Islamic Outlook from Calgary
‘All over the world today Muslims are victims, we are targeted everywhere and in every-way’, claims chairman of the Muslim Council of Calgary. Is that so?
Jonathan D. Halevi
The recent terrorist attack in London, during which a British soldier was murdered and beheaded, made waves the world over. Pictures of the murderer holding a butcher’s knife in his blood stained hands, justifying the barbaric murder to the camera, emphasized once again the dangers radical Islam poses to the free world.
These images reminded the Israeli public of Abd al-Aziz Salha, one of the perpetrators of the lynching of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah in October 2000, photographed raising his blood stained hands from the local police station window, where the two were viciously murdered.
For the terrorists in London, the murder they committed is merely a natural response to the war being waged against Muslims throughout the world. In their view, the Muslims are the victims and they are simply exercising their right of self defence.
This logic finds expression in other areas too. The Palestinians would term the elimination of Palestinian terrorist squads on their way to perpetrate large scale murder attacks against Israeli citizens a ‘massacre’, launching rockets toward Israeli towns and villages in response.
This perception of ‘victimhood’ is manifested in Canada as well. Abraham Ayache, chairman of the Muslim Council of Calgary, referred to this issue during a protest last year over the movie about Prophet Muhammad.
“All over the world today Muslims are victims, we are targeted everywhere and in every-way,” said Ayache. “Some of the countries we are originated from are so rich in resources, yet our brothers and sisters are still fighting to find their basic needs. Why? Our innocent brothers and sisters are being slaughtered all over, and for what? So that the rich can get richer?”
Ayache and his organization have of course no direct or indirect connection to the terror attack in London. Yet the perception of Muslims as ‘victims’ at the mercy of external forces, in effect the wealthy Western countries, may demonstrate the lack of a courageous willingness to self examination, preferring rather to adopt the rhetoric that places all the blame on one side only.
The official Muslim Council of Calgary Youtube channel posted an animation clip explaining the Islamic position toward terrorism via dialogue between Muslims and a young woman named Patricia, who asks questions about the link between Islam and terrorism. Following are excerpts from the dialogue:
Mr. Khan: Contrary to popular belief in most Western cultures, Islam is a religion that preaches peace and tolerance. Yes Patricia.
Patricia: If Islam truly is a religion that preaches peace then how come the world’s most troubled spots: the West bank, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, they all plagued with Islamic terrorism?
Mr. Khan: That depends on your definition of terrorism. Some might argue that the US invasion of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are also an act of terrorism…
Riyaaz: Mr. Khan is right. I mean, if we are talking about terrorists, the world’s biggest terrorists are the white superpowers.
Unnamed speaker: Come on now
Riyaaz: No. really, stop and think about it.
Patricia: Explain 9/11
Riyaaz: Okay, do you know how many people died in the twin tower strike?
Patricia: Around 3,000
Riyaaz: Do you have any idea how many people died in the bombings of Afghanistan? Take a wild guess. More than 15,000 people died, and that’s just a conservative figures. About 50,000. Tons of explosives were dropped on innocent civilians, men, women and children.
Patricia: Yes, but that was because of the Taliban.
Riyaaz: Now that you’ve brought it up do you know that the Taliban was a creation of the CIA to fight the Russians?
Unnamed speaker: Whatever, they were still harbouring terrorists.
Riyaaz: Yeah, right, terrorists that were never found…
Riyaaz: What I’m trying to say is that just because you’re an American and you wear a fancy suit and call yourself President it doesn’t make you a less of terrorist. I’m saying that if you don’t stop meddling in other people’s countries you will face a backlash.
Particia: If Muslims like you feel that way, why don’t you get out of our country?
Riyaaz: We will, as soon as you promise to leave ours.
The Muslim Council of Calgary’s website offers dozens of online books for download. Many of these books were written by Muslim Salafis, some of the books refer to Jihad. One of the books, ‘How are we to educate our children?’ was written by the Syrian born Salafi Sheikh, Muhammad ben Jameel Zino. On page 14, in the chapter “The Jihad and courage” he writes: “We should instill in our children the importance of taking revenge on the Jews and oppressors, and that our youth will liberate Palestine and Jerusalem when they return to the teachings of Islam and the jihad in the path of Allah, and then they will be victorious God Willing” – Link
Such messages do not assist in the struggle against the radical Islam phenomenon, and among marginal elements they may be construed as lending legitimacy to an ideological platform based on hatred against the West or Jews. Every leadership has a responsibility deriving from its influence over its public, and in this specific case the Muslim leadership must convey a clear and unequivocal message against religious radicalism.