TERROR IN TORONTO!

Breaking News: Monday April 23, 2018
On this most beautiful sunny day after four months, Torontonians were out on the streets to enjoy the weather, when terror struck in the most horrific way. At Yonge and Finch Avenue which is a beautiful, peaceful and diverse area in Toronto where mothers take their kids for walks, older people stroll around and people bring their pets, a van ruthlessly ploughed down pedestrians killing 9 and injuring 16 innocent people (according to current statistics).
Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families of the victims and those injured. Our heartfelt thanks go to the first responders and the brave police officer who brought down the perpetrator without using his firearm although (according to videos) the suspect wanted the policeman to shoot him and said so. Heads up to brave Torontonians who helped when they saw trouble and those who are keeping their cool and continuing with life as usual.
Law enforcement are saying they don’t know the motive. It’s obviously difficult for them to deal with a situation which may be camouflaged in political correctness and cultural sensitivity.
Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale gave a statement to say “it’s too early in the investigation to say if the incident was a terror attack”. However intelligence sources that I know claim that the perpetrator was known to the police. I suspect the official stance will be “mental illness” or “lone wolf”, but the more important question to ask is “who recruited him?”
This attack has all the trappings of a terrorist attack.
• The van was used as a weapon. It’s not by accident that a van drives on a pavement full of pedestrians with whatever murderous intentions the driver had in mind.
• Terror was struck by killing of innocents
• The ideology that facilitates this comes from one of three sources:
o The Wahhabi/Salafi ideology
o The Muslim Brotherhood
o Khomenists
Added to this, the Canadian Governments mandate of not challenging extremism or unmasking the truth has allowed the virus to mutate within the country.
Whether or not we are ever told about the motives of the perpetrator or his ethnic/religious identity, mainstream Muslim reaction will be that they are the victims because the Canadian Government has facilitated this idea through the implementation of M 103 which allows no questioning, discussion or debate. But we must use this tragic incident as an opportunity to have honest conversations, uncomfortable as they may be, about key issues that impact our lives as Canadians.
While this horrific tragedy is unfolding, new to Toronto but seen happening in many International cities around the world, it was only a matter of time…….

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“I KNOW MY FATHER (ABBA) THROUGH STORIES…..

(My brother’s daughter Maliha lost her young husband many years ago. Her daughter Mariam wrote the following essay for her University admission. I found this so compelling that I want to share. )

“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah (God) Knows, while you know not.” [Quran, Chapter 2, Verse 216]

I know my father (Abba) through stories – stories of him almost missing his own wedding or the time he dropped a droplet of water on a lit bulb just to “see what would happen.” My memories of him are not mine.
People felt sorry for me when my father died: a father is an essential figure in any young girl’s life. But though Abba died, three ‘fathers’ raised me.

Baba (maternal grandfather): Voice and Joy
“For Mariam and Hana
SÖNENKINDER
Written and maintained by
Farooq “Baba” Hassan”
I open the large leather-bound volume. My history lines its pages, memories documented by Baba. Childhood pictures punctuate the text.
“Here is a picture of me with Mama. We are having a great time in our front garden! Abba took this picture of us.”
I did not write those words, but they’re written from my point of view (“It’s so when you’re rich and famous you can sell it as an autobiography or memoir” Baba has told me conspiratorially). A two-year-old me, held in the arms of my significantly younger-looking mother, stares up from the glossy photograph—a true Madonna and child. Our hands clasped together, flowers bloom bright and vivid behind us. If you asked me to picture joy, I would conjure this image.
I feel gratitude for all the memories Baba has kept alive— in so doing, he gave me a voice that contributed to who I am today— opinionated, friendly.

Abbu (paternal grandfather): Gratefulness and Giving
Within two years, he lost his mother, younger sister, older brother, his wife and only son. But I’ve never seen a person who so appreciates the smallest things in life. It’s mango season? He’s out the door at 6am to buy the best from the passing thela (cart). There’s a beehive in the backyard? Abbu calls me to come look at it, and takes it down for me to eat the sweet honey. Abbu gives me jewelry he designs himself to shoes he says reminded him of me. The nurturing he always gives has helped me thrive. Watching Abbu be happy in spite of everything taught me to be grateful for all I do have.

Bevan (step-father): Patience and Hard Work
My project is due tomorrow and my brain is fried. I can’t think of any ideas.
There’s a knock on my door. A gruff, Caribbean voice calls, “Can I come in?”
Bevan comes in and sits beside me. He heard from Mama I was struggling, and came to help. And he did. It was the middle of his workday, his phone ringing every few minutes, but he stayed, endlessly patient.
Bevan’s gentle heart taught me getting frustrated never helps any situation. He taught me by example patience is a virtue.

Mama (mother): Sacrifice and Strength
Mama is the strongest person I know.
When Abba died, Mama took my sister and me abroad, leaving everything she knew, so we’d have a better life, a better education and live in a safer city. I learnt from her to be strong and persevere even when the ground seems to be taken out from under my feet.
My village of father figures wove a wonderful tapestry to support and raise me. And Mama was always at the center helping define the person I am today.

I will never know why I lost Abba. What I do know is that losing him has played a huge role in defining me: it has made me a combination of the people who helped fill the hole he left, making me joyful, giving, hardworking and strong.

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WHITE PRIVILEGE – SERIOUSLY?

The buzz word; stuff that op-eds are made of; twitter chatter ad-nauseam; a depressing amount of balderdash and on and on. Have we nothing better to focus on?
Now I have to invoke my brown, Muslim woman, South Asian heritage privilege to say “give me a break”!
This generalizing of white people as though they are the scourge of the earth and responsible for most of society’s ills, doesn’t jibe with me.
Granted that racism, bigotry, inequality, gender bias and all of these societal ills do exist and have been there since time immemorial. But they have a context. It’s not always the white person who is the perpetrator. I can tell you about many black and brown people who are also guilty of the very same infractions. But we never hear of brown or black privilege.
Most people regardless of their color, caste, nationality, ethnicity or gender have at various times in their life used “privilege” for their own benefit. So where does this become a ‘white’ thing?
What this new backlash is doing is creating an atmosphere in which white people need to shut up, sit down and take the crap. It’s bad enough that we are being choked by political correctness, but now the term ‘white privilege’ is being used to stifle even more speech and its not acceptable in a country where freedom of expression should be the first mantra.
I believe we, as adults, are capable of fighting our own battles and dealing with people on our own turf without being told that there is a monster out there called “white privilege”!

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY MARCH 2018

On this International Women’s Day I wish to salute the following:
• Yazidi women who truly know the meaning of struggle against the injustices of the world
• The women of Syria who are struggling to survive against all odds
• The brave women of Iran who by throwing off their head covers in protest are showing the world the true meaning of throwing off the fetters of theocratic oppression
• Ensaf Haider for not only lobbying for Raif Badawi’s release from a Saudi prison but showing what courage really means
• Krishna Kumari Kohli, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), for becoming the first ever Hindu Dalit woman to become a Senator
• (In absentia) Asma Jehangir for having paved the way for women’s rights in the Muslim world and standing up for minorities in a patriarchal and sectarian society
• All the Western women who have the wisdom to turn away from the likes of Linda Sarsour and her theatrics and have the sense to know what “real” feminism is about
In solidarity with women worldwide who undergo injustices and the tyranny of FGM, forced and underage marriage, sexual abuse and honor based violence.

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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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