August 18, 2010 – 9:15 am
A Brave Canadian confronts Ground Zero mosque
Unlike U.S. President Barack Obama who
insists putting a mosque near the site of 9/11 is “legal” and not
his concern, a leading Canadian Muslim has publicly attacked the
proposal as inappropriate, insensitive and wrong.
Farzana Hassan lives in Toronto and is an astonishingly brave woman who has written three books since 9/11, putting Islam into perspective. She, along with Tarek Fatah, founder of the Canadian Muslim Congress (MCC), are among the few Muslims who speak out loudly and clearly against extremism.
Both have had death threats, both soldier on fearlessly and honestly.
They are proof that not all Muslims go along with what’s happening in the world today, although relatively few have spoken up about jihadist extremism which is what the war on terrorism is all about.
Considering the sort of reprisals extremists have taken against dissenters, one can hardly fault “moderate” Islamists for shutting up. The proposed $100 million, 13-storey Islamic Centre in the immediate area of New York’s Ground Zero is a case in point.
To most, it is an inappropriate site for a mosque, and if built will send the wrong message to the world. Not a message of tolerance and reconciliation, but one of Islamic triumph for extremists. It is one thing for people like me to rant against it, another for someone of the Islamic faith to speak up. That takes both courage and integrity.
Farzana Hassan is also on the board of the MCC, and last week issued a press release that puts the Ground Zero Islamic Centre into perspective. She says the “traditional response” from the U.S. Muslim community has been “belligerence and arrogance.”
She urged Muslims to ponder the meaning of religious moderation and concludes: “Any Muslim who upholds Sharia, a man-made system of religious stipulations, cannot be deemed a moderate.” Bravo! Ontario’s McGuinty government which once considered Sharia acceptable, should take heed. U.S. courts, too.
Hassan questions the motives of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf for choosing Ground Zero for the Islamic Centre which will cater to Muslims of all persuasions. Imam Rauf is on record saying America was partly to blame for 9/11.
Hassan also notes that orthodox Islamic organizations and mosques receive funding from Saudi Arabia — from where the radical Wahabbi sect exports radical extremism and promotes Sharia law and the stoning of women.
She calls the proposed Islamic center “a Trojan Horse” in the heart of America that would constitute a cover for “formidable and hostile forces to gain credibility, respectability and influence.”
She argues: “Goodwill, compassion and empathy demand that (Imam Rauf) withdraw his plans to construct an Islamic centre near Ground Zero.” It would too easily — perhaps inevitably — become a public platform for radical Islamists. “These goons will use the venue to propagate their hate-filled agenda,” she says.
Instead, consider the sentiments of Americans who lost loved ones in the brutal, al-Qaeda attack nine years ago.
For those interested in a moderate Islamic assessment of contemporary events, go to www.averroespress.com, and see the continuing struggle on behalf of common sense by the likes of Tarek Fatah and Farzan Hassan – attacking the burka, jihadists, and those intent on waging a holy war against people who wish them no harm. Farzana Hassan’s most recent book is Islam, Women and the Challenge of Today, while Tarek Fatah’s is Chasing a Mirage, the Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State. Both radiate courage and integrity that sets them apart from most of us.
Peter Worthington is the founding editor of the Toronto Sun and a regular contributor to FrumForum.com, where this originally appeared.