Distinguishing between Muslim Friend and Islamist Foe
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Posted by CCD Press Release on 12:53:10 2005/07/28
Distinguishing between Muslim Friend and Islamist Foe
Toronto, Thursday 28 July 2005 - Prime Minister Paul Martin has indicated that he will meet with Islamic representatives in Canada. The Prime Minister, opposition politicians and the media must have the tools required to distinguish between Muslim friend and Islamist foe.
Al-Qaeda has threatened terrorist attacks against Canada. CSIS has admitted earlier this month that over 50 terrorists organisations are operating in Canada. Of the five countries named in Osama Bin Laden's threat, only Canada has not yet been hit. It would the height of folly to believe that Canada will not be hit by Islamic terrorism, and therefore not to do all in our power to prevent such an event.
Why focus on distinguishing friend from foe primarily among Muslim leaders? If a London- or Madrid-style massacre occurs in Toronto or Montreal, we know today that the killers will be Muslim. They are likely in our cities today laying the groundwork for their Islam-inspired atrocities. We further know that they will have been brainwashed to commit these atrocities in mosques, madrassas, or Muslim cultural centres. The killers will not be Jews or Hindus or Christians or Rastafarians, despite the frequent assertion that all religions have their extremists. They will be radical Muslims. Hence, it is within the Muslim community that we must separate friend from foe if we are to prevent the horrors of London and Madrid.
Already in Canada, we have Mohammed Elmasry, President of the Canadian Islamic Congress and frequent contributor to the Globe and Mail, publicly justifying the killing of all Israelis over the age of 18. We have Sheik Younus Kathrada, the influential leader of a Vancouver mosque, calling Jews "the brothers of monkeys and swine" and exhorting his congregants to die as martyrs killing infidels. It was exactly this hate-mongering that inspired native-born British Muslims to slaughter innocent Britons.
In light of the current statements from the leaders of Canadian mosques condemning the Islamic terrorist attacks in London, politicians and the media have an obligation to look beyond the carefully crafted words and apply a test to see if these statements are as they appear, or if they are diversionary sophistry that serves a very different agenda. Unless we know friend from foe, we will lose this war and the price will be a blood-soaked future for our children.
Daniel Pipes is an author and expert on the Middle East, and one of the first to identify the war that has been declared on the West by militant Islam. He is the author of 12 books on this subject and is one of the most frequently sought commentators on the Middle East. According to Pipes, the following questions, if asked of Muslim spokespeople in a public forum that discourages dissimulation, will help separate Muslim friend from Islamist foe:
* Violence: Do you condone or condemn the Palestinians, Chechens, and Kashmiris who give up their lives to kill enemy civilians? Will you condemn by name as terrorist groups such organizations as Abu Sayyaf, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Groupe Islamique Armée, Hamas, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and al-Qaida?
* Modernity: Should Muslim women have equal rights with men (for example, in inheritance shares or court testimony)? Is jihad, meaning a form of warfare, acceptable in today's world? Do you accept the validity of other religions? Do Muslims have anything to learn from the West?
* Secularism: Should non-Muslims enjoy completely equal civil rights with Muslims? May Muslims convert to other religions? May Muslim women marry non-Muslim men? Do you accept the laws of a majority non-Muslim government and unreservedly pledge allegiance to that government? Should the state impose religious observance, such as banning food service during Ramadan? When Islamic customs conflict with secular laws (e.g., covering the face for drivers' license pictures), which should give way?
* Islamic pluralism: Are Sufis and Shi'ites fully legitimate Muslims? Do you see Muslims who disagree with you as having fallen into unbelief? Is takfir (condemning fellow Muslims with whom one has disagreements as unbelievers) an acceptable practice?
* Self-criticism: Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam? Who was responsible for the 9/11 suicide hijackings?
* Defense against militant Islam: Do you accept enhanced security measures to fight militant Islam, even if this means extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, at airline security)? Do you agree that institutions accused of funding terrorism should be shut down, or do you see this a symptom of bias?
* Goals in the West: Do you accept that Western countries are majority-Christian and secular or do you seek to transform them into majority-Muslim countries ruled by Islamic law?
It is ideal if these questions are posed publicly - in the media or in front of an audience - thereby reducing the scope for dissimulation.
No single reply establishes a militant Islamic disposition (plenty of non-Muslim Europeans believe the Bush administration itself carried out the 9/11 attacks); and pretence is always a possibility, but these questions offer a good start to the vexing issue of separating enemy from friend.
For more information, contact:
Canadian Coalition for Democracies
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