Canada grants asylum to Saudi 18-Year-Old women (Rahaf Mohammed, center) who feared severe retaliation after fleeing from her family
Saturday morning, the arrivals area of Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson Airport witnessed a throng of over 100 Canadian and foreign journalists jostling for the right position.
Most of them had hitherto avoided any substantial coverage of the person who was now being treated as a celebrity — Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed, who had fled her country and abandoned Islam to seek freedom in Australia, but fate brought her to Canada.
As I waited on the sidelines to catch my first glimpse of this awesome 18-year-old, I reminisced about my own experience 50 years ago as an 18-year-old in 1968, when I too had been taken away in handcuffs to spend time in jail for an "indefinite period" after standing up to radical Islamists and the military dictators of Pakistan.
Except Rahaf faced death and managed to escape the laws of apostasy which calls for beheading of any Muslim leaving Islam.
And then she appeared. Diminutive, shy and in shorts! Whether intentional or not, Rahaf had fired a shot across the bow of the international Islamist movement that seeks to encase all Muslim women in head-to-toe black shrouds.
She was not the only courageous woman that frigid January morning. Holding her in affection was Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has stood up to Saudi bullying and human rights violations that no other politician in Canada has had the courage to do.
Like an excited child, I had a bouquet of flowers for Rahaf, but she was static and not allowed to move beyond where she was standing, so I had to fling the flowers at her, and Minister Freeland made a good 'forward short leg' catch (to use cricket terminology).
Then Rahaf was led away, leaving us with a mixture of joy and disappointment at our inability to meet the woman we had worked so hard to save from the clutches of death.
Throughout this process, many of Canada's Islamic groups and Islamists who keep harping about the Quranic injunction that says, "To save a life is to save all of mankind," were glib and had not said a word in support of Rahaf.
On Monday a curious news story by CBC investigative journalist Shanifa Nasser caught my eye, posted to the broadcaster's website with the title: "Who benefits from rescuing Rahaf? Questions linger after whirlwind story of Saudi teen's asylum."
The title itself insinuated something was not kosher about l'affaire Rahaf. If the title implied a questionable process, the text of the story made no attempt at hiding the story's lack of balance.
The article sought out critics of us Muslims who had worked hard to publicize the crisis Rahaf faced. One of them, academic Amarnath Amarsingham, slandered us by using the slur 'native informants' with the following remark: "Many on the far-right love ex-Muslims, and many ex-Muslims on the far-right often present themselves as so-called native informants presenting to the mainstream the real 'truth' about Muslims."
I emailed Nasser to ask why she had had not spoken to any of Rahaf's Canadian supporters to bring some semblance of balance and objectivity to her column. I did not receive a response.
However, Amarsingham did respond to my email questions with a lengthy tirade, which concluded the following remarks: "(H)er case is being used and exploited by people who I consider to be reprehensible."
And if there was any doubt who he was referring to, Amarasingam concluded in his email to me: "I think you're fundamentally a horrible person."
This all brings me to a different question: Why are some Canadian Muslims out there, along with their left-wing apologists, upset with the presence of Rahaf Muhammad in Canada?
Perhaps the answer is that, for the first time, Canada has acknowledged that there exists in Saudi Arabia the evil Sharia concept of persecuting Muslims who leave Islam.
Tarek Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.