Canadian Muslim embraces free speech, Danishes
So there are "moderate" muslims out there. This is the Letter to the Editor I've been hoping would appear from our silent muslims. Go Amir!
As a practising Muslim, I was saddened and angered by the cartoons that depicted the Prophet Muhammad in a negative way. My anger is directed, not at the Danish cartoonists, but instead at fellow Muslims worldwide who have darkened the image of my beloved Prophet by their atrocities.
I saw a group of Canadian Muslim leaders congratulating Canadian Muslims for their calm reaction to the cartoons. But it is quite easy to remain calm when only a few outlets with small circulations have dared to publish some of those images. This is hardly a show of tolerance and peaceful coexistence; rather it shows a nation willing to sacrifice its freedom of speech because it is terrified of a possible reaction by a small minority in its midst.
Meanwhile, Muslim student groups at Saint Mary's University in Halifax are demanding the expulsion of a professor who posted some of the cartoons on his office door, while Mohamed Elmasry, head of the Canadian Islamic Congress, is threatening to take the Western Standard to court for publishing the cartoon. So much for calm reactions, but thanks for not rioting violently, I guess.
If I were a Muslim leader, I would try to explain to my fellow Muslims that it is freedom of speech that allows us to practise our religion freely in Canada, and the price for this is to accept views critical of ours. If I were the prime minister of Canada, I would declare my unconditional support for freedom of speech, including speech that I may find offensive. And if I were the minister of immigration, I would revoke the visas of the members of that Muslim student group at Saint Mary's University who are international students who now demand expulsion of one of the school's professors. I would remind them that they are merely guests in this country. Guests do not impose their views and ways on their hosts.
But as a private citizen, all I can do is to buy a copy of Western Standard, enjoy my Danish pastry and write opinion letters to Canadian newspapers and media to let them know that Mr. Elmasry does not represent the views of all Muslims in this country.
Amir Sanizadeh, Ottawa.
© National Post 2006
Posted by: Hupomoger Clans9827 2006-02-25