Another voice of moderation intimidated into silence

08.04.06

I think this is just terribly sad:

Citing threats against his life and the safety of his family, Tarek Fatah the controversial communications director of the Muslim Canadian Congress resigned Thursday.

[ . . . ]

”I am doing this because I fear for my life and the safety of my family,” he said. ”I’ve had enough, I’ve spent too much time dodging the bullet.”

Fatah’s outspoken opinions for the MCC’s liberal views have continually upset the Muslim community, and in the past month he has been the subject of an e-mail campaign aimed at the Canadian news media.

[ . . . ]

Along with his resignation, Fatah has filed a report with the RCMP detailing what he says are a number of threats he has received since 2003. A police investigation is under way.

Fatah has been attacked both physically and verbally, he said at an Islamic conference in Toronto in 2003, dozens of young Muslim men mobbed him while a cleric shouted out that he had insulted the Prophet Muhammad’s name. In 2006, he said, he was accosted on Yonge Street by a man who accused him of being an apostate. His car windows were smashed.

I’m as angry as anyone when the media paints entire communities with one brush, as though there was only one “Jewish viewpoint” or “Chinese viewpoint” or something. Nonsense. We’re in Canada, in a free society, and there are incredibly diverse viewpoints within cultural and ethnic communities.

But increasingly, when people in Canada’s Muslim community try to speak up with views that the most extreme hard-liners don’t like, they fear for their lives. Not just in Canada. Around the world.

Tarek Fatah has been one of the most high-profile politically Liberal Muslims in Canada. And the price he pays for having views that don’t toe the extremist line? Death threats. Intimidation. Enough that he feared for his life.

How can we expect the voices of moderation to drown out the voices of hate, when the voices of hate intimidate those of moderation into silence?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Palubiski 08.04.06 at 5:42 PM

Kinda tells us just who runs the show in the country’s Muslim community.

Reply

2 DaninVan 08.05.06 at 7:46 AM

Waiting for the outcry of disgust from the hoardes of moderate Canadian Muslims…

Reply

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