An Iranian Revolutionary Guards soldiers salutes in front of a picture of Ayatollah Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini, the founder and first supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Photo: © Reuters)
On Sunday, over 700 Canadians braved unseasonal cold and non-stop rain for four hours outside an Islamic centre north of Toronto. They came to protest a bizarre celebration honouring the life and deeds of the late Iranian theocratic dictator, Ayatollah Khomeini.
There were politicians from the left to the right, writers, poets, artists, former prisoners and exiles, grandmothers, refugees, victims of torture. They were mostly Iranian Canadians, but also Pakistanis, Jews, Kurds, orthodox Muslims, Marxists and Monarchists.
Inside the sprawling mosque other Canadians were bused in to participate in the macabre display of contempt for life and liberty.
It was encouraging to hear Liberal MPP Reza Moridi praise Prime Minister Harper for his stand against Iran. Such bipartisanship is rare. Denunciation of the Khomeini celebrations came from across the political spectrum, including Defense Minister Jason Kenney.
He tweeted: "Disturbing to see anyone in Canada celebrating the murderous depravity of Ayatollah Khomeini's brutal dictatorship."
But there is another reality that does not bode well for our country. After all, there are other Islamist centres across Canada where misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and cursing of non-Muslims and secular Muslims are routine.
The difference being, these mosques are pro-Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood, rather than pro-Iran and the ayatollahs.
Apparently politicians have determined embracing pro-Saudi Islamists can generate votes while rejecting pro-Iran Islamists will cost almost none.
Why else would NDP leader Thomas Mulcair in March visit the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) mosque in Mississauga and declare: "For years, this mosque has played a vital role in Mississauga — promoting education and charity for all. And it's been a leader in promoting unity—a lesson so important to the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him"?
Perhaps Mulcair isn't aware of a 2005 story in the Globe and Mail identifying millions of dollars worth of Saudi funding to the ISNA mosque where he spoke. (The Globe reported the funding was touted on the ISNA's website although a spokesman officially denied it.)
Or a 2013 Toronto Star story on the Canada Revenue Agency revoking the charitable status of the ISNA Development Foundation after concluding it "facilitated the transfer of (charitable) resources that may have been used to support the efforts of a political organization . . . and its armed wing," in Pakistan. (The charity denied the allegation.)
Or that the parent organization of ISNA in the U.S. has been listed by the U.S. Justice Department as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in a terror funding trial. ISNA was never charged with any crime, but prosecutors listed it as one of the "entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood." (A federal judge later ruled the document should not have been released and ISNA said its inclusion was guilt by association.) In 2013, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau spent an evening at ISNA's Islamic Centre with the congregation during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
This same organization Mulcair and Trudeau embraced recently refused to allow its boys' school soccer team to play against a Catholic school team with two girls on it.
Does this mean Islamism Saudi-style is fine, while Islamism, Khomeini-style is not?
Canadians need to put this question to all three political party leaders before this fall's election.
Tarek Fatah, is a Canadian writer, broadcaster and anti-Islamist Muslim activist. He is the author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress.
One of the cartoons from an anti-ISIS exhibition currently being staged in Iran
Here’s the basic idea of this post: Some 2,300 years ago Kauṭilya came up with the concept of my enemy’s enemy is my friend. Or as he put it in his seminal treatise Arthasastra:
The king who is situated anywhere immediately on the circumference of the conqueror's territory is termed the enemy.
The king who is likewise situated close to the enemy, but separated from the conqueror only by the enemy, is termed the friend.
In 21st-Century Middle-Eastern realpolitik my suggestion is just forget it.
No more so is this the case than in the relationship between Iran and the Islamic State (ISIS). It would appear right now the terrorist Islamic Republic and the terrorist Caliphate are on a collision course. And given (as Iran claimed this very day) it is fighting the West’s battle against the evil caliph and his crazy followers, it stands to reason that we in the West should take Tehran’s side.
Indeed, this week Iran is hosting an anti-ISIS cartoon show, surely proving we should jump into bed with the smiling Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and his army of artists who are so keen to point out the blemishes of ISIS.
But hang on a minute.
Let’s back up before we dive under the covers for a quick cuddle with Rouhani or his boss, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
According to Yukiya Amano, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA is “still not in a position to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is [for a] peaceful purpose.”
That maybe the case but they don’t have nukes yet so why panic.
OK, so they hang gays and other miscreants – 1,000 in the last 18 months – but they are all Iranians, so it doesn’t really impact on me.
Via the Qods Forces, the Revolutionary Guards and a variety of other militaries like Hezbollah, Iran is force-feeding wars on the citizens of countries around the Middle East. But as long as these guys are killing one another I’m alright man.
No. You are most certainly not alright.
It’s time to wake up. Iranian terrorist operatives have carried out attacks in Asia, Africa, and South America. Oh, and let’s not forget American interests overseas.
All of this without a nuclear weapon. Just imagine what Iran would be like along with its proxies if it had the bomb – and the ICBMs it is developing. Soon enough Iran could possess missiles capable of hitting four continents, including the North American mainland.
It’s time to stand up and say no matter what the relationship is between Iran and the Islamic State, no matter how much Tehran claims it is fighting the good fight, I must be on the right side of history. I must say “no to a nuclear Iran.”
Before it’s too late.