I recently had an informal meeting with 30 other Muslims to chat about their growing concerns over the growing infiltration of Islamist extremism in this country. Here are excerpts of what some of these ordinary Muslims in Canada had to say.
Raheel Raza, president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, said: "For someone who has received death threats and a fatwa simply for warning Canadians about the dangers of Islamism, I feel betrayed. Unfortunately, the agendas of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian ayatollahs and Pakistan's security agency ISI are not only at play in Canada but have penetrated our political system. It seems Canadian politicians would rather uphold the medieval agenda of the Islamists rather than those of us who embrace Canadian values and refuse to play the victim card."
Filmmaker Mazahir Rahim, who has roots in Bollywood, said even though he has been in Canada for just over five years, he is alarmed at the influence more extreme voices have over Canada's political class.
"Those who believe the West is to blame for 9/11 and chat about the evil nature of non-Islamic societies — hate Jews, Hindus and liberal democracy — have the most influence on our MPs and MPPs, while the ordinary Muslim who has come to Canada to escape the tyranny of the mullahs finds out that the mosque establishment has all three political parties wrapped around their little finger," he observed.
"If I say that Canada is the best place in the world for Muslims, I am lectured about its evil nature. But then the same believers in the supremacy of Sharia Islamic law are seen pushing each other to get selfies, while politicians glad-handle those who desire a caliphate in Canada and avoid Muslims who have integrated into Canadian society."
Intizar Zaidi, assistant editor of the online newspaper Canadian Asian News, has been in Canada for 40 years and finds the influence of the Islamist voices — many second-generation — more radical than their parents.
"They desire Islamic Law in Canada, which their parents fled when they left countries such as Iran, Pakistan and Somalia to embrace this country's secular liberal democracy and gender equality," he says. "There was a time when political parties would encourage integration."
Ahmad Chaudhury, who lived in Australia and the U.K. before settling down in Toronto, has stories from his WhatsApp groups of Muslims in Canada who consider this country as essentially a place to benefit from, but a sin to embrace.
"Unless religion is separated from politics, like in Quebec and Europe, Canadian politicians are playing with fire," Chaudhury said. He points to the differing reactions to attacks on churches compared to attacks on mosques and how the first is considered more acceptable than the second.
Realtor Mumtaz Khan said he was worried how his children in the public school system were being identified as Muslims while at home they are taught to be first and foremost Canadian and to respect and honour Western civilization.
"We want our kids to be Canadian above any other identity, but the school system is being manipulated to push them into the silo of the darkness that envelopes most of the Islamic world," said Khan. He revealed he is aware of politicians encouraging the creation of mosque-like spaces inside many urban schools of Canada.
The 30 of us sat until late in the evening. One of them put it rather bluntly: "We should admit, we have lost the battle. In the climate of wokeness and political correctness, we are all casualties."
We shall meet again, but this time we will remember Aqsa Parvez, who was killed in Canada for not wearing a hijab and honour the forgotten souls of the Shafia sisters, who were drowned by their own family for simply asking to live like Canadians, not Afghans under Taliban.
That is if the death threats that are part of our lives do not materialize.
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.