There is a saying in the Indian subcontinent about the thief, who instead of showing remorse, berates the judge. There are those within the Muslim community leadership throughout North America who fit this description, where instead of admitting wrongdoing — even if it's unintentional — and changing course so that they can be allies in the fight against Islamist extremism, they play the victim card.
While the rest of the world was focused on anti-Asian racism and the George Floyd murder trial, it seems some Muslim activists in Canada got worried they were losing visibility as victims of big bad Canada.
Last week, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) at the University of Toronto published a report titled "Under Layered Suspicion," authored by University of Toronto professor Anver M. Emon and Nadia Z. Hasan from NCCM.
The report argues on behalf of Islamic groups with charitable status who were audited by the Canada Revenue Agency on suspicions they have ties to extremist groups such as Hamas.
The report calls into question "Canada's commitment to inclusive multiculturalism."
The report claims that "the targeting of Muslim-led charities not only undermines the critical work these organizations do to combat racism and discrimination in society, but also calls into question Canada's commitment to inclusive multiculturalism."
The irony is the report was published using funds from the Canadian government's own Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
One of the groups the report focused on was IRFAN-Canada, which was listed as a terrorist entity in 2014.
The 2014 announcement stated that between 2005 and 2009, IRFAN-Canada transferred approximately $14.6 million worth of resources to various organizations associated with Hamas.
But last week's NCCM/IIS report simply portrays IRFAN-Canada as a victim and takes issue with the way Hamas itself has been designated a terrorist entity in Canada, noting: "While policy and academic researchers recognize that Hamas has social and political/military wings, the Government of Canada does not recognize that distinction as it relates to anti-terrorism financing."
The report makes no mention of the many actions taken by Islamist extremists that have led to a fear of terror in the hearts of most Canadians and Americans.
If only NCCM had used the taxpayer-funded report to at least in part reject and condemn the mission of the Muslim Brotherhood, one would be tempted to give greater weight to its contents.
The NCCM/IIS report also took up the case of the Ottawa Islamic Centre, which was organized, as they describe it, for "purposes of advancing religion, such as offering spaces for congregational prayer and religious services, and hosting lectures and classes on Islam, among other things."
The CRA had previously said that the organization didn't devote all of its resources to charity and "allowed its resources to be used for activities that promote hate and intolerance," causing it to fail the CRA's public benefit test.
The CRA listed speeches at the mosque from a number of years ago by, among others, one Abu Usamah at-Thahabi, who in a Channel 4 UK documentary, "Undercover Mosque", repeatedly mocked the "kuffar" (non-Muslims). He said: "No one loves the kuffar, no one loves the kuffar, not a single person here from the Muslims loves the kuffar, whether those kuffars are from the UK or from the US."
Though there is no record of what this cleric said in Ottawa, the report states that he once provocatively declared: "I don't agree with those individuals [Muslim terrorists], but at the same time they are closer to me than those criminals of the kufr [Jews, Christians and Hindus]."
Canada's Muslim leadership should stop playing the victim card and do more to address Islamist extremism.
If I were a non-Muslim, I would take deep offence to such a speaker appearing at places that receive support from the Canadian taxpayer.
My appeal to the NCCM and others in Canada's Muslim leadership is to stop playing the victim card and instead do more to address the challenges Canada faces at the hands of Islamist extremism.
Tarek Fatah is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, and a columnist at the Toronto Sun.