REPORT ON A TRIP TO MINNEAPOLIS

On January 23, I went on the trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota to meet with some State Representatives and activists.

Between 2008 and 2013, about 40 young men left Minneapolis to join al-Shabaab, the militant, radical Islamist insurgent group at war in Somalia, between approximately 2008 and 2013. Since then, 11 people from the Twin Cities have been charged with planning to leave for Syria to join Isis. Authorities believe Isis is focusing its US recruitment efforts on Somali Muslims in Minnesota because of the state’s history, and a potential pre-existing recruitment infrastructure.

My first meeting was with Omar Jamal, Somali activist and advocate. Omar is an outspoken critic of radicalization as well as the Government and its policies in dealing with the issue. Whenever there has been an issue of terrorism, he has spoken to media. He said that the government has at times used force and alienated the Somali community which is dealing with the issue of their youth being radicalized. At the same time he said he works with FBI and other security personnel. He says the best way to deal with terrorism is to have an open policy “You can’t accuse someone is you are doing the same to others. US Government has lost the war on terror”. Omar is big on dialogue and discussion both within the community and with people from the outside.
We talked about putting our resources together. He says he is interested in travelling across the country and speaking to youth (specifically Somali) but others as well. He liked the optics of our doing such a tour together. He would like to create a network of likeminded people. He also mentioned a desire to do a series of Youtube videos speaking on these issues.

On January 24, I had a radio interview in the morning about my visit to Minneapolis and the reporter was interested in knowing what I, as a Canadian activist could contribute to the discussion. I explained that the issue of radicalization is across the board in North America and we need to work together.

I had a meeting with Senator Warren Limmer’s where I met six of his representatives. Senator Limmer is very interested in the issue of youth radicalization and he said “we have quiet discussions all the time”. He is interested in programs that will help youth and he is working on a bill dealing with persecuting parents who allow FGM. He asked some good questions. Eventually the women opened up when I spoke about Clarion’s new film and the project of education. I also left a copy of Honor Diaries for them.

“After meeting with human rights activist Raheel Raza, I am shocked by DFL House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman’s incendiary comments labeling her an extremist.
Ms. Raza is a practicing Canadian Muslim and an outspoken opponent of radical Jihadism. She is a fierce advocate of women’s rights and has dedicated her life to fighting against the radicalization of our youth. She was recently awarded Canada’s 150th anniversary medal for service to the country, and has been invited to speak to governments around the world, including the U.S. Congress, UK House of Lords, Canadian Parliament, Swedish government, and the United Nations.”

From there Senator Limmers assistant took me to meet Representative Roz Peterson who is head of the Education Committe. We had a short chat before security came to say that media had set up in the board room for a scrum. She told me she had heard the radio interview in the morning and is glad that something positive has come from my trip. Ms. Peterson told me that it would be good if I spoke to media and gave them my perspective. So I was escorted to the Board room and found Senator Limmer there as well. I spoke to media. Halfway through the event, Omar Jamal turned up and along with him two female Somali women. One older one and a younger women who runs Mothers Against Youth Recruitment who is on the same page as us. They all pitched in and essentially the crux was that while Muslim activists are willing to do the work, the government is too involved in partisan politics to help or intervene. Senator Limmer took copious notes especially when I offered the solutions presented by Clarion.

After the media event I met Mary Franson a State representative who spoke very clearly and later met me in her office as she is working on the FGM bill.

On January 25 I went to meet Rosalyn Park, Director, Women’s Human Rights Program at Advocate for Human Rights. At the forefront of the world’s human rights movement, The Advocates for Human Rights, creates and maintains lasting, comprehensive, and holistic change on a local, national, and global scale. Volunteers, partners, supporters, board members, and staff implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. Ms. Park gave me a lot of material and told me about the varied kinds of work they do. We discussed the women’s rights aspect and she told me they do monitoring of the situation in some countries and then document the report provided they have partners and resources on the ground.

Jan 26 – my last meeting was with Mohamed Ahmed who is a husband and father, a manager at a convenience store, and the creator of Average Mohamed, a website presenting counter-radicalization messaging geared towards young people (ages 8 to 16). The project uses cartoons to present Islamic messages that counter the radical ideology preached by ISIL, al Shabaab, and other terror groups, approaching youth in a media format with which they are familiar and interested. Ahmed collaborates with local religious leaders to craft the messages in a way that relays Islamic ideas while dispelling ISIL’s ideology. Ongoing for nearly a decade, the project has been entirely conceived, funded and managed by Ahmed. He said of his project:
Mohammad Ahmad is such a joy to meet and speak with. Full of energy and enthusiasm, he is studying communications full time as a Bush Foundation Fellow.
Some statements he made:
“CAIR has taken us hostage and sends their spies to check on us”
“The 900 pound gorilla in the room is extremism and I am able to reach the kids through my cartoons”
“Youth need a sense of identity and belonging so I tell them about loyalty to this Country and loyalty to God”
He showed me his latest cartoon which is not up yet. Its about driving cars into pedestrians because he says the fear of ISIS is not so much here anymore than the fear that the youth will do something locally and he wants to reach them before the extremists do.
He wants to continue to create his cartoons so he can reach millions of youth and he is confident that he can do this. He also wants to travel the world and speak to youth (something he is doing in schools here). He says he has good contacts both in his community as well as the schools who welcome him but he would like to present a specific project that is broad so it does not seem like he is targeting only Islam and Muslims.
So he wants to make a video program of his cartoons speaking about
Anti Bullying
Anti-Semitism
Anti Extremism
Anti Racism
He feels if he can get support to do this, he will devote his time to spreading the word. He has major contacts in African countries.

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CANADIAN AWARD TO CANADIAN ACTIVIST

On January 29, 2017 an event was hosted by Muslims Facing Tomorrow to celebrate Raheel Raza receiving the Senate Sesquicentennial Medal in commemoration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Senate of Canada in recognition “valuable service to Canada”.
Senator Linda Frum made the presentation. Barbara Kay, journalist and author par excellence delivered the keynote as follows:……

My first encounter with the formidable Raheel Raza, president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, occurred a decade ago in Montreal at the Hotel Omni.
I was in attendance at a press conference, organised in the form of a panel arranged by Marc Lebuis, who founded and still runs the online publication, Point de Bascule (“tipping point”). Point de Bascule tracks networks and individuals in Quebec who carry water in one way or another for the jihadist movement.
The panel’s theme was “Political Islam threatens our freedoms.” Besides Marc, the group consisted of Raheel, Tarek Fatah and Salim Mansur, Canada’s three most vocal Muslim activists in the campaign to delegitimise what is known, variously, as radical Islam, political Islam or Islamism.
Through his journalism and books, Tarek has established himself as Canada’s most pugnaciously outspoken anti-Islamist. Gentle scholar Salim Mansur (vice-president of the Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow and also a recipient of a Senate Sesquicentennial Medal) has emerged as Canada’s most intellectual and politely outspoken anti-Islamist. Raheel, it is fair to say, is not only the most glamorous of the three but her warmth, poise, diplomacy and people skills have made her an extraordinary ambassador for this urgently necessary cause.
I wrote about my experience that morning in a column, which began with the words, “I had the privilege of spending a few hours today in company with the most courageous people in Canada.”
Raheel captivated us all with her elegance, high intelligence and wit. As I recall, the first words out of her mouth were “I have been sued for calling extremists ‘extremist’ and I am listed on the 10 ‘World’s Most Hated Muslims’ list. I’m No. 6. I hope to be No. 1. Obviously, I’m doing something right.” Which of course evoked a big, slightly nervous, laugh.
Raheel is smart to use humour as her opening gambit to break the thick ice of this topic. All thinking people are nervous and apprehensive about the aims and strategies of political Islam in the West, and most of us aren’t quite sure about what we can and cannot say to express our fears. Never more so than today, when our political leadership almost daily demonstrates heartbreaking naiveté on what they are dealing with. As former Justice Minister in the Liberal government, Irwin Cotler, once said of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, “I don’t know if Justin has an appreciation of evil.”
The hall that day was filled, though mostly by concerned Quebecers, not so much by media. Applause broke out frequently, such as when Salim said, “Islam is my private life, my conscience…but I am first and foremost a Canadian” and “it is only in free societies where you meet Islam as spirituality rather than as political religion.”
Raheel was magnificent. She shared her joy in living in a country where she is free to be as spiritually religious as she wants without fear of political coercion. “No Muslim country would recognise the rights I enjoy here,” she said. On a sobering note, she observed that a fatwa had been issued against her, which came from Saudi Arabia. Raheel knows her movements are monitored. How, she asked, did they even know about her words and activities if she had not been informed upon by Islamists in Canada?
Raheel said the things that day that non-Muslims are afraid to say, or must say with such exquisite and nuanced care that the effect is absurdly muted. Raheel asked the most basic and obvious of questions: Why do politicians court and flatter and collaborate with Islamists? It was a rhetorical question of course, for the dual answer is that: i) their chosen Muslim friends became their friends because they are well-schooled in the craft of soothing political blandishment and institutional infiltration; and ii) multicultural correctness forbids politicians from even raising the question of the nature of the ideology their chosen Muslim friends espouse. The government’s paralysis in the face of legitimate demands for a definition of the toxic word “Islamophobia” at the centre of Motion 103 is an ominous case in point.
And as for the feminists, Raheel went on, where are they? Raheel has boldly incurred the wrath of traditional Muslims for daring to call for her right to lead prayers to mixed genders, but our feminists did not support her; they were too busy making a case for the niqab as just another cultural expression of female liberation. Raheel and I find common purpose in insisting on female face cover as a retrograde and misogynistic custom that has no place in a democracy. But when I say it, I am called an Islamophobe. When Raheel says it, they must hold their tongues.
Another common purpose we share is exposing the often terrible effects on girls and women stemming from cultural honour codes. The documentary film Honor Diaries, which Raheel made in collaboration with eight other women’s rights activists, explored the issues of gender-based violence and inequality in Muslim-majority societies, although the phenomenon is, I should add, not restricted to Muslim-majority societies.
Raheel’s personal story was featured alongside those of the other activists. That film has taken her all over the world and given hope and strength to oppressed women who have no voice to claim their rightful human estate.
To return to that day and that press conference in 2008: There were a few journalists there from Radio-Canada, the francophone arm of CBC. But after the meeting, although they had free access to interview Raheel, Tarek and Salim, instead they clustered around a hijabi woman from the audience, an NDP candidate who had come for the sole purpose of objecting to the panel’s criticisms. In the Q&A she declared herself offended by what they had said. This was a dog whistle to the press, for whom an offended Muslim was far more enticing than confident Muslims promoting democratic principles.
That for me was a telling moment. The choice those journalists made that day spoke volumes about the liberal media in Quebec (actually there is no other kind in Quebec) and in Canada, where almost all the mainstream media share the same tendency to privilege the uniquely Muslim victimhood narrative over respect for proponents of democratic Islam. They are so terrified of being perceived as Islamophobic that they gravitate unconsciously to the polar extreme – to the kind of Islamo-reverence we see in our Prime Minister and his entourage. That morning Raheel made an instant groupie of me, and soon after, I am proud to say, a friend and sometimes public co-activist.
Raheel’s Wikipedia entry describes her as a “journalist, author, public speaker, media consultant, anti-racism activist, and interfaith discussion leader.” She is all this and so much more. She has been invited to speak to the U.S. Congress, the UK House of Lords, to Sweden’s government and the United Nations. It is appropriate and gratifying to see her receiving the recognition at home that she often finds abroad.
Wherever and whenever Raheel speaks, the regressive left gnashes its regressive teeth. In the U.S., the progressives have sold their souls to CAIR, apologists for Islamism, and deeply hostile to reformists like Raheel. Just last week Raheel Raza was invited to speak to the Minnesota House of Representatives by Rep. Roz Peterson (R). A Democrat representative reflexively labelled her an “extremist,” demanding Raheel be censored and disinvited from speaking. But Rep. Peterson stood her ground and would not be bullied. Raheel took the tension in stride, as she always does, and her appearance proceeded without incident.
Sen. Warren Limmer (R) issued a bold press release, stating: “Ms Raza is a practising Canadian Muslim and an outspoken opponent of radical Jihadism. She is a fierce advocate of women’s rights and has dedicated her life to fighting against the radicalisation of our youth.” But not a single Democrat was present to hear her speak. Shame on them.
Raheel is a Canadian treasure. But her light has been hidden under the bushel of political correctness for too long. Thankfully, not everyone in our government is too blinkered or too intimidated to recognise her worth. I am so proud to stand here this evening and to be considered a member in good standing of this honourable circle, in the presence of Linda Frum, the senator I admire above all others for her strength of character, high principles and intellectual independence.
Raheel, I do not know what the opposite of a fatwa is in Islam, but in the Jewish tradition, when we wish to honour someone of outstanding integrity, we sometimes speak of the Crown of the Good Name. As Rabbi Shimon says in the book of religious commentary, Ethics of the Fathers, there are three crowns—the crown of learning, the crown of priesthood and the crown of sovereignty; but the Keter Shem Tov, the crown of the good name, surpasses them all.
And that is what the Senate Sesquicentennial Medal represents to me. The Keter Shem Tovyou wear tonight emanates courage and lucidity. May you and the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow go from strength to strength in all your endeavours, dear Raheel, and continue to be a light unto our nation and the world, as you already are to the many grateful Canadians who are here with us in spirit to honour you tonight.

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POOR ZAINAB – A TINY PAWN IN A LARGER POLITICAL GAME IN PAKISTAN

The horrific tragedy of Zainab Ansari, an eight year old girl who was raped and murdered in Kasur, Pakistan has the attention of the whole world. It’s heart-breaking and gut wrenching to read the news and see her parents sorrow.
Ten other girls have been sexually assaulted in a similar way in Kasur, while law enforcement has been impotent. These are only the reported cases because many go unreported for fear.
True there are riots and protests all over Pakistan about Zainab’s brutal attack, with some people wounded and two dead, but there are some key questions that have yet to be answered.
Why it is that law enforcement have not taken any action till now when there have been previous cases of sexual assault? The reason these cases were hushed up is because rich and powerful feudal landlords may have been involved, so the assaults were pushed under the table and in some cases money was given to the family or they were threatened to stay silent. No one has been caught and convicted because if that happens, it will start a chain reaction in which the so-called ‘gentry’ will be stripped naked and dishonoured. The lives and honour of the young victims are no match for the powerful and political.
Zainab’s murder is symptomatic of a much larger problem that is not being addressed. Children in Pakistan are vulnerable to religious schools and extremist organizations. Madrassas are mushrooming all over the country with little or no accountability about who is running them and what is being taught. There are no statistics about child molestation, rape, sodomy and battering – all of which are rampant.
There is no secular education, leave alone sex education (which the religious clergy are deadly against and all Mullahs have given a fatwa that sex education is ‘vulgar’). In a patriarchal and misogynist society, young men are not taught how to respect women so they grow up with warped ideas.
We have to acknowledge that these kinds of incidents happen everywhere in the world. However preventative measures are taken like making young kids aware of ‘stranger-danger’, awareness of their bodies, sex education, confiding in parents, encouragement to speak out and counselling. In Pakistan, even speaking about such issues or asking questions is considered a taboo and if a child accuses a family member of impropriety, it’s considered dishonourable and they are silenced.
What is worse, is that the politicization of Zainab’s tragedy has already started. A deeply shocked and grieving father is being made a pawn in a game of politics. Head of the JIT (Joint Investigation Taskforce) was an Ahmadi Muslim so the father of the victim was coached to say the he doesn’t want him heading the investigation, and hence he was replaced. The father is asking the Chief Justice and Army Chief to offer solutions which they have gleefully agreed to do. Other low level politicians are trying to score points and the religious right are hammering away at the government.
This is the shocking environment in which Zainab’s suffering and sacrifice are being played out. Why is this game of political chess happening?
Let me explain.
The army which has always been wielding power either directly or behind the scene since 1947 wants the government to fail in order to put in an interim government of their choice and they are using Zainab’s case to show that the government has actually failed in maintaining law and order.
Meanwhile the present government also wants chaos so they can accuse the army of playing politics and thus control the chaos to their advantage.
And why is this?
The army and Imran Khan (a Pakistani cricketer turned politician) are siding with China and don’t want any rapprochement with India. They are using the judiciary to punish the politicians. Rest of the politicians are pro-USA and would like to trade with India, however they are highly corrupt. No wonder Pakistan has been accused of playing a double game internationally and now locally with its own people.
In this confused arena, lies the savaged and dead body of little Zainab Ansari.
Raheel Raza

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2017 ROUNDUP

2017 was a ‘bumper’ year for travel and media. Overall I gave approximately 300 media interviews and took over 50 flights.
January
• Travelled to Israel where I attended workshops, conferences and had meetings with various individuals including one-on-one with The Clarion Project.
February
• Was invited for a one-hour interview on the Mark Steyn show in Vermont
• Spoke at the Manning conference in Ottawa
March
• Attended CWFF(Censored Women’s Film Festival) in Brooklyn on International Women’s Day
• Arranged a multi-faith panel for Limmud, Toronto
• Attended CWFF at the UN in New York
• Arranged and attended an MFT Reformist summit in Toronto
• Started classes at Ryerson University to teach an 8-part series titled “Women in Islam”
April
• Attended a screening of Faithkeepers in Ottawa
• Attended an interfaith event in Boston hosted by a Church and gave a talk to the local community
• Attended and spoke at a Teachers conference in Winnipeg

MAY
• Spoke at DePaul University, Chicago
• Spoke at an event in Montreal hosted by Canadians for Co-existence
• Attended an event in Hamilton called Vital Voices
JUNE
• Spoke at the Albany Jewish Federation in Albany
• Spoke at an event hosted by Speakers Action Group
• Did a speaking gig in Minneapolis
• Went to UNHRC in Geneva
JULY
• Gave testimony at the US Congress on Homegrown Terrorism. My recommendation included banning The Muslim Brotherhood.
• Spoke at a youth event in Las Vegas
AUGUST
• Speaking events in Aspen and Denver
SEPTEMBER
• Speaker on M103 at the C3RF conference in Toronto
• Went to UNHRC in Geneva
• Speaker in Winnipeg at the Centre for Study of Anti-semitism
• Speaker at the Niagara Business Women’s Conference
OCTOBER
• Speaker at UJA event in Toronto
• Had a remarkable meeting with past President of USA Mr. George Bush
• Speaker at the Humanist Association of London, Ontario
• Started teaching 8-week course at Ryerson on Islam and Islamism
• Speaker at Beth Tikvah Synagogue
NOVEMBER
• Hosted an event at the Sufi Mosque for Holocaust Education week
• Started a TV program called MuslimSense
• Attended CWFF at USC, Los Angeles
• Attended two sessions at Parliament in London addressing members of House of Commons and House of Lords on the impact of sharia councils in UK under the patronage of Baroness Caroline Cox.
DECEMBER
• Got accredited with Women’s Voices Now for UN, New York
• Received a 150th anniversary commemorative medal from The Senate of Canada for ‘exceptional contributions to Canada’.
Finally exhaustion set in and I developed a bad bout of influenza as the immune system broke down – I wonder why?
2018 is another year of unknown adventures
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

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CARNAGE AT CHRISTMAS

It was the fifth year of Mohammad’s Prophethood and his followers were being ruthlessly persecuted by his enemies. Prophet Mohammad advised a small group of Muslims to leave Mecca and take refuge in Abyssinia, where he knew the Christian King known as Negus, was just and fair.
The group of Muslims under the leadership of Jafar, escaped in the dead of night and made their way to Abyssinia but as soon as their departure was discovered, mercenaries were sent to find them and bring them back to face torture and imminent death.
When the Muslims reached the court of the Negus, he asked them who they were and what they knew of Christianity and Jesus. Jafar read from the Quran the chapter on the birth of Jesus and said that Muslims are told to revere Jesus. He said that Christians are referred to as “people of the book” in the Quran.
It is recorded in tradition that the Negus stepped down from his Throne, and with tears in his eyes, he drew a line in the sand with his staff. Then he addressed the court and said “the difference between us is as fine as this line in the sand and we are the light of the same candle”. He then gave protection to the band of Muslims and did not allow them to be persecuted. If it had not been for his compassion and mercy, the Muslims would have been killed and Islam would not have taken root.
Today the line that the Negus drew in the sand has become a wide gulf of mis-understanding and violence on part of Muslims.
Is this how we revere Jesus and show compassion and brother/sisterhood?
Last week a suicide bomb and gun attack on a church in the Pakistani city of Quetta killed at least eight innocent worshippers and wounded dozens of others. The attack targeted Bethel Memorial Methodist Church as worshippers gathered inside to attend a Sunday midday service.
This is not the first time Christians have been targeted and attacked in Pakistan. It’s an ongoing tragedy, more so because the Christian community of Pakistan has always been peace-loving and benign. Despite the fact that they are treated as second-class citizens and given menial lowly jobs, they are loyal and loving to the country in which they live.
In Australia an Afghan immigrant tried to mow down innocent people with his van, injuring 19.
The carnage continues in Muslim majority countries where the life of Christians and minority Muslims is not safe at all. There have been ongoing church attacks in Egypt. http://faithkeepersmovie.com/
Let’s not forget our history. When Malik Ashtar was going to Egypt as Governor, Imam Ali advised him and said: “Develop in your heart the feeling of love for your people and let it be the source of kindliness and blessing to them. Do not behave with them like a barbarian, and do not appropriate to yourself that which belongs to them. Remember that the citizens of the state are of two categories. They are either your brethren in religion or your brethren in humanity….”
How quickly we have forgotten the legacy of our wise leaders. Today we are faced with Mad Mullahs giving fatwas about not wishing Merry Christmas. Why? Have they decided that they are God Almighty? Those of us who have migrated to the West should not forget that we are living in Christian lands and enjoy all our benefits here.
What Muslims should be doing at this time is finding ways to protect and embrace our Christian brothers and sisters so that they can celebrate Christmas in peace and joy. Shame on us for keeping silent and shame on our political leaders for not finding the perpetrators and locking them in a deep dark dungeon where they will never see the light of day.
We have learned nothing from our own faith, leave alone humanity and this is why Islam continues to be under criticism. Where is the silent majority who propagate “Islam is the religion of peace?” Where are those who invoke Islamophobhia at every moment? It is time Muslims reflected that we will only gain respect, when we give respect to others. This is the time of Hanukkah and Christmas when we can claim to be part of this civilization. Otherwise we silently side with the barbarians who cause mayhem and carnage against “the other”.
Let me end with the thoughts of Imam Tawhidi, a progressive Australian Imam who writes so eloquently “Jesus is a saviour……The extremist Muslims attacking Christianity and Churches need to understand that at the end: Jesus always wins.”
So, a joyful Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all my brothers and sisters. May peace, joy and love prevail.

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NEW YORK ATTACK

Once again evil has struck New York City. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and those injured.
Facts are quite straight forward:
• Its cowardly
• It will happen again
• This is part of the “war on the West” declared by the Jihadists
• There are no ‘lone wolves’
• This was done in the name of Jihad
• Politicians will deflect
• My co-religionists will go on the defensive
• The victim-hood ideology will swing into action
• Is there a solution? Yes there is but is anyone listening. No!
• There is a systemic problem which is not being addressed head on.
• What action is being taken against ISIS fighters coming home to Western countries?
• What action is being taken to go to the root of radicalization based on teaching hate?
• When there are converts involved, who is converting them?
• When there is radicalization going on, are we peeping into the pulpit?
It’s time to end the terror!

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MEETING GEORGE W. BUSH FOR LUNCH – an eye-opener


Islamic history is something we do not debate or discuss. We accept it as handed down to us. So we have villains who have been made into heroes and heroes who remain unidentified.
Case in point, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was a ruthless and merciless ruler who had no qualms about assassinating his brothers or imprisoning his father. He is celebrated as a hero.
On the other hand Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s son Dara Shikoh had a pluralistic vision but was put to death by Aurangzeb and his good works are hidden in history.
When today’s world becomes history, I wonder how George W. Bush will be remembered. Muslims have pre-conceived notions about him orchestrated by the Iraq war and incursion into Afghanistan.
I too have been guilty of such thoughts.
However I had the pleasure of meeting ex-President George Bush (yes Dubya or GW as he is fondly called) at a luncheon where he was given an award by a local Foundation. I realised that when a politician stops being a politician, he or she becomes human. This is what I saw in George Bush – an entirely different person who is warm, compassionate and full of humour.
President Bush was interviewed by Canadian Senator Linda Frum for one hour in which she asked him very pertinent questions. I was so impressed that I had to make notes. Although much of what he said was “quote worthy” I noted a few points that touched me.
He said “I will not use the platform of my previous position to criticize my predecessors”. Asked about the current situation in USA, he said that more important than the President is the institution and that there is a need for USA to reject isolationism and tribalism.
He spent time speaking about his wife Laura and his daughters saying that he could not have done his job as a “war-time President” without Laura’s support. He said that his time as President was a great challenge and he had to make some very quick and important decisions which he felt were best for his country. “When you’re leading a country you have to have a vision, a strategy and a focused effort to achieve your goal”. However he added that “the further we get away from 9/11, the further people are getting away from the lessons learned from 9/11”
He called Iran “the most destabilizing force on the earth” and said he did not agree with the sanctions being lifted. “Nothing changes in Iran unless the regime changes so we have to continue to put pressure on them”. He added that the decision-makers in Iran have not changed.
Asked about Russia he said he knew Putin way back when he was a different man. “Putins changed due to oil and power and although he is strategically very smart, he has a chip on his shoulder”.
On Israel he said that anti-Semitism is dangerous and it’s the role of the US to reject anti-Semitism at home and abroad. He said “the Middle East must know that US is solid in their support of Israel and they will forge their foreign policies accordingly”.
Bush mentioned NAFTA and said USA has to tweak the treaty and fix it because USA, Canada and Mexico can learn to work together. He rejects the notion that NAFTA is bad for USA.
President Bush went on to speak about how much he enjoys spending time at his ranch where he drives mountain bikes with Vets who he admires and supports. He also plays golf with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
His biggest regret? Going for social security reform instead of immigration reform. He said “what’s going on is un-American because immigrants renew our spirits and hopes”.
Today at The George W. Bush Institute he dedicates his work to the betterment of humanity.
He quoted Darwin “It Is Not the Strongest of the Species that Survives But the Most Adaptable”

At various times he laughed at himself and how people said he couldn’t speak properly or write and laughed “well then they should read my book!”.
While the man has changed, the only thing that hasn’t changed is that he still says “nuc-you-lear”

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