Tarek Fatah is a brave man.
Writer, broadcaster and political activist, Mr. Fatah has the gumption to suggest that the Muslim world would benefit from " a liberal, progressive form of Islam." That includes seperation of religion and state, absence of sharia law and gay rights!
Founder of The Muslim Canadian Congress, Mr. Fatah has written two books: Chasing A Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew Is Not My Enemy: Unveiling The Myths That Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.
Both books have earned him praise and criticism. He has been attacked for his views, verbally and physically, by fundamentalist groups within the Muslim community.
Mr. Fatah argues that radical Islam is a result of U.S.-backed Saudi-based Jihadi groups that were funded by the CIA during the Afghan war with the Soviets.
In the Globe & Mail, he suggested, "Most secular and liberal institutions were destroyed piece by piece and what we are left with is the result of huge amounts of cash and weapons in the hands of the Taliban type, or Al-Qaeda groups that get their intellectual sustenance from the political teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna and the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Abul ala Maudoodi, both of who preached Jehad as an obligation for all Muslims if they saw another Muslim under attack."
This, in part, explains the complex circumstances that gave rise to the dynamic between Muslim extremists and the West.
An opponent of Sharia law in Canada, Mr. Fatah and co-author Munir Pervaiz, told the The National Post, that the position taken by moderate Muslims is under attack by extremists:
"Despite threats of ostracization, excommunication and hardship, we believe it is the duty of Muslim Canadians to defend the separation of religion and state in Canada. It is our obligation to ensure that "one law for all Canadians" is understood as the foundation of equality that we Muslims desire. It is imperative that we ensure Muslim women, queers, religious minorities, the disabled and the marginalized are protected. As for non-Muslims, they must answer this question: Why do they tolerate hate literature that promotes jihad against non-Muslims and labels progressive Muslims as apostates?"
Tarek Fatah's vision of moderate Islam is an important contribution to a much-needed dialogue on peaceful relations between communities.
Radical faith groups– Christian, Muslim and Jewish– have dominated the headlines for too long. People of all faith traditions benefit from wise voices promoting moderation, peace, and reconciliation.
© Patrick O’Neill 2010. All rights reserved.