Canada: Our man Syed Sohawardy; fatwas, fables and other follies

Canada’s Imam Syed Sohawardy can’t understand why some eyebrows are being raised at his fatwa issued recently against terrorism. I think I can help. Firstly, fatwas are dished out all over the Muslim world everyday, ruling on everything from whether it is permissible to wipe over one’s socks before prayer if a man has put the right sock on before the left, the secrets of the number 7, or whether men and women are equal in Islam. The fatwa business is a busy one, keeping Imams and self proclaimed Islamic scholars fully engaged in the business of speaking for God aimed at those who they wish to see cloistered in the 7th century, fully devoted to religious seclusion.

Secondly, most Canadians couldn’t care a whit what a fatwa has to proclaim, because most Canadians are not Muslim. For many, a fatwa is indistinguishable from a falafel. And for many who are Muslim, they too couldn’t care less, because most are working to adapt to a society in which sharia has no bearing, having long waved good riddance to Islamic law. Nevertheless, I suppose many of us have waited long and hard for some condemnation of terrorism from the front men of Islam since so little of it has come before, and that which did was by way of dribs and drabs in the form of a few halfhearted, rank and file denouncements.

Eyebrows have been lifted because quite simply Syed Sohawardy (a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed,  so he says) has led us down the garden path before with his holy ‘proclamations’ of peace, justice and inter-faith dialogue. Would it be unusual to be suspect of a man who initiated and defended the call for sharia law in Canada and pass it off as a respectable parallel legal system in Canada? Would it be as equally unreasonable to be wary of a man who hauled journalist Ezra Levant before the Human Rights Commission because he felt Lavant’s republishing of the Danish cartoons were a provocative affront to Muslims everywhere? And what of the human right’s complaint lodged against Syed himself, by some Muslim women within his own community alleging direct discrimination toward them in their mosque? (I won’t even bother to mention that he accused Christian aid workers of kidnapping children during the tsunami of 2004 or that he claimed the Talmud is hate literature). Yet, Sohawardy seems miffed that his fatwa has been condemned, citing his detractors as ignorant buffoons.

So who is this fatwa really for? I suspect it is primarily for Sohawardy and the other 119 Imams who bridge build relying on the engineering of taqiyya. It may also be for dupes like John Cowan, former head of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, who feels the good Imam is ‘a man still in the midst of transition, a man from Pakistan still learning of western culture’. Twenty five years in Canada is mighty long in transition considering that most babies can learn a language (or two), walk, eat and go to the toilet themselves by the age of 4.

Tarek Fatah wonders why the good Imam’s fatwa only condemns terrorism directed at North America. He asks, ” Why isn’t he denouncing armed jihad no matter where it takes place?”. “Ask him that”. The answer comes from Sohawardy himself – “I don’t want to condemn jihad because this word has been used in the Quran in every place. Jihad means struggle against evil”. “It is armed struggle based upon principles of justice set out in the Quran”.

This fatwa is insincere and makes a mockery of the thousands who have fallen victim to violent Islamic jihad. It is another half-baked attempt to make nice by a man who keeps each foot in a separate pond. You simply cannot denounce terrorism without denouncing violent jihad and likewise, you cannot denounce terrorism by limiting its horror to one continent without denouncing it around the globe. Sorry Syed, your fatwa is rooted in fable and is yet, another folly.

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