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Montreal Interfaith Conference, September 7, to advocate censorship

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by Marc Lebuis, Point de bascule Editor

An objective pursued by the Muslim Brotherhood with its “interfaith activities” is to try to gain support from non-Muslims for the censorship of its critics. Various actors in the Muslim world have taken measures to censure those who criticize one aspect or another of their doctrine.


On September 7, 2011, the Dalai Lama, Tariq Ramadan and other personalities are scheduled to speak at the Second Global Conference on World's Religions after 9/11. The conference is organized in Montreal with the active cooperation of McGill University and the Université de Montréal.

Tariq Ramadan’s mentor, Youssef Qaradawi, states that “We only carry out dialogue with (Christians) in order to find common grounds that serve as a basis for further action.” In two texts, Qaradawi mentions four of these “further actions” that should justify engaging in interfaith dialogue (Priorities – GMBDR):

Improving the image of Islam;
Converting Christians;
Rallying Christians against Israel;
Discouraging Christian leaders from supporting fellow Christians involved in conflict with Muslims. Qaradawi mentioned specifically Sudan and the Philippines.
These objectives confirm that interfaith dialogue with Christians is just another front where Tariq Ramadan and the Muslim Brotherhood wage their ideological jihad. It should come as no surprise since scholars endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood consider that Christianity is a distorted version of a truth exclusively upheld by Islam, their “understanding of Islam” as Ramadan puts it.


In 1989, it was the ayatollah Khomeini who asked for the killing of Salman Rushdie after he wrote his novel The Satanic Verses. At the time, various organizations and individuals linked to the Muslim Brotherhood openly supported the death sentence against Rushdie. The Leicester Islamic Foundation (UK) was one of the first organizations in Europe asking for the killing of Rushdie. In 1998, Tariq Ramadan chose Leicester when he decided to upgrade his theoretical knowledge of Islam. (Le Point [Paris], October 28, 2004, p. 162 and The New Frontiers of Jihad: Radical Islam in Europe, Alison Pargeter, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008, p. 25 Google Books)

In an interview broadcast on the BBC in 1989, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) clearly stated that Salman Rushdie “deserved to die” for having written his Satanic Verses (video 0:40). In the same interview, Yusuf Islam was asked the following question: “Would you go to a demonstration where you knew that an effigy (of Salman Rushdie) was going to be burned?” Yusuf Islam answered: “I would have hoped that it’d be the real thing but actually no. If it’s just an effigy, I don’t think that I’d be that moved to go there” (video 2:00). In an article available on his website, Tariq Ramadan misrepresented Yusuf Islam’s opinion about Rushdie’s death sentence and he described him as a man committed “to education, solidarity, love and peace.”

Another attempt to stifle freedom of expression comes back every year when the 57 Muslim countries members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation pressure non-Muslim countries belonging to the United Nations to sue their own citizens for blasphemy if they criticize Islam.

It appears that the interfaith conference scheduled for September 7 in Montreal will just be another attempt to implement this censorship agenda. In its initial press release (May 11, 2011), the Montreal conference organizing committee mentioned that, next September, the following question will be submitted to the participants:

Should violating the sanctity of the scripture of any religion be considered tantamount to violating the sanctity of the scriptures of all religions? (GMBDR - Parliament of the World's Religions)

Before the conference has taken place, the answer to this question is already available in a Declaration (article 12.4) endorsed by the Montreal conference organizing committee:

12.4 Everyone has the right not to have one’s religion denigrated in the media or the academia.

Since any criticism can be deemed denigrating, such position would lead to countless legal procedures against the critics of radical Islam if it were to be implemented by Canadian authorities.

Shortly after GMBDR posted the May 11 press release (including the above question) it was removed from the organizing committee’s website.

In Canada, Tariq Ramadan’s partners at the Muslim Brotherhood disseminate Syed Maududi and other authors’ books denigrating religions other than Islam. They advocate that Christianity is a distorted religion. They claim that kafirs (derogatory word for non-Muslims) will go to hell. In Edmonton, Issam Saleh and Walid Najmeddine, two Muslim Brotherhood operatives, have set up an Islamic Studies course (page Acknowledgements) for the Edmonton Public Schools. Yusuf Ali’s Qur’an is one of the books being used for the course. In this book, Jews are described as “apes and swine” (p. 1742). More examples of anti-Jewish stances found in the book are listed in a FrontPage article that was published after the Los Angeles school board decided to pull all its copies of Yusuf Ali’s Qur’an from the shelves of its libraries.

In his book Islam and Buddhism, Harun Yahya, another author endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood, concludes that Buddhists’ accomplishments are purposeless and that they are “destined for destruction” because their understanding of God and religion is incompatible with Islam. Harun Yahya accuses Buddhists of “associating” false gods with the real one.

Historically, the invocation of this so-called crime of “association” has been the pretext invoked by Muslim scholars to justify the destruction and the eradication of the Buddhist civilization from India, Afghanistan and many other parts of Asia.

In 2004, Tariq Ramadan and Harun Yahya were the main speakers at a conference that Ramadan called the “largest Islamic event in Australia” on his website. (Archives PdeB)

The Muslim Brotherhood wants it both ways. It persists on invoking the freedom of religion to justify its denigrating of non-Muslims, yet it pushes for the censorship of its critics by claiming some bogus right not to be offended.

Freedom of expression implies reciprocity. In a free society, there is no such right as the right not to be offended contrary to what Tariq Ramadan and the organizers of the Montreal conference would like us to believe.

The following excerpt comes from Let us be Muslims, a book written by Tariq Ramadan’s mentor Syed Maududi (1903-1979):

Muslims or Kafirs? Brothers in Islam! Every Muslim believes, as you too must surely believe, that Muslims are different from Kafirs; that God likes Muslims and dislikes Kafirs; that Muslim will find God’s forgiveness, while Kafirs will not; that Muslims will go to Heaven (Jannah) and Kafirs to Hell (Jahannum).

(...) Muslims and Kafirs are both human beings; both are slaves of God. But one becomes exalted and meritorious by reason of recognizing his Master, obeying His orders and fearing the consequences of disobeying Him; while the other disgraces by failing to recognize his Master and carry out His orders. This is why Allah is pleased with Muslims and displeased with unbelievers. That is why He promises true Muslims that they will be rewarded with Heaven and warns unbelievers that they will be cast into Hell.

Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi, Let us be Muslims, Leicester (UK), The Islamic Foundation, 1985, pp. 53-54 (Chapter 2 Between Islam and Kufr)

In his book Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (p. 26), Tariq Ramadan identifies Maududi (Mawdudi) as one of the main representatives of the "reformist salafist" trend of Islam to which he belongs. Syed Maududi was a Pakistani scholar who founded the organization Jamaat-e-Islami associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. When Tariq Ramadan paid homage to his father Said on August 4, 2011, he mentioned that Maududi credited Said Ramadan “for having awakened him from his unconsciousness”. (Archives PdeB)

Diagnosing Non Muslims’ “Real Disease”

In a section of his book Priorities of the Islamic Movement dedicated to the Dialogue with Others, Youssef Qaradawi quoted verse 16:125 of the Koran to justify the interaction of Muslims with non-Muslims: “Invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious”. Qaradawi concluded from this verse that Muslim Brotherhood activists should engage in discussion with complacent people and not with serious challengers:

What I am calling for here is “dialogue” not “debate”. (...) A debate may be accepted only if the Islamic side is embarrassed as a result of challenges by the other sides (sic) that leave it no option but to accept the challenge in order to avoid being accused of fleeing the confrontation and deserting the battlefield.

Commenting on the same verse, Syed Maududi implied that those who do not accept Islam do so because they are mentally ill:

(Muslim involved in dialogue with non-Muslims) should refrain from applying one and the same method to each and every person or group but should first diagnose the real disease of the addressee and then cure it by appealing to his head and heart. (Maududi’s tafsir on 16:125)

Like Maududi, communist ideologues had also identified a “real disease” affecting their opponents. They referred to it as the “false consciousness”. Friedrich Engels (1820-1895), the co-author of the Communist Manifesto came up with the concept in his Letter to Mehring in 1893 (also HERE). Workers who did not agree with communist ideals were diagnosed as not being in full control of their intellectual faculties. In USSR, the opponents were sent to psychiatric hospitals where they would undergo various “treatments” that were nothing else than torture. All the advocates of totalitarian ideologies share this basic principle that those who disagree with them are either sick or prisoner of some malefic powers and that they must be “healed” or “freed” against their will. When totalitarian leaders deem their opponents too dangerous a threat for the “social body” and when they have the material means to do so, they have them killed.

Tariq Ramadan’s “understanding of Islam” implies the denigration of non-Muslims (kafirs). We do not advocate for a ban of Maududi or Ramadan’s books. We simply want to be able to reply to those who are involved in the offensive of colonization openly acknowledged by Ramadan recently in Dallas without having to justify ourselves in front of a censorship body put in place at the request of the Montreal conference participants.

Freedom of expression implies the refusal to coerce others into adopting one’s ideas. It has never meant banning those whose opinions may hurt somebody’s feelings.

August 30, 2011

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