Thursday, July 23, 2009

We "celebrate" 9/11

Tomorrow, at Ryerson University, in the heart of Toronto, a weekend lecture series will kick off under the auspices of the Al-Fauz Institute of Islamic Thought. The AFIIT is a new player in the game of educating young Muslims in Toronto. The series is called, From Caliphs to Kings, the rise and fall of the Muslim ummah.

Its guest lecturer for this series is a British-based, Palestinian-born academic, Dr. Azzam Timimi, who, according to writer Terry Glavin, in The National Post, is an unabashed supporter of suicide bombing, Hamas, the Taliban, etc. Glavin spoke to the folks at AFIIT, who disavowed knowledge of Timimi's political views. You can read Glavin’s columns here and here.

I looked at the AFIIT site and it contained two videos of Dr. Timimi lecturing in Britain in September of last year. He didn’t engage in any of the pro-violence stuff that Glavin writes about, but he still had some disturbing messages – disturbing to this Canadian.

In the first video he gives a very white-washed view of how Islam spread from Arabia. I shouldn’t be too critical of this, since President Obama gave his misdirected Cairo speech and did very much same thing. However, Dr. Timimi is here to guide young Canadian Muslims, so I will critique him.

In reference to Palestine, for example, which he acknowledged was part of the Christian Byzantine Empire, he talked about how Islam was welcomed by the people because it brought justice – something he claims they didn’t have.

I don’t know enough about that place and that time under the Byzantine Empire to be able to confirm or deny what Timimi says about the level of justice enjoyed by the non-Arabs, but after the Arabs arrived there are definitely some things they didn’t have. Wives no longer had husbands because they were slaughtered. Husbands who escaped no longer had wives or children because they were carted back to Arabia and sold as slaves. Property that was once owned by Christians and Jews (the majority of the residents) then became the property of the Muslims who supplanted them. Much of the early spread of Islam had to do with Arabs carrying out commerce in the old style – stealing and killing.

He talks about the spread of Islam to India in the most benign language. He left out of the description the fact that Muslim invaders butchered more than one million Hindus and Buddhists and razed thousands of temples.

He starts his lecture by referring to the word minority as being a bad thing. Later he admits that minorities are well protected by laws in liberal democracies.

He pretends that minorities under Islam were protected and treated with respect, and that there were no problems with them continuing worship in the religion of their choice. In fact, they were protected only in so far as they paid a protection tax to the Muslim rulers, and they weren’t permitted to build new houses of worship or openly worship outside of those houses. There were a number of other restrictions that made it clear that in Islamic societies non-Muslims were clearly second-class citizens. And people with no religion, or no religion recognized by Islam, did not have even that status.

I hope some less than bedazzled young Muslim attending these lectures this weekend asks the good doctor why it is that millions of Muslims can live on equal terms and openly practice their religion in predominately Christian-based, secular western societies, but there are very few Christians and even fewer Jews to be found in Muslim countries, and those numbers are rapidly declining?

Timimi made it quite clear in the second video that he does not see Muslims integrating with western secular societies. He claims Muslims are principally disliked because they are part of a global ummah and this transcends geographical and national boundaries. He depicts western society as if it has a Gestapo-complex regarding Muslims – referring to the knock on the door in the middle of the night.

His lecture must have been given before the trial of the airline plotters, because he claimed that everyone of them was innocent. In fact, three of them were convicted, but not for conspiracy to destroy airplanes over the Atlantic.

Finally, the dead giveaway for me was a reference he made to “celebrating” the anniversary of 9/11.

Only a jihad supporter would use a term like that.

The one really honest thing Timimi said was that there was a war going on with Islam. Not that there is a war going on with people who claim to be Islamic but are not really representative of Islam, as the U.S. and British governments try to pretend, but with Islam -- period, full-stop, no qualifications, no obfuscations.

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