Muslim author speaks out against 'Islamo-fascism'
Quick! What is the difference between an Islamic state and a state of Islam? The answer is spread over more than 400 pages of Tarek Fatah's recently released book,Chasing a Mirage.
In the preface, Fatah establishes his "street cred" by enumerating the parts of his group identity; "an Indian born in Pakistan; a Punjabi born in Islam; an immigrant in Canada with a Muslim consciousness, grounded in a Marxist youth," adding that "of all the ingredients that make up my complex identity, being Canadian has had the most profound effect on my thinking."
What a winning combination that is in our multiculticentric homeland; it's his vaccination against accusations that he has a racist or Islamophobic agenda.
Chasing a Miragedelineates two diametrically opposed visions of Islam. One vision has consistently brought violence and repression to the Muslim community; the other has enriched the community with a personal and universal spirituality.
A state of Islam flows from thejihadconcept of inner struggle, the self-appraisal that leads an individual to transcend the malignancies that life so often throws our way.
The Islamic state is political Islam that flows from thejihadconcept of physical war and oppression against non-believers until Islam rules the world with Allah's perfection. Fatah astutely presents the political manoeuvring for power that ensued within hours of Mohammed's death, and that reverberates to this day.
Political Islam currently is in a period of ascendancy. Fatah counsels that this must be rendered impotent and calls his co-religionists to task. He is convinced that the moderate Muslim community will succeed, but not without considerable peril to the world at large.
One of the most enriching aspects of Fatah's book are his intimate insights into the Canadian experience. In this regard that he has been incisively critical of Canadian politicians, leftist political activists and Canadian media.
A year ago the front pages of Canada's newspapers displayed the story of girls aged six to 12 who had been barred from a tae kwon do competition in Montreal because they were wearing the hijab. This was played to the hilt by Islamists as an example of discrimination and Islamophobia,
Fatah asserts that a significant fact went
unreported, "that even under the harshest interpretation of the sharia, Muslim girls below the age of puberty are not required to cover their heads. Here was an eight-year-old girl forced to wear a hijab and not a single reporter or columnist dared to challenge the parents or the mosque." In a further twist that went unreported, the parents were attendees of a mosque that "was
a hotbed of pro-Hezbollah activity in Montreal."
Fatah goes on to say that "millions of Muslim girls are told
very early in life by their mothers that their place in society is one of submission; submission, not to God, but to men. He continues, "Sadly, feminist groups in Canada, the United States and Europe have abandoned their duty to confront the growing acceptance of misogyny in Islamist circles."
Fatah borrows from many other secular mainstream Muslims. In Canada, feminist Farzana Hassan, author of Islam,Women and the Challenge of Today,has been a vocal critic of the Islamic proscription that the hijab is mandatory -in return she has earned death threats and accusations that she is an enemy of Islam and an apostate.
Fatah concludes that "As despicable as this blackmailing is, it pales in comparison to the fact that these men in robes are using young Muslim girls as shields behind which they pursue a political agenda."
Fatah neatly ties the local to the global, declaring of himself that "It is only here in Canada that I can speak out against the hijacking of my faith and the encroaching spectre of a new Islamo-fascism."
Sadly and pathetically, Canadian media, inhibited with their own subtle racism, would never publish the following comments if they came from a non-Muslim; they would be frozen with fear that they would be accused of Islamophobia.
Fatah asks, "How many more fellow Muslims in Iran need to die at the hands of these ayatollahs before you wake up from this fantasy love affair with men in flowing robes, well-groomed beards, and trimmed bangs peeping from under their turbans?"
Lest one imagines that Fatah loathes his Muslim culture and Islam, he pronounces his love for the "The rich heritage left behind by Muslim scientists, thinkers, poets, architects, musicians and dancers has been in spite of the Islamist extremists, not because of them."
This is the Islam he wants to prevail in the hearts of Muslims. The state of Islam is a struggle to be led by Muslims, however, Fatah requests the assistance of non- Muslims, to at least deprive the political Islamists of the pulpitganda of their cause.
Fatah declares, "Counting on the sincere efforts by many governments in the West to embrace diversity, Islamists have draped themselves in the garb of multiculturalism and diversity to position their agenda as mainstream. This is nothing more than hypocrisy masquerading as diversity."
Political Islam shares many of the characteristics of the Christian right, "the relentless and continuous attack by Islamists on all aspects of spontaneous happiness and merriment."
Tarek Fatah's book is a call to enlightenment for non-Muslims and a stiffening of spine for Muslims. -- WALLY KEELER
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