Sunday, 17 June 2012

How Coffee Made Me Angry

Because it is Sunday, and because it is still the school year, I'm by myself until after dinner.  Because I am by myself, I went into town to McDonald's to get myself an iced coffee.  I'd go to Tim Horton's, but their ice coffee totally sucks, so I'm not loyal to them anymore.  And then I drove home.  It was the drive home that sent me over the edge and made me happy I didn't have my kids in the car.  Why?  I ended up using bad words at the radio.

Now, I'm perfectly well aware that the person inside the radio cannot hear me yelling and swearing at them, and I'm also aware of the fact that it doesn't really make me feel better.  I still felt very angry.  Who was it?  Tarek Fatah.  

Now, for those of you that don't know who Tarek Fatah is, all I can say is "lucky you."  For those of you that do, and like him, all I can say is "WHY?"  And for the rest of us, I'm sure you understand.  Tarek Fatah is, essentially, The Enemy Within to Canadian Muslims.  Maybe if radio stations like CFRB - 1010 in Toronto didn't give him free air time every Sunday afternoon from 3-4pm it wouldn't be so bad.  But they do, and the first 15 minutes of his show this week (all I heard, thank goodness) was condemn, demean and spread more hatred of Muslims - who he calls "his people."  Dude - we are not your people.  Please do not act as if you speak for us.  No one ever gave you permission to speak for Islam and Canadian Muslims as a whole.  You are anti-Islam.  You want us to ignore tenants of our faith in order to do what you think is right - which is making ourselves invisible.  You want us to abandon our faith to become secular.  And you seem to think that we can't be part of society unless we especially give up the outer signs of our faith - specifically hijab.  

Mr Fatah (and I use the term Mr loosely) has repeatedly spoken out against women who choose to wear hijab.  In fact, again today, he phrased it in such a way to make it look like those of us who choose to wear it are forced to wear it.  He was attacking first all Muslims for what the extremists in Nigeria have been doing.  He was attacking us for not rallying in the streets against the "Muslims" in Nigeria who have decided that blowing up churches is a good thing to do.  Okay, so here goes - 

I, as a Muslim, disagree and condemn every Muslim attack on non-Muslims or fellow Muslims.  Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace.  That is what our Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) taught us.  That we should not attack unless we ourselves are being attack.  We are also told that to kill someone is a grave sin.  So therefore, while it may not bring much comfort to the families of those that lost their lives today and on other days, the people responsible will be dealt with on their own judgement day.

But then Mr Fatah went on to say that he doesn't see "any of his people speaking out in Rexdale, where every woman you see can't leave their home without wearing a headscarf."  

Now, maybe if this was the first time I was hearing Mr Fatah speak, I would think that maybe it were just semantics - the way it sounds isn't quite the way it was meant, that it was just a simple switch of words that could mean the same thing.  However, I have heard Mr Fatah speak before and I do know it wasn't semantics - that it wasn't a simple, mistaken, use of the word "can't" instead of the words "choose to."  No - Mr Fatah doesn't make those type of errors.

You see, Mr Fatah does not believe that hijab is commanded of us in the Qur'an.  He doesn't believe that the Qur'an states this:

 And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only 
that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to 
their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers
 or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack
 vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to
 reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye 
may succeed. 

In Surah 24 Ayat 31.  To Mr Fatah, it appears, these verses do not exist, and if they do, they're not relevant in Canadian society.  While he publicly claims that he is not against a banning of hijab, just niqaab and burqa 

I've still yet to see a woman in Canada wearing a burqa.  Niqaab, yes but burqa?  So for those of you that are non-Muslim that are unsure of what the difference is, a little definition.  Niqaab is the face covering in which you can still see the eyes.  It is not commanded of us - the only people that it is ever spoken about that were to do it were the Prophet's (صلى الله عليه وسلم) wives.  But niqaab is something that even Muslim women continue to disagree upon to this day - whether it is fard or not, whether it brings you more blessings or not, whether it is acceptable in the west or not.  However, banning it (or attempting to ban it) only serves to get most women to agree on one thing - that we don't want it banned.  Now, burqa is entirely different.  Burqa is what you see in pictures out of Afghanistan, where they are covered literally from head to do, with a mesh screen that you can still barely see through, that can actually  be dangerous to women.  There is no place for that in the world, in my opinion.  It takes the concept of hijab, twists and warps it, makes it extreme, and then tries to be passed of as Islamic - of which it is not.  Now, if Mr Fatah was just trying to make the burqa (and not niqaab) illegal, I might agree with him on that.  However, his methods and his making himself appear as if he speaks for all Canadian Muslims makes it incredibly difficult for me to ever be in his camp on anything.

So in that brief, aggravating, angering, fifteen minutes that I heard Mr Fatah speak today, he derided Canadian Muslims for not speaking up on the Nigerian church attacks (of which quite honestly I didn't know about today's until after I got home and checked CNN International - doesn't even have an article on it, nor does The Toronto Star, though in just checking Al Jazeera - English, they do.  (And for those that wonder - Al Jazeera is actually not what the western media even make them out to be.  Check it out sometime - they're actually very moderate and don't take sides.  They're like the BBC of the Middle East!)  

Mr Fatah also made it appear, once again, that women don't have the choice about hijab and that when you see us out in public we are being forced to wear it (this could explain why a friend's 9 year old daughter - who chose to wear hijab - was accosted and belittled at the local Multicultural Festival last month, if the media that gives Mr Fatah free space is allowing him to perpetuate this stereotype).

And then...and then he started to go on about how "his people" are killing women all over, from honour killings to female infanticide to female selective abortion.  Now, I'm going to stand up and say that yes, it does happen, yes it is awful, and no it has no place in Islam.  In fact, Islam was the first religion to speak out against it.  Islam was the first religion to give women rights.  And yes, there are some who are attempting to take us back 1400 years, to attempt some sort of warped pre-Islamic culture with Islam as the religion.  But Mr Fatah went one step further today in stating that the female selective abortion is rampant in Brampton (Ontario) and British Columbia.  

So yet again, Mr Fatah is giving people like my inlaws, who are rabidly anti-Islamic, more ammunition in their fight on my raising my kids as Muslims.  He is giving the general population who haven't bothered to learn more about Islam more ammunition to come up to perfect strangers and make negative, and sometimes hateful, comments to those of us wearing hijab.  

But I don't entirely blame Mr Fatah for all of this so-called knowledge of his being spread.  I also blame CFRB, The Sun Media Networks, The National Post, The Toronto Star and The Globe & Mail here in Canada for allowing his free reign to spread hatred of the Muslim community under the guise that he is a Muslim.  Maybe those people don't care about the fact that many Canadian Muslims do not support him, do not support his organization and are just fine with him spreading hatred and misinformation through their newspapers and radio stations.  Or maybe they're just uneducated on who Tarek Fatah really is and choose to remain that way.

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