized. With a smile asked “why are you apologizing when it is I who bumped into you”. With a perplexed expression “I don’t know why. Habit I guess.”
In another incident I was walking out of a locker room and ended up in front of a newly arrived 40 year old man from Africa. As he or I stepped aside, he apologized. I asked him “What are you apologizing for?” We got into a conversation. His understanding was that “apologizing is the Canadian way”.
The final reason is much more serious. In my past days of “street guerrilla activism” I was on a city bus and having a, not overly loud, cell phone conversation about Islam and Prophet Mohammad PBUH. Several seats in front of me, a man kept turning around. It happened we were getting off at the same stop. I asked why he kept looking at me. He asked me if I was afraid. “Afraid of what?” I asked. “The police” he replied. I invited him to coffee.
He was newly arrived from Egypt. He told me that speaking in such a manner in Egypt was a serious crime that, if it did not get me killed by a mob, would get me arrested and imprisoned. This man was perhaps 35 years old and this thinking was ingrained in his mindset. I had to explain that in Canada, Western civilization we have a right to speak our mind about any subject including Islam or Prophet Mohammad PBUH. He would not accept that and said he would never be able to do that, especially in public. I could see that this man though living in Canada was still living under the fear of Islamic rule and the Muslim mob. Will he raise his children with the same mind set? Are there many more Canadians that assume there are topics that should not be discussed? The absolute right to slaying “sacred” cows was a pillar of Western civilization. It is what distinguished Western civilization from all others.
The other reason is I wanted to “stir the pot” At the time I was thinking I do not want to “go along to get along.” Besides stirring the pot is always more interesting.
Is not being nice a crime? Well, in Canada of 2015, I was convicted and sentenced to four months imprisonment. Originally the crown was seeking AGO consent to lay hate crime charges, but had to settle for a lesser pound of flesh named “cause disturbance.” The disturbance was using language that disturbed the sensitivities of the passengers, three of whom the prosecutor pointed out were young women wearing the hijab.
One of the biggest challenges in jail is boredom. I had, in the past, tried reading the Quran but found it a boring torture, if there can be such a thing as a boring torture. Other than playing chess, cards and walking in a circle, and trying to figure out which gang will ambush you, there is not much to do in jail. So, on a previous stint in jail for distributing insulting fliers – 10 months for hate crime conviction – in 2013, I obtained a Quran. This particular Quran was translated by Abdul Yusuf Ali in Lahore, Pakistan in 1948, and was approved by the education ministry of Saudi Arabia. Today, most Qurans, particularly the ones used in schools or interfaith bridge-building organizations, have softened the language. One Quran introduction specifically stated that they changed the word ‘torture’ for the word ‘punish’ because ‘punish’ implies meting out a deserved and necessary disciplinary action, whereas ‘torture’ implies inflicting pain on the innocent.
I read this Quran for 3-4 hours every day for eight months. On most, if not all, weekends the Toronto South Detention Center was in lockdown. On these days I read and copied the Quran for 8-10 hours a day. I copied the Quran verses with a golf pencil because in prison, a pen or full-sized pencil can be used as a weapon thus are prohibited, as are plastic forks and knives. One jail I was in briefly, Penatange in Penatanguishing, gave out orange-colored soft rubber spoons. First time I used it I thought I was hallucinating.
It is not possible to write for any length of time with a golf pencil. Prisoners have tricks. You lengthen it with paper and voila. I copied the verses that are or could be considered flagrantly controversial, violent or insidious. I went through the Quran this way three times from beginning to end. Each time, I filled 30 pages on both sides. I discovered that when you carefully and neatly write something out over eight months, it becomes etched into your mind.
Many have asked why I have dedicated my life to this cause. It began in 2003. After my bi-weekly hockey game at the downtown Toronto YMCA, I would take a sauna and shower, and usually leave by 11:30 pm. The only restaurant open nearby at that hour was on Parliament Street just south of Dundas on the west side. I did not realize that this establishment catered to local Muslim taxi drivers.
One night, I was in the restaurant, chatting with a couple of guys about something or other. Many might need reminding that in 2002, the Ontario provincial Liberals of Dalton McGuinty were considering instituting Sharia family courts. It was a big political story at the time. I blurted out as a joke – or so I thought – “But no one really wants Sharia law to come to Canada.”
They replied, “All Muslims want to live under Sharia law.”
Another added, “Sharia is the law of God. It is the duty of Muslims to bring Sharia law to Canada.”
I replied, “Come on, guys. You’re making a joke. Right?”
The mood in the small dining room changed. These men, who moments ago were affable and jovial, became somber, almost to the point of
being menacing. One said, “We do not joke about the law of Allah.”
I smiled nervously and said, “Okay then.”
The next morning, I woke with the same feeling I had gone to bed with. It was worry, perhaps more like foreboding. I kept thinking, “Do Muslims really want to turn Canada into a Muslim state?”
Until this restaurant incident, I, like most Canadians, had never considered this a possibility. Nor did I think much about Islam or Muslims at all.
This Muslim restaurant story took place in 2003. Since then, I have had a keen interest in Islam bordering on an obsession. As stated earlier, during my first incarceration in 2013, I read the Quran three times. (I can tell you that many Muslims have not read it even once.) The jail period of my life ended in November of 2016. I continued to engage in certain anti-Islam activities, being careful to stay far away from crossing any lines. In July of 2018, however, my life took a drastic change.
On July 22, 2018, in a place known as Greektown on the Danforth, a Muslim man shot 15 white females, killing two of them. A feature of Greektown is the Alexander the Great parquet which is similar to a European plaza with an ornate water fountain and a statue of Alexander the Great. This plaza is bordered by an ice cream store, a café and a souvlaki shop. In the immediate area are 25 restaurants, most with sidewalk patios. On this warm summer evening, every patio seat was taken. The place was full of mothers and fathers, all nicely dressed, and pretty girls in flowing summer dresses. The teenage boys had a freshly polished, wholesome look. Because of the plaza’s magical atmosphere, people came from far away to be there. Ten-year-old Juliana Kozis came with her family from Newmarket, a 40-minute drive away, just to eat ice cream. She was killed, as was 18-year-old Reese Fallon. Another woman was left a paraplegic.
It was obvious to me that this was an Islamic jihad attack. The shooter took a bus from his 90% Muslim neighborhood, Thorncliff Park, to a 90% white Christian area that is surrounded by five churches.
Within 12 hours of the shooting, the media was promoting the narrative that the shooter was suffering from “mental health issues.” This mental health theory came from a highly polished press release put out by Mohammed Hashim, who is known in Canada as the preeminent Muslim media relations specialist. The mental health narrative was solidified into the minds of Canadians by the many interviews with the shooter’s parents.
Within 24 hours, the Toronto police announced that the shooting was not terror related. How could they know this so quickly? It seemed
this was a political announcement to quell the anti-Islam sentiment that was beginning to grow. Anti-Islam sentiment became especially rampant when it was revealed that the Mosque the shooter attended in Thorncliff Park had recited verses or prayers about killing Jews and Christians. For this reason, many people will say it was reasonable for the sake of community harmony that the police quickly put out this statement to maintain public order and inter-religious cohesion.
The Alexander parquet became a makeshift memorial site. Over the next five days, it became packed with people. The mainstream media was in constant attendance. On the ledge of the fountain people placed pictures of the girls, flowers and stuffed animals, and messages
about peace and love. Some messages called for sympathy for the shooter and his family. In attendance from day one was a group of twenty or so Ahmadiyya Muslims. They had matching T-shirts and large signs that read “Love for all – Hate for None.”I decided to attend holding a sign that brought attention to the Islamic element that for some mysterious reason was being ignored. People did not like my sign. “You are not welcome here,” they were yelling. A scuffle ensued and I waspushed into the fountain. The crowd applauded and laughed. The police, who saw the incident, told me that if I did not leave the vicinity I would be arrested. I asked why the man that had pushed me into the fountain was not being arrested. They said if I insisted on pressing charges, they would press charges against me for causing a disturbance. Since I was still on probation, I would definitely have been put in handcuffs and likely been made to appear the next morning in bail court. So I left.
The next day, the media from Europe to the Middle East was buzzing with this story. One media outlet captured a picture of me in the fountain on my back still holding my sign, which read “CBC Presents Little Mosque on the Prairie / Two Dead Girls in Greek Town.” Ninety percent of the comments supported and even advocated for violence against “insensitive, boorish people like me.”
I had thought free expression was a non-negotiable pillar of Western civilization. But no civil rights groups came to my defense. I am not saying they should have defended my statement, but they should have defended my right to make a statement. I was very confused and deeply saddened by this reaction. Was I losing my sanity, or was the population going insane? After a few moment of doubt, I concluded it was they and not me who were crazy. If we do not have absolute freedom to express our thoughts, we are not a free people. Why did Canadians sacrifice their lives in WW1, WW2 and Korea to defeat communism and fascism, if not to defend our way of life? It crept into my mind that maybe they were not insane, but cowards.
The next day, I was alerted to a tweet by the NCCM (National Council of Canadian Muslims). This organization alone defended my right to free expression. “Violence is not the answer. Islam forbids vigilante justice. This man’s views, while repugnant, are permissible in a free democratic country that values free speech.”
Hum?? Why was the leading Canadian Muslim organization defending the rights of Eric Brazau, notorious Islamophobe and convicted hatemonger? I, as well as others on the right wing, associated NCCM with CAIR in America, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Was I wrong about NCCM? Was I wrong about Islam? At least, was I wrong about the Islam in Canada? Perhaps I was a fool. This was not easy to accept. However, I pride myself on my ability to think rationally and critically. So, with difficulty, I swallowed my pride and started a new learning process. If there was an Islam compatible with Western values, I was going to learn about it.
Since that day, I have spent countless hours learning from YouTube videos uploaded only by North American Imams. I have read countless Muslim books written by revered Islamic scholars, past and present, but only if they were readily available in North America. I am also familiar with the Rashidun (companions of the Prophet PBUH), as well as with the aHadith.
There is a reason I focus only on the North American Islamic syllabus. I concluded that it was possible that my previous opinion about Islam was tainted because it was based on the teachings of “radical fundamentalist” Muslim leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran. Was I suffering from a self-inflicted case of Islamophobia? Was I, in spite of my good intentions, a bigot? Perhaps Canadian Islam was different to the “bad, intolerant” Islam.
In this book, I highlight and juxtapose the voices of the two sides of the Islam debate in an effort to understand and appreciate how these voices – both reformers and mainstream – are affecting nations with a vibrant and growing Muslim population that is amassing political influence and increasingly contributing to the enrichment of Western culture.
Who should spend their time to read this book? Those who want to understand how Islam is helping shape Western civilization. This book is also for those who prefer a world in which Muslims embrace a reformed progressive Islam that accepts Western values democracy, free speech, women and LGBTQ+ rights and would like to contribute some effort to make this happen.
This book will be of immense value to Christians and Jews sitting at interfaith bridge-building tables who will gain a fuller contextualized understanding of the nuances that underpin the Islamic ethos.
Finally, this book could be of immense value to people deemed to be suffering from Islamophobia. How? After reading this book they will more likely accept that there are strong leading Muslim voices that clearly state not what Islam could be but what it is in practice and how to understand the motives of those that are “perverting” the TRUE message of Prophet Mohammad PBUH.
Eric Brazau Book Introduction
A wise man once said, what people do not want to talk about, for that reason alone, is what must be talked about.