Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers. Since I will not be here this weekend, I will be wishing it in advance. All the best! Drink beer and celebrate the birth of the greatest nation in the whole damn universe!
h/t Tarek Fatah. Source: Calgary Herald
The ironically named conference – The Power of Unity: Islam in a MultiCultural Canada – is headlining Bilal Philips, who goes far beyond saying what many religious leaders believe about homosexuality being a sin. Philips, who has been barred from travelling to Germany, is on the record as saying all male homosexuals should face the “punishment for deviant behaviour . . . which is death.”
You can check him out on YouTube.
But Philips, who was born in Jamaica and raised in Ontario, where he converted to Islam, is not the only controversial speaker – not by a long shot. There’s a whole raft of them speaking at the Muslim Council of Calgary event.
Munir El-Kassem, a dentist from London, Ont., wrote a column back in 2001 that condemned the West as hypocritical and defended the Taliban regime for destroying the sixth-century Buddha statues in Bamiyan. He has written glowingly about Louis Farrakhan, the extremist Nation of Islam leader who frequently makes bigoted statements against Jews, whites and homosexuals, and is linked to the assassination of Malcolm X.
Shaykh Hatem Alhaj recently lost his job at the Mayo Clinic because he wrote papers in support of female circumcision. He later tried to clarify his position by saying he only supports nicking the clitoris, not cutting it right off.
Another heavy-hitting speaker is British MP George Galloway, a veritable rock star of antiIsraeli and anti-western sentiment, who was barred from entering Canada in 2009 after he gave more than $50,000 to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, in contravention of Canadian law, which bans all donations to terrorist organizations. Canada lists Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Galloway was eventually permitted to enter Canada, but he can be seen very clearly on YouTube handing over a bag of money to members of the Hamas leadership, whose very charter calls for the obliteration of the state of Israel and all Jews.
Abraham Ayache, chairman of the Muslim Council of Calgary, said the conference is being organized to celebrate 50 years of Islam in Calgary and is all about unity and celebrating multiculturalism.
“This conference is open to everybody. Our doors are always open. We encourage Muslims to integrate into society and we want to raise awareness about Islam and we want non-Muslims to understand more about Islam . . . and for the media to start focusing on the positives rather than the negatives,” Ayache said.
His lineup of speakers, however, makes that difficult. When asked about Philips’s views that homosexuals should be executed Ayache responded by saying: “George Bush is an individual who holds that opinion.” It’s an outrageous claim.
While certainly finding ample evidence that Bush believes in maintaining the traditional definition of marriage, nowhere is there evidence that he believes in sentencing homosexuals to death.
Ayache, who says the MCC has eight Islamic scholars working for the organization, adds that speakers will be given topics to discuss that deal with unity and multiculturalism.
But a recent posting on the MCC website under the heading “Ask the Imam” seems to indicate that some of the organization’s hired imams haven’t read the memo about cultural tolerance and unity.
In answer to a question by a single mother concerned about her children no longer being obedient to her, an imam on the site wrote: “You should instil a hatred for this culture and its ways in the hearts of your children.” He also wrote: “It is haraam (forbidden) for you to give your children free rein in forming friendships with the children of the kuffaar.” Kuffaar, or kufir, is synonymous with infidel or nonbeliever. Translation: the vast majority of Canadian society.
That particular posting has very recently been removed from the website, but there are some blogs that have preserved screen grabs of those pages.
Nagah Hage, the conference committee chair, said the MCC is the umbrella organization for Sunnis in Calgary and is “the most powerful Muslim organization in the country,” since it owns and operates all the Sunni “assets” in Calgary including mosques and the Calgary Islamic School.
Hage says some of the topics open for discussion at the conference include: the influence of national and international politics on Muslims of North America, western media in Muslim countries and the use of financial resources for improving the status of Muslims of the world, as well as other topics that have not been solidified. Not a whole lot there about unity or multiculturalism.
Kevin Alderson, a psychology professor at the University of Calgary and a gay rights activist, says he’s concerned about Philips speaking in Calgary.
“This is barbaric, archaic and insane,” said Alderson, who has just finished writing his latest book, Counseling LGBTI Clients. “It certainly says nothing about multiculturalism. I think these speakers should be carefully monitored to ensure that they don’t cross the line into hate speech by advocating the killing of homosexuals.”
Sgt. Bill Dodd, who heads the Calgary Police Service’s diversity resources section, says Calgary police have a good relationship with the MCC and intend on attending the conference, which will run from June 29 through July 1 at the Coast Plaza Hotel, 1316 33rd St. N.E.
“It’s not our role to ban speech.
“Our job is to uphold everybody’s Charter rights and freedoms and to uphold the Criminal Code, and sometimes there’s a balance there.”
Time will tell if there will be balance at this conference and whether the diversity of Canadians – all Canadians – will truly be, if not celebrated, at least accepted on Canada Day.