News Agencies – August 17, 2012
Jewish groups are expressing disappointment and alarm over a decision today by Ontario’s speaker of the house and sergeant-at-arms to permit a controversial Muslim rally at Queen’s Park. International Day of Al-Quds, which bills itself as a protest against Palestinian oppression, but which others call an anti-Zionist hate rally, will go ahead on legislative grounds. Last year’s event drew criticism and concern after demonstrators were seen waving Hezbollah flags, carrying pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini and the head of York Region’s Islamic society was videotaped criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama, “this black man in the White House” who can’t say no to “Zionist parasites”.
Dave Levac, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, said in a statement released today that he has spoken with a number of groups and individuals about the demonstration and, because rally organizers have indicated their willingness to conform to guidelines, he will allow the event to proceed.
Chris Yaccato, executive assistant to the Speaker of the House, said he understands Queen’s Park security services won’t permit Hezbollah flags “or any signs promoting known terrorist organizations” during this year’s rally. “If they do, we’ll have to shut it down.”
He was a “15-year-old white kid with Dad a diagnosed schizophrenic, rapist and racial separatist and Mom fresh off her second divorce,” Michael Muhammad Knight writes in his 2006 memoir, “Blue-Eyed Devil: A Road Odyssey Through Islamic America.” At home in Rochester, he “listened to a lot of Public Enemy and read ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ and by 16 had a huge portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini” on his bedroom wall.
At 17, Mr. Knight, having converted to Islam, was “running around Pakistan with Afghan and Somalian refugees” and studying “at the largest mosque in the world: Faisal Masjid in Islamabad, which happens to look like a spaceship.”
Mr. Knight now writes that his immersion in the world of Five Percenters made him, in a sense, an insider. He does not accept the literal truth of all their claims (and he is skeptical that all Five Percenters do). But he is no longer an outsider looking in.
In his book’s introduction, Mr. Knight offers a bit of advice to other scholars doing fieldwork: “Keep your guard up and keep your distance. You spend that much time with a culture and fail to check yourself, you’ll fall in love and become your subject.”
How will you know when you have gotten too close to your subject? For Mr. Knight, there were clear signs. In 2008, he made the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca. “Here I am,” he told me, “a quasi-orthodox Muslim in Mecca, walking around the Kaaba” — the shrine Muslims around the world face during prayers — “and I am interpreting it through mathematics, the lessons, Wu-Tang lyrics. I had to make sense of that.”