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Keep radical Islam out of Canada

FARZANA HASSAN - HASSAN: Keep radical Islam out of Canada

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014.

Credits: REUTERS/Stringer


News from abroad about Islamist expansion makes for sombre reading.

The past weeks have plunged the world into a new wave of depravity, with reports of brutalized women, children buried alive, even severed heads.

But all that is, at least, "over there." What we do not expect is calls for jihad, the creation of caliphates and oppressive sharia regulations in the Greater Toronto Area.

I recently stumbled upon a gathering in the GTA promoting just such a revolution.

A caption announcing "Talk on Gaza and Al-Sham" (Syria) caught my eye.

Seeing this was a Hizb-ul Tahrir event, I immediately knew these were not moderate observers with a dispassionate interest in discussing the latest from the Middle East.

Hizb-ul Tahrir is a faction promoting the same philosophy that incites jihad.

Discovering this event was underway certainly stirred unease and fear in me.

The speakers were Canadian and British activists.

The room was segregated: bearded men on one side, hijabi and niqabi women on the other.

The first speaker's narrative asserted a caliphate must reclaim all lands lost from Muslims to "infidel" forces.

The foremost characteristic of an authentic caliphate is that the caliph should be male and Muslim.

No stir from the women's side of the audience, of course.

Any caliphate must by definition be under complete Muslim control.

The caliph must then be willing to implement sharia totally, said the speaker, even if that means adopting "oppressive" methods.

The second speaker concentrated more on the nuts and bolts of asserting Muslim hegemony in a world that was sometimes unappreciative of it.

His call was for jihad, but to free Gaza from "infidels."

He blasted Egypt for helping Israel blockade Gaza.

He fretted over Muslim disunity. Had Muslims been united, he said, Egypt would have attacked Israel and joined in a global jihad to annihilate Israel, which is a God-ordained duty. And so on.

I got the gist of the meeting, then left.

But I kept wondering how such divisive, misogynistic, and belligerent organizations can exist in Canada, espousing a world view and values that are so fundamentally and so transparently inferior to our own.

Hizb-ul Tahrir would confine women to the home, and tolerate non-Muslims only as dhimmis - in effect, overtaxed infidel drones.

Rights enshrined in our Charter must allow people to hold and discuss any views, even ones so outrageous that they would eliminate the very openness which can allow them to take root. This is the great irony of democracy.

Talks like these combine a handful of religious dicta, a smattering of youthful disaffection and a pinch of naive politics. The result can make some impressionable young men very dangerous.

Most are resilient enough to resist, but even a handful is too many.

Moderates must become more aggressive.

I exhort Muslim community leaders to harangue and humiliate any who deliver such speeches, to ensure they are treated as pariahs.

Perhaps the Toronto imam who informed Canadian authorities about the plot to blow up a train could help convince the Muslim community to resist such ideologies.

He should reach out to his contacts to promote a more inclusive strain of Islam.

These calls for jihad and caliphates must end.

Canada's Muslims must accept Canada's values rather than espouse world views that would destroy the Canada we know - the very Canada that has given them freedom and prosperity.

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