Canadian Tarek Fatah, co-founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, has a new book out titled Chasing a Mirage - The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State. Khalid Hasan, Washington correspondent for the Daily Times and the Friday Times of Pakistan, reviews the book (full text at this blog), employing his usual sharp language:
"Tarek Fatah, the enfant terrible of secular Islam and a permanent thorn in the side of the salafi establishment that is so firmly entrenched in the United States and Canada, has now put together in a book what he has been writing in newspapers, saying at public gatherings and declaiming in television and radio appearances - namely that Islam needs to be rescued from its self-proclaimed defenders and advocates who want to take the world's billion plus Muslims back to a mythical past, instead of propelling them forward into the 21st century.
"The book – Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State – has been praised by reviewers, and castigated by those who see the author as one who should be placed at the business end of a canon and fired into the stratosphere. Tarek Fatah, a Marxist during his student days in Pakistan when he saw the inside of some of Pakistan's least hospitable jails, has never lacked courage. Founder of the liberal and forward-looking Muslim Canadian Council of Toronto, he has never been afraid to take on the mullah establishment that controls the vast mosque and madrassa network that decades of Saudi munificence has fathered, not only in North America but almost everywhere else in the world. Those dragon's teeth are now a rich and lethal harvest, poisoning the soil out of which they were made to grow, and infecting those who live on that soil and around it. The fight liberal Muslims are fighting today is an unequal fight, but it is fight for the soul of Islam. And it must be won."
Related to this is a great op-ed at the Calgary Herald, "Time for Canadians to be intolerant of intolerance":
"In our understandable zeal to create a more tolerant society, are we doing a disservice to the cause of tolerance if we tolerate intolerance?"
"....over the weekend in Mississauga, Ont., the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America -- a convention with the theme 'Our Youth, Our Future: Path To Paradise' -- had listed among its many speakers one Qazi Hussain Ahmad, president of Pakistan's hard-line Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami."
"Still within the Greater Toronto Area, a Toronto newspaper offered a expose on the growing number of polygamous marriages within the region's Islamic community. A well-known Scarborough imam, who had presided over more than two dozen polygamous marriages, offered this defence, 'This is in our religion and nobody can force us to do anything against our religion. If the laws of the country conflict with Islamic law, if one goes against the other, then I am going to follow Islamic law, simple as that.' "
".... As these stories were unfolding, author Tarek Fatah was in our city promoting and discussing his important new book Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State."
"Fatah's book offers a powerful argument against the divisive ideology of the Islamists, and an equally compelling case for his fellow Muslims to be proud citizens of a western, secular democracy, while staying true to their religion (a 'state of Islam,' versus the 'Islamic State' touted by Islamists)."
Regarding debate about women wearing hijab in public schools and at work places:
"Fatah observes that 'instead of focusing on the Islamist agenda of segregation and sharia, the debate shifted to cover the bigotry of the racists. The Islamists had won.' "
"Fatah also takes square aim at the Islamist groups and individuals here in Canada who espouse hardline Wahhabist values, while in many cases receiving Saudi money and support."
"....Fatah also offers sharp criticism for those who are blinded by -- or pandering to -- the Islamists, all in the name of tolerance."
When will Mayor Menino, Rabbi Star and Fr. Helmick catch a clue?