This profile was originally published in French the day before the Chair of the CMLA’s Quebec chapter, Coline Bellefleur, made a presentation in favour of ‘hate speech’ Bill 59 before a Quebec National Assembly commission on September 23, 2015. The transcript and the video of the CMLA presentation are available on the Quebec National Assembly’s website.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART 1 – Introduction
PART 2 – General presentation of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association (CMLA)
PART 2.1 – The mission and the beginnings of the CMLA
PART 2.2 – The Quebec chapter of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association
PART 2.3 – The CMLA and its U.S. counterpart, the National Association of Muslim Lawyers
PART 3 – Three positions defended by the CMLA in the past
PART 3.1 – Support for sharia tribunals in family law debated in Ontario between 2003 and 2005
PART 3.2 – Pressuring security agencies to stop referring to Islamic concepts when describing the threat facing Canada
PART 3.3 – Obfuscating the fact that Islamist leaders present mosques as “centres of the Islamic revolution”
PART 4 – The first CMLA’s website displayed a stylized version of a sailboat, evoking those which were used for Islamic conquests of the past
* * * * *
In 2012, in a meeting with the federal Minister of Public Safety, the CMLA and several organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure requested that Canada’s security agencies stop using any Islam-related term to describe the threat facing Canada.
Point de Bascule (September 5, 2014): June 8, 2012 – Muslim Brotherhood delegation led by Hussein Hamdani met with Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews / Details provided by lawyer of Hamas’s fund collector
During this meeting, the leader of the delegation, lawyer Hussein Hamdani, insisted that federal authorities stop using expressions, such as ‘Islamicism’ or ‘Islamic insurgent’ to describe the threat facing Canada and rather describe the threat as “Al-Qaida’s ideology.”
These pressures were fruitful and, on February 3, 2014, current CSIS director Michel Coulombe acknowledged before a Canadian Senate Committee that his agency does not use any Islam-related terms in describing the threat facing Canada anymore. “We prefer to talk about terrorism inspired by al Qaeda ideology. That’s what we’re talking about,” said Mr. Coulombe before the Senate Committee.
That’s exactly what the CMLA and its Islamist allies were asking for.
This narrow definition of the threat is harmful because it does not provide any insight into what is behind this so-called “Al-Qaida’s ideology.” In addition, it suggests that the threat facing Canada is solely of a violent nature. Nothing in this definition alludes to the non-violent penetration of Canadian official institutions advocated by Islamist leaders in the past.
On April 29, 2015, Hussein Hamdani, the leader of the delegation, including the CMLA, that met with Minister Toews in 2012, was suspended from his position as advisor to the federal Department of Public Safety (and later replaced) after the Montreal-based TVA network and Point de Bascule revealed, among others facts, that an Islamist organization he is leading collaborated with ISNA-Canada AFTER its charitable status was revoked for its involvement in the funding of an organization linked to Islamist terrorism in India.
If Quebec’s ‘hate speech’ Bill 59 is adopted, it is realistic to suggest that it will not only serve to muzzle media and websites criticizing Islamists but, like the Islamist pressure on security agencies in Ottawa, it will hamper efforts by police to counter the Islamist threat. The provisions of Bill 59 could be invoked to sue police services under Quebec’s jurisdiction.
On July 3, 2015, the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) initiated a lawsuit for profiling against the Quebec City Police Service in a case that is not related to the Islamist threat.
The QHRC President Jacques Frémont’s threat to sue “people who would write against … the Islamic religion … on a website or on a Facebook page” fulfills the very objective pursued by the CMLA and its allies when they met with Canada’s Public Safety Minister Toews in 2012. Therefore, it is likely that the CMLA’s presentation before a Quebec National Assembly commission on September 23, 2015 will be favourable to the additional powers of censorship being granted to the QHRC by the current version of ‘hate speech’ Bill 59.
UPDATE WRITTEN AFTER THE ORIGINAL RELEASE OF THIS TEXT IN FRENCH: As predicted, when the CMLA testified before the Quebec National Assembly commission on September 23, it came out in favour of Bill 59 and its censorship provisions. Except for the CMLA and some other Muslim lobbies, the bill has been almost unanimously condemned in Quebec and outside the province. Former Montreal La Presse editorialist Mario Roy titled his comment against the bill “Back in the USSR.” Law professor and columnist Pierre Trudel called it “Inquisition 2.0.” Montreal Gazette columnist Don Macpherson wrote that Bill 59 would turn the Quebec Human Rights Commission into a “speech police.” The Gazette itself had an editorial asking to “scrap” the bill. Montreal La Presse and Globe and Mail columnist Lysiane Gagnon wrote that Bill 59 would lead to “pure totalitarianism.” Former Chatelaine editor and Journal de Montréal columnist Lise Ravary and National Post columnist Barbara Kay both reminded their readers that the QHRC proposal leading to Bill 59 is based on motions to criminalize the criticism of Islam submitted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the U.N. on a regular basis. The National Post itself described Bill 59 as “a danger for democracy” whose details are “chilling.” The Sun newspapers ran an editorial from Ottawa to Edmonton stressing that “Bill 59 sounds like something out of George Orwell’s 1984, a fictional novel which describes how a totalitarian state keeps its citizens oppressed by ruthless laws suppressing free speech.” Several commentators in the U.S. (Quebec’s Proposed Imposition of Blasphemy Laws Will Affect Us All) and in the UK (Canada: The Spanish Inquisition Makes a Comeback) have also denounced the made-in-Quebec censorship proposal.
Before the CMLA expressed its support for Bill 59 in Quebec City, one of its allies, the Canadian Muslim Forum (CMF), had already come out in favor of the new censorship powers that the government wanted to grant to the QHRC. In June 2015, the CMF approved ‘hate speech’ Bill 59 in a press release and, on August 20, 2015, its leaders did so at public hearings before a National Assembly commission (Transcript / Video). In 2013, the CMLA and the CMF presented, together, a submission about Bill 60, another proposal being studied by the National Assembly at the time.
On January 23, 2015, “The CMLA and the National Council of Canadian Muslims [NCCM / former CAIR Canada] made oral submissions before the Supreme Court of Canada as joint interveners in the case of [QHRC and] Latif v. Bombardier. […] The interveners were represented by co-counsel [sic] Faisal Bhabha, Khalid Elgazzar, and Faisal Mirza.” Their submissions were in support of the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s position in a profiling case. The Supreme Court decision confirmed the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision that overturned a Quebec Human Rights Tribunal’s decision favourable to the QHRC. (QCTDP – QCCA – RCS).
Since the early 2000s, the CMLA and the NCCM have developed a long and sustained collaboration. On September 13, 2001, the CMLA issued a message enjoining its members to “consider contributing some of your valuable time or money to groups like CAIR Canada.” Throughout the years, the CMLA and the NCCM have issued dozens of joint statements and they have appeared before House of Commons Committees and Senate Committees to present their common views on several issues.
On August 25, 2015, Montreal’s La Presse announced that the lawyers involved in the NCCM’s defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Harper had started requesting documents from their counterparts to build their cases. The Islamist lobby is suing the PM after his Director of communications told Sun News in 2014 that the NCCM had “documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas.”
Point de Bascule (March 4, 2014) : Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan – Saudi Gazette publishes reservations of a National Council of Canadian Muslims’ ally about suing PM Harper’s Office for defamation over links with Hamas (The article examine some of the links between the NCCM and Hamas.)
In an interview whose exact date is not specified but that was archived for the first time by WebArchive in 2002, the Islamist leader Jamal Badawi, a Director of the NCCM / CAIR-CAN until 2013, incited Muslim judges and civil servants operating in North America not to apply current legal provisions that are opposed to sharia.
In 2004, the Executive Director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (the CMLA ally then known as CAIR-CAN) told a Canadian Senate Committee that Jamal Badawi “is generally understood to be perhaps one of the best North American Islamic scholars, if not the premier.”
In 2014, the CMLA ally endorsed Jamal Badawi once more by presenting him, this time, as one of several Muslim scholars that the NCCM consults for their “good understanding of life and Islam in North America.”
Lawyer Faisal Bhabha representing the CMLA and the NCCM / CAIR-CAN during the hearing of the profiling case QHRC and Latif v. Bombardier by the Supreme Court of Canada on January 23, 2015. (Video at the Supreme Court of Canada. Decisions by the Supreme Court, the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal are also accessible.)
The Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association was founded in Toronto in 1998. According to the genesis of the organization available on the organization’s archived previous website, efforts to organize Muslim lawyers in Ontario started in 1992.
On the homepage of its current website, the CMLA claims that it has 200 members. A February 28, 2015 CMLA document, states that the organization “now has over 300 members across Canada and boasts chapters in Ontario and Quebec.” The CMLA’s Quebec branch was launched in April 2014.
In its early years, the CMLA was known as the Muslim Lawyers Association. It changed its name to become the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association most likely between March 2004 and May 2004. Shortly after the transition, it abandoned its former website www.muslimlaw.org and started a new one.
On the homepage of its current website, the CMLA offers professional support to its members (networking, mentoring, etc.) It also presents itself “as an advocate on select issues of importance to Canadian Muslim lawyers and the broader Canadian Muslim community.” The CMLA presents its lobbying with government agencies and media, not as a political activity but as a defense of Muslims’ civil liberties.
In 2005, Maclean’s magazine suggested that the CMLA’s transition from a social network to an activist organization occurred after 9/11.
In a gathering of academics that took place in Saudi Arabia in 2007, Imam Yahya Hendi, a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood based at Georgetown University in Washington, declared that the number of Muslim lawyers in the United States went from nine before the September 11 attacks to 400 in 2007 (Reuters / GMBDW). We can extrapolate that the progression has been similar in Canada.
A February 2015 CMLA document evokes an ‘exponential growth’ of its membership since its foundation in 1998.
One factor that contributed to the interest of young Muslims for the legal profession is the encouragement given by community leaders, such as Youssef Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide, to switch from fields of study traditionally favoured by Muslims in the West, such as engineering and medicine, to social sciences and law in order to be better equipped for influencing public opinion in Western countries where they have been settling in large numbers.
Youssef Qaradawi expressed this idea in his book The priorities of the Islamic movement in the coming phase / Archive.Today based on a speech he had given in Algeria in the nineties:
Youssef Qaradawi: Massmedia work is a field that embraces scores of arts today, and there are institutes and colleges for these sciences, in which students sit for high and postgraduate studies.
If we want to “Islamize” these arts, we will never be able to accomplish that without the help of specialized experts who can provide the Islamic alternatives to what we have today.
The Islamic Movement is rich in talent, but its talented children are not properly distributed in the fields and places where they are needed most.
We frequently see a concentration of members of certain specializations, such as medicine, pharmacology or engineering, while the Islamic Movement can lay claim to only a few specialists in rare scientific fields, and even none at all in some cases.
This applies to human and social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, economics, political sciences, mass communication and the like, which the youth in shirk and head only for applied science studies, despite the fact that these sciences are closer to the community and affect it more, and that is why the Jews in the United States and other countries have been careful [to] monopolize them and get the lion’s share of their positions so that they may direct them to serve their interests at will.
In their frantic search for contacts in the Muslim community, Canadian security services and other government agencies often neglect to examine whether the Muslim leaders they endorse are really part of the solution to counter the Islamist threat or rather members of the detachment waging the ideological jihad to which the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide referred.
All too often, we forget that Hamas, Osama Bin Laden and others generally associated with violent jihad have highlighted the fact that non-violent activities (propaganda, disinformation, etc.) are essential to the success of their cause.
Article 30 of the Hamas Charter states that “Jihad is not limited to wielding arms and fighting the enemies face to face, for eloquent speech, persuasive writing, effective books, support and help – when [they are] performed with the sincere intention that Allah’s banner will reign supreme – all constitute jihad for the sake of Allah.”
This is why, as soon as a connection can be established between a non-violent Muslim organization and countries and organizations promoting and funding violent jihad, Canadian authorities should assume that the non-violent organization is engaged in a ‘good cop-bad cop’ routine that aims at reaching the same totalitarian goals by non-violent means as those pursued by violent jihadists.
The CMLA’s Quebec branch was launched in April 2014 / Archive.Today. On February 2, 2015, the CMLA presented / Archive.Today lawyer Coline Bellefleur as the Chair of its Quebec branch and lawyer Shahad Salman as a member of its Legal Advocacy Committee.
On her LinkedIn profile / Archive.Today, Ms. Bellefleur describes herself as a CMLA spokesperson on Bill 59. Before migrating to Canada, Ms. Bellefleur worked in immigration law in Belgium and Morocco and tutored students in constitutional law at the University of Strasbourg (France). Profile TBPK / Archive.Today
So far, the action by the CMLA’s Quebec branch that received the most coverage was probably its protest, in February 2015, against a statement by PM Harper who had expressed his commitment to counter the promoters of terrorism “whether they’re in a basement, or whether they’re in a mosque or somewhere else.”
In Quebec, lawyer Shahad Salman was the CMLA’s main spokesperson on this issue. In an interview with Anne-Marie Dussault on Radio-Canada / Archive.Today, she criticized Stephen Harper for making a connection between mosques and terrorism in spite of the news being regularly reported by the media to this effect, in spite of the fact that mosques have been described as “centres of the Islamic revolution” by the intellectual guides of the Islamists themselves. This CMLA position is examined in greater detail in part 3.3 of this article.
Shahad Salman also intervened later in February 2015, after the leaders of a mosque in Terrebonne (north of Montreal) chose to close it rather rather than risk paying a $912 daily fine from the municipality because they had obtained their authorization to open under “false pretences,” according to a municipal spokesman. According to the National Post / Archive.Today, Shahad Salman declared at the time: “It’s getting too much. […] It’s sending a message to the Muslim community that is really problematic right now.”
According to the National Post, the founders of the mosque had applied for an authorization to operate a “research and development enterprise” rather than a mosque.
Shahad Salman is also a member of the Quebec Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee / Archive.Today. The oldest archived document presenting her at this position is dated April 15, 2013. This committee advises the head of the Quebec Bar Association and its board of directors. The Bar Association is responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in Quebec.
On the night of the 2014 provincial election, Ms. Salman criticized former Premier Jean Charest by comparing him unfavourably with his successor: “As a person, Philippe Couillard has demonstrated an authenticity that Jean Charest did not have,” Ms. Salman is quoted saying by Montreal’s Le Devoir.
The Quebec Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee is chaired by Pearl Eliadis. On September 15, 2015, Ms. Eliadis was part of the Bar Association delegation that supported ‘hate speech’ Bill 59 before a parliamentary commission while making many suggestions to strengthen it. (Transcript / Vidéo).
On March 25, 2015, as a guest speaker at the Université de Montréal’s legal research centre, QHRC President, Jacques Frémont, praised Ms. Eliadis’ book Speaking Out on Human Rights by describing it as “a remarkable book which is, I think, the best in the world [to explain the importance of human rights commissions].”
In her book and in a long article that was published in 2009 / Archive.Today, Pearl Eliadis justified the legal suits initiated by an Islamist lobby against the publisher of Maclean’s magazine before three human rights commissions in Canada for publishing an article authored by Mark Steyn. Steyn’s article quoted Muslim leaders who predicted that Muslims would end up taking control of the West with immigration and high birth rates. Steyn dedicated at least two comments (2008 – 2014) to refute Pearl Eliadis’s position. His older one explains why Ms. Eliadis’s conception of human rights leads to an arbitrary application of the law. Former Montreal’s La Presse editorialist Mario Roy’s Back in the USSR draws a parallel between Quebec’s ‘hate speech’ Bill 59 and the legal suits against Mark Steyn’s publisher before three out-of-Quebec human rights commissions in 2008.
In December 2013, before setting up its Quebec branch, the CMLA joined with the Canadian Muslim Forum, mostly active in Quebec, to present a submission about Bill 60. Joint CMLA-CMF submission on Bill 60 / WebArchive – Archive.Today
The CMF is an integral part of the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in Quebec. Since 2001, its president Samer Majzoub, has successively (and sometimes simultaneously) introduced himself as a spokesman for the CMF and the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC). On its own website, the MAC has stated that “[its] modern roots can be traced to the Islamic revival of the early twentieth century, culminating in the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. […] MAC adopts and strives to implement Islam, as embodied in the Qur’an, and the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and as understood in its contemporary context by the late Imam, Hassan Albanna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. MAC regards this ideology as the best representation of Islam as delivered by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).”
LEFT – Coline Bellefleur, Chair of the CMLA’s Quebec chapter, presenting her organization’s support for ‘hate speech’ Bill 59 before a Quebec National Assembly parliamentary commission on September 23, 2015.
RIGHT – Shahad Salman, a member of the CMLA’s Legal Advocacy Committee and of the Quebec Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee, denouncing Prime Minister Harper on Radio-Canada for having mentioned that jihadist radicalization could take place in various venues, including mosques, on February 2, 2015.
The National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML) is the CMLA’s U.S. counterpart. Although the possibility of cooperation between both organizations is limited due to the fact that U.S. and Canadian bodies of jurisprudence are not directly transferable from one country to the other, the leaders of these organizations have collaborated in the past. A factor favorable to their partnership is the fact that the U.S. organization’s President Emeritus, Mohammad Fadel, is based at the University of Toronto since 2006 where he teaches business law and Islamic law.
On January 21, 2008, Mohammad Fadel and Ziyaad Mia, chair of Advocacy and Research with the CMLA, teamed up in a TV debate about Human Rights Commissions on The Agenda (TVO) with Steve Paikin. Predictably, Fadel and Mia defended the usefulness of such commissions. To retrieve the names of the participants to the debate, you must choose the option Free Speech, Hate Speech, and Human Rights Commissions on the archived webpage. Mohammad Fadel also mentions his participation to the TV show in his curriculum vitae.
In 2012, when former CMLA Chair Naseer (Irfan) Syed explained the meaning of the message that was transmitted by the CMLA and the Islamist organizations that took part in a meeting with the federal Public Safety Minister, he suggested to consult a text by Mohammad Fadel on how Islamists would like others to talk about Islam and Muslims. Mr. Fadel was not part of the delegation that met with Minister Toews.
In a text published by the New York School Law Review in 2012-2013, Mohammad Fadel stated that one of the disadvantages for Muslims living as minorities in countries like Canada and the United States is that, in a democracy, Muslims do not have the power “to apply Islamic law coercively on the members of the community” (sic) anymore.
Democracy provides Muslim minorities with certain advantages relative to this sort of ancient regime of co-existence, but it also creates particular challenges. First, what are the advantages from the perspective of Muslim minorities? First, there is freedom of religion. Whereas in the pre-modern world, religious expression and the rights of Muslims were extremely constrained, in a democracy, there are much greater religious rights. In addition, there are also the general rights of citizens. So you do not just have the right to pray, you also have the right to vote, to run for office, to trade in the marketplace and so forth.
On the other hand, a disadvantage is the loss of communal coercive power. In a democracy, Muslims do not have the right to apply Islamic law coercively on the members of the community, where they might have had that right in all sorts of pre-modern regimes. Therefore, on the one hand it expands rights, but from another perspective it also reduces them.
In 2014, Mohammad Fadel collaborated with the research centre on sharia headed by Tariq Ramadan in Qatar. He is also part of a select group of Muslim scholars endorsed by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) based in Herndon (Virginia). The IIIT is the main research centre affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in North America (GMBDW – DTN). The IIIT was mentioned as an entity belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. in a Brotherhood internal memorandum that was produced for evidentiary purposes in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial that led to the conviction of all those who were accused of terrorism financing.
This Brotherhood internal memorandum states that “[Point 4.4] The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
In the quotation above, the expression “by their hands” refers to the involvement of non-Muslims in the Islamist masterplan.
In 2005, the NAML established a substructure called Muslim Advocates as an advocacy group in the U.S. After this organization was set up, it appears that the NAML stopped using its own website http://www.namlnet.org and started using that of its new substructure instead: https://www.muslimadvocates.org/.
After a first unsuccessful attempt in 1991, Muslim lawyer Syed Mumtaz Ali came back in the fall of 2003 and asked the Government of Ontario to formalize the existence of Islamic tribunals in family matters for Muslims living in the province. If Ali’s plan had been adopted, these tribunals would have dealt with issues such as marriage, separation, divorce, alimonies, and wills, among others. In 2003, lawyer Ali was acting on behalf of the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice while in 1991, he was representing the Canadian Society of Muslims.
The Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association supported lawyer Ali’s project and its representatives, Naseer (Irfan) Syed and Haniya Sheikh, met with the former Attorney General of Ontario, Marion Boyd, when she prepared her report defending the existence of Islamic tribunals in 2004.
Lawyer Faisal Kutty defended Islamic arbitration in Ontario and the Boyd report in an article published by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs / Archive.Today in March 2005. Mr. Kutty signed his article as the general counsel of the Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association (CMCLA). According to the archived relevant websites, in March 2005 Naseer (Irfan) Syed was still the CMLA Chair and a screenshot identified him as a member of the CMCLA Board in February 2005.
At that time, various Muslim entities were already applying sharia rules in family matters in several Muslim communities in Canada without a formal endorsement by Canadian authorities. Lawyer Ali’s campaign aimed at getting an official endorsement for the application of sharia principles in family matters from Ontario’s judicial authorities.
In 1995, Montreal’s La Presse reported that a Council of sharia was operating in Montreal and was making decisions in family matters. Former MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin alluded to it in a recent article about the Islamist threat in Canada.
La Presse (February 24, 1995): [Translation by Point de Bascule] “The Council of Sharia, also called the Council of Islamic Jurisprudence, was established a year ago by Muslim religious leaders in Montreal. It rules on issues relating to family law and civil law brought to its attention by Muslim citizens. It has already heard ten cases or so regarding matrimonial matters although it has not been granted official status from the government.”
When the lobbying by Syed Mumtaz Ali and his Islamic Institute in favor of sharia principles in Ontario became known by the public, it was widely denounced in Canada and elsewhere in the world. An article published by the CBC in 2005 mentions that demonstrations were organized in many European cities against the endorsement of sharia principles in family matters by the Government of Ontario.
Opponents to the introduction of sharia law pleaded that rules of Islamic law are very disadvantageous to women in particular.
According to sharia law, the testimony of a woman in court in worth half that of a man.
Great Britain is a country where the introduction of sharia has been largely supported by government agencies. In 2014, the Law Society had to abandon its guidelines for Sharia-compliant wills and had to apologize for having promoted this highly discriminatory practice.
Sharia councils also rule on a growing number of divorces in Great Britain and, for many years, Baroness Cox, from the House of Lords, has been trying to have them banned. In these Sharia councils, men can easily divorce their wives while it is very difficult for Muslim women to do so. In 2012, Baroness Cox mentioned the case of a woman who had to go to the hospital after being beaten by her husband but was denied a religious divorce so she could remarry in spite of the fact that her husband had taken another wife.
John Bingham (The Telegraph – October 20, 2012): Sharia courts ‘as consensual as rape’, House of Lords told / Archive.Today
Another case that was mentioned by the Baroness concerns a woman who had to go to Jordan “to seek permission to remarry from a seven-year-old boy whom she had never met because she had no other male relatives.”
In note 26 of a text dedicated to the status of women that was published in 2007, sharia expert and President emeritus of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers Mohammad Fadel quotes a Muslim jurist who states that, in Islamic law, “where the spouses disagree whether the husband exercised lawful discipline or committed abuse, the wife is presumed to be truthful unless the husband is well-known for piety.”
Aside from legitimizing the use of force by husbands and inequality between men and women, this principle opens the door to the corruption of judges. Since a Muslim can ‘demonstrate his piety’ by donating money to Muslim organizations, it is easy to imagine that he could try to ‘demonstrate his piety’ by supporting an organization led by the judge who will rule on his case in order to influence his decision.
In 2004, when the debate on sharia tribunals took place in Ontario, columnist Margaret Wente reported in the Globe and Mail the case of a young professional Muslim woman working in a bank in the Greater Toronto:
“She’s educated. She used to give all her money to her husband. She had to beg him for money to buy a cup of coffee. Then she decided to keep $50 a month for herself, but he said no. They took the matter to an uncle, who decreed that because the wife had not been obedient, her husband could stop sleeping with her. (This is a traditional penalty for disobedient wives.) He could also acquire a temporary wife to take care of his sexual needs, which he proceeded to do. Now the woman wants a separation. She’s fighting for custody of the children, which, according to sharia, belong to the father.”
After opponents objected to the introduction of sharia in family matters in Ontario, Al-Jazeera quoted the CMLA Chair at the time, Naseer (Irfan) Syed, who attributed these objections to “the general hysteria that’s out there since 9/11” and to racism.
The debate in Ontario made waves in Quebec. According to a March 2005 publication issued by the Canadian Bar Association, “Salam Elmenyawi, an imam who heads the Muslim Council of Montreal, says his group has been holding quiet talks with the Quebec Department of Justice. The group wants the Charest government to change provincial law to recognize binding Sharia arbitration, as in Ontario.”
On May 26, 2005, in order to pre-empt the Islamists’ move in Quebec, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion condemning the Ontarian initiative and asked that it be stopped.
In her presentation of the motion, MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin pointed out that a law that would apply only to Muslims would contravene the Canadian Charter of Rights, which states that “[15.1] Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.”
In September 2005, reacting to protests from Canada and from around the world against the recognition of sharia principles in Canadian law, Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, finally stopped the project and declared: “There will be no sharia law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians.”
In 2009, shortly after the death of Syed Mumtaz Ali, the promoter of sharia tribunals in family matters in Ontario, the CMLA recommended to the Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario) to honor him as an “exceptional Ontario lawyer.” At that time, the CMLA also proposed to honor an Ontario Muslim judge and Ontario Minister Yasir Naqvi. CMLA’s recommendations to the LSUC / WebArchive
On March 11, 2013, the Toronto Sun / Archive.Today revealed that Minister Naqvi had sent a letter of endorsement to author Suhail Kapoor for his book Islam: Balancing Life and Beyond in spite of the fact that the book justifies the beating of wives by their husbands. According to the National Post / Archive.Today, Minister Naqvi defended himself by pleading that he had not read the book before sending his letter of approval.
During a meeting with the federal Minister of Public Safety on June 8, 2012 and, in other circumstances, the CMLA asked that Canada’s security agencies stop using any Islam-related terms in describing the threat facing Canada.
For example, in this 2012 meeting, Hussein Hamdani, the lawyer who led the delegation, including the CMLA, that met the minister, criticized Prime Minister Harper because he had used the expression ‘Islamicism’ in the past. Mr. Hamdani insisted that Canadian authorities describe the threat facing Canada as being “Al-Qaida’s ideology.”
These pressures were fruitful and, on February 3, 2014, current CSIS director, Michel Coulombe, acknowledged before a Canadian Senate Committee that his agency no longer uses any Islam-related terms to describe the threat facing Canada. “We prefer to talk about terrorism inspired by al Qaeda ideology. That’s what we’re talking about,” said Mr. Coulombe before the Senate Committee.
That’s exactly what the CMLA and its Islamist allies were asking for.
Expressions such as ‘jihad,’ ‘Islamist organization,’ and others of that nature are no longer used by CSIS under the direction of Michel Coulombe. The implication of this new policy is that Islamic doctrine and its principles are not part of the problem facing us. In addition, the new terminology implies that threats of violence are the only type of threat that matters. The non-violent Islamist penetration of institutions is not taken into account.
This decision by the current CSIS Director represents a 180-degree turn from the approach favored by his predecessor Richard Fadden. On many occasions, Mr. Fadden identified the Islamist nature of the threat facing Canada. In his June 2011 annual report, Mr. Fadden wrote that “Canada is a tangible target for Islamist extremist-inspired violence.” In February 2012, CSIS published a report entitled “Venues of Sunni Islamist Radicalization in Canada.” In April 2012, Mr. Fadden told a Senate Committee that, under his leadership, CSIS worries about those who are “advancing jihad,” etc.
If we refuse to refer to concepts used by the enemy for fear of giving Islam a bad name, it will be impossible to defeat this enemy. As Stephen Coughlin, a former Pentagon advisor now with the Washington-based Center for Security Policy explained (VIDEO 2:34), even if the enemy has a wrong understanding of Islam, it is still using it to threaten us. In these circumstances, for our own protection, it is crucial to master its doctrine, its understanding of Islam. Furthermore, it is important to evaluate how widespread this interpretation of Islam is in order to determine the magnitude of the threat.
After Hussein Hamdani succeeded in convincing federal officials to describe the enemy in terms that are acceptable to Islamists, he was suspended from his position as security advisor to the federal Department of Public Safety on April 29, 2015 after the Quebec-based TVA news network and Point de Bascule revealed that, in 2003, he launched the Islamist convention RIS in Toronto with the sponsorship of the Saudi World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). In 2012, WAMY’s charitable status was revoked after the Canada Revenue Agency concluded that this organization had funded an entity linked to Al-Qaeda in the past.
On October 6, 2013, while Hussein Hamdani was Vice-Chair of the North American Spiritual Revival, his organization invited Siraj Wahhaj to speak at the Islamic Society of North America Canada’s (ISNA) mosque in Mississauga. This event took place two weeks AFTER the charitable status of an ISNA substructure (ISNA-Development) had been revoked by the Canada Revenue Agency because the Islamist organization provided tax receipts to a second entity that transferred funds to a third entity whose armed wing wages jihad in India. In the past, the invited preacher advocated converting to Islam youth who felt excluded, and eventually arming them with Uzi submachine guns so they could wage jihad in U.S. streets.
On February 2, 2015, in a joint statement, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM / former CAIR-CAN) condemned Prime Minister Harper because he declared his commitment to stop those promoting terrorism “whether they’re in a basement, or whether they’re in a mosque or somewhere else.”
Both organizations stated that by linking mosques and terrorism, the PM’s remarks have “cast an unjust shadow of suspicion on Canadian Muslim communities and have distorted the nature of security threats.” Joint CMLA-NCCM Statement / Archive.Today (p.4)
The bad faith of this joint CMLA-NCCM statement is easily demonstrable since the NCCM itself has stated in one of its booklet (released on September 29, 2014) that a “regular attendance at a Salafi mosque” constitutes an indicator of radicalization that could lead to violence. Elsewhere in its booklet, the ally of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association also enjoins parents to “Know the teacher and the group your children are interacting with and or attending classes for ‘religious instructions’ at the mosque.” (p.15) Why all these precautions if it is absolutely certain that mosques do not present any danger whatsoever? NCCM Booklet / WebArchive – Archive.Today
Those who will consult the NCCM booklet will notice the RCMP logo on its cover. For many months, the RCMP has effectively collaborated with the Islamists who were responsible for the production of the booklet. However, shortly before the document was released to the public, the RCMP dissociated itself from it. At the time, the RCMP issued a press release to explain its position. Point de Bascule published two articles on the matter (October 1, 2014 – November 10, 2014).
In 2005, lawyer Hussein Hamdani, a CMLA and NCCM ally, also told the Hamilton Spectator that “Mosques and Muslim groups need a ‘zero tolerance’ policy toward the demonization of other faith and ethnic groups, such as Jews and Christians, and should stop dwelling on the plight of Muslims in other parts of the world. […] They need to take a look at what’s being taught and the sermons that are given on the Friday pulpits so we don’t contribute to increasing the rage among young people.”
Once again, why this warning if there are no risks associated to mosques?
In other circumstances, however, the same Hussein Hamdani associated himself with organizations involved in the funding of terrorist entities to organize the visit of radical preachers in mosques and other public venues in Canada, as mentioned in part 3.2 of this article.
Regardless of the reasons that led Hussein Hamdani to make his statement about mosques in 2005, it confirms that the problem of radicalization of young Muslims in mosques is real and reflects the empirical data available on the subject.
The father of Chiheb Esseghaier, the high-level scientific researcher charged for plotting to derail a passenger train between New York and Toronto and found guilty of eight terror-related charges in early 2015, declared that his son was radicalized in Canada. After a visit in Canada, the father told Radio-Canada that he was troubled by the radical sermons he heard in the mosques attended by his son.
In 2011, we learned through Wikileaks that the Assuna mosque in Montreal “was among nine mosques listed by the Pentagon around the world where ‘Al-Qaeda’s members have been recruited, helped or trained’.” In 2006, Radio-Canada reported on this mosque in Montreal. For the occasion, French journalist Mohamed Sifaoui joined the regular production team of Zone Libre and went to the mosque. He secretly recorded the sermon that was given on Friday July 21, 2006. According to the report that was published by Radio-Canada / Archive.Today at the time, the Imam was very angry as he evoked the crisis between Lebanon and Israel. He “concluded his sermon by asking God to kill all enemies of Islam to the last one.”
According to a 2008 National Post article, Adil Charkaoui told CSIS that recruiting activities for armed jihad were occurring in mosques in Canada but did not implicate himself in these activities.
The CanadianJihad.ca website presents more examples of sermons given in mosques located in Canada that justify the murder of apostates, etc. A video being archived on this website features a Toronto-based Imam who describes Prime Minister Harper as an “enemy of Islam.” As Jonathan Halevi and Robert Spencer from JihadWatch pointed out, when Muslim leaders describe somebody as an “enemy of Islam” in the Middle East, it is tantamount to a call for his murder.
Aside from numerous examples in Canada and abroad confirming the role of mosques in the radicalization of Muslims, we must highlight that, according to the Muslim Brotherhood ideologues among others, the role of the mosque is precisely to serve as the “centre of the Islamic revolution.”
Until his death in 2011, Ibrahim Abu-Rabi led the Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta. He was frequently invited to speak by Muslim Brotherhood organizers in the UK and elsewhere in the world. In an essay dedicated to the “Intellectual origins of Islamic resurgence” in the 20th century, he pointed out that Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, considered the mosque to be “a center of Islamic revolution.” (pp. 76-77)
As for Youssef Qaradawi, the spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, he stated in a fatwa dedicated to the political role of mosque that “It must be the role of the mosque to guide the public policy of a nation, raise awareness of critical issues, and reveal its enemies” and that “From ancient times the mosque has had a role in urging jihad for the sake of Allah,” etc.
In Canada, and in Quebec in particular, the two most important owners of buildings housing mosques are the Muslim Association of Canada and ISNA-Canada. In the past, both organizations have endorsed Hassan Al-Banna’s intellectual legacy.
As for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the former CAIR-CAN, that objected to the association between mosques and terrorism, their leader from the early 2000s until 2013 and their mentor (2004 – 2014), Jamal Badawi, works with Youssef Qaradawi and has endorsed Hassan Al-Banna in the past.
By attempting to portray as racists those who expose the role of mosques in the radicalization of Muslims and by pressuring the authorities and the media so that they refrain from mentioning the links between Islamic principles and the threat facing Canada, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association is obfuscating the nature of the danger and is worsening the situation.
Point de Bascule (February 18, 2015): The presentation of the mosque as a “shield against radicalization” by Shawinigan’s Me Bégin Garti is contradicted by the news and the teachings of influential Islamist leaders [Article in French]
Brian Lilley (Sun News – February 4, 2015): VIDEO A National Council of Canadian Muslims document highlights that a “regular attendance at a Salafi mosque” constitutes an indicator of radicalization
PART 4 – The first CMLA’s website displayed a stylized version of a sailboat evoking those that were used for Islamic conquests of the past
Illustration that appeared on the first CMLA’s website in 2003
From 2001 to 2005, the homepage of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association’s website displayed a stylized version of a sailboat reminiscent of those that were used for Islamic conquests of the past. The CMLA was known as the Muslim Lawyers Association in its early years. The sail represents the Islamic creed, the shahada, and several articles of faith, in Arabic, have been integrated in the design of the boat.
In his Muqaddimah (Vol.1, p.209), Muslim ideologue Ibn Khaldun (1332 – 1406) dedicated a passage to explain how Arabs went from waging jihad exclusively on land to organizing sea operations in the 9th century that led to the Muslim conquest of Sicily:
The royal and governmental authority of the Arabs became firmly established and powerful at that time. The non-Arab nations became servants of the Arabs and were under their control. Every craftsman offered them his best services. They employed seagoing nations for their maritime needs. Their own experience of the sea and of navigation grew, and they turned out to be very expert. They wished to wage the holy war by sea. They constructed ships and galleys and loaded the fleet with men and weapons. They embarked the army and warriors to fight against the unbelievers across the sea. This was the special concern of the provinces and border regions closest to the shores of the Mediterranean, such as Syria, Ifriqiyah, the Maghrib, and Spain. The caliph ‘Abd-al-Malik recommended to Hassan b. an-Nu’man, the governor of Ifriqiyah, that a shipyard be set up in Tunis for the production of maritime implements, as he was desirous of waging the holy war. From there, the conquest of Sicily was achieved.
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Point de Bascule (July 13, 2015): From the OIC’s notion of ‘blasphemy’ to the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s concept of ‘hate speech’: The origin of the censorship measures included in Quebec’s Bill 59 [Article in French]
Point de Bascule (August 6, 2015): #Bill59 Debate – The Quebec Human Rights Commission’s plan to sue websites belonging to the telecom sector under federal jurisdiction
Point de Bascule: FILE Quebec Human Rights Commission / Many Point de Bascule articles on various aspects of Bill 59
Point de Bascule: FILE Quebec Human Rights Commission / General References on Bill 59