Originally published under the title "Are MPs Getting the Wool Pulled over Their Eyes Regarding M-103?"
Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (center left) introduced a successful motion calling on the federal government to condemn and battle "Islamophobia" last February.
The contrast was palpable.
Iqra Khalid, the Pakistan-born Liberal MP from Mississauga, was no longer playing the victim card Monday when she helped launch the House of Commons heritage committee hearings resulting from her anti-Islamophobia motion, M-103.
Despite being unpopular and divisive to many Canadians, Parliament passed it 201–91 on March 23. It denounced "Islamophobia" and called on the heritage committee to study how racism and religious discrimination can be reduced, and to collect data on hate crimes.
Leading up to the vote, Khalid left the impression she was a victim of discrimination, even before she first ventured into politics at York University, where she chaired the Muslim Students Association (MSA). She told Canadian Immigrant magazine in March that because she was Muslim, female and an immigrant, she had trouble making friends at school. "I was the odd one out," she said.
Presumably the fact she was elected as an MP from a riding with a majority white population didn't suggest Canadians aren't racist, but that her victory came despite systemic racism among Canadians.
As the committee hearings into M-103 began, Khalid smiled and sounded affable, even praising Conservative MPs and noting she was ready to accept any amendments the committee produces.
Muslims who oppose Islamists feel targeted by M-103.
However, with the caveat it depended on what "experts" in Islamophobia recommend when they appear before the committee. "I am not an expert on the subject matter," she noted.
In Islamist circles, "experts" are those blessed by their commitment to sharia, with an ability to reference Arabic quotes off the cuff that leave guilt-ridden white liberals awestruck.
I won't qualify as an "expert" before this committee, despite my long study of the Qur'an and Hadith, and my award-winning 2008 best-seller, Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, which addressed the dangers of an Islamic State years before ISIS declared its Caliphate.
Conservative MP David Anderson asked Khalid why she opposed his amendment to omit the word Islamophobia from M-103, instead calling on Parliament to "condemn all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and other religious communities"?
Khalid repeated it was up to the committee to decide after hearing from "experts."
The key thing to watch in these hearings is not only who is defined as an "expert," but what definition of "Islamophobia" is used.
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as an "intense dislike or fear of Islam, especially as a political force" and "hostility or prejudice towards Muslims."
Khalid defines it as, an "irrational fear or hatred of Muslims or Islam" that leads to discrimination against them.
The 'Islamophobia' debate is really part of a global, inter-Muslim conflict, fought for centuries.
But Muslims, who have formed an organization called "Muslims Against M-103," believe Canadian MPs are getting the wool pulled over their eyes.
This issue is really part of a global, inter-Muslim conflict, fought for centuries.
One in which academics, theologians, secular Muslims and Muslims of minority sects have suffered everything from ostracization, to stoning, to beheading, by those who define Islamophobia in one way when speaking English, and much differently when speaking Arabic, Urdu, Persian or Bangla.
In the Indian subcontinent, for example, the word Islamophobia is roughly translated as "Islam Dushmani" or being the "Enemy of Islam."
Muslims who oppose Islamists feel we are targeted by M-103, that its primary purpose is to drown out our voices when we denounce the polygamy, female genital mutilation, child marriage, honour killings, armed jihad and racial discrimination pervasive wherever "Islamophobia" is banned in the Islamic world.
We who fled the Islamic world to escape the tyranny of falsely being called "Islamophobes" and make Canada our home, now find our enemies have hunted us down.
While Islamists complain of Islamophobia, Muslims mock Christians and Jews when we read the opening verse of the Qur'an (Sura Fatiha) during our daily prayers.
Fatiha is the equivalent to the Lord's Prayer in Christianity, where we ask Allah to put us on the "right path", not on the path of "those who have incurred your wrath" (Jews) and "those who have gone astray" (Christians).
As for other faiths, and atheists, at every Friday congregation, the mullah prays to Allah, asking him to help Muslims defeat the "kafirs" (non-believers).
If 'Islamophobia' is ever declared a criminal offence in Canada, I will be the first to defy that law.
Will the heritage committee declare any religious prayer asking for a Muslim victory over other religions hateful?
This would appear to mandated by M-103, which calls on Parliament to "recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear," and develop a government-wide approach to reduce or eliminate systemic racism and religious discrimination.
If "Islamophobia" is ever declared a criminal offence in Canada, I will be the first to defy that law and go to jail to protest it.
Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and columnist at the Toronto Sun, is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.