More of the usual: any open talk about the religion of peace — even from Muslims — is treated as “anti-Islamic.”
“Taboo topic sparks critical debate,” by Kathy English in the Toronto Star, June 21:
In the month since the Star published its investigation into the secret world of polygamy in our community, reporter Noor Javed has braved a firestorm of criticism,
As we shall soon see, luckily she is not living where Sharia is implemented, as she would be braving a “firestorm” of something more tangible than “criticism” — say, stones?
So too has the Star itself, with several complaints about Javed’s groundbreaking articles about polygamy within the Muslim community in the GTA coming to the public editor’s office. I’ve spent considerable time looking into these concerns and I think that the Star’s reporting on this was accurate, fair and balanced”¦
As if these three objective standards ever matter when discussing Islam’s more — how shall we say? — “troubling” aspects.
I also believe it was a courageous act of journalism for Javed, a Muslim woman who has written illuminating articles for the Star in the past about her spiritual journey to Mecca to fulfill the holy Muslim pilgrimage called the hajj, and also about her choice to wear the Muslim head scarf, the hijab.
So far, all well and good, since she is only expounding on her “spiritual journey” — you know, the “greater jihad” which infidels should focus on, and her choice — connoting that beautiful but, according to many, abrogated verse, “There is no compulsion in religion” — to wear the hijab.
As a journalist and a “visible” Muslim who chose to expose evidence of polygamy within the GTA’s Muslim community, Javed well knew she would come under fire. But she also believed that reporting on this controversial, “taboo” issue, which is clearly illegal in Canadian law, could spark critical debate among Canadians.
I, however, was surprised by the personal attacks against her.
Get used to it.
Javed’s commitment to her faith has been questioned by other Muslims”¦
Here comes the all-accusing finger of takfir.
“¦and some have even suggested it was improper for a Muslim reporter to report on this.
One “open letter” that came to my office, the Star’s letters page, and is now circulating in the online blogosphere, accuses Javed of demonizing Islam itself. “If your intention was to spark debate on polygamy in the community then the Toronto Star was not the forum for it,” the letter states. “There is already ample anti-Islamic sentiment in the world and it is not befitting for a Muslim to add to it.
Or, according to Sheikh Ayman Al-Zawahiri, “Sharia forbids us from taking infidels as confidants, inducting them to our secrets.”
“As a Muslim woman, you had an Islamic obligation, to defend this aspect of your faith, not to deliver a further blow to an already bruised community.”
And here it is: a “subtle reminder” to Javed that she needs to follow that divisive Islamic doctrine, “Loyalty and Enmity” — wala” we bara”: she is kindly reminded of her “obligation” (Sharia law, anyone?) to “defend” Islam — i.e., to go out of her way to mask, equivocate, and simply dissemble (taqiyya anyone?), not to “deliver a further blow,” i.e., not simply to speak the truth, which may well only expose the “problematic” aspects of Islam to the infidel host, who far from aiding, Muslims are commanded to disavow.
While many North American Muslims have widely, and sometimes justly, criticized the media for anti-Islamic bias in the days since 9/11, I don’t think the Star‘s reporting on polygamy was either anti-Islamic or unfair. Javed spent several months investigating this, talking to dozens of people including four local Muslim women who believe they have been victimized by polygamy. This has not been about “airing dirty laundry,” as some have accused Javed of doing, but of airing these concerns.
Javed’s reporting put the issue into context, explaining the perspective on polygamy of both the Muslim faith and Canadian law. She wrote that while polygamy is generally among the “last taboos” in Western society, it’s practised in more than 850 societies worldwide, including within the fundamentalist Mormon community in Bountiful, B.C. She also spoke to several legal experts who believe polygamy will soon be forced to face a constitutional challenge.
But as Star columnist and editor emeritus Haroon Siddiqui also pointed out in a follow-up column to Javed’s articles, those practising polygamy in Canada are breaking the law as it now stands: “Muslims are obliged to obey the law of the land where they live” he wrote.
Some Muslims may think that contradicts many Koranic verses, such as “Do not take each other as lords in place of Allah” (3:64). However, the mere utterance of it is in keeping with “Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels rather than believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah — unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions” (3:28).
Aly Hindy, the iman of Saluhuddin Islamic Centre who openly told Javed that he has “blessed” numerous polygamous unions, now accuses the Star of bias”¦
In other words, “free debate.”
“¦against the Muslim community.
Which is haram, or at least “mukruh” (“disliked,” “discouraged”).
In an email to several hundred people, now posted online, Hindy’s son, Ibrahim, states that the Star has an “agenda” to “caricature” the Muslim community and Hindy as “backwards, as anti-women and even anarchist …”
One newspaper is hardly necessary for such caricatures; the media, TV, and web — which offer pictures and images of Muslims stoning women and rioting over cartoons (often worth a thousand words in any newspaper) has been more than sufficient at “caricaturing” Muslims.
Last week, Hindy submitted a lengthy opinion article suggesting that Javed had quoted him out of context and was inaccurate in her reporting. In fully investigating this, including listening to Javed’s tape-recorded interviews with Hindy, I found these charges to be without merit. The Star declined to publish Hindy’s article. We did tell him that the Star would publish a letter to the editor to clarify his perspective. He has thus far declined to submit a letter.
When lies, sophistry, and shoutdowns don’t work, silence often follows”¦