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A few weeks ago the Canadian media along with some international media published a story about Toronto’s Masjid el Noor Mosque’s ‘Islamic fanaticism detox program’.

While the media and the mainstream Canadian public -including myself – welcomed the idea, what you didn’t see in the media was what other Muslims had to say about it.

Dubai’s Al Arabiya has picked up the story and gives us some insight:

The detox program has drawn mixed reviews from Muslims in Canada who told AlArabiya.net they feel the concept is problematic.

“It is important for the Muslim community in some sort of systematic way to confront the ideology of al-Qa’ida,” said Muhammed Fadel, professor of law at Toronto University. “I would be concerned about ’detox‘ programs because we as a community cannot be responsible for the conduct of individual Muslims,” he explained.

If community leaders are not responsible for individual Muslims, then who is? What else is a community, other than a group of people who take responsibility for each other? When your community is not teaching the proper messages, and members of your community therefore act inappropriately, who else is supposed to be responsible for their actions? I don’t understand this mentality. It’s the same thing I encounter when arguing with pro-Palestinian activists who blame suicide bombings and Hamas’ policies of indoctrination on Israel. When will these people take responsibility for themselves? It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault! Even if Israel was totally evil, how does that justify indoctrinating your children to value death?

But it gets worse.

Later on in the article, we meet a 26-year-old Canadian Ph.D student of Islamic history, presumably a typical example of a well educated Canadian Muslim:

Shadaab H. Rahemtulla, a 26-year-old Canadian Ph.D. student from Toronto in Middle Eastern and Islamic history at Oxford University also called the detox program “deeply problematic.”

“It fails to address the root cause of militant activity which is a growing frustration with American imperialism within the Muslim world,” Rahematulla told AlArabiya.net, referring to the invasion of Iraq and continuous support for the apartheid state of Israel as root causes.

“If organizations, such as the Canadian mosque that set up this ’anti-terrorism’ program, really want to address militant activity, then they need to point their fingers at the complicity of their own governments in global imperialism,” he added.

So what this guy is essentially saying is that the fact that these kids are aligning with Al Qaeda is not the problem, the real problem is the behaviour of the evil Canadian government. The fact that these young muslims want to kill westerners is a legitimate response given Canada’s evil imperialism. This is even worse than what the first guy said – he at least acknowledged that there was a problem and just didn’t want to deal with it. What this PhD student is saying is that there isn’t even a problem with the Muslim community! The growing militancy is a natural and appropriate reaction to Canada’s ” imperialism”. Like I said above with regards to Israel and Hamas, even if Canada was an evil imperialist regime – which is a ridiculous claim – then we still should not be able to justify youths becoming militant. How is that ever an appropriate reaction? Shouldn’t the “religion of peace” be teaching its youth to react to oppression in a peaceful way, not condoning millitancy?

There are deep problems in the Muslim community, and until they themselves acknowledge that there is even a problem and stop making excuses and legitimizing extremism, not only will they feel the consequences, but non-Muslim Canadians are also going to be implicated in the fallout. For their sake, and for our own sake, let’s hope that behind the scenes, the Imams running this program are getting more support from fellow muslims than they are getting opposition. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look that way.

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One Response to “Toronto’s Muslim detox program criticized: the real problem is ‘American Imperialism’”

  1. truepeers says:

    This essay/speech by Roger Scruton, contrasting Western and Islamic ways, might be of interest in respect to understanding the mindset of Muslims who won’t hold each other to account. Their religion is truly atomizing even as it makes a fetish of a universal brotherhood, a dangerous idea as proven in the West in the period since the French Revolution. Brotherhood, when taken beyond the bonds and bounds of real family, is a dangerous ideal because it can only have a very weak grip on our conflictual human reality. “Brotherhood” often becomes an excuse for scapegoating or sacrificing or just ignoring those deemed not to be brotherly. Anyway, Scruton:

    Association takes a very different form in traditional Islamic societies, however. Clubs and societies of strangers are rare, and the primary social unit is not the free association, but the family. Companies do not enjoy a developed legal framework under Islamic law, and it has been argued by Malise Ruthven and others that the concept of the corporate person has no equivalent in shari’ah.2 The same is true for other forms of association. Charities, for instance, are organized in a completely different way than are those in the West: not as property held in trust for beneficiaries, but as property that has been religiously “stopped” (waqf). As a result, all public entities, including schools and hospitals, are regarded as ancillary to the mosque and governed by religious principles. Meanwhile, the mosque itself is not a corporate person, nor is there an entity which can be called “the Mosque” in the same sense as we refer to the Church—that is, an entity whose decisions are binding on all its members, which can negotiate on their behalf, and which can be held to account for its misdeeds and abuses.

    As a result of this long tradition of associating only under the aegis of the mosque or the family, Islamic communities lack the conception of the spokesman.3 When serious conflicts erupt between Muslim minorities in Western cities and the surrounding society, we have found it difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate with the Muslim community, since there is no one who will speak for it or take responsibility for imposing any decision upon it. If by chance someone does step forward, the individual members of the Muslim community feel free to accept or reject his decisions at will. The same problem has been witnessed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries with radicalized Muslim populations. When someone attempts to speak for a dissident group, it is very often on his own initiative, and without any procedure that validates his office. Like as not, should he agree to a solution to a given problem, he will be assassinated, or at any rate disowned, by the radical members of the group for whom he purports to be speaking.

    This point leads me to reflect once again on the idea of citizenship. An important reason for the stability and peacefulness of societies based on citizenship is that individuals in such societies are fully protected by their rights. They are fenced off from their neighbors in spheres of private sovereignty, where they alone make decisions. As a result, a society of citizens can establish good relations and shared allegiance between strangers. You don’t have to know your fellow citizen in order to ascertain your rights against him or your duties toward him; moreover, his being a stranger in no way alters the fact that you are each prepared to die for the territory that contains you and the laws which you enjoy. This remarkable feature of nation-states is sustained by the habits to which I have referred: self-criticism, representation, and corporate life, the very habits not to be found in traditional Islamic societies. What the Islamist movements promise their adherents is not citizenship, but “brotherhood”—ikhwân—an altogether warmer, closer, and more metaphysically satisfying thing.

    And yet, the warmer and closer an attachment, the less widely can it be spread. Brotherhood is selective and exclusive. It cannot extend very far without exposing itself to sudden and violent refutation…

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