Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tarek, for God’s sake, stop whingeing!

I am watching self-styled Canadian Muslim leader and former Pakistani socialist leader Tarek Fattah appearing on the Canadian TV program The Agenda with Steve Paikin. I’m shaking my head. Is this guy for real? Has he lost the plot?

The poor chap is a pathetic sight. He complains about not being able to speak freely. Yet my last memory of Fattah was dealing with him in his capacity as moderator of a “Progressive Muslim” yahoogroup. Fattah on that occasion denied various people (including myself) of our freedom of speech in opposing the hard-Left and their social agenda.

Fattah himself is a hard-Left activist. Indeed Fattah acknowledges on the program that he was member of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a hard-Left organisation responsible for numerous terrorist attacks on Jewish civilians. Fattah refuses to condemn the actions of the PFLP, thereby supporting their terrorist agenda.

Fattah’s interview includes claims that Muslims are obliged to kill apostates. Really? Who said that? I’ve heard such wacky suggestions from neo-Cons, Christian-Right Jihad-Watch types and a few dimwitted lunatics from within Muslim communities. But this is hardly a position supported by modern Muslim jurists.

Tarek lashes out against Canadian leaders whom he accuses of making threats of violence against him. He then makes outlandish claims such as:

• Imams are freely working to spread extremist versions of Islam “all day with cash rolling in”. From where does the cash emerge? He hints at Saudi Arabia and Iran, but doesn’t elaborate.

• “Almost 90% of Muslim community … have never ever voted for Islamist parties.” I agree. But how does that relate to Canadian Muslims?

• He claims “no honest debate on sharia can take place in any mosque or institution in Canada”. Presumably he would include the organisation he used to head.

Steve Paikan put to Fattah that he went to jail in Pakistan for political activities and is rarely one to give up a fight. Yet Fattah resigned from a Muslim organisation which he allegedly founded. Fattah admits his decision to resign wasn’t a rationally thought-out decision.

Paikan read out a statement made by Canadian leader Dr Mohammed ElMasri about Mr Fattah. The statement made no reference to Mr Fattah allegedly leaving Islam. It makes no claim to being an official fatwa, nor does ElMasri claim to be a mufti.

Fattah puts words into ElMasri’s mouth which didn’t appear in his statement. Fattah acknowledges he never contacted Canadian Muslim leader Dr ElMasri asking why ElMasri allegedly issued a fatwa on him. He acknowledges ElMasri has appeared on his show on numerous occasions. Yet Fattah then goes on a national TV program and makes outlandish allegations.

So here he is misrepresenting his own faith, misrepresenting the words and statements of others, and then not having the guts stand up for his convictions.

Mr Fattah, I have also received death threats from both Muslims and non-Muslims. You need only read some of the comments on my blog, as well as feedback to my articles published elsewhere on the web. I have received hate-mail and wackos making anonymous threats on the phone in the middle of the night. But I don’t go on TV or radio or anywhere else seeking attention or saying outlandish things to generate fatwas against me. I say what I say because I believe in what I say.

Mr Fattah, if you are a communist, say it. Be proud of your communism. I personally think you are irrelevant. Your forces lost the Cold War. The Berlin Wall has fallen, and you are trying to re-build it in Muslim communities. That is your choice. Be proud of it, regardless of how ridiculous myself or others see you.

I am so sick of so-called progressive or so-called moderate Muslims seeking attention with outlandish statements in an effort to generate fatwas. I’m sick of the Irshad Manjis and Tarek Fattahs who wax lyrical about their own persecution while ignoring the broader persecution of millions of Muslims (not to mention Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and others) who are subject to even worse forms of persecution.

I am unhappy when idiots ring me up in the middle of the night and make stupid threats. I fear for my safety and that of my family. I shudder when I open an envelope and read hate-mail. But I don’t jump on the phone and whinge to the nearest journalist.

For me, the suffering of people like Mukhtar Mai is more worthy of public attention than any inconveniences I might suffer. I think the suffering of innocent Palestinians and Lebanese is more important than the hate-mail I receive from both Muslims and non-Muslims.

My advice to the Fattahs and Manjis and other alleged spokespeople for allegedly progressive Islam is simple – stop whingeing, stop exaggerating, stop telling lies and get a life!

© Irfan Yusuf 2006

3 comment(s):

  • Salam Irfan

    The problem with Tarek is not that he used to be - or continues to identify as being - "hard left". The problem is similar to that of David Horowitz or Christopher Hitchens.

    They did not really grow/change from being "hard left." They were always sort of Stalinist (following a personality rather than a philosophy, being idealogues rather than thinkers). They still are. The focus just changed. Now it is that they must confront Islamic fundamentalism (or in DH's case academic liberalism) whatever that means because it is the only threat worth confronting.

    Meanwhile the "hard left" has a lot of people in it that are much closer to reality than these people *ever* were, whether they call themselves hard left or not.

    By Blogger Anna in PDX, at 10/25/2006 11:45:00 AM  

  • Asalamu Aliakum,
    Well said, you took the words right out of my mouth. I really doubt Fatah was a member of the PFLP. As for threats he claims to have received, notice that he has never filed a single police report. According to reader of my blog he considered my naming him #1 on my pro-regressive idiots list as a threat after somebody posted it on a message board using the Greenday icon(a hand grenade).

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10/25/2006 11:48:00 AM  

  • Salaam,

    I wholly agree with Anna's statements above.

    I think it is problematic to characterise Tarek as hard-left (or 'progressive' anything for that matter). Despite all the Islamophobia that may exist within left circles, they can at least have some sensibility in the acknowledgement of imperialism as the greatest threat in the world today. Not so for Muslim Orientalists.

    I think criticising PFLP - either by asking Tarek to do so, or by doing it ourselves, is also very problematic. It is not a decision for us to make as to the tactics and strategies of national liberation struggles, nor to sit here (comfortably in NA, Europe, Aus, etc) while condemning them. Our duty and responsibility is to address the support that the Empire provides to Israel.

    I agree on keeping a level head about what struggles are worthy of public attention and an active recognition of our priviledges.

    By Blogger malangbaba, at 10/25/2006 01:41:00 PM  

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