Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Canadians want a light shone on radical Islam

Author: Anthony Furey
Publication: Torontosun.com
Date: February 21, 2017
URL:   http://www.torontosun.com/2017/02/21/canadians-want-a-light-shone-on-radical-islam?token=7e1205ad833321e8718c71c3ab3bd4d8

Last year, I revealed news that the imam of a mosque that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited was publicly listed on the mosque’s very website as the member of a group that was designated a terrorist organization abroad and whose leader had been banned from entering the United Kingdom and France for his extremist views.

While regular Canadians read the story with great interest, the mainstream surprisingly wanted nothing to do with it.

The only other coverage that came out of it was a write up or two of the press release the mosque sent out denouncing my reporting. At the same time, local politicians and even law enforcement took aim at me and someone at the Prime Minister’s Office even had the gall to call me up and chew me out for it.

* Trudeau visits mosque with terror connections

* Mosque calls Sun story 'categorically false'

Nobody ever did explain what was incorrect about my reporting, despite my multiples attempts to receive clarification from the mosque and imam. As such, the story today remains on the record (although the mosque's website now no longer mentions the group in question).

Then along comes M103, Liberal MP Iqra Khalid’s motion that denounces all forms of racism and discrimination and calls for a committee study into the issue but singles out that nebulous buzzword “Islamophobia”.

I’ve just looked back on the press release the mosque sent out concerning my work and see with great interest that my piece, according to them, “fans the flame of Islamophobia”.

Oh dear. Looks like I’m in a bit of a pickle here. Canada’s parliamentarians are poised to exercise their vote in the coming months to call for a committee to deal with ... me? And for what wrong-doing? For reporting something that in the eyes of me, my editors and my lawyers appeared to be a basic fact?

This in a nutshell illustrates the problematic direction this motion could be heading us in and why so many thousands of Canadians have taken to speaking up on it via emails to their MPs and adding their names to petitions.

Liberal MP Arif Virani said in the House of Commons recently that “understanding what we mean by Islamophobia is not difficult. When we speak about Islamophobia, we are not talking about legitimate questions about a religion or a respectful criticism of religious practices. When we speak about Islamophobia, we are talking about taking a stand against prejudice, against abuse, against discrimination targeted toward individuals for no reason other than the fact that they practise Islam.”

Decent people should agree about the abuse and targeting part. The violent threats Khalid has received are wrong and appropriate legal action should be taken. Full stop.

But it’s when we start talking about what is and isn’t a “legitimate” or “respectful” question that you run into trouble. Who among us should be trusted to define these parameters? I was denounced for “Islamophobia” for simply doing my job. Clearly my line of inquiry was illegitimate and disrespectful in the eyes of some, including the PMO.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the many hundreds of emails, phone calls and social media messages I’ve received over the past few weeks, it’s that Canadians want more light shone on radical Islam, not less.

The discussion around M103 has served as something of a catalyst. It's opened a Pandora’s box of broader questions and concerns about Islam in Canada that can’t be neatly put back together.

If the mainstream refuses to be a responsible conduit for the discussion, it’ll keep being had on social media or in the fringes of alternative news forums where there are few moderating voices to steer it on the right path. In the mean time, people’s trust in traditional voices will only erode further.
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