[Originally published under the headline "Sandra Solomon's Bigotry Helps the Islamists"]
Just when the spectre of a Canadian law based on Motion 103 that would have criminalized the critique of Islam seemed to be receding, one Sandra Solomon has given Islamists a fresh lease on life. Solomon states she is an ex-Muslim convert to Christianity, saying she is a Palestinian who suffered sexual abuse in Saudi Arabia by her former husband.
Last week, Solomon visited a mosque in Mississauga where she tore up pages of the Quran and heaped abuse on worshippers, referring to the Muslim holy text as a "satanic evil book" and said she wants to see the Quran designated as "hate literature."
Had Solomon simply stood outside the mosque with placards to criticize Islam and protest the Islamic texts that permit wife-beating and promote armed jihad, she would be in her right to do so. But that is not all what she did.
Video footage shows Solomon entered the mosque when worshipers were praying and yelled bigoted epithets. "What God do you worship? You worship Satan, that's who Muslims worship," she shouted as she was led out.
In a video that has since been deleted from the Internet, but captured by Global TV, Solomon speaks to the camera boasting that she has been visiting mosques for over a year. She then proceeds to rip pages out of a Quran, and places them on the windshields of cars in the parking lot.
If not hateful, at best Solomon's behaviour was derisive, uncouth, ill-mannered, uncivil and most certainly undeserving of the cross she proudly wears as a symbol of her faith in Jesus.
On the two occasions that I have run into Solomon, she has come across as someone obsessed with herself, and seeking the attention of people around her. At an event hosted by "Muslims Against M103", she had to be told to stop addressing the audience from the floor when she started ranting about herself.
If Solomon was protesting the alleged hatred some Muslims have for non-Muslims, then she played straight into the hands of the very people she was opposing.
Hatred cannot be fought with hate (or even love). Wisdom suggests hatred is fought only with truth backed by facts and reason. Unfortunately, Solomon has plenty of hate and totally lacks wisdom. Just a tiny bit of the latter would have made her realize that she is the agent provocateur who unwittingly serves the interests of the people she supposedly opposes.
Earlier this year my colleague Farzana Hassan wrote on these pages that the "M103 report seems to signal victory for citizens who sought to protect free speech." Her optimism, she said, was based on the fact the wording on the M103 report "certainly appears to accede to their demand that 'Islamophobia' not be treated as a special case" as "twenty-nine out of the 30 recommendations in the report even avoid the nebulous and troublesome word."
Now that Solomon has provided a fresh lease on life to 'Islamophobia,' Hassan's words may well prove to be premature. Already a group The Muslim Council of Peel and some mosques say they are working with the police and "have asked for this to be investigated as a hate incident."
As for the self-righteous Imams and Islamists who are crying "hate", perhaps it is time for them to take stock of their own actions. At least 20 times a day, from dawn to dusk in every mosque of Canada, they should stop describing Jews as "people who are suffering the wrath of God" and Christians as people "led astray from the path of God."
Tarek Fatah is the Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum