News Agencies – July 16, 2012
Canadian laws should be changed to require women to “cover themselves” to prevent sexual assaults, says an Islamic street preacher in Toronto. Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana, a 33-year-old Islamic convert, called for legal change in response to recent sex attacks at York University. Atangana is connected with a group called Muslim Support Network and is one of a number of street-corner clerics commonly seen at the Yonge and Dundas Sts. In an e-mail to the Toronto Sun, Atangana said “the reason … these sex attacks are continuously happening is because (of) Canadian laws, which give too much freedom to women” when it comes to how they dress.
Moderate Muslim writer Tarek Fatah says Atangana’s view is a stark example of radical Islamist misogyny. It is an example, Fatah says, of passages taken from the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, and exaggerated to fit an antiquated, patriarchal ideology such as that of the Muslim Brotherhood. But Alia Hogben of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women sees things differently: Atangana’s opinions are not as much to do with Islam as much as they reflect a general patriarchal desire among some men to control women.
Macleans – January 16, 2012
Canada, with its 1.3 million Muslims, has lagged behind countries like the U.K. and the U.S. in embracing sharia-compliant financial products. None of the country’s big banks currently offer sharia-compliant services, though some smaller players do. Toronto-based UM Financial Inc., which issued home mortgages conforming to Islamic law, filed for bankruptcy last year, leaving 170 Muslim borrowers in limbo. Is the firm’s failure evidence that Canada should steer clear of Islamic finance; or proof that the country needs more of it–i.e. that the banks and policymakers need to bring the practice into the mainstream, with tighter rules and better oversight? This article features a debate with Tarek Fatah is the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, and Walid Hejazi is associate professor of international business at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, where he is currently teaching an MBA course on Islamic finance.
The National Post – September 6, 2011
The Dalai Lama will join controversial Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan in Montreal for the Second Global Conference on World’s Religions After Sept. 11 organized by McGill University and the Université de Montréal. Organizer Arvind Sharma, a professor of comparative religion at McGill, says the goal is to debate how religions can contribute to peace in the world. Rather than promising inspiration in a world plagued by religious tumult, the conference has already stirred up controversy and dissension as critics charge that the Dalai Lama is being duped into promoting Islamic fundamentalism. Mr. Ramadan will be participating in a panel discussion on Peace Through Religion with Robert Thurman (Buddhism), Gregory Baum (Christianity) and Steven Katz (Judaism). In addition to the Dalai Lama, there will also be a presentation by author Deepak Chopra.
For Tarek Fatah, founder of the Canadian Muslim Congress, this is just a way of saying religions are above reproach and tacitly endorsing Sharia law, and he is furious the Dalai Lama would be asked to support that. Mr. Sharma says he understands that Mr. Ramadan is a controversial figure, but says he is the most prominent voice on the place of Islam in the modern world.
May 10 2011
Geert Wilders, the leader of the PVV well known for his outspoken comments against Islam, is giving a series of speeches in Canada. He has been invited to Canada by “conservative Christian organizations” and will speak at private engagements in Toronto and Ottawa, as well as in Nashville USA. During his first speech Wilders cited Canada’s role in liberating the Dutch from the Nazis in 1945 as his incentive to help to prevent Canada from “falling under the yoke of Islam”. Coverage by Radio Netherlands Worldwide cites comments from Tarek Fatah and Alia Hogben, prominent figures in Muslim communities in Canada; both reiterate that Wilders has a right to visit and speak freely. However Fatah warns that Wilders “poses the right questions but doesn’t give the right answers” and Hogben hopes that people will remain alert and “realize that he is associating with people who are narrow-minded, who are racists, who are bigots, who see the world in a very intolerant, narrow manner- as do some Muslims”.
The National Post – August 13, 2010
A declaration of fundamental Islamic values recently released by the Canadian Council of Imams and signed by more than 50 Muslim religious leaders is “completely meaningless” and a result of a “medieval mindset,” says the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. The council’s declaration is a series of seven points posted on its website and distributed to mosque leaders across Canada. Its signatories seek to affirm common Islamic values — including the belief in peaceful coexistence, the need for Muslims to engage in civic life and the assertion that Islam doesn’t permit the killing of innocent people “regardless of their creed, ethnicity, race, or nationality.”
For Tarek Fatah of the MCC, however, the declaration is a “lost opportunity.” It doesn’t include a strong affirmation of the separation of mosque and state or that the mosque is no place for political activity; it doesn’t demand that women be allowed to sit in the front row of mosques or be allowed to become imams; and most importantly, the declaration doesn’t denounce the theory of armed jihad, Mr. Fatah said.
Imam Habeeb Alli, secretary of the Canadian Council of Imams, said the goal of the declaration was to educate the Canadian public on the common values of Muslim religious leaders. It was also a proactive way, he said, to address questions from journalists about the beliefs of Canadian imams.
On Dec. 10, 2007, Asqa Parvez’s father called 911 saying he had killed her. When police arrived, they found Ms. Parvez’s mother crying hysterically and her father with blood on his hands.
In a Brampton courtroom last week, Ms. Parvez’s father, Muhammad Parvez, 60, and her brother, Waqas Parvez, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. They will be sentenced to 25 years in prison. When asked by his wife why he had killed their daughter, Ms. Parvez said her husband told her: “My community will say you have not been able to control your daughter. This is my insult. She is making me naked.”
Observers say the case, among the first so-called honor killings to gain widespread attention in Canada, will cast a spotlight on generational strains that can tear at families adapting to a new culture. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said it’s a particularly pernicious form of murder to kill a member of one’s own family for cultural reasons.
Muslim Canadian Congress founder Tarek Fatah said the guilty plea is a wake-up call for parents to understand that young women are not the possessions of men. Muslim leaders who do not call Ms. Parvez’s murder an honour killing are avoiding the real issue, Mr. Fatah said.
Tarek Fatah claims that Montrealers will be treated to “a spectacle of Islamist double-speak that will leave them dazzled.” Fatah claims that Ramadan’s position on Shari’a law in particular has been especially changing depending on his audience. Ramadan spoke at the University of Montreal and will participate in the American Academy of Religion meetings.
A Toronto imam said yesterday he did not intend to insult non-Muslims during an address at his mosque on those who want the niqab and burka banned. Said Rageah, the imam at Toronto’s Abu Huraira Centre, said that only someone who did not understand Islam would have come away from last Friday’s prayers thinking that anyone at his mosque hated members of other faiths.
Imam Rageah yesterday said in a brief interview that in both references he was not literally meaning “destroy” but rather to confound or weaken those that would infringe on their rights. In last week’s address, he used the word “kuffar” repeatedly, a word some say is highly derogatory of non-Muslims, especially Christians and Jews. Tarek Fatah, a Canadian Muslim commentator, likened the word to a racist slur. Walid Saleh, professor at the study of religion at the University of Toronto, said this week that kuffar could be seen as a neutral term.
Tarek Fatah claims that New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton’s Eid greetings are reflective of “politicians tripping over one other to prove their credentials as lovers of Islam and all things Muslim.” Fatah adds, “As if to ensure his credibility and authenticity as the true pro-Islam politician in Canada, Layton invokes the names of some Muslim Canadians and his solidarity with them. No, he does not mention the CEO of Rogers or the Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC nor does he mention any of the Muslim Senators or MPs; trade unionists or physicians; janitors or economists. He assumes we Muslims do nothing other than pray and preach. That all of us are all linked up in varying degrees to religiosity and Islamic organizations ranging from the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to the local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The sub-headline of a recent Ottawa Citizen feature report about Muslims in the capital city claimed: ‘Surrounded by suspicion and ambivalence, Ottawa Muslims wonder, When will we belong? And on whose terms?’The author suggests that all 30 or so of the Muslims who were interviewed asked some variation of the question “When will we belong?” — the premise being that they don’t belong yet. Canadian Muslim Tarek Fatah responds in the Globe and Mail highlighting the number of Muslim parliamentary representatives in the Ottawa region. Fatah concludes that, “I have been to Ottawa numerous times and have close interaction with Muslim Canadians. Never once have I heard them say that they felt victimized.”