A CANADIAN'S PERSPECTIVE OF MUSLIM...Part 3
Rise of Islamic Extremism in Canada
The following are excerpts from the writing of
Raheel Raza, an Ontario resident.
My family and I came to Canada 24 years ago from Pakistan, seeing the rise of fundamentalism in the land of our birth. I studied in a Catholic school; we rarely came across blatant 'extremism', terrorism or political Islam. However, in 1977, Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq came into power after removing and hanging the democratically elected Prime Minister. The founder of the Islamic party implemented his extreme version of Islam. Women had to cover their heads in public...co-education was eliminated in schools...and Friday was made the weekly holiday...now forced into the public sphere. We had always lived moderate, normal lives inbued with a traditional, spiritual interpretation of Islam. In 1979, the Hudood Ordinance were Pakistani legal provisions intended to implement Islamic Sharia Law by enforcing punishments, primarily upon women.
Instituted was the unquestionable use of vioolence.
Instituted was the distortion of historical facts...the Prophet's sayings
and his character: thus giving legitimacy to militancy!
Despite the vast difference in cuture, terrain and weather, we felt totally at home in Canada. Our boys were only 2 and 4 years old..who when of school age, attended a Brampton school. Initially we were charmed by the official multicuturalism in Canada. As new immigrants, we could preserve our own culture and heritage. We joined the work force and as we expanded horizons, we started seeing small signals...that 'something was not right' with the Muslim community in Canada...especially of the Pakistani origin. The mother of one of the children's classmates of Pakistan origin, asked why my kids sang the National Anthem of Canada when it is haren (forbidden). She confessed that the Imam of the local mosque had told the congregation that, “It was against the faith to sing Canada's National Anthem...or indeed to show loyalty to Canada.” Other mosques were endorsing the same. Many immigrants were enforcing cutltural values and ideas that were at odds with Canada's established ideology from which we had escaped. Some Pakistani-Canadians, dressing like Arabs, were resisting Western values, expressing hostility towards the principles of freedom and gender equality. We saw many Islamic schools (madrasses) being established.
I was dismayed to see the rise of Wahhabi/Salafism in Canada. The mainstream non-Muslim community at that time had very little knowledge about Islam, because until the 1980's, Muslims were the 'exotic other'. Therefore, I started writing for the Toronto Star to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about the spiritual message of the faith...and to encourage immigrants to embrace the good in Canada!
In the late 1990's, Islamic groups in Canada were identified as Hezbolla, several Sunni Islamic groups including Hames and others..with ties to Egypt, Libya, Lebonon and Iran. In 1998, the director of Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) testified before a Canadian Senate special committee (perhaps with the exclusion of United States)...”There are more international terrorist organizations active in Canada than in any other country of the world.” He further stated that the counter-terrorism branch of CSIS was investigating over 50 organizatinos and about 350 individuals.
On June 2, 2006, 17 Muslims including 5 juveniles were arrested in Canada for 'planning major terrorist attacks on Canadian soil...including the storming of Parliament and the beheading of the Prime
Minister Stephen Harper'. The terrorists wished to bargain for the immediate release of Muslim prisoners in Canada and Afghanistan.
In the past 3 decades, 100's of young minds have been poisoned! The advent of campus radicalization and foreign funding is a concern that has not been directly (or at least) adequately addressed by Canadian policy-makers and government officials. There needs to be better monitoring of foreign fundraising by Revenue Canada...and greater transparency about funds channelled into Muslim organizations and mosques!
Some immigrants park their families in Canada while the men leave to work abroad and come back only to use the 'social welfare system'! Families here have issues adapting to Canadian lifestyles. Young boys left in charge of their mothers and female relatives...gives them a distorted understanding of women's rights and gender equality.
Later, our kids went to College...and we found to our dismay, that the Muslim Student Associations (MSA's) could be quite outspokenly anti-Semitic and extremist in their views. At York University, they often approached my son to convince him to be a better Muslim by joining 'congreational prayers' as an option over classes. They left nasty notes on my niece's door about how she would burn in hell if she did not wear the 'hijab'...this hijab, in fact started to become a 'political symbol' and I saw a sudden rise
of orthodox religiosity amongst young Muslims who were being sucked into the hardline Wahhabi/Salafist ideology...an extremist puritanical and violent movement that emerged with the pretension of reforming Islam in the coastal area of Arabia in the 18th century. It has always viewed...and has always attached the traditional, spiritual Islam (or Sufism) that dominates the Balkans, Turkey, Central Asia, India, Malasia and Indonesia.
911 and the Immediate Aftermath: On September 9, 2011, the world changed and so did my life. It seemed that many of our warnings 'fell on deaf ears'. It was shocking and mind-boggling...but was it a surprise? The writing had been on the wall for some time. We had seen the signs in Pakistan and now in North America: so the fear that something terrible was about to happen, had been palpable well before the terrorists struck United States. Threats are the result of mental and material transactions. This, in turn, suggests that the actual incidence of Islamic plots and attacks in Canada greatly understates the underlying, developing extremist reality is upon us...waiting to break.
Muslim Youth have been Exposed! In order to understand better, the roots of Canada's developing malaise, one can find some of its foundations in the way Canada's immigration and political asylum, politics and porous Canadian-American border have lent themselves to manipulation and abuse by radical Islamists.
IF WE GRAPPLE SENSIBLY WITH THE EXTREMIST CHALLENGE,
CANADA CAN REMAIN “STRONG AND FREE”;
BECOME A MODEL FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD...AND BE A SAFE HAVEN
IN WHICH OUR CHILDREN CAN ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF BEING “CANADIAN”!
(The foregoing has not been verified by the below writer)
However, I endorse Raheel Raza's Perspective that
Today's Youth are Mankind's Future Tomorrow!
Merle Baird-Kerr...written August 7, 2016