Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

Tarek Fatah Takes on the Jihadists

August 10, 2009 

Muslims are often criticized for failing to speak up publicly against those Muslims who have turned Islam into an ideology of hatred and violence. Tarek Fatah does not belong to that silent majority. On the contrary, his new book Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State is a courageous and eloquent testimony against those who have turned Islam into a political program of conquest and stagnation. 

Tarek Fatah was born in Pakistan where he was active in the late 1960s as a left-wing student.  He worked in the print and broadcast media in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He immigrated to Canada in 1987 where he has become well-known as an outspoken critic of Islamic extremism. Here is a sample of his unambiguous way of presenting the problem: 

 Islam came to free humanity from the clutches of the clergy. Instead, the religion of peace has become a prisoner of war, held captive by the very priesthood it came to eliminate. Muslims have been double-duped for centuries – lied to by their leaders and clerics who supposedly hold the keys to heaven. ( 87) 

After the attacks of 9/11 Fatah founded the secular Muslim Canadian Congress. He fearlessly argues that Muslims should reject the Islamic state in favour of the state of Islam. Chasing a Mirage is a masterful exposition of what the author perceives to be the enduring clash between political Islam bent on domination and spiritual Islam that enables the free flow of ideas and beliefs. Or as he puts it: “For it is only here in Canada that I can speak out against the hijacking of my faith and the encroaching spectre of a new Islamo-fascism.” 

Chasing a Mirage is an excellent source of information about the early, violent spread of Islam, its  internal feuds and divisions, and the contemporary clash between militant Islam and the West. He describes the  attempt in 2003 to introduce sharia law in the province of Ontario, which failed in part because of strong opposition by Muslim women groups and the Muslim  Canadian Congress. 

Islamist Infiltration

In early 2003 Fatah attended a meeting of some 2000 young Muslims at the Toronto Convention Centre. He  was unprepared for a lecture by a Kuwaiti politician and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tareq Al Suwaidan, who told the audience: “Western civilization is rotten from within and nearing collapse…it [the West] will continue to grow until an outside force hits it and you will be surprised at how quickly it falls.” 

Fatah asks the questions that should haunt everyone concerned about the future of this country, especially our political leadership: “Why were these Muslim youth, born and educated in Canada, cheering the fall of the West?  Did they not consider themselves to be part of the West?” 

Chasing a Mirage provides a lot of details about the many  organizations in Canada  active in promoting a radical Isamic agenda,  including the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Student Association. Fatah writes that these and other Islamic organizations are far more sophisticated than naïve Westerners recognize. He explains: 

These are well-oiled, foreign inspired, politically driven machines that have their hooks in every corner of Western society. It is not a coincidence that so many Muslims who were just average American teenagers in high school get recruited by radicals  and end up emerging from  universities  with a deep-rooted  hatred for the country that has been their home  all their lives. (313) 

A Curtain of Fear

As this book makes very clear, moderate Muslims have to battle not only their radical fellow Muslims. But they are also up against the gullibility and naiveté of the Western mainstream, which often responds submissively to the aggressive Islamist agenda. This servile attitude   a form of voluntary dhimmitude -- motivated eleven Canadian academics with roots in Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to issue a joint statement in The Toronto Star. 

They wrote that a curtain of fear has descended on the intelligentsia of the West, including Canada. Their fear to be misunderstood as Islamophobic has silenced them. “Canada’s writers, politicians and media have imposed a frightening censorship on themselves, refusing to speak their minds, thus ensuring that the only voices being heard are that of the Muslim extremists and the racist right.” 

Chasing a Mirage is a compelling testimony to the bitter truth about radical Islam and the blindness of the West. It also testifies to the courage and determination of the author, who has experienced first hand the hatred and vilification of the enemies of freedom and civility. He has been threatened with death but refuses to be silenced. 

As a Christian I do not share Tarek Fatah’s faith, but I deeply appreciate his decision to publish this timely wake-up call. He deserves the profound gratitude of every freedom-loving Canadian for cutting through the platitudes and double-talk that now poison the public discourse about Islam.