SEQUENCE OF CALGARY HERALD ARTICLES AND LETTERS ABOUT THE CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, THE COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS (CAIR-CAN) AND MUSLIM ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (MAC)
CBC and jihad
December 11, 2008 4:01 AM
In early 2007, as the CBC was promoting Little Mosque on the Prairie with great fanfare, I expressed my misgivings about the project. Writing in a Toronto newspaper, I suggested the CBC sitcom reflected “an Islamist agenda” that was using comedy to lull mainstream Canadians into believing all-is-well in Canada’s Muslim communities, despite evidence of a rise in extremism among Muslim youth. For example, Little Mosque made no reference to “the hijacking of . . . Islam by politicized clerics affiliated with Saudi Arabia or Iran.”
Although in recent months the sitcom has added new characters and plots to reflect the voice of liberal Muslims, it continues to use comedy to camouflage reality. My initial remarks may have been harsh, but news that the sitcom is now openly associating itself with pro-sharia Islamist groups, tells me my fears were not without foundation.
Last week I received an e-mail message from the Canadian chapter of the U. S.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asking me to join “CBC and CAIRCan to fight hunger.” The cast and crew of Little Mosque on the Prairie, the CBC, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) and CAIR had teamed up to fight against hunger and were asking for donations to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
On face value, this is an admirable deed. Who can argue against using star power to motivate Muslims to donate to a charity. However, if you scratch below the surface, there is much more than meets the eye.
If CBC had to reach out to Muslim organizations, why CAIR and MAC?Why not any other Muslim group such as the Canadian Council of Muslim Women?Did CBC know about the controversy surrounding these two pro-sharia groups before allowing them to piggyback on one of Canada’s national institutions?
As a fan of the CBC, a donor to Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and a defender of the public broadcaster who feels it is a crucial national institution that weaves together this vast nation from coast to coast, I am prepared to give it the benefit of doubt. I am willing to concede that this was an act of good faith. So allow me to introduce CAIR and MAC to the CBC.
CAIR-Council of American Islamic Relations–was founded in the U. S. in 1994. Despite attempts to fashion itself as a “Muslim Civil Rights” organization, CAIR is better known today as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the recent Texas terror trial that found one of CAIR’s founding directors, Ghassan Elashi, and four other Muslim men guilty of using a charity to raise monies for a terrorist organization in the Middle East. A court filing by the U. S. Justice department that listed three Islamic groups as conspirators described CAIR as a present or past member of “the U. S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.”
However, neither the “unindicted co-conspirator” label nor the conviction of its former director, has affected CAIR. Thanks to funding from Saudi Arabian and Gulf Arab sources, CAIR is expanding across North America with its website claiming it “has 32 chapters in 20 states and one in Canada.”
Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal came up with a $500,000 donation to CAIR “to defend Islam in the American society.”
If the Saudi donation to CAIR was a matter of concern it was small compared to what was coming in the pipe. On May 21, 2006, the official website of the Government of the United Arab Emirates disclosed a massive investment in CAIR by the deputy ruler of Dubai. This included $978,000 from the Al-Maktoum Foundation of Dubai for a property in Washington, D. C., that today serves as the head office of CAIR.While the Arab foundation holds the rights to sell it,
CAIR is said to manage the property and collects rents from other tenants in the building.
The Muslim Association of Canada –MAC –makes no attempt to hide its links to the radical jihadi group, the Muslim
Brotherhood. MAC says on its website that its “roots can be traced to the Islamic revival of the early 20th century, culminating in the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
If the reader is left with any doubt about MAC’s links with the Muslim Brotherhood, their website makes it abundantly clear:
“MAC adopts and strives to implement Islam . . . as understood in its contemporary context by the late Imam, Hassan Albanna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
One has to marvel at the audacity of MAC to endorse Albanna, who proclaimed that armed “Jihad is obligatory on every Muslim,” and that martyrdom in the name of Allah is better than life on earth.
To those of us Muslims who escaped the tyranny of Islamists in the Arab world and South Asia, shivers run up our spine when we see the ease with which MAC and other Islamists can fly under the radar and even manage to appropriate the CBC name and logo in their plans.
The question all Canadians should be asking is this: What good is it to send our troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan when our own public broadcaster is tricked into according respectability to Islamist organizations that share the same doctrine of Jihad?
I hope Hubert Lacroix, the new head of the CBC will recognize that the good name of the public broadcaster is tarnished as a result of partnering with CAIR and MAC. Lacroix should ensure such a hijacking of the CBC is prevented in the future. The world is witnessing a world-wide struggle that is pitting ordinary Muslims against well-funded Islamists. The least the CBC can do is not side with those who wish to implement the Muslim Brotherhood agenda on Canada.
Tarek Fatah Is The Author Of Chasing A Mirage: The Tragic Illusion Of An Islamic State. Tarekfatah@rogers.com © Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Bah, humbug to Tarek Fatah
Sunday, December 14, 2008
While Canadians hunker down for the festive season, bombarded by incessant shopping jingles and reruns of A Christmas Carol, many are also simply trying to weather the economic storm which is now battering the world and has finally reached our shores.
It was with this in mind that the initiative to launch a food drive in conjunction with the CBC and the cast and crew of one of Canada’s newest and most talked-about sitcoms, Little Mosque on the Prairie, embarked.
No holiday season would be complete, however, without the naysayers and those who would seek to divide Canadians instead of uniting to help them in their time of need. In this case, the role of Ebenezer Scrooge is played with aplomb by Tarek Fatah, who has taken it upon himself to bah, humbug this project.
In the rush to pen his Dec. 11 column, “CBC and jihad,” attacking the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. for teaming up with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIRCAN) on an anti-hunger initiative, Fatah omitted more than just facts. Accuracy and truth went out the window too.
Apart from a passing mention of CAIR-CAN’s involvement in what he terms “an admirable deed,” Fatah’s diatribe seems to focus more on his own fears and insecurities–seeing Islamists lurking around every corner and hiding in every shadow–while mudslinging at highly respected grassroots organizations. Perhaps using the logic that a lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth, Fatah seems content to spew the same unsubstantiated allegations time and time again.
To paraphrase from the movie The American President, many of us operated under the assumption that the reason that Fatah (and those like him) devotes so much time and energy shouting at the rain is that he simply doesn’t get it. Well, we were wrong. Fatah’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Fatah’s problem is that he just can’t sell it.
For the record, CAIR-CAN is an organization whose vision is to be a leading voice that enriches Canadian society through Muslim civic engagement (such as this project) and the promotion of human rights. Formed as a sister organization of the U. S.-based CAIR, the two remain completely distinct and autonomous operationally while co-operating on issues of mutual concern and sharing best practices.
Furthermore, CAIR-CAN has acted as an intervener on several high-profile human rights cases, including that of Maher Arar’s rendition to torture in Syria, and continues its work on day-to-day issues of discrimination and civil liberties violations. Recognized for its professionalism and commitment to the universal principles enshrined in our Constitution by organizations and individuals such as Amnesty International and author/ activist Naomi Klein, CAIR-CAN has worked and will continue to work on behalf of all Canadians.
Finally, CAIR-CAN does not now nor will it ever receive or accept funding from foreign governments. Period.
Having said this, even in the story, there is hope at the end for Ebenezer Scrooge.
We welcome Tarek Fatah to come out and help distribute the food collected by this initiative to feed the hungry this holiday season. Then, just maybe, he’ll see for himself that when, as Canadians, we are united, we can accomplish miracles.
Ihsaan Gardee Is the executIve dIrector of the canadIan councIl on amerIcan IslamIc relatIons (caIr-can) [sic] © The Calgary Herald 2008
Tarek Fatah (Letter to the Editor, Calgary Herald) (http://www.calgaryherald.com/Evasive/1084809/story.html)
December 17, 2008
Re: “Bah, humbug to Tarek Fatah,” Ihsaan Gardee, Opinion, Dec. 14.
Ihsaan Gardee evades the questions I raised about CAIR’s links to Saudi Arabia and the fact it was listed as a co-conspirator in the Texas Terror trial. Instead, Gardee trivializes CBC’s blunder of associating with pro-sharia organizations with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. He tries to distance his group from its U. S. parent, claiming CAIR-Can was “formed as a sister organization of the U. S.-based CAIR; the two remain completely distinct and autonomous . . .”
Far from being “completely distinct,” court documents suggest otherwise. In a sworn affidavit in 2003, Sheema Khan, former CAIR-Can chair, states that CAIR USA has “direct control over the character and quality of all activities” of its Canadian chapter. She admits CAIR Canada “uses the trademarks CAIR-Can and the name Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada under licence from CAIR United States.” Khan writes that in 1996, a Canadian chapter was established in Montreal to promote awareness about the American CAIR through the distribution in Canada of CAIR newsletters. She takes pride in the fact that under her leadership, more than 2,000 Canadian Muslims became members of CAIR USA.
The fact that his group’s former chair would sign a sworn affidavit stating American CAIR had “direct control over the character and quality of the activities” of its “Canadian chapter,” exposes Gardee’s attempt to distance CAIR-Can from its American parent’s tarnished reputation. Both CAIRs seem to sing from the same jihadi hymn book.
Tarek Fatah, Toronto © Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Humbug all around
Marvin Levant (Letter to Editor, Calgary Herald) (http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/letters/Humbug+around/1084810/story.html)
December 17, 2008
CBC failed miserably in performing due diligence on its anti-hunger campaign partner, CAIR-Can, the Canadian clone of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR has recently been served with multiple summons (by four clients in a civil complaint) for alleged criminal offences, including fraud and racketeering. CAIR had al-ready been named by the U. S. government as “an unindicted co-conspirator” in a U.S. terrorfinancing trial involving Hamas. Three senior CAIR officials have been convicted for terror-related activities, and 11 others linked with terror investigations, including its founder, Omar Ahmad. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ahmad has stated: “The goal of the Qur’an is to be the highest authority in America and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.” Ihsaan Gardee claims that his organization “is completely distinct and autonomous operationally” from CAIR. Perhaps he should acquaint himself with Sheema Khan’s affidavit, which states that: “CAIR U. S. has direct control over the character and quality of all the activities of CAIR-Can.” So I say to you, Ihsaan Gardee, humbug! and to you, the CBC, not only humbug, but shame on you!
Marvin Levant, Calgary © Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
David Harris (Letter to Editor, Calgary Herald) (http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/letters/Humbug+around/1084810/story.html)
December 18, 2008
Re: “CBC and jihad,” Tarek Fatah, Opinion, Dec. 11.
Thanks to Tarek Fatah for exposing CBC Television’s Little Mosque on the Prairie partnership with Islamist ideologues. Fatah reminds us that even government media can fall prey to influence operations, whether through naive journalism, mistaken corporate outreach or internal penetration. These can devastate a network’s credibility. Consider the effect the Little Mosque mess had on my thinking. In response to November’s Mumbai attacks, a CBC Online associate producer had me appear on Ask a terrorism expert, a CBC web forum. Readers supplied questions, and I responded. CBC Online editors then posted my answers concerning motivations for Mumbai and other Islamist terror, but only after excising virtually all specific references to those Qur’anic verses used by terrorists to justify extremism. Also erased was evidence of Saudi government-approved hate material that was found recently in Ottawa. My requests to consult with an executive producer were ignored. CBC alliances with advocacy groups–let alone Saudi-oriented radical Islamist ones–will raise doubts about bias and censorship. The Little Mosque revelations leave me wondering about my own experience.
David Harris, Ottawa
David B. Harris,
International And Terrorist Intelligence Program,
With Insignis Strategic Research Inc. © Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Don’t be fooled
Martin Collacott (Letter to Editor, Calgary Herald) (http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/letters/Humbug+around/1084810/story.html)
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Re: “Bah, humbug to Tarek Fatah,” Ihsaan Gardee, Opinion, Dec. 14.
The Canadian Council for American-Islamic Relations derides Tarek Fatah as a “Scrooge” for questioning the CBC’s association with CAIR-CAN in an anti-hunger initiative.
While saluting anti-hunger campaigns in general, Fatah warned that CAIR-CAN has dubious credentials and is using the CBC connection to rehabilitate its image. CAIRCAN spins itself as a Muslim civil rights organization. But as Fatah notes, its American parent organization, CAIR, is an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a recent Texas terror trial. There, CAIR founding director Ghassan Elashi and four other Muslim men were convicted for collecting “charity” money for terrorists. Moreover, CAIRCAN unjustly and divisively struggles to depict Muslims in this country as victims of their fellow Canadians and has silenced critics with threats of lawsuits. My Fraser Institute study spells out this history at: http://fraser.stg.devlin.ca/COMMERCE.WEB/product_files/TerrorismResponse6.pdf
As moderate Muslims like Salim Mansur, Raheel Raza and Fatah emphasize, CAIRCAN’s links and agenda ill-serve Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians. No Christmas charm offensives or calculated appeals to Canadians’ values of tolerance and civility can change that fact. Muslims and other aware Canadians must look elsewhere for interfaith bridge-builders.
CBC executives should end the broadcaster’s association with radical Islamists, and find out why staff failed to exercise due diligence when they allowed such an association to develop.
Martin Collacott, Vancouver
Martin Collacott is a former Canadian Ambassador in the Middle East and Asia. © The Calgary Herald 2008