CIC HAS MOVED to
877 Shefford Road.
Gloucester
Ottawa, Ontario
K1J 8H9

Tel: (613) 680-2867
Tel: (613) 680-2871
Fax: (613) 680-2902

Media Communique

Date: -       Volume:     Issue:


More Canadians Comment on CIC's Pioneering Research Report: Election 2004




SALAHEDDIN ISLAMIC CENTER PANEL DISCUSSION

Dr. Mohamed Attalla, VP Multiculturalism, Ontario Liberal Party, is coordinating panel discussions with liberal candidates in east Toronto. The event is organized in cooperation with Salaheddin Islamic Center and the Canadian Islamic Congress. Liberal candidates invited to the event are Don Valley East Yasmin Ratansi; Scarborough Centre John Cannis; Scarborough Southwest Tom Wappel; Scarborough Guildwood John McKay and Scarborough Agincourt Jim Karygiannis

Date: Saturday, June 12th at 6:00 P.M.
Location: Salaheddin Islamic Center
741 Kennedy Road (Kennedy and Eglinton)
Every one is welcomed and encouraged to attend the meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


ISLAMIC CONGRESS ISSUES REPORT CARD ON MPs
[By Mirko Petricevic, The KW Record, May 29, 2004]


The Canadian Islamic Congress has given passing grades to four local Liberals who are seeking re-election in the June 28 federal election.

The congress graded federal politicians across the country in a report it issued in April.

Its researchers reviewed the voting records of MPs for the past four years on 20 issues identified as being important to the congress.

"We don't endorse candidates," said Wahida Valiante, vice-president of the congress. "We do not endorse any party."

The congress focuses on educating the community on issues and encourages Muslims to vote, Valiante said.

"Many of (the issues) are important to all of us," she said. "We're not a one-issue organization."

Reducing child poverty and increasing long-term affordable housing are two of the issues concerning Muslim Canadians, she said.

The congress also favours government policies that would make it easier for qualified immigrants to be able to work in their professions.

"We look at equality of health care. We don't believe in a two-tier system. This is the one issue where we should be very actively involved," she said.

The percentage of Muslims who vote remains lower than the percentage of all Canadians who vote, but it's increasing, Valiante said.

When they have voted, Muslims have traditionally supported Liberal candidates, she added.

But voters need to look at the track records of candidates rather than give uncritical support, she said,

The question of redefining marriage -- a major issue for many faith groups during this election -- wasn't considered when the congress graded the performance of MPs.

"According to Islam . . . a man and a woman is an accepted normal relationship - that's it," Valiante said.

"Beyond that, it is up to the individual to go and vote (for) who they think they should. We are not actively going to promote one or the other."

Many Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative MPs received failing grades from the congress, even though they share its view on marriage. And it gave A grades to all New Democratic Party MPs, most of whom support same-sex marriage.

MPs whose votes agreed with the position of the congress on 15 or more issues received an A. Those who agreed on 11 to 14 votes received a B.

Those who agreed on 10 or fewer issues got an F.

Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener-Waterloo), Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre) and Janko Peric (Cambridge) all received an A.

Lynn Myers, of the former Waterloo-Wellington riding, scored 13 out of 20 and received a B.

mpetricevic@therecord.com

To view the Canadian Islamic Congress report on MPs, visit the website: www.canadianislamiccongress.com. -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please read today's Montreal Gazette (May 27, 2004) about ethnic votes. We refer to your electoral initiative.
Mr. Fo Niemi
Executive Director, CRARR, Montreal
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

as-Salaamu 'alaykum,
Insha'Allah, I hope that the CIC will distribute electronic versions of Brother Elmasry's khotbas (regarding Election 2004) so that those who can not attend them in person will still be able to benefit. May Allah reward you for your efforts.
Dan, NDP
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

AA Yahya,

re Why I will not be voting on June 28th (letter to the CIC)

I hear you. I dislike the whole party system. It seems to me that having a government like Nunavut (by consensus) might work better. More Shura-like too, imho.

But what do you do when confronted by the present party system? You suggest one option, boycotting the whole process, and working solely at the grassroots level. You also point out that many people just vote every 4 years, and then do nothing. But is it not a little Hollywoodian, to divide the options in such a black and white way? Is real life not a little more colourful?

For instance, what do you think of Joe Clark's proposal to vote according to each individual candidate, rather than by party? Might this not bring us a little closer to a better government?

You argue that this is supporting the present system, that candidates will have to toe the party line, anyway. And in general, alas, you would be right. But what if no party wins decisively? Would this not give individual MPs more leeway? I remember hearing that the way we got medicare (in spite of elite opposition) in this country was when the government had a weak majority and the NDP had a kingmaking role. So might we not get a government more open to listening if no one party gets a majority?

Might it not be useful to analyze each riding and see which candidate seems most suitable, as well as assessing how strong the party that candidate belongs to, and how many seats they are likely to win. And then choosing to vote in such a way as to ensure that as many good candidates are elected, while ensuring that no one party dominates?

Also, in the longer term, if Muslims in each riding get to know their MP and are willing to support him/ her as needed, might we not have greater clout? When someone does something that's risky for their job, it helps having friends to offer support. An MP might hazard to take more controversial positions if they knew they'd be backed up on the home front. After reading Paul Findley's Silent No More, it would seem to me that this strategy has worked very effectively in both the US and Canada.

I totally support your grassroots initiatives (I am engaged in grassroots actions myself). But is it necessary to completely ignore voting and the electoral system as it now stands? Would not a more middle path (using both levels) be more politically useful?

I don't think the elites really care all that much whether a majority of Canadians vote or not (sure its nice, but...). After all, George W. wasn't elected by anything near a majority of Americans, but he still gets to get his trigger-happy fingers on the world's greatest stockpile of weapons. If we lived in a true democracy, not voting in order to shame people to change might work. But the oligarchs have little sense of shame. And a multinational corporation has none at all.

Keep up the good work (I read your MMN too), JAK

Astrid.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

Assalamu Alaikum Yahya,

Thanks for this useful analysis and for providing a different angle on how to practice democracy. I have learned from your article.

I have seen your article as well on the CIC website, Friday Bulletin list and Waterloo Muslim Study Group list.

However, I can detect some exaggeration in parts of your analysis, such as:

"By voting, we bestow legitimacy to the farce that we are living in a democracy where those elected into office represent the interests of the people. "

In fact, you cannot deny that, voting in an informed and committed and multi-issue way is no different to the solution you are recommending.

It helps filter out all the weaknesses of democracy.

"Only when we see that the current political system as actually hostile to the interests of the people"

then how about the political system in Third-World, arab world, muslim world?!!!

On the human level, the canadian system has some mechanisms in place to prevent the extreme injustices such as those elsewhere in the world.

You need to live in a Muslim country during elections to feel what i mean.

Sincerely,

Mohamed

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Assalamu alaikum, Dr. Elmasry,

May Allah give you strength and courage. Sometimes I think how you work for this Ummah, and if one-tenth of Muslims in world could commit so much effort, we'd be in a different world. It's not easy to balance work-load at an academic institution and commit time for Khutbahs and other Islamic work. Haya'akumullah,

wassalam,
farooq khan
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Brothers / Sister: ASA

The Association of London Muslims (ALM) has asked our community to prepare questions to be asked at the All Candidates Meeting to be held on Friday June 2, 2004 at 6:30 pm at London ISLAMIC centre (Pond mills Rd).

Here are some questions I have prepared.

Meer

QUESTION
We believe that our nation, Canada, as a bastion of world peace, must play a lead role in the elimination of the WMD threat, similar to the admirable role it played in the International Campaign to ban anti-Personnel land mines.

It is now clear that Iraq did not possess any WMDs. Iran has agreed for strict inspections of its facilities by the United Nations Nuclear Agency and Libya has agreed to dismantle all its WMD facilities. The rest of the Middle Eastern Arab nations are ready and willing to make the area "nuclear free".

The American journalist Seymour Hersh, quoting Israeli nuclear scientist Vanunu, says in his book that Israel possesses several hundreds nuclear warheads, including hydrogen and neutron bombs and delivery capabilities. Israel is also known to posses huge stock piles of chemical and biological weapons and is engaged in further research and development of new and deadly germs, toxins, convulsants etc., including the development of the so called "ethnic weapons" to identity genes carried only by Arabs that could be used to develop a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews.

Nuclear race in the middle east was triggered by Israel. It is amazing that one country was invaded and decimated on mere speculation of possessing WMDs, while Israel proven to posses WMDs is not only spared, but financed and helped to continue the dark operation.

What will your party do to bring real and effective International pressure to bear on Israel to destroy its stock piles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, dismantle its production facilities and to join the rest of the civilized nations in signing disarmament treaties to make the Middle East a truly a WMD free zone?

QUESTION
CHARITY, like Prayers, and Fasting, is one of the five pillars of Islam and an irrevocable religious obligation upon Muslims. Many Islamic Charitable organizations have come under strict scrutiny or some have been closed down all together, especially in the United States, preventing Muslims from fulfilling their Islamic duty to help the less fortunate. Humanity under dreadful occupations and those who are ravaged by war and famine are being denied of this important and life saving source of help.

Our government quickly banned Hezbollah, under pressure from Jewish groups and based on a false report written by a Jewish freelance writer in London, using a false Muslim name, quoting Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah as having advocated the export of suicide bombings worldwide. Our own well respected Canadian journalist Neil McDonald, after detailed investigations, proved this report was a fabrication. Hezbollah (a legitimate Resistance Movement under International laws, and which has Political and Social wings providing much needed social services to a long suffering population) was banned, but flow of funds fueling Israel's state sponsored terrorism continues unrestricted.

What actions will your party take to remove the ban on Hezbollah and to ensure that Islamic Charities are not unreasonably targeted and that funds flowing out of Canada do not go to support terrorism, both state-sponsored and otherwise?

QUESTION
Many Canadians are homeless, a large percent of our children are growing up in poverty and quite a number of Canadian families depend on food banks to get by, yet our government seems to have no difficulties finding funds to send troops and warships in support of America's war efforts.

What will your party do to divert such funds towards social programs, health care, education etc., instead of allowing hard earned taxpayer money to be used to kill innocent and defenseless people overseas?

QUESTION
Living close to the world's most powerful nation, is both a blessing and a curse. While it is our duty to maintain good relations with our neighbour, we will put our nation and our people in great danger if we get involved in our neighbour's unjustified wars and empire building overseas. Instead of addressing root causes of the so called "terrorism", America's blind anger and its misguided foreign policy dictated by pro-Israeli lobbies and the neo-con insiders, has resulted in creating many more injured parties and America-haters and hence created a larger pool of people determined to fight back America's terrorism. So, instead of eliminating 'terrorism', America has multiplied it many folds.

What will your party do to ensure that our nation will not be dragged into America's misadventures, by such threats as "You are with Us or with Them" or the threats of cross border trade etc.?

QUESTION
We wish to see Canada remain an oasis of safety and security. By joining America's Space War program, not only will Canada waste its resources on a system which most scientists believe will be useless, but will also put Canada on the map of potential targets to be attacked. Experts believe that far less sophisticated means of terrorist attacks could be launched against which the highly sophisticated Space Wars program will prove ineffective and provide no security, despite the huge investments in the system. Further, the proposed Star Wars program will give rise to another new and deadly weapons race, which humanity can do without.

What assurance will you give Canadians that our nation will not be dragged into this destructive program?

QUESTION
Most of the newly enacted laws purportedly to counteract terrorism, in fact target Arabs and Muslims. Many Muslims are now targets of racial profiling and arbitrary arrests. Several innocent Muslims have been victims of such unwarranted arrests and their lives have been torn apart as a result. Any Muslim can now be thrown in jail based on secret information and without the due processes guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These hastily enacted draconian laws are reminiscent of the dark ages and a blight on our enlightened and civilized nation. The legal system available prior to these laws were quite adequate to meet the needs of fighting terrorism.

What action will your party take to revoke or abolish those laws enacted under hysteria and undue pressure from the US, and what assurance will you give that in future any such Bills will take into consideration inputs from Canadian Muslims and that the civic and citizenship rights of Muslim Canadians will be protected?

QUESTION
According to a recent national survey, violence against Muslims has increased dramatically after 911. The Media has to bear much of the responsibility for this rise in hate against Muslims. A recent example is the huge publicity given to the decapitation of Nick Berg. All Muslims were devastated by such a horrendous crime. However, after many medical experts questioned the authenticity of the video and others who investigated the video came to the conclusion that the murder was not committed by Iraqis, but may have been 'staged', as a 'black operation' by US psychological warfare specialists, these facts were not given any publicity by the media. The damage was done to the image of Muslims.

Moreover, while crimes by non-Muslims are (rightly) not reported as Hindu, Christian or Jewish terrorism, crimes by Muslims are almost always given an Islamic identity. Additionally, many evangelical TV and radio programs spread anti-Muslim sentiments and the videos they show supposedly as 'documentaries' are filled with inaccuracies and mistruths. Letter writings and protests by Muslims fall on deaf ears. Hence it is necessary to legislate measures against such anti-Muslim propaganda, similar to anti-Semitic propaganda.

What initiatives will your party take in this regard?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am deeply concerned if the Conservatives win the federal election on June 28 and run the country.

What would happen to the Canadian sovereignty, I wonder. Would Canada be the 51st US State?

What concerns me the most about the party is its commitment to support the United States unconditionally, whether it is right or wrong.

True friendship in the eyes of the Conservatives is to stand behind your friend whether he is right or deadly wrong.

If Stephen Harper were the Prime Minister, our troops would have now been in Iraq looking desperately for the weapons of mass destruction.

They would have been there participating in creating chaos, instability and destruction in Iraq.

Stephen Harper would not have the courage to say 'no' to the United States even though the majority of Canadians opposed the war.

I wonder if Mr. Harper wins the election and receives a phone call from the White House the next day advising him that the US is now going to "liberate" another nation, what would his reaction be as the Prime Minister of the country.

May God Have mercy on Canada if the Conservatives run the affairs.

Abubakar Kasim



More Canadians Comment on CIC's Pioneering Research Report: Election 2004




SALAHEDDIN ISLAMIC CENTER PANEL DISCUSSION

Dr. Mohamed Attalla, VP Multiculturalism, Ontario Liberal Party, is coordinating panel discussions with liberal candidates in east Toronto. The event is organized in cooperation with Salaheddin Islamic Center and the Canadian Islamic Congress. Liberal candidates invited to the event are Don Valley East Yasmin Ratansi; Scarborough Centre John Cannis; Scarborough Southwest Tom Wappel; Scarborough Guildwood John McKay and Scarborough Agincourt Jim Karygiannis

Date: Saturday, June 12th at 6:00 P.M.
Location: Salaheddin Islamic Center
741 Kennedy Road (Kennedy and Eglinton)
Every one is welcomed and encouraged to attend the meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


ISLAMIC CONGRESS ISSUES REPORT CARD ON MPs
[By Mirko Petricevic, The KW Record, May 29, 2004]


The Canadian Islamic Congress has given passing grades to four local Liberals who are seeking re-election in the June 28 federal election.

The congress graded federal politicians across the country in a report it issued in April.

Its researchers reviewed the voting records of MPs for the past four years on 20 issues identified as being important to the congress.

"We don't endorse candidates," said Wahida Valiante, vice-president of the congress. "We do not endorse any party."

The congress focuses on educating the community on issues and encourages Muslims to vote, Valiante said.

"Many of (the issues) are important to all of us," she said. "We're not a one-issue organization."

Reducing child poverty and increasing long-term affordable housing are two of the issues concerning Muslim Canadians, she said.

The congress also favours government policies that would make it easier for qualified immigrants to be able to work in their professions.

"We look at equality of health care. We don't believe in a two-tier system. This is the one issue where we should be very actively involved," she said.

The percentage of Muslims who vote remains lower than the percentage of all Canadians who vote, but it's increasing, Valiante said.

When they have voted, Muslims have traditionally supported Liberal candidates, she added.

But voters need to look at the track records of candidates rather than give uncritical support, she said,

The question of redefining marriage -- a major issue for many faith groups during this election -- wasn't considered when the congress graded the performance of MPs.

"According to Islam . . . a man and a woman is an accepted normal relationship - that's it," Valiante said.

"Beyond that, it is up to the individual to go and vote (for) who they think they should. We are not actively going to promote one or the other."

Many Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative MPs received failing grades from the congress, even though they share its view on marriage. And it gave A grades to all New Democratic Party MPs, most of whom support same-sex marriage.

MPs whose votes agreed with the position of the congress on 15 or more issues received an A. Those who agreed on 11 to 14 votes received a B.

Those who agreed on 10 or fewer issues got an F.

Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener-Waterloo), Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre) and Janko Peric (Cambridge) all received an A.

Lynn Myers, of the former Waterloo-Wellington riding, scored 13 out of 20 and received a B.

mpetricevic@therecord.com

To view the Canadian Islamic Congress report on MPs, visit the website: www.canadianislamiccongress.com. -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please read today's Montreal Gazette (May 27, 2004) about ethnic votes. We refer to your electoral initiative.
Mr. Fo Niemi
Executive Director, CRARR, Montreal
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

as-Salaamu 'alaykum,
Insha'Allah, I hope that the CIC will distribute electronic versions of Brother Elmasry's khotbas (regarding Election 2004) so that those who can not attend them in person will still be able to benefit. May Allah reward you for your efforts.
Dan, NDP
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

AA Yahya,

re Why I will not be voting on June 28th (letter to the CIC)

I hear you. I dislike the whole party system. It seems to me that having a government like Nunavut (by consensus) might work better. More Shura-like too, imho.

But what do you do when confronted by the present party system? You suggest one option, boycotting the whole process, and working solely at the grassroots level. You also point out that many people just vote every 4 years, and then do nothing. But is it not a little Hollywoodian, to divide the options in such a black and white way? Is real life not a little more colourful?

For instance, what do you think of Joe Clark's proposal to vote according to each individual candidate, rather than by party? Might this not bring us a little closer to a better government?

You argue that this is supporting the present system, that candidates will have to toe the party line, anyway. And in general, alas, you would be right. But what if no party wins decisively? Would this not give individual MPs more leeway? I remember hearing that the way we got medicare (in spite of elite opposition) in this country was when the government had a weak majority and the NDP had a kingmaking role. So might we not get a government more open to listening if no one party gets a majority?

Might it not be useful to analyze each riding and see which candidate seems most suitable, as well as assessing how strong the party that candidate belongs to, and how many seats they are likely to win. And then choosing to vote in such a way as to ensure that as many good candidates are elected, while ensuring that no one party dominates?

Also, in the longer term, if Muslims in each riding get to know their MP and are willing to support him/ her as needed, might we not have greater clout? When someone does something that's risky for their job, it helps having friends to offer support. An MP might hazard to take more controversial positions if they knew they'd be backed up on the home front. After reading Paul Findley's Silent No More, it would seem to me that this strategy has worked very effectively in both the US and Canada.

I totally support your grassroots initiatives (I am engaged in grassroots actions myself). But is it necessary to completely ignore voting and the electoral system as it now stands? Would not a more middle path (using both levels) be more politically useful?

I don't think the elites really care all that much whether a majority of Canadians vote or not (sure its nice, but...). After all, George W. wasn't elected by anything near a majority of Americans, but he still gets to get his trigger-happy fingers on the world's greatest stockpile of weapons. If we lived in a true democracy, not voting in order to shame people to change might work. But the oligarchs have little sense of shame. And a multinational corporation has none at all.

Keep up the good work (I read your MMN too), JAK

Astrid.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

Assalamu Alaikum Yahya,

Thanks for this useful analysis and for providing a different angle on how to practice democracy. I have learned from your article.

I have seen your article as well on the CIC website, Friday Bulletin list and Waterloo Muslim Study Group list.

However, I can detect some exaggeration in parts of your analysis, such as:

"By voting, we bestow legitimacy to the farce that we are living in a democracy where those elected into office represent the interests of the people. "

In fact, you cannot deny that, voting in an informed and committed and multi-issue way is no different to the solution you are recommending.

It helps filter out all the weaknesses of democracy.

"Only when we see that the current political system as actually hostile to the interests of the people"

then how about the political system in Third-World, arab world, muslim world?!!!

On the human level, the canadian system has some mechanisms in place to prevent the extreme injustices such as those elsewhere in the world.

You need to live in a Muslim country during elections to feel what i mean.

Sincerely,

Mohamed

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Assalamu alaikum, Dr. Elmasry,

May Allah give you strength and courage. Sometimes I think how you work for this Ummah, and if one-tenth of Muslims in world could commit so much effort, we'd be in a different world. It's not easy to balance work-load at an academic institution and commit time for Khutbahs and other Islamic work. Haya'akumullah,

wassalam,
farooq khan
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Brothers / Sister: ASA

The Association of London Muslims (ALM) has asked our community to prepare questions to be asked at the All Candidates Meeting to be held on Friday June 2, 2004 at 6:30 pm at London ISLAMIC centre (Pond mills Rd).

Here are some questions I have prepared.

Meer

QUESTION
We believe that our nation, Canada, as a bastion of world peace, must play a lead role in the elimination of the WMD threat, similar to the admirable role it played in the International Campaign to ban anti-Personnel land mines.

It is now clear that Iraq did not possess any WMDs. Iran has agreed for strict inspections of its facilities by the United Nations Nuclear Agency and Libya has agreed to dismantle all its WMD facilities. The rest of the Middle Eastern Arab nations are ready and willing to make the area "nuclear free".

The American journalist Seymour Hersh, quoting Israeli nuclear scientist Vanunu, says in his book that Israel possesses several hundreds nuclear warheads, including hydrogen and neutron bombs and delivery capabilities. Israel is also known to posses huge stock piles of chemical and biological weapons and is engaged in further research and development of new and deadly germs, toxins, convulsants etc., including the development of the so called "ethnic weapons" to identity genes carried only by Arabs that could be used to develop a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews.

Nuclear race in the middle east was triggered by Israel. It is amazing that one country was invaded and decimated on mere speculation of possessing WMDs, while Israel proven to posses WMDs is not only spared, but financed and helped to continue the dark operation.

What will your party do to bring real and effective International pressure to bear on Israel to destroy its stock piles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, dismantle its production facilities and to join the rest of the civilized nations in signing disarmament treaties to make the Middle East a truly a WMD free zone?

QUESTION
CHARITY, like Prayers, and Fasting, is one of the five pillars of Islam and an irrevocable religious obligation upon Muslims. Many Islamic Charitable organizations have come under strict scrutiny or some have been closed down all together, especially in the United States, preventing Muslims from fulfilling their Islamic duty to help the less fortunate. Humanity under dreadful occupations and those who are ravaged by war and famine are being denied of this important and life saving source of help.

Our government quickly banned Hezbollah, under pressure from Jewish groups and based on a false report written by a Jewish freelance writer in London, using a false Muslim name, quoting Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah as having advocated the export of suicide bombings worldwide. Our own well respected Canadian journalist Neil McDonald, after detailed investigations, proved this report was a fabrication. Hezbollah (a legitimate Resistance Movement under International laws, and which has Political and Social wings providing much needed social services to a long suffering population) was banned, but flow of funds fueling Israel's state sponsored terrorism continues unrestricted.

What actions will your party take to remove the ban on Hezbollah and to ensure that Islamic Charities are not unreasonably targeted and that funds flowing out of Canada do not go to support terrorism, both state-sponsored and otherwise?

QUESTION
Many Canadians are homeless, a large percent of our children are growing up in poverty and quite a number of Canadian families depend on food banks to get by, yet our government seems to have no difficulties finding funds to send troops and warships in support of America's war efforts.

What will your party do to divert such funds towards social programs, health care, education etc., instead of allowing hard earned taxpayer money to be used to kill innocent and defenseless people overseas?

QUESTION
Living close to the world's most powerful nation, is both a blessing and a curse. While it is our duty to maintain good relations with our neighbour, we will put our nation and our people in great danger if we get involved in our neighbour's unjustified wars and empire building overseas. Instead of addressing root causes of the so called "terrorism", America's blind anger and its misguided foreign policy dictated by pro-Israeli lobbies and the neo-con insiders, has resulted in creating many more injured parties and America-haters and hence created a larger pool of people determined to fight back America's terrorism. So, instead of eliminating 'terrorism', America has multiplied it many folds.

What will your party do to ensure that our nation will not be dragged into America's misadventures, by such threats as "You are with Us or with Them" or the threats of cross border trade etc.?

QUESTION
We wish to see Canada remain an oasis of safety and security. By joining America's Space War program, not only will Canada waste its resources on a system which most scientists believe will be useless, but will also put Canada on the map of potential targets to be attacked. Experts believe that far less sophisticated means of terrorist attacks could be launched against which the highly sophisticated Space Wars program will prove ineffective and provide no security, despite the huge investments in the system. Further, the proposed Star Wars program will give rise to another new and deadly weapons race, which humanity can do without.

What assurance will you give Canadians that our nation will not be dragged into this destructive program?

QUESTION
Most of the newly enacted laws purportedly to counteract terrorism, in fact target Arabs and Muslims. Many Muslims are now targets of racial profiling and arbitrary arrests. Several innocent Muslims have been victims of such unwarranted arrests and their lives have been torn apart as a result. Any Muslim can now be thrown in jail based on secret information and without the due processes guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These hastily enacted draconian laws are reminiscent of the dark ages and a blight on our enlightened and civilized nation. The legal system available prior to these laws were quite adequate to meet the needs of fighting terrorism.

What action will your party take to revoke or abolish those laws enacted under hysteria and undue pressure from the US, and what assurance will you give that in future any such Bills will take into consideration inputs from Canadian Muslims and that the civic and citizenship rights of Muslim Canadians will be protected?

QUESTION
According to a recent national survey, violence against Muslims has increased dramatically after 911. The Media has to bear much of the responsibility for this rise in hate against Muslims. A recent example is the huge publicity given to the decapitation of Nick Berg. All Muslims were devastated by such a horrendous crime. However, after many medical experts questioned the authenticity of the video and others who investigated the video came to the conclusion that the murder was not committed by Iraqis, but may have been 'staged', as a 'black operation' by US psychological warfare specialists, these facts were not given any publicity by the media. The damage was done to the image of Muslims.

Moreover, while crimes by non-Muslims are (rightly) not reported as Hindu, Christian or Jewish terrorism, crimes by Muslims are almost always given an Islamic identity. Additionally, many evangelical TV and radio programs spread anti-Muslim sentiments and the videos they show supposedly as 'documentaries' are filled with inaccuracies and mistruths. Letter writings and protests by Muslims fall on deaf ears. Hence it is necessary to legislate measures against such anti-Muslim propaganda, similar to anti-Semitic propaganda.

What initiatives will your party take in this regard?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am deeply concerned if the Conservatives win the federal election on June 28 and run the country.

What would happen to the Canadian sovereignty, I wonder. Would Canada be the 51st US State?

What concerns me the most about the party is its commitment to support the United States unconditionally, whether it is right or wrong.

True friendship in the eyes of the Conservatives is to stand behind your friend whether he is right or deadly wrong.

If Stephen Harper were the Prime Minister, our troops would have now been in Iraq looking desperately for the weapons of mass destruction.

They would have been there participating in creating chaos, instability and destruction in Iraq.

Stephen Harper would not have the courage to say 'no' to the United States even though the majority of Canadians opposed the war.

I wonder if Mr. Harper wins the election and receives a phone call from the White House the next day advising him that the US is now going to "liberate" another nation, what would his reaction be as the Prime Minister of the country.

May God Have mercy on Canada if the Conservatives run the affairs.

Abubakar Kasim



More Canadians Comment on CIC's Pioneering Research Report: Election 2004




SALAHEDDIN ISLAMIC CENTER PANEL DISCUSSION

Dr. Mohamed Attalla, VP Multiculturalism, Ontario Liberal Party, is coordinating panel discussions with liberal candidates in east Toronto. The event is organized in cooperation with Salaheddin Islamic Center and the Canadian Islamic Congress. Liberal candidates invited to the event are Don Valley East Yasmin Ratansi; Scarborough Centre John Cannis; Scarborough Southwest Tom Wappel; Scarborough Guildwood John McKay and Scarborough Agincourt Jim Karygiannis

Date: Saturday, June 12th at 6:00 P.M.
Location: Salaheddin Islamic Center
741 Kennedy Road (Kennedy and Eglinton)
Every one is welcomed and encouraged to attend the meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


ISLAMIC CONGRESS ISSUES REPORT CARD ON MPs
[By Mirko Petricevic, The KW Record, May 29, 2004]


The Canadian Islamic Congress has given passing grades to four local Liberals who are seeking re-election in the June 28 federal election.

The congress graded federal politicians across the country in a report it issued in April.

Its researchers reviewed the voting records of MPs for the past four years on 20 issues identified as being important to the congress.

"We don't endorse candidates," said Wahida Valiante, vice-president of the congress. "We do not endorse any party."

The congress focuses on educating the community on issues and encourages Muslims to vote, Valiante said.

"Many of (the issues) are important to all of us," she said. "We're not a one-issue organization."

Reducing child poverty and increasing long-term affordable housing are two of the issues concerning Muslim Canadians, she said.

The congress also favours government policies that would make it easier for qualified immigrants to be able to work in their professions.

"We look at equality of health care. We don't believe in a two-tier system. This is the one issue where we should be very actively involved," she said.

The percentage of Muslims who vote remains lower than the percentage of all Canadians who vote, but it's increasing, Valiante said.

When they have voted, Muslims have traditionally supported Liberal candidates, she added.

But voters need to look at the track records of candidates rather than give uncritical support, she said,

The question of redefining marriage -- a major issue for many faith groups during this election -- wasn't considered when the congress graded the performance of MPs.

"According to Islam . . . a man and a woman is an accepted normal relationship - that's it," Valiante said.

"Beyond that, it is up to the individual to go and vote (for) who they think they should. We are not actively going to promote one or the other."

Many Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative MPs received failing grades from the congress, even though they share its view on marriage. And it gave A grades to all New Democratic Party MPs, most of whom support same-sex marriage.

MPs whose votes agreed with the position of the congress on 15 or more issues received an A. Those who agreed on 11 to 14 votes received a B.

Those who agreed on 10 or fewer issues got an F.

Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener-Waterloo), Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre) and Janko Peric (Cambridge) all received an A.

Lynn Myers, of the former Waterloo-Wellington riding, scored 13 out of 20 and received a B.

mpetricevic@therecord.com

To view the Canadian Islamic Congress report on MPs, visit the website: www.canadianislamiccongress.com. -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please read today's Montreal Gazette (May 27, 2004) about ethnic votes. We refer to your electoral initiative.
Mr. Fo Niemi
Executive Director, CRARR, Montreal
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

as-Salaamu 'alaykum,
Insha'Allah, I hope that the CIC will distribute electronic versions of Brother Elmasry's khotbas (regarding Election 2004) so that those who can not attend them in person will still be able to benefit. May Allah reward you for your efforts.
Dan, NDP
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

AA Yahya,

re Why I will not be voting on June 28th (letter to the CIC)

I hear you. I dislike the whole party system. It seems to me that having a government like Nunavut (by consensus) might work better. More Shura-like too, imho.

But what do you do when confronted by the present party system? You suggest one option, boycotting the whole process, and working solely at the grassroots level. You also point out that many people just vote every 4 years, and then do nothing. But is it not a little Hollywoodian, to divide the options in such a black and white way? Is real life not a little more colourful?

For instance, what do you think of Joe Clark's proposal to vote according to each individual candidate, rather than by party? Might this not bring us a little closer to a better government?

You argue that this is supporting the present system, that candidates will have to toe the party line, anyway. And in general, alas, you would be right. But what if no party wins decisively? Would this not give individual MPs more leeway? I remember hearing that the way we got medicare (in spite of elite opposition) in this country was when the government had a weak majority and the NDP had a kingmaking role. So might we not get a government more open to listening if no one party gets a majority?

Might it not be useful to analyze each riding and see which candidate seems most suitable, as well as assessing how strong the party that candidate belongs to, and how many seats they are likely to win. And then choosing to vote in such a way as to ensure that as many good candidates are elected, while ensuring that no one party dominates?

Also, in the longer term, if Muslims in each riding get to know their MP and are willing to support him/ her as needed, might we not have greater clout? When someone does something that's risky for their job, it helps having friends to offer support. An MP might hazard to take more controversial positions if they knew they'd be backed up on the home front. After reading Paul Findley's Silent No More, it would seem to me that this strategy has worked very effectively in both the US and Canada.

I totally support your grassroots initiatives (I am engaged in grassroots actions myself). But is it necessary to completely ignore voting and the electoral system as it now stands? Would not a more middle path (using both levels) be more politically useful?

I don't think the elites really care all that much whether a majority of Canadians vote or not (sure its nice, but...). After all, George W. wasn't elected by anything near a majority of Americans, but he still gets to get his trigger-happy fingers on the world's greatest stockpile of weapons. If we lived in a true democracy, not voting in order to shame people to change might work. But the oligarchs have little sense of shame. And a multinational corporation has none at all.

Keep up the good work (I read your MMN too), JAK

Astrid.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

Assalamu Alaikum Yahya,

Thanks for this useful analysis and for providing a different angle on how to practice democracy. I have learned from your article.

I have seen your article as well on the CIC website, Friday Bulletin list and Waterloo Muslim Study Group list.

However, I can detect some exaggeration in parts of your analysis, such as:

"By voting, we bestow legitimacy to the farce that we are living in a democracy where those elected into office represent the interests of the people. "

In fact, you cannot deny that, voting in an informed and committed and multi-issue way is no different to the solution you are recommending.

It helps filter out all the weaknesses of democracy.

"Only when we see that the current political system as actually hostile to the interests of the people"

then how about the political system in Third-World, arab world, muslim world?!!!

On the human level, the canadian system has some mechanisms in place to prevent the extreme injustices such as those elsewhere in the world.

You need to live in a Muslim country during elections to feel what i mean.

Sincerely,

Mohamed

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Assalamu alaikum, Dr. Elmasry,

May Allah give you strength and courage. Sometimes I think how you work for this Ummah, and if one-tenth of Muslims in world could commit so much effort, we'd be in a different world. It's not easy to balance work-load at an academic institution and commit time for Khutbahs and other Islamic work. Haya'akumullah,

wassalam,
farooq khan
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Brothers / Sister: ASA

The Association of London Muslims (ALM) has asked our community to prepare questions to be asked at the All Candidates Meeting to be held on Friday June 2, 2004 at 6:30 pm at London ISLAMIC centre (Pond mills Rd).

Here are some questions I have prepared.

Meer

QUESTION
We believe that our nation, Canada, as a bastion of world peace, must play a lead role in the elimination of the WMD threat, similar to the admirable role it played in the International Campaign to ban anti-Personnel land mines.

It is now clear that Iraq did not possess any WMDs. Iran has agreed for strict inspections of its facilities by the United Nations Nuclear Agency and Libya has agreed to dismantle all its WMD facilities. The rest of the Middle Eastern Arab nations are ready and willing to make the area "nuclear free".

The American journalist Seymour Hersh, quoting Israeli nuclear scientist Vanunu, says in his book that Israel possesses several hundreds nuclear warheads, including hydrogen and neutron bombs and delivery capabilities. Israel is also known to posses huge stock piles of chemical and biological weapons and is engaged in further research and development of new and deadly germs, toxins, convulsants etc., including the development of the so called "ethnic weapons" to identity genes carried only by Arabs that could be used to develop a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews.

Nuclear race in the middle east was triggered by Israel. It is amazing that one country was invaded and decimated on mere speculation of possessing WMDs, while Israel proven to posses WMDs is not only spared, but financed and helped to continue the dark operation.

What will your party do to bring real and effective International pressure to bear on Israel to destroy its stock piles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, dismantle its production facilities and to join the rest of the civilized nations in signing disarmament treaties to make the Middle East a truly a WMD free zone?

QUESTION
CHARITY, like Prayers, and Fasting, is one of the five pillars of Islam and an irrevocable religious obligation upon Muslims. Many Islamic Charitable organizations have come under strict scrutiny or some have been closed down all together, especially in the United States, preventing Muslims from fulfilling their Islamic duty to help the less fortunate. Humanity under dreadful occupations and those who are ravaged by war and famine are being denied of this important and life saving source of help.

Our government quickly banned Hezbollah, under pressure from Jewish groups and based on a false report written by a Jewish freelance writer in London, using a false Muslim name, quoting Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah as having advocated the export of suicide bombings worldwide. Our own well respected Canadian journalist Neil McDonald, after detailed investigations, proved this report was a fabrication. Hezbollah (a legitimate Resistance Movement under International laws, and which has Political and Social wings providing much needed social services to a long suffering population) was banned, but flow of funds fueling Israel's state sponsored terrorism continues unrestricted.

What actions will your party take to remove the ban on Hezbollah and to ensure that Islamic Charities are not unreasonably targeted and that funds flowing out of Canada do not go to support terrorism, both state-sponsored and otherwise?

QUESTION
Many Canadians are homeless, a large percent of our children are growing up in poverty and quite a number of Canadian families depend on food banks to get by, yet our government seems to have no difficulties finding funds to send troops and warships in support of America's war efforts.

What will your party do to divert such funds towards social programs, health care, education etc., instead of allowing hard earned taxpayer money to be used to kill innocent and defenseless people overseas?

QUESTION
Living close to the world's most powerful nation, is both a blessing and a curse. While it is our duty to maintain good relations with our neighbour, we will put our nation and our people in great danger if we get involved in our neighbour's unjustified wars and empire building overseas. Instead of addressing root causes of the so called "terrorism", America's blind anger and its misguided foreign policy dictated by pro-Israeli lobbies and the neo-con insiders, has resulted in creating many more injured parties and America-haters and hence created a larger pool of people determined to fight back America's terrorism. So, instead of eliminating 'terrorism', America has multiplied it many folds.

What will your party do to ensure that our nation will not be dragged into America's misadventures, by such threats as "You are with Us or with Them" or the threats of cross border trade etc.?

QUESTION
We wish to see Canada remain an oasis of safety and security. By joining America's Space War program, not only will Canada waste its resources on a system which most scientists believe will be useless, but will also put Canada on the map of potential targets to be attacked. Experts believe that far less sophisticated means of terrorist attacks could be launched against which the highly sophisticated Space Wars program will prove ineffective and provide no security, despite the huge investments in the system. Further, the proposed Star Wars program will give rise to another new and deadly weapons race, which humanity can do without.

What assurance will you give Canadians that our nation will not be dragged into this destructive program?

QUESTION
Most of the newly enacted laws purportedly to counteract terrorism, in fact target Arabs and Muslims. Many Muslims are now targets of racial profiling and arbitrary arrests. Several innocent Muslims have been victims of such unwarranted arrests and their lives have been torn apart as a result. Any Muslim can now be thrown in jail based on secret information and without the due processes guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These hastily enacted draconian laws are reminiscent of the dark ages and a blight on our enlightened and civilized nation. The legal system available prior to these laws were quite adequate to meet the needs of fighting terrorism.

What action will your party take to revoke or abolish those laws enacted under hysteria and undue pressure from the US, and what assurance will you give that in future any such Bills will take into consideration inputs from Canadian Muslims and that the civic and citizenship rights of Muslim Canadians will be protected?

QUESTION
According to a recent national survey, violence against Muslims has increased dramatically after 911. The Media has to bear much of the responsibility for this rise in hate against Muslims. A recent example is the huge publicity given to the decapitation of Nick Berg. All Muslims were devastated by such a horrendous crime. However, after many medical experts questioned the authenticity of the video and others who investigated the video came to the conclusion that the murder was not committed by Iraqis, but may have been 'staged', as a 'black operation' by US psychological warfare specialists, these facts were not given any publicity by the media. The damage was done to the image of Muslims.

Moreover, while crimes by non-Muslims are (rightly) not reported as Hindu, Christian or Jewish terrorism, crimes by Muslims are almost always given an Islamic identity. Additionally, many evangelical TV and radio programs spread anti-Muslim sentiments and the videos they show supposedly as 'documentaries' are filled with inaccuracies and mistruths. Letter writings and protests by Muslims fall on deaf ears. Hence it is necessary to legislate measures against such anti-Muslim propaganda, similar to anti-Semitic propaganda.

What initiatives will your party take in this regard?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am deeply concerned if the Conservatives win the federal election on June 28 and run the country.

What would happen to the Canadian sovereignty, I wonder. Would Canada be the 51st US State?

What concerns me the most about the party is its commitment to support the United States unconditionally, whether it is right or wrong.

True friendship in the eyes of the Conservatives is to stand behind your friend whether he is right or deadly wrong.

If Stephen Harper were the Prime Minister, our troops would have now been in Iraq looking desperately for the weapons of mass destruction.

They would have been there participating in creating chaos, instability and destruction in Iraq.

Stephen Harper would not have the courage to say 'no' to the United States even though the majority of Canadians opposed the war.

I wonder if Mr. Harper wins the election and receives a phone call from the White House the next day advising him that the US is now going to "liberate" another nation, what would his reaction be as the Prime Minister of the country.

May God Have mercy on Canada if the Conservatives run the affairs.

Abubakar Kasim



More Canadians Comment on CIC's Pioneering Research Report: Election 2004




SALAHEDDIN ISLAMIC CENTER PANEL DISCUSSION

Dr. Mohamed Attalla, VP Multiculturalism, Ontario Liberal Party, is coordinating panel discussions with liberal candidates in east Toronto. The event is organized in cooperation with Salaheddin Islamic Center and the Canadian Islamic Congress. Liberal candidates invited to the event are Don Valley East Yasmin Ratansi; Scarborough Centre John Cannis; Scarborough Southwest Tom Wappel; Scarborough Guildwood John McKay and Scarborough Agincourt Jim Karygiannis

Date: Saturday, June 12th at 6:00 P.M.
Location: Salaheddin Islamic Center
741 Kennedy Road (Kennedy and Eglinton)
Every one is welcomed and encouraged to attend the meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


ISLAMIC CONGRESS ISSUES REPORT CARD ON MPs
[By Mirko Petricevic, The KW Record, May 29, 2004]


The Canadian Islamic Congress has given passing grades to four local Liberals who are seeking re-election in the June 28 federal election.

The congress graded federal politicians across the country in a report it issued in April.

Its researchers reviewed the voting records of MPs for the past four years on 20 issues identified as being important to the congress.

"We don't endorse candidates," said Wahida Valiante, vice-president of the congress. "We do not endorse any party."

The congress focuses on educating the community on issues and encourages Muslims to vote, Valiante said.

"Many of (the issues) are important to all of us," she said. "We're not a one-issue organization."

Reducing child poverty and increasing long-term affordable housing are two of the issues concerning Muslim Canadians, she said.

The congress also favours government policies that would make it easier for qualified immigrants to be able to work in their professions.

"We look at equality of health care. We don't believe in a two-tier system. This is the one issue where we should be very actively involved," she said.

The percentage of Muslims who vote remains lower than the percentage of all Canadians who vote, but it's increasing, Valiante said.

When they have voted, Muslims have traditionally supported Liberal candidates, she added.

But voters need to look at the track records of candidates rather than give uncritical support, she said,

The question of redefining marriage -- a major issue for many faith groups during this election -- wasn't considered when the congress graded the performance of MPs.

"According to Islam . . . a man and a woman is an accepted normal relationship - that's it," Valiante said.

"Beyond that, it is up to the individual to go and vote (for) who they think they should. We are not actively going to promote one or the other."

Many Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative MPs received failing grades from the congress, even though they share its view on marriage. And it gave A grades to all New Democratic Party MPs, most of whom support same-sex marriage.

MPs whose votes agreed with the position of the congress on 15 or more issues received an A. Those who agreed on 11 to 14 votes received a B.

Those who agreed on 10 or fewer issues got an F.

Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener-Waterloo), Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre) and Janko Peric (Cambridge) all received an A.

Lynn Myers, of the former Waterloo-Wellington riding, scored 13 out of 20 and received a B.

mpetricevic@therecord.com

To view the Canadian Islamic Congress report on MPs, visit the website: www.canadianislamiccongress.com.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please read today's Montreal Gazette (May 27, 2004) about ethnic votes. We refer to your electoral initiative.
Mr. Fo Niemi
Executive Director, CRARR, Montreal
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

as-Salaamu 'alaykum,
Insha'Allah, I hope that the CIC will distribute electronic versions of Brother Elmasry's khotbas (regarding Election 2004) so that those who can not attend them in person will still be able to benefit. May Allah reward you for your efforts.
Dan, NDP
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

AA Yahya,

re Why I will not be voting on June 28th (letter to the CIC)

I hear you. I dislike the whole party system. It seems to me that having a government like Nunavut (by consensus) might work better. More Shura-like too, imho.

But what do you do when confronted by the present party system? You suggest one option, boycotting the whole process, and working solely at the grassroots level. You also point out that many people just vote every 4 years, and then do nothing. But is it not a little Hollywoodian, to divide the options in such a black and white way? Is real life not a little more colourful?

For instance, what do you think of Joe Clark's proposal to vote according to each individual candidate, rather than by party? Might this not bring us a little closer to a better government?

You argue that this is supporting the present system, that candidates will have to toe the party line, anyway. And in general, alas, you would be right. But what if no party wins decisively? Would this not give individual MPs more leeway? I remember hearing that the way we got medicare (in spite of elite opposition) in this country was when the government had a weak majority and the NDP had a kingmaking role. So might we not get a government more open to listening if no one party gets a majority?

Might it not be useful to analyze each riding and see which candidate seems most suitable, as well as assessing how strong the party that candidate belongs to, and how many seats they are likely to win. And then choosing to vote in such a way as to ensure that as many good candidates are elected, while ensuring that no one party dominates?

Also, in the longer term, if Muslims in each riding get to know their MP and are willing to support him/ her as needed, might we not have greater clout? When someone does something that's risky for their job, it helps having friends to offer support. An MP might hazard to take more controversial positions if they knew they'd be backed up on the home front. After reading Paul Findley's Silent No More, it would seem to me that this strategy has worked very effectively in both the US and Canada.

I totally support your grassroots initiatives (I am engaged in grassroots actions myself). But is it necessary to completely ignore voting and the electoral system as it now stands? Would not a more middle path (using both levels) be more politically useful?

I don't think the elites really care all that much whether a majority of Canadians vote or not (sure its nice, but...). After all, George W. wasn't elected by anything near a majority of Americans, but he still gets to get his trigger-happy fingers on the world's greatest stockpile of weapons. If we lived in a true democracy, not voting in order to shame people to change might work. But the oligarchs have little sense of shame. And a multinational corporation has none at all.

Keep up the good work (I read your MMN too), JAK

Astrid.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

Assalamu Alaikum Yahya,

Thanks for this useful analysis and for providing a different angle on how to practice democracy. I have learned from your article.

I have seen your article as well on the CIC website, Friday Bulletin list and Waterloo Muslim Study Group list.

However, I can detect some exaggeration in parts of your analysis, such as:

"By voting, we bestow legitimacy to the farce that we are living in a democracy where those elected into office represent the interests of the people. "

In fact, you cannot deny that, voting in an informed and committed and multi-issue way is no different to the solution you are recommending.

It helps filter out all the weaknesses of democracy.

"Only when we see that the current political system as actually hostile to the interests of the people"

then how about the political system in Third-World, arab world, muslim world?!!!

On the human level, the canadian system has some mechanisms in place to prevent the extreme injustices such as those elsewhere in the world.

You need to live in a Muslim country during elections to feel what i mean.

Sincerely,

Mohamed

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Assalamu alaikum, Dr. Elmasry,

May Allah give you strength and courage. Sometimes I think how you work for this Ummah, and if one-tenth of Muslims in world could commit so much effort, we'd be in a different world. It's not easy to balance work-load at an academic institution and commit time for Khutbahs and other Islamic work. Haya'akumullah,

wassalam,
farooq khan
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Brothers / Sister: ASA

The Association of London Muslims (ALM) has asked our community to prepare questions to be asked at the All Candidates Meeting to be held on Friday June 2, 2004 at 6:30 pm at London ISLAMIC centre (Pond mills Rd).

Here are some questions I have prepared.

Meer

QUESTION
We believe that our nation, Canada, as a bastion of world peace, must play a lead role in the elimination of the WMD threat, similar to the admirable role it played in the International Campaign to ban anti-Personnel land mines.

It is now clear that Iraq did not possess any WMDs. Iran has agreed for strict inspections of its facilities by the United Nations Nuclear Agency and Libya has agreed to dismantle all its WMD facilities. The rest of the Middle Eastern Arab nations are ready and willing to make the area "nuclear free".

The American journalist Seymour Hersh, quoting Israeli nuclear scientist Vanunu, says in his book that Israel possesses several hundreds nuclear warheads, including hydrogen and neutron bombs and delivery capabilities. Israel is also known to posses huge stock piles of chemical and biological weapons and is engaged in further research and development of new and deadly germs, toxins, convulsants etc., including the development of the so called "ethnic weapons" to identity genes carried only by Arabs that could be used to develop a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews.

Nuclear race in the middle east was triggered by Israel. It is amazing that one country was invaded and decimated on mere speculation of possessing WMDs, while Israel proven to posses WMDs is not only spared, but financed and helped to continue the dark operation.

What will your party do to bring real and effective International pressure to bear on Israel to destroy its stock piles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, dismantle its production facilities and to join the rest of the civilized nations in signing disarmament treaties to make the Middle East a truly a WMD free zone?

QUESTION
CHARITY, like Prayers, and Fasting, is one of the five pillars of Islam and an irrevocable religious obligation upon Muslims. Many Islamic Charitable organizations have come under strict scrutiny or some have been closed down all together, especially in the United States, preventing Muslims from fulfilling their Islamic duty to help the less fortunate. Humanity under dreadful occupations and those who are ravaged by war and famine are being denied of this important and life saving source of help.

Our government quickly banned Hezbollah, under pressure from Jewish groups and based on a false report written by a Jewish freelance writer in London, using a false Muslim name, quoting Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah as having advocated the export of suicide bombings worldwide. Our own well respected Canadian journalist Neil McDonald, after detailed investigations, proved this report was a fabrication. Hezbollah (a legitimate Resistance Movement under International laws, and which has Political and Social wings providing much needed social services to a long suffering population) was banned, but flow of funds fueling Israel's state sponsored terrorism continues unrestricted.

What actions will your party take to remove the ban on Hezbollah and to ensure that Islamic Charities are not unreasonably targeted and that funds flowing out of Canada do not go to support terrorism, both state-sponsored and otherwise?

QUESTION
Many Canadians are homeless, a large percent of our children are growing up in poverty and quite a number of Canadian families depend on food banks to get by, yet our government seems to have no difficulties finding funds to send troops and warships in support of America's war efforts.

What will your party do to divert such funds towards social programs, health care, education etc., instead of allowing hard earned taxpayer money to be used to kill innocent and defenseless people overseas?

QUESTION
Living close to the world's most powerful nation, is both a blessing and a curse. While it is our duty to maintain good relations with our neighbour, we will put our nation and our people in great danger if we get involved in our neighbour's unjustified wars and empire building overseas. Instead of addressing root causes of the so called "terrorism", America's blind anger and its misguided foreign policy dictated by pro-Israeli lobbies and the neo-con insiders, has resulted in creating many more injured parties and America-haters and hence created a larger pool of people determined to fight back America's terrorism. So, instead of eliminating 'terrorism', America has multiplied it many folds.

What will your party do to ensure that our nation will not be dragged into America's misadventures, by such threats as "You are with Us or with Them" or the threats of cross border trade etc.?

QUESTION
We wish to see Canada remain an oasis of safety and security. By joining America's Space War program, not only will Canada waste its resources on a system which most scientists believe will be useless, but will also put Canada on the map of potential targets to be attacked. Experts believe that far less sophisticated means of terrorist attacks could be launched against which the highly sophisticated Space Wars program will prove ineffective and provide no security, despite the huge investments in the system. Further, the proposed Star Wars program will give rise to another new and deadly weapons race, which humanity can do without.

What assurance will you give Canadians that our nation will not be dragged into this destructive program?

QUESTION
Most of the newly enacted laws purportedly to counteract terrorism, in fact target Arabs and Muslims. Many Muslims are now targets of racial profiling and arbitrary arrests. Several innocent Muslims have been victims of such unwarranted arrests and their lives have been torn apart as a result. Any Muslim can now be thrown in jail based on secret information and without the due processes guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These hastily enacted draconian laws are reminiscent of the dark ages and a blight on our enlightened and civilized nation. The legal system available prior to these laws were quite adequate to meet the needs of fighting terrorism.

What action will your party take to revoke or abolish those laws enacted under hysteria and undue pressure from the US, and what assurance will you give that in future any such Bills will take into consideration inputs from Canadian Muslims and that the civic and citizenship rights of Muslim Canadians will be protected?

QUESTION
According to a recent national survey, violence against Muslims has increased dramatically after 911. The Media has to bear much of the responsibility for this rise in hate against Muslims. A recent example is the huge publicity given to the decapitation of Nick Berg. All Muslims were devastated by such a horrendous crime. However, after many medical experts questioned the authenticity of the video and others who investigated the video came to the conclusion that the murder was not committed by Iraqis, but may have been 'staged', as a 'black operation' by US psychological warfare specialists, these facts were not given any publicity by the media. The damage was done to the image of Muslims.

Moreover, while crimes by non-Muslims are (rightly) not reported as Hindu, Christian or Jewish terrorism, crimes by Muslims are almost always given an Islamic identity. Additionally, many evangelical TV and radio programs spread anti-Muslim sentiments and the videos they show supposedly as 'documentaries' are filled with inaccuracies and mistruths. Letter writings and protests by Muslims fall on deaf ears. Hence it is necessary to legislate measures against such anti-Muslim propaganda, similar to anti-Semitic propaganda.

What initiatives will your party take in this regard?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am deeply concerned if the Conservatives win the federal election on June 28 and run the country.

What would happen to the Canadian sovereignty, I wonder. Would Canada be the 51st US State?

What concerns me the most about the party is its commitment to support the United States unconditionally, whether it is right or wrong.

True friendship in the eyes of the Conservatives is to stand behind your friend whether he is right or deadly wrong.

If Stephen Harper were the Prime Minister, our troops would have now been in Iraq looking desperately for the weapons of mass destruction.

They would have been there participating in creating chaos, instability and destruction in Iraq.

Stephen Harper would not have the courage to say 'no' to the United States even though the majority of Canadians opposed the war.

I wonder if Mr. Harper wins the election and receives a phone call from the White House the next day advising him that the US is now going to "liberate" another nation, what would his reaction be as the Prime Minister of the country.

May God Have mercy on Canada if the Conservatives run the affairs.

Abubakar Kasim



More Canadians Comment on CIC's Pioneering Research Report: Election 2004




SALAHEDDIN ISLAMIC CENTER PANEL DISCUSSION

Dr. Mohamed Attalla, VP Multiculturalism, Ontario Liberal Party, is coordinating panel discussions with liberal candidates in east Toronto. The event is organized in cooperation with Salaheddin Islamic Center and the Canadian Islamic Congress. Liberal candidates invited to the event are Don Valley East Yasmin Ratansi; Scarborough Centre John Cannis; Scarborough Southwest Tom Wappel; Scarborough Guildwood John McKay and Scarborough Agincourt Jim Karygiannis

Date: Saturday, June 12th at 6:00 P.M.
Location: Salaheddin Islamic Center
741 Kennedy Road (Kennedy and Eglinton)
Every one is welcomed and encouraged to attend the meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


ISLAMIC CONGRESS ISSUES REPORT CARD ON MPs
[By Mirko Petricevic, The KW Record, May 29, 2004]


The Canadian Islamic Congress has given passing grades to four local Liberals who are seeking re-election in the June 28 federal election.

The congress graded federal politicians across the country in a report it issued in April.

Its researchers reviewed the voting records of MPs for the past four years on 20 issues identified as being important to the congress.

"We don't endorse candidates," said Wahida Valiante, vice-president of the congress. "We do not endorse any party."

The congress focuses on educating the community on issues and encourages Muslims to vote, Valiante said.

"Many of (the issues) are important to all of us," she said. "We're not a one-issue organization."

Reducing child poverty and increasing long-term affordable housing are two of the issues concerning Muslim Canadians, she said.

The congress also favours government policies that would make it easier for qualified immigrants to be able to work in their professions.

"We look at equality of health care. We don't believe in a two-tier system. This is the one issue where we should be very actively involved," she said.

The percentage of Muslims who vote remains lower than the percentage of all Canadians who vote, but it's increasing, Valiante said.

When they have voted, Muslims have traditionally supported Liberal candidates, she added.

But voters need to look at the track records of candidates rather than give uncritical support, she said,

The question of redefining marriage -- a major issue for many faith groups during this election -- wasn't considered when the congress graded the performance of MPs.

"According to Islam . . . a man and a woman is an accepted normal relationship - that's it," Valiante said.

"Beyond that, it is up to the individual to go and vote (for) who they think they should. We are not actively going to promote one or the other."

Many Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative MPs received failing grades from the congress, even though they share its view on marriage. And it gave A grades to all New Democratic Party MPs, most of whom support same-sex marriage.

MPs whose votes agreed with the position of the congress on 15 or more issues received an A. Those who agreed on 11 to 14 votes received a B.

Those who agreed on 10 or fewer issues got an F.

Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener-Waterloo), Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre) and Janko Peric (Cambridge) all received an A.

Lynn Myers, of the former Waterloo-Wellington riding, scored 13 out of 20 and received a B.

mpetricevic@therecord.com

To view the Canadian Islamic Congress report on MPs, visit the website: www.canadianislamiccongress.com.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please read today's Montreal Gazette (May 27, 2004) about ethnic votes. We refer to your electoral initiative.
Mr. Fo Niemi
Executive Director, CRARR, Montreal
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

as-Salaamu 'alaykum,
Insha'Allah, I hope that the CIC will distribute electronic versions of Brother Elmasry's khotbas (regarding Election 2004) so that those who can not attend them in person will still be able to benefit. May Allah reward you for your efforts.
Dan, NDP
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

AA Yahya,

re Why I will not be voting on June 28th (letter to the CIC)

I hear you. I dislike the whole party system. It seems to me that having a government like Nunavut (by consensus) might work better. More Shura-like too, imho.

But what do you do when confronted by the present party system? You suggest one option, boycotting the whole process, and working solely at the grassroots level. You also point out that many people just vote every 4 years, and then do nothing. But is it not a little Hollywoodian, to divide the options in such a black and white way? Is real life not a little more colourful?

For instance, what do you think of Joe Clark's proposal to vote according to each individual candidate, rather than by party? Might this not bring us a little closer to a better government?

You argue that this is supporting the present system, that candidates will have to toe the party line, anyway. And in general, alas, you would be right. But what if no party wins decisively? Would this not give individual MPs more leeway? I remember hearing that the way we got medicare (in spite of elite opposition) in this country was when the government had a weak majority and the NDP had a kingmaking role. So might we not get a government more open to listening if no one party gets a majority?

Might it not be useful to analyze each riding and see which candidate seems most suitable, as well as assessing how strong the party that candidate belongs to, and how many seats they are likely to win. And then choosing to vote in such a way as to ensure that as many good candidates are elected, while ensuring that no one party dominates?

Also, in the longer term, if Muslims in each riding get to know their MP and are willing to support him/ her as needed, might we not have greater clout? When someone does something that's risky for their job, it helps having friends to offer support. An MP might hazard to take more controversial positions if they knew they'd be backed up on the home front. After reading Paul Findley's Silent No More, it would seem to me that this strategy has worked very effectively in both the US and Canada.

I totally support your grassroots initiatives (I am engaged in grassroots actions myself). But is it necessary to completely ignore voting and the electoral system as it now stands? Would not a more middle path (using both levels) be more politically useful?

I don't think the elites really care all that much whether a majority of Canadians vote or not (sure its nice, but...). After all, George W. wasn't elected by anything near a majority of Americans, but he still gets to get his trigger-happy fingers on the world's greatest stockpile of weapons. If we lived in a true democracy, not voting in order to shame people to change might work. But the oligarchs have little sense of shame. And a multinational corporation has none at all.

Keep up the good work (I read your MMN too), JAK

Astrid.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

Assalamu Alaikum Yahya,

Thanks for this useful analysis and for providing a different angle on how to practice democracy. I have learned from your article.

I have seen your article as well on the CIC website, Friday Bulletin list and Waterloo Muslim Study Group list.

However, I can detect some exaggeration in parts of your analysis, such as:

"By voting, we bestow legitimacy to the farce that we are living in a democracy where those elected into office represent the interests of the people. "

In fact, you cannot deny that, voting in an informed and committed and multi-issue way is no different to the solution you are recommending.

It helps filter out all the weaknesses of democracy.

"Only when we see that the current political system as actually hostile to the interests of the people"

then how about the political system in Third-World, arab world, muslim world?!!!

On the human level, the canadian system has some mechanisms in place to prevent the extreme injustices such as those elsewhere in the world.

You need to live in a Muslim country during elections to feel what i mean.

Sincerely,

Mohamed

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Assalamu alaikum, Dr. Elmasry,

May Allah give you strength and courage. Sometimes I think how you work for this Ummah, and if one-tenth of Muslims in world could commit so much effort, we'd be in a different world. It's not easy to balance work-load at an academic institution and commit time for Khutbahs and other Islamic work. Haya'akumullah,

wassalam,
farooq khan
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Brothers / Sister: ASA

The Association of London Muslims (ALM) has asked our community to prepare questions to be asked at the All Candidates Meeting to be held on Friday June 2, 2004 at 6:30 pm at London ISLAMIC centre (Pond mills Rd).

Here are some questions I have prepared.

Meer

QUESTION
We believe that our nation, Canada, as a bastion of world peace, must play a lead role in the elimination of the WMD threat, similar to the admirable role it played in the International Campaign to ban anti-Personnel land mines.

It is now clear that Iraq did not possess any WMDs. Iran has agreed for strict inspections of its facilities by the United Nations Nuclear Agency and Libya has agreed to dismantle all its WMD facilities. The rest of the Middle Eastern Arab nations are ready and willing to make the area "nuclear free".

The American journalist Seymour Hersh, quoting Israeli nuclear scientist Vanunu, says in his book that Israel possesses several hundreds nuclear warheads, including hydrogen and neutron bombs and delivery capabilities. Israel is also known to posses huge stock piles of chemical and biological weapons and is engaged in further research and development of new and deadly germs, toxins, convulsants etc., including the development of the so called "ethnic weapons" to identity genes carried only by Arabs that could be used to develop a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews.

Nuclear race in the middle east was triggered by Israel. It is amazing that one country was invaded and decimated on mere speculation of possessing WMDs, while Israel proven to posses WMDs is not only spared, but financed and helped to continue the dark operation.

What will your party do to bring real and effective International pressure to bear on Israel to destroy its stock piles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, dismantle its production facilities and to join the rest of the civilized nations in signing disarmament treaties to make the Middle East a truly a WMD free zone?

QUESTION
CHARITY, like Prayers, and Fasting, is one of the five pillars of Islam and an irrevocable religious obligation upon Muslims. Many Islamic Charitable organizations have come under strict scrutiny or some have been closed down all together, especially in the United States, preventing Muslims from fulfilling their Islamic duty to help the less fortunate. Humanity under dreadful occupations and those who are ravaged by war and famine are being denied of this important and life saving source of help.

Our government quickly banned Hezbollah, under pressure from Jewish groups and based on a false report written by a Jewish freelance writer in London, using a false Muslim name, quoting Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah as having advocated the export of suicide bombings worldwide. Our own well respected Canadian journalist Neil McDonald, after detailed investigations, proved this report was a fabrication. Hezbollah (a legitimate Resistance Movement under International laws, and which has Political and Social wings providing much needed social services to a long suffering population) was banned, but flow of funds fueling Israel's state sponsored terrorism continues unrestricted.

What actions will your party take to remove the ban on Hezbollah and to ensure that Islamic Charities are not unreasonably targeted and that funds flowing out of Canada do not go to support terrorism, both state-sponsored and otherwise?

QUESTION
Many Canadians are homeless, a large percent of our children are growing up in poverty and quite a number of Canadian families depend on food banks to get by, yet our government seems to have no difficulties finding funds to send troops and warships in support of America's war efforts.

What will your party do to divert such funds towards social programs, health care, education etc., instead of allowing hard earned taxpayer money to be used to kill innocent and defenseless people overseas?

QUESTION
Living close to the world's most powerful nation, is both a blessing and a curse. While it is our duty to maintain good relations with our neighbour, we will put our nation and our people in great danger if we get involved in our neighbour's unjustified wars and empire building overseas. Instead of addressing root causes of the so called "terrorism", America's blind anger and its misguided foreign policy dictated by pro-Israeli lobbies and the neo-con insiders, has resulted in creating many more injured parties and America-haters and hence created a larger pool of people determined to fight back America's terrorism. So, instead of eliminating 'terrorism', America has multiplied it many folds.

What will your party do to ensure that our nation will not be dragged into America's misadventures, by such threats as "You are with Us or with Them" or the threats of cross border trade etc.?

QUESTION
We wish to see Canada remain an oasis of safety and security. By joining America's Space War program, not only will Canada waste its resources on a system which most scientists believe will be useless, but will also put Canada on the map of potential targets to be attacked. Experts believe that far less sophisticated means of terrorist attacks could be launched against which the highly sophisticated Space Wars program will prove ineffective and provide no security, despite the huge investments in the system. Further, the proposed Star Wars program will give rise to another new and deadly weapons race, which humanity can do without.

What assurance will you give Canadians that our nation will not be dragged into this destructive program?

QUESTION
Most of the newly enacted laws purportedly to counteract terrorism, in fact target Arabs and Muslims. Many Muslims are now targets of racial profiling and arbitrary arrests. Several innocent Muslims have been victims of such unwarranted arrests and their lives have been torn apart as a result. Any Muslim can now be thrown in jail based on secret information and without the due processes guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These hastily enacted draconian laws are reminiscent of the dark ages and a blight on our enlightened and civilized nation. The legal system available prior to these laws were quite adequate to meet the needs of fighting terrorism.

What action will your party take to revoke or abolish those laws enacted under hysteria and undue pressure from the US, and what assurance will you give that in future any such Bills will take into consideration inputs from Canadian Muslims and that the civic and citizenship rights of Muslim Canadians will be protected?

QUESTION
According to a recent national survey, violence against Muslims has increased dramatically after 911. The Media has to bear much of the responsibility for this rise in hate against Muslims. A recent example is the huge publicity given to the decapitation of Nick Berg. All Muslims were devastated by such a horrendous crime. However, after many medical experts questioned the authenticity of the video and others who investigated the video came to the conclusion that the murder was not committed by Iraqis, but may have been 'staged', as a 'black operation' by US psychological warfare specialists, these facts were not given any publicity by the media. The damage was done to the image of Muslims.

Moreover, while crimes by non-Muslims are (rightly) not reported as Hindu, Christian or Jewish terrorism, crimes by Muslims are almost always given an Islamic identity. Additionally, many evangelical TV and radio programs spread anti-Muslim sentiments and the videos they show supposedly as 'documentaries' are filled with inaccuracies and mistruths. Letter writings and protests by Muslims fall on deaf ears. Hence it is necessary to legislate measures against such anti-Muslim propaganda, similar to anti-Semitic propaganda.

What initiatives will your party take in this regard?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am deeply concerned if the Conservatives win the federal election on June 28 and run the country.

What would happen to the Canadian sovereignty, I wonder. Would Canada be the 51st US State?

What concerns me the most about the party is its commitment to support the United States unconditionally, whether it is right or wrong.

True friendship in the eyes of the Conservatives is to stand behind your friend whether he is right or deadly wrong.

If Stephen Harper were the Prime Minister, our troops would have now been in Iraq looking desperately for the weapons of mass destruction.

They would have been there participating in creating chaos, instability and destruction in Iraq.

Stephen Harper would not have the courage to say 'no' to the United States even though the majority of Canadians opposed the war.

I wonder if Mr. Harper wins the election and receives a phone call from the White House the next day advising him that the US is now going to "liberate" another nation, what would his reaction be as the Prime Minister of the country.

May God Have mercy on Canada if the Conservatives run the affairs.

Abubakar Kasim



More Canadians Comment on CIC's Pioneering Research Report: Election 2004




Dr. Mohamed Attalla, VP Multiculturalism, Ontario Liberal Party, is coordinating panel discussions with liberal candidates in east Toronto. The event is organized in cooperation with Salaheddin Islamic Center and the Canadian Islamic Congress. Liberal candidates invited to the event are Don Valley East Yasmin Ratansi; Scarborough Centre John Cannis; Scarborough Southwest Tom Wappel; Scarborough Guildwood John McKay and Scarborough Agincourt Jim Karygiannis

Date: Saturday, June 12th at 6:00 P.M.
Location: Salaheddin Islamic Center
741 Kennedy Road (Kennedy and Eglinton)
Every one is welcomed and encouraged to attend the meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
[By Mirko Petricevic, The KW Record, May 29, 2004]


The Canadian Islamic Congress has given passing grades to four local Liberals who are seeking re-election in the June 28 federal election.

The congress graded federal politicians across the country in a report it issued in April.

Its researchers reviewed the voting records of MPs for the past four years on 20 issues identified as being important to the congress.

"We don't endorse candidates," said Wahida Valiante, vice-president of the congress. "We do not endorse any party."

The congress focuses on educating the community on issues and encourages Muslims to vote, Valiante said.

"Many of (the issues) are important to all of us," she said. "We're not a one-issue organization."

Reducing child poverty and increasing long-term affordable housing are two of the issues concerning Muslim Canadians, she said.

The congress also favours government policies that would make it easier for qualified immigrants to be able to work in their professions.

"We look at equality of health care. We don't believe in a two-tier system. This is the one issue where we should be very actively involved," she said.

The percentage of Muslims who vote remains lower than the percentage of all Canadians who vote, but it's increasing, Valiante said.

When they have voted, Muslims have traditionally supported Liberal candidates, she added.

But voters need to look at the track records of candidates rather than give uncritical support, she said,

The question of redefining marriage -- a major issue for many faith groups during this election -- wasn't considered when the congress graded the performance of MPs.

"According to Islam . . . a man and a woman is an accepted normal relationship - that's it," Valiante said.

"Beyond that, it is up to the individual to go and vote (for) who they think they should. We are not actively going to promote one or the other."

Many Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative MPs received failing grades from the congress, even though they share its view on marriage. And it gave A grades to all New Democratic Party MPs, most of whom support same-sex marriage.

MPs whose votes agreed with the position of the congress on 15 or more issues received an A. Those who agreed on 11 to 14 votes received a B.

Those who agreed on 10 or fewer issues got an F.

Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener-Waterloo), Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre) and Janko Peric (Cambridge) all received an A.

Lynn Myers, of the former Waterloo-Wellington riding, scored 13 out of 20 and received a B.

mpetricevic@therecord.com

To view the Canadian Islamic Congress report on MPs, visit the website: www.canadianislamiccongress.com.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
More responses to CIC's report:
Election 2004: Towards Committed Voting -- Grading MPs
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please read today's Montreal Gazette (May 27, 2004) about ethnic votes. We refer to your electoral initiative.
Mr. Fo Niemi
Executive Director, CRARR, Montreal
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

as-Salaamu 'alaykum,
Insha'Allah, I hope that the CIC will distribute electronic versions of Brother Elmasry's khotbas (regarding Election 2004) so that those who can not attend them in person will still be able to benefit. May Allah reward you for your efforts.
Dan, NDP
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

AA Yahya,

re Why I will not be voting on June 28th (letter to the CIC)

I hear you. I dislike the whole party system. It seems to me that having a government like Nunavut (by consensus) might work better. More Shura-like too, imho.

But what do you do when confronted by the present party system? You suggest one option, boycotting the whole process, and working solely at the grassroots level. You also point out that many people just vote every 4 years, and then do nothing. But is it not a little Hollywoodian, to divide the options in such a black and white way? Is real life not a little more colourful?

For instance, what do you think of Joe Clark's proposal to vote according to each individual candidate, rather than by party? Might this not bring us a little closer to a better government?

You argue that this is supporting the present system, that candidates will have to toe the party line, anyway. And in general, alas, you would be right. But what if no party wins decisively? Would this not give individual MPs more leeway? I remember hearing that the way we got medicare (in spite of elite opposition) in this country was when the government had a weak majority and the NDP had a kingmaking role. So might we not get a government more open to listening if no one party gets a majority?

Might it not be useful to analyze each riding and see which candidate seems most suitable, as well as assessing how strong the party that candidate belongs to, and how many seats they are likely to win. And then choosing to vote in such a way as to ensure that as many good candidates are elected, while ensuring that no one party dominates?

Also, in the longer term, if Muslims in each riding get to know their MP and are willing to support him/ her as needed, might we not have greater clout? When someone does something that's risky for their job, it helps having friends to offer support. An MP might hazard to take more controversial positions if they knew they'd be backed up on the home front. After reading Paul Findley's Silent No More, it would seem to me that this strategy has worked very effectively in both the US and Canada.

I totally support your grassroots initiatives (I am engaged in grassroots actions myself). But is it necessary to completely ignore voting and the electoral system as it now stands? Would not a more middle path (using both levels) be more politically useful?

I don't think the elites really care all that much whether a majority of Canadians vote or not (sure its nice, but...). After all, George W. wasn't elected by anything near a majority of Americans, but he still gets to get his trigger-happy fingers on the world's greatest stockpile of weapons. If we lived in a true democracy, not voting in order to shame people to change might work. But the oligarchs have little sense of shame. And a multinational corporation has none at all.

Keep up the good work (I read your MMN too), JAK

Astrid.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reg: Yahya Abdul Rahman's letter to CIC re voting

Assalamu Alaikum Yahya,

Thanks for this useful analysis and for providing a different angle on how to practice democracy. I have learned from your article.

I have seen your article as well on the CIC website, Friday Bulletin list and Waterloo Muslim Study Group list.

However, I can detect some exaggeration in parts of your analysis, such as:

"By voting, we bestow legitimacy to the farce that we are living in a democracy where those elected into office represent the interests of the people. "

In fact, you cannot deny that, voting in an informed and committed and multi-issue way is no different to the solution you are recommending.

It helps filter out all the weaknesses of democracy.

"Only when we see that the current political system as actually hostile to the interests of the people"

then how about the political system in Third-World, arab world, muslim world?!!!

On the human level, the canadian system has some mechanisms in place to prevent the extreme injustices such as those elsewhere in the world.

You need to live in a Muslim country during elections to feel what i mean.

Sincerely,

Mohamed

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Assalamu alaikum, Dr. Elmasry,

May Allah give you strength and courage. Sometimes I think how you work for this Ummah, and if one-tenth of Muslims in world could commit so much effort, we'd be in a different world. It's not easy to balance work-load at an academic institution and commit time for Khutbahs and other Islamic work. Haya'akumullah,

wassalam,
farooq khan
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Brothers / Sister: ASA

The Association of London Muslims (ALM) has asked our community to prepare questions to be asked at the All Candidates Meeting to be held on Friday June 2, 2004 at 6:30 pm at London ISLAMIC centre (Pond mills Rd).

Here are some questions I have prepared.

Meer

QUESTION
We believe that our nation, Canada, as a bastion of world peace, must play a lead role in the elimination of the WMD threat, similar to the admirable role it played in the International Campaign to ban anti-Personnel land mines.

It is now clear that Iraq did not possess any WMDs. Iran has agreed for strict inspections of its facilities by the United Nations Nuclear Agency and Libya has agreed to dismantle all its WMD facilities. The rest of the Middle Eastern Arab nations are ready and willing to make the area "nuclear free".

The American journalist Seymour Hersh, quoting Israeli nuclear scientist Vanunu, says in his book that Israel possesses several hundreds nuclear warheads, including hydrogen and neutron bombs and delivery capabilities. Israel is also known to posses huge stock piles of chemical and biological weapons and is engaged in further research and development of new and deadly germs, toxins, convulsants etc., including the development of the so called "ethnic weapons" to identity genes carried only by Arabs that could be used to develop a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews.

Nuclear race in the middle east was triggered by Israel. It is amazing that one country was invaded and decimated on mere speculation of possessing WMDs, while Israel proven to posses WMDs is not only spared, but financed and helped to continue the dark operation.

What will your party do to bring real and effective International pressure to bear on Israel to destroy its stock piles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, dismantle its production facilities and to join the rest of the civilized nations in signing disarmament treaties to make the Middle East a truly a WMD free zone?

QUESTION
CHARITY, like Prayers, and Fasting, is one of the five pillars of Islam and an irrevocable religious obligation upon Muslims. Many Islamic Charitable organizations have come under strict scrutiny or some have been closed down all together, especially in the United States, preventing Muslims from fulfilling their Islamic duty to help the less fortunate. Humanity under dreadful occupations and those who are ravaged by war and famine are being denied of this important and life saving source of help.

Our government quickly banned Hezbollah, under pressure from Jewish groups and based on a false report written by a Jewish freelance writer in London, using a false Muslim name, quoting Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah as having advocated the export of suicide bombings worldwide. Our own well respected Canadian journalist Neil McDonald, after detailed investigations, proved this report was a fabrication. Hezbollah (a legitimate Resistance Movement under International laws, and which has Political and Social wings providing much needed social services to a long suffering population) was banned, but flow of funds fueling Israel's state sponsored terrorism continues unrestricted.

What actions will your party take to remove the ban on Hezbollah and to ensure that Islamic Charities are not unreasonably targeted and that funds flowing out of Canada do not go to support terrorism, both state-sponsored and otherwise?

QUESTION
Many Canadians are homeless, a large percent of our children are growing up in poverty and quite a number of Canadian families depend on food banks to get by, yet our government seems to have no difficulties finding funds to send troops and warships in support of America's war efforts.

What will your party do to divert such funds towards social programs, health care, education etc., instead of allowing hard earned taxpayer money to be used to kill innocent and defenseless people overseas?

QUESTION
Living close to the world's most powerful nation, is both a blessing and a curse. While it is our duty to maintain good relations with our neighbour, we will put our nation and our people in great danger if we get involved in our neighbour's unjustified wars and empire building overseas. Instead of addressing root causes of the so called "terrorism", America's blind anger and its misguided foreign policy dictated by pro-Israeli lobbies and the neo-con insiders, has resulted in creating many more injured parties and America-haters and hence created a larger pool of people determined to fight back America's terrorism. So, instead of eliminating 'terrorism', America has multiplied it many folds.

What will your party do to ensure that our nation will not be dragged into America's misadventures, by such threats as "You are with Us or with Them" or the threats of cross border trade etc.?

QUESTION
We wish to see Canada remain an oasis of safety and security. By joining America's Space War program, not only will Canada waste its resources on a system which most scientists believe will be useless, but will also put Canada on the map of potential targets to be attacked. Experts believe that far less sophisticated means of terrorist attacks could be launched against which the highly sophisticated Space Wars program will prove ineffective and provide no security, despite the huge investments in the system. Further, the proposed Star Wars program will give rise to another new and deadly weapons race, which humanity can do without.

What assurance will you give Canadians that our nation will not be dragged into this destructive program?

QUESTION
Most of the newly enacted laws purportedly to counteract terrorism, in fact target Arabs and Muslims. Many Muslims are now targets of racial profiling and arbitrary arrests. Several innocent Muslims have been victims of such unwarranted arrests and their lives have been torn apart as a result. Any Muslim can now be thrown in jail based on secret information and without the due processes guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These hastily enacted draconian laws are reminiscent of the dark ages and a blight on our enlightened and civilized nation. The legal system available prior to these laws were quite adequate to meet the needs of fighting terrorism.

What action will your party take to revoke or abolish those laws enacted under hysteria and undue pressure from the US, and what assurance will you give that in future any such Bills will take into consideration inputs from Canadian Muslims and that the civic and citizenship rights of Muslim Canadians will be protected?

QUESTION
According to a recent national survey, violence against Muslims has increased dramatically after 911. The Media has to bear much of the responsibility for this rise in hate against Muslims. A recent example is the huge publicity given to the decapitation of Nick Berg. All Muslims were devastated by such a horrendous crime. However, after many medical experts questioned the authenticity of the video and others who investigated the video came to the conclusion that the murder was not committed by Iraqis, but may have been 'staged', as a 'black operation' by US psychological warfare specialists, these facts were not given any publicity by the media. The damage was done to the image of Muslims.

Moreover, while crimes by non-Muslims are (rightly) not reported as Hindu, Christian or Jewish terrorism, crimes by Muslims are almost always given an Islamic identity. Additionally, many evangelical TV and radio programs spread anti-Muslim sentiments and the videos they show supposedly as 'documentaries' are filled with inaccuracies and mistruths. Letter writings and protests by Muslims fall on deaf ears. Hence it is necessary to legislate measures against such anti-Muslim propaganda, similar to anti-Semitic propaganda.

What initiatives will your party take in this regard?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am deeply concerned if the Conservatives win the federal election on June 28 and run the country.

What would happen to the Canadian sovereignty, I wonder. Would Canada be the 51st US State?

What concerns me the most about the party is its commitment to support the United States unconditionally, whether it is right or wrong.

True friendship in the eyes of the Conservatives is to stand behind your friend whether he is right or deadly wrong.

If Stephen Harper were the Prime Minister, our troops would have now been in Iraq looking desperately for the weapons of mass destruction.

They would have been there participating in creating chaos, instability and destruction in Iraq.

Stephen Harper would not have the courage to say 'no' to the United States even though the majority of Canadians opposed the war.

I wonder if Mr. Harper wins the election and receives a phone call from the White House the next day advising him that the US is now going to "liberate" another nation, what would his reaction be as the Prime Minister of the country.

May God Have mercy on Canada if the Conservatives run the affairs.

Abubakar Kasim



Special: What Is Terrorism? What Was Said and How Did the Media Report It?



TRANSCRIPT CAN BE READ AT:
http://www.montrealmuslimnews.net/fulltranscript.htm


Dear Dr. Elmasry;

Hang in there brother. You are too valuable to lose in this country. Let the ignorant howl for your blood. The silence over the Occupation remains deafening.

Ted Schmidt Editor, Catholic New Times





*** (Version français) ***


Elmasry Hanged by His Own Words



"... hateful, inflammatory and unworthy of a respected large circulation daily newspaper...''

These were the words of Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, in a complaint filed with the Ontario Press Council earlier this year.

The complaint was directed towards a column in the Toronto Star -- which I wrote -- after Israel's targeted assassination last March of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of Hamas, the terrorist organization he co-founded at the start of the first Palestinian intifada in 1987, as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And these are Elmasry's words, during a discussion of terrorism on The Michael Coren Show last week, wherein he declared that all adult Israeli civilians (over 18), regardless of gender, are fair targets, ostensibly because a term of military service is mandatory for nearly all Israelis. "They are not innocent if they are part of a population ... (the) total population of Israel is part of the army ... even if they have civilian clothes ... The same if they are women in the army ... anybody above 18 is a part of the Israeli popular army.''

Coren gave Elmasry ample opportunity to reconsider or qualify his statement. Elmasry did not modify his view. He never indicated -- far from it -- that he didn't personally share the view he'd just espoused.

In a later interview with The Globe and Mail, Elmasry amplified his position on the legitimacy of targeting Israeli civilians: "Israel has a people's army and a draft and therefore they should be considered legitimate targets. They are part of the occupying power, and Palestinians consider them targets for suicide bombers as well as other means."

Only in this interview did Elmasry begin to back off any personal endorsement of terrorism aimed at civilians. "Suicide bombings is a technique they are using out of desperation. It's not for me to say if it's okay or not. In the final analysis, it has done more harm than good."

It was a feeble clarification and most certainly not an apology for a position that palpably justified terrorism against civilians, a view swiftly denounced by other Muslim and Arab organizations in Canada.

Over the weekend, the CIC issued a statement in which it sought to convince that Elmasry was articulating the beliefs of some Palestinians rather than asserting his own views.

This is disingenuous because Elmasry was quite emphatic -- his comments not susceptible to interpretation -- on Coren's show. The CIC further added that Elmasry regretted his remarks, but there has been no apology, even as other Muslim community leaders have called for him to resign.

I began this column with an excerpt from Elmasry's complaint (along with one other individual) against the Star for two reasons: First, to be candid about my history with him. The Press Council -- an agency that enjoys precisely the degree of professional respect within my industry that it deserves -- upheld the complaint. That complaint focused on a paragraph in which I expressed no regret about Yassin's assassination.

Yassin, committed to the annihilation of Israel, fell victim precisely to the tactics that he'd extolled. The council focused on one phrase in particular, wherein I described how hatred is "bred in the bone" in some societies. In a future column, I will lay out that case more quantifiably, citing from some Arab school textbooks and widely disseminated preachings from various Muslim religious personages that not only promote virulent hatred of Jews (and Christians) but clearly incite the faithful to violent jihad. It's a lesson taught in some societies from the most tender age, as even Saudi Arabia's education ministry -- largely responsible for exporting these objectionable textbooks to Muslim countries -- has belatedly acknowledged and vowed to amend.

Whenever terrorism is justified as a matter of political course or tactical expediency, no matter who's doing it, is not hatred bred in the bone -- or planted in the soul, however you wish to express it?

Second, and more to the point, I use Elmasry's own words to illustrate his own professed objection to inflammatory opinions and how they are expressed. What can be more inflammatory than justifying the killing of all Israelis? Oh, pardon me, only those over the age of 18.

I can find no evidence that Canadian Muslims or Arabs have ever been polled on the righteousness of killing all adult Israelis. But I will accept, without qualms, that they are opposed to the concept that Elmasry postured on behalf of Palestinians (many of whom are not Muslim; this is a dispute about land and sovereignty, not religion).

Elmasry -- as head of the CIC -- has done a grave disservice to Canadian Muslims by justifying terrorism against civilians (or even military members in Israel, where service is mandatory).

His comments will further stoke the suspicions of those who view Muslims as somehow more intrinsically disposed toward violence, no matter how many times we're reminded that Islam is a great religion of peace and tolerance, despite the corruption of its core tenets by some jihadist elements.

More specifically, Elmasry's argument will undermine public support of the Palestinian cause by yoking it, favourably -- in his own words -- with indiscriminate terrorism.

It is hardly a stretch to accuse Elmasry of promoting hatred not just against Israelis but against Palestinians. His words were no less unclear than the messages draped across ballistic missiles showcased at an Iranian military parade recently: "Crush America'' and "Wipe Israel Off The Map."

It would be instructive, I think, to more closely evaluate the thrust of Elmasry's commentary, even within the revisionist context that he was merely expressing a view held by Palestinians.

Is Elmasry correct in his characterization of Palestinian society, and their support/justification of violence against Israeli civilians to rid themselves of Occupation?

This is an area that has been extensively polled in the region. A survey taken last month -- the fourth anniversary of beginning of the second intifada -- by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey research in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip found that 59 per cent of Palestinians polled supported suicide bombings in Israel, and 41 per cent were opposed. That might seem to support Elmasry's assertion, but what I see in the numbers is a significant divide in public opinion.

And that divide, the internal conflict over the means and effectiveness of the intifada, is more palpably illustrated in the survey's other findings:

Sixty-four per cent of Palestinians believe armed attacks will help achieve an independent and sovereign Palestine, yet an overwhelming majority, 86 per cent, want the mutual cessation of violence, and 59 per cent said they would support measures to prevent attacks in Israel when a political agreement to halt the violence is reached.

According to the survey, total support for all "Islamists" (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc.) had dropped to 32 per cent. Eighty-six per cent of Palestinians felt a loss of personal security and safety after the intifada.

Significantly, the largest group (44 per cent) responded that they viewed unemployment and the spread of poverty as the most important problems confronting Palestinians today, followed by the continuation of occupation (35 per cent), and the spread of corruption and lack of internal reform (15 per cent).

The survey also found doubts about the "seriousness'' of the Palestinian Authority in holding elections, implementing reform and dealing with corruption.

Palestinians are not stupid people. They can see the tremendous losses that have accrued to them from the intifada and the repercussions of violence aimed at Israel, which always comes back with even more destructive force: 2,800 Palestinians killed in the past four years, every accord and roadmap for peace derailed.

Israel remains the enemy. But Palestinians increasingly take a more discerning view of their own leaders and those who profess to speak on their behalf.

People like Mohamed Elmasry, even though I doubt most Palestinians have ever heard of him. Hung -- in this country -- by his own words.




Letter from Gary Zatzman



Sala'am aleikum, my dear Dr. Elmasry;

I write to applaud your recent allegedly "controversial" comments distilling the realities of resistance to occupation. However much they seem to have offended the almost papal sense of infallibility about what is "acceptable" as laid down by certain self-appointed censors in the media and intelligentsia, these comments seem to me about as controversial as asserting the earth to be a sphere, or announcing the rotation of the earth around the sun.

What is truly and profoundly outrageous is the readiness of not a few otherwise thoughtful people, while proclaiming themselves scandalised not only by a disinterested and unprejudiced message but especially by its messenger, to take the same road as the old Inquisition in defense of retrogression and in rockribbed opposition to the evident movement taking place right before their eyes of the very tide of history.

It is the Zionist junta who have not scrupled about targeting Palestinian children in truly shocking numbers. One of the most famous, Fares Udah, adorns the cover of our Dossier on Palestine. This junta effectively converted the entire non-Palestinian population of Israel above the age of 18, for whose fate they are responsible, into a legitimate target of Palestinian resistance. Yet such gangster activity seems to discomfit your critics hardly at all. Since I am well aware that not a few of them have indeed -- privately, mind you, very privately -- expressed precisely such discomfiture, it would seem the gravest crime you committed was... to speak the truth out loud.

I must therefore also applaud the forthrightness with which you have confronted the entire Zionist-backed front in the Canadian monopoly media. To those shocked or appalled by what you had to say, I can think of no prescription more appropriate at this time than to commend the wise remark of the Kotzker Rebbe, a Judaic scholar who pointed out: "Who increases knowledge increases pain; even though he will add pain, a person must increase his knowledge."

Doubtless the truth hurts, especially the truth of how the Zionist junta, backed with seemingly unlimited sources of material support, have proceeded on the ancient lands of Palestine and its people to twist and to muster every human instinct, from the basest to the most sublime, in the service of one of the vilest programs of supremacy and occupation to which we have been compelled to bear witness in the contemporary era.

Honest people who have stumbled on this truth have seen through the sham and no longer play along. Not a few of the junta's supporters know exactly what their "charitable contributions" are propping up, but will never admit or acknowledge such a thing in public. Meanwhile, operating apparently utterly indifferent to the truth, even using public airwaves casually to dismiss the struggle for self- determination at the heart of the Palestinian resistance as "empty mantras," certain others simply live in denial, like the former Canadian political party leader who returned from a visit to Palestine last year to announce that "Until such time as the occupation ends, it must be humanised" (Statement of Alexa McDonough, MP, on behalf of David Berlin, Carolyn Pogue, Bill Phipps and David MacDonald, 2 January 2003, as circulated on the NDP's website).

Amidst all this, what is truly astonishing and awe-inspiring, and should command the respect and attention of every thinking person become aware of the fact, is that the Palestinians are not crushed, that their spirit remains largely intact, and that they do not doubt for a nanosecond the necessity or righteousness of their cause.

The other day the monopoly media worked overtime to ensure that we all became aware of certain individuals, purporting to act in the name of the organisation which you have been serving as National President, capitulating to pressures to distance the organisation from your remarks. Here I must commiserate in the pain it must have brought you and your family to watch panic subvert reason as certain individuals fell over themselves in the rush --- publicly, with almost obscene speed --- to characterise the remarks as "regrettable".

Really? In Canada it is considered quite normal for individuals to express personal views distinct from current official positions of organisations they may represent. Certainly, when it comes to Canadians at the head of Zionist organisations, I cannot recall ever seeing or hearing anyone hauled on the carpet for defending the theories of democracy in this country while the organisation they represent routinely whitewashes the most odious practices of state terrorism by governments in Israel.

While the wildly overblown media moment whipped up this time was unfortunate, it is neither the first nor last such case. Consider the bizarre piece that aired on CBC television news the first night of Ramadan earlier this month. After mentioning that there indeed exist "Canadian Muslims", the report went on to display not a single example of such a creature either at work or at prayer or in any other setting. Instead, viewers were served up the usual grisly visuals of beheadings, warfare etc in parts of the Middle East. Apparently, contrary to what these same media have so assiduously led us to believe, it's not just police forces who are in dire need of training in cultural sensitivities.

In any event, I remain confident that this "regrettable" moment will pass into the obscurity it so richly deserves. Contrary to the media's disinformation, it is the Zionist occupation that is temporary and the Palestinian national reality which must eventually achieve its self- expression: "The Palestine-Israel conflict is frrequently described as a very complex one. I want to submit to you that the problem is fundamentally a very simple one which was summed up in the words of a Palestinian farmer in Jericho, quoted by the late Frank Epp, then- president of Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo, who told him: 'Our problem is very simple. A foreigner came and took our land, took our farms and our houses, and kicked us out.We have in mind to return. It may take a hundred years but we will return'." .(Dr. Ismail Zayid, "Palestine: Fifty years of ethnic cleansing and dispossession", Dossier on Palestine, p4)

Warmest regards, and the best to you and your family this Ramadan, Gary Zatzman, Co-editor, Dossier on Palestine (Halifax NS)




Regarding Dr. El Masry's Comments on the Michael Coren Show...



It is sad that Dr. Elmasry is being maliciously attacked for the comments he recently made on the Michael Coren show. The issue of who is truly innocent in Israeli society is a legitimate one. The National Post's attempt to finally publish a comment of his, and on its front page no less, is laughable. The Asper chain is wholely lacking in journalistic credibility on the subject. However, what I find particularly unfortunate are the efforts of some in the Arab and Muslim community to exploit the situation for reasons of petty politics.

A comprehension of the concepts of terrorism, victimhood and innocence are critical to understanding the continuing Palestine/Israel conflict and to explaining it to others. The article by Hechtman, shown below, speaks directly to the issue at hand.

There are other examples available for us to consider. For Canadians terrorism has long been a part of our every day lives. During WWII the governments of the most powerful nations on earth (including that of Canada) targeted entire cities for extermination. The targeting of rival populations for nuclear annihilation, starting in 1945, remains a central pillar of NATO military doctrine. Through the participation of our government in NATO, Canadians are complicit in this ultimate of terrorist threats. Who among us are innocent?

Terrorism, like everything else, happens in a context. In Palestine, the context is the genocide of 1948 and more than half a century of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel with the support of most western governments. In response a relative handful of Palestinian individuals, who are not acting on the orders of a representative government, have chosen, out of weakness, to attack Israelis wherever they could find them. These Palestinian bombers don't destroy entire cities, as western governments have done and threaten to do again, but rather they only kill a handful of people at a time. The Palestinian bombers are not morally superior to NATO planners or their governments but rather only lack the capacity for carnage possessed by "civilized" western nations.

Dr. Elmasry is correct in stating the sad and simple fact that most Palestinians, and most Israelis, support the terrorism being inflicted on the other. Of course there are differences between the two. Zionist terror is controlled and directed by an elected government and clearly a majority of Israelis are responsible for their government's policies.

The Palestinian bombers are no more capable of or interested in distinguishing between the guilty and the innocent then were the allied bombers of WWII who, for example, targeted the entire cities of Dresden and Hiroshima. The ugly truth is that Palestinian suicide bombers are a by-product of Zionist policy and that Israel, having provoked the attacks, later exploits them for political gain.

For the record, I believe that there are many innocent adult Israelis. I don't support suicide bombings. These attacks must end. We need to focus instead on a comprehensive boycott of all things that support Zionism and interfere with the full implementation of the Palestinian right of return. The two state-option, which Sharon has killed, is a separate issue from the right of return. Anyway, Israel needs a Palestinian state far more than do Palestinians. Palestinians only need the right of return and equal human and civil rights after they return.

I hope Dr. Elmasry rides out this storm so that the needed debate on this subject can mature. Over many years he has made a profound and constructive contribution to the defense of Arab and Muslim causes. I believe that he has much more yet to contribute.

James Kafieh




E-mail Responses



Once again, someone who has uttered controversial remarks is under threat of losing his job and being charged under Canada's notorious "hate law", Section 319 of the Criminal Code. Dr. Mohamed Elmasry president of the Canadian Islamic Congress is under investigation by Halton Region Police for possible promotion of "hate" and by his university for comments he made on Michael Coren's television program. His comments suggested that, as all Israelis, male and female, were members of the armed forces, they were targets for Palestinian attack.

He later clarified that these were not his opinions but the views of many Palestinians. He has since been denounced roundly in the press, particularly the rabid Israel Firsters at the National Post. Fair enough. Lively debate is what Canada should be about. Sadly, however, the price of opposing the immensely powerful Zionist lobby seems to be criminal investigation and threat of professional sanction and even firing from his post as instructor at the University of Waterloo.

Elmasry raises a touchy point: Who is a terrorist? European Jews swarmed into Muslem/Christian Palestine. By force of arms, they dispossessed the inhabitants, expelled many and seized their orchards and land. They continue to shoot unarmed Palestinians, hem them in with roadblocks and curfews, even in the nominally independent Palestinian Authority, assassinate their leaders and, when they fight back, they and their echoes among U.S. neo-cons and Canadian Israel Firsters call such resistance "terrorism." Yet, in WW II, when the Nazis occupied France, our press idolized as "freedom fighters" the French Resistance who assassinated and attacked the invaders. As for the sanctity of unarmed women and children, how do we explain the cold blooded British/American bombing of Dresden in February, 1945 -- a city of unarmed refugees, men, women and children.

My point is that the "terrorist" label is not a simple one. Yes, suicide bombers who kill unarmed women and children are an atrocity. Yet so too is the Zionist theft and ongoing occupation of the land of the Palestinians.

I don't propose to try to sort out the "terrorist" issue in one short commentary. However, here's a practical Canadian approach. As Canada Firsters, we must inform both sides that we'll not tolerate any violence from either side on Canadian soil. Nor will we tolerate the lawless Mossad using stolen Canadian passports for their agents and assassins. Let them keep their sordid cycle of violence over there. Bring it here and we'll fall on you like a ton of bricks.

Mohamed Elmasry is not my favourite person. Not long ago, this pompous man suggested that Canadian universities should ban alcohol as it's an affront to Islam. Such proposals are an affront to our individual rights and freedoms.

However, Elmasry should be free to espouse his views on the Middle East, without threat of firing, professional sanction or prosecution under Canada's Zionist-inspired "hate" laws. That's what Anglo-Saxon freedom of speech is all about. Of course, people who disagree with him -- Muslems, Jews, and others, including ourselves at times -- should be equally free to call him a horse's ass.

Paul Fromm,

Director, Canadian Association for Free Expression

-------------------------------------------------

Dear Sir;

How ironic that your piece on the Israeli-Lobby-inspired, lapdog- pursued, persecution of Dr. Elmasry for his purportedly "unpopular" comments on the Palestinian Resistance should be juxtaposed with a photo of the tombstones of Canadian soldiers who gave their lives in WWII to protect our very right to make such comments with impunity.

If their sacrifice now serves to protect only the Politically Correct, or a subversive alien minority, it was made in vain, and we will have betrayed the trust of the brave idealists buried at Ortona, including my first cousin, 22 year old, China-born engineer, 2nd Lt. Harvey MacHattie, who was mentioned in news despatches for his battlefield ingenuity in devising emergency winter camouflage for Canadian soldiers, only to be killed in action a few days later.

Ian V. Macdonald (ex-RCAF) Ottawa

-------------------------------------------------

Dear all:

I would like all to be informed that since mid Sept. 2004 I have ended my involvment with "Muslim Canadian Congress" (Note: this is a different group from Canadian Islamic Congress) and am no longer part of this group.

As for the current affair over Dr. Elmasry, I have fundamental disagreement with his statement and his attempt to retract it, even though what he said wasn't new or his own invention.

More fundamentally, I totaly disagree and do not support the kind of campaign and attacks by people from the community and outside it on Dr. Elamsry and the CIC for the last week or so.

No doubt it has been a hectic time for the community as a whole and we may experience more difficulties simply because some of us put their feet in their mouths very quickly, and others do whatever they can to get their names and pictures in the media.

We must start engaging in seriously work together in an open and honest approach; we must explore ways to start a comprehensive dialogue around our issues and challenges.

We have moral and ethical obligations to serve our coummnities and society as a whole with the best abilities we have.

Ali Mallah

-------------------------------------------------

Dr. Elmasry,

The last few days have been very hard for you. I had just wanted to write and give you some support.

I am an American living in Canada. I read your articles, and while many times I don't agree with you, I believe in your right to express your thoughts.

About the comments that have caused all the uproar, why has no one taken the time to ask you what you meant? Your statement wasn't politically correct, and has been trounced on, and demands for apology issued. But no questions were asked. Did you simply put your foot in your mouth (as we have all done on occasion)? did your wording come out wrong? did the statement need more explaining, or was it just as you intended?

I have a hard time understanding how in the name of free speech a judge in BC has claimed the stories of a pedophile might have "artistic merit" and more recently the Toronto Film Fest showed a film about those guys who skinned a cat alive and any letters of protest were met with the pronouncement of Free Speech. Yet a statement such as yours has brought about this circus. Where is your right to free speech?

How can we as a society talk to each other, get the other's point of view, if we are limited by the threat of charges if we utter what is deemed inappropriate? Isn't this censorship? Especially, since this was said during an interview, in a rational discussion. You are not a raving maniac with uncontrolled emotions and unclear thoughts; but as I said, even when I disagree with you, you present yourself as intelligent and rational.

What has happened doesn't open doors to communication. Sometimes we need to ask tough questions, say things that might offend to find, if not the truth, at least some common ground.

I wish you the best,

Lisa Gray

-------------------------------------------------

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah, Prof. Elmasry and Sr. Wahida:

Ramadan Kareem. I want to applaud you for moving quickly with this media release. I regret to note that Prof. Elmasry's remarks were misconstrued by the media. Given the leanings of the media in these parts, that's not surprising.

We do want to assure you that Prof. Elmasry and CIC have our unwavering support. Your record of work speaks for itself. There is nothing to apologize for.

Yesterday's Globe is quoted as saying something like, "the citizenship of Israelis is now viewed as a crime." That brings to mind a conversation I had with a former neighbour, a lay volunteer at St. Gabriel's Church in North York. About 12 years ago, she visited Jerusalem. On her return she said, "what have the Palestinians done wrong to be at the receiving end of such indignities, other than simply being Palestinians?"

When the shoe is on the other foot ...

We're with you.

Wassalam.

Esa, Adam, Ameena, Shamim and Jamal Hassan

-------------------------------------------------

I'm sorry to hear they're after you. I am more and more aware how repressive the atmosphere has become, here as in the United States.

I have a background in the history of ideas and keep thinking of how the old Enlightenment thinkers had to use all sorts of tricks to frustrate the censors. We too find ways to get the message across and this will become more effective, not less so. It is sad that things have come to this, but I'm also convinced that the repression is a hysterical reaction to Israel's failures in the court of world opinion.

Nothing you said can do you any lasting damage. This will blow over.

With my very best wishes,

Michael

-------------------------------------------------

Dear Dr Elmasry;

Speaking as someone who all too frequently suffers from "foot-in- mouth" disorder let me assure you that your reputation and record of tolerance and understanding will allow you to put this incident behind you. Quite frankly your experience confirms the wisdom of my refusal to accept all invitations to appear on the Coren Show.

Best personal regards,

L. K.

-------------------------------------------------

To: The National Post

I was saddened to read about the character assassination of Dr. Elmasry over some remarks he is alleged to have made on the Michael Coren show. I have known Dr. Elmasry as an intellectual and proud Canadian who is committed to standing behind justice and who preaches a message of moderation based on peace, understanding and harmony of all humanity.

I think his comments were taken out of proportion. The media seems to be ready to smear Muslms in whatever they say. Dr. Elmasry was attempting to put things into context in outlining the widely accepted views of some Palestinians and the majority of people in the Middle East.

Many Muslim scholars have rejected the suicide bombings that target civilians in Israel. There are other scholars such the reknowned Dr. Qaradawi, who also hold similar views.

Instead of jumping to conclusions about Dr. Elmasry's remarks, people should judge things without emotion and anger. The issue at hand should be analyzed and discussed in an open manner. It should be debated thoroughly by open minded people who are willing to listen to the other side of the story, not just their own.

Dr. Elmasry is a man of peace that we, as Canadians, should be proud of.

Abubakar Kasim

-------------------------------------------------

Dr. Elmasry;

First of all, let me extend my hand and my heart to congratulate you for all the work you are doing, in a time that people are semi-free in expressing their point of view -- if it matches that of the Zionists and neo-conservatives.

Your interview was absolutely representative of a fair point of view that the media are hiding from the public. Speaking about your point of view, or that of the people (community) is our duty.

I am not surprised by the position of the Zionists and right wing media, but I am disappointed and astonished by the reaction of so- called progressives, and with Muslim and Arab organizations that joined the condemnation campaign.

(name withheld)

-------------------------------------------------

Dr. Elmasry;

We could agree or disagree of some of the positions or actions, but we remain working for the same cause -- justice and peace for everybody and every people. While I am assuring you of my support and thanks for your work, I would like to encourage you and the CIC to keep doing the good work.

I would like to remind the one-sided media that "You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time"

Mohamed S. Kamel, ing.

-------------------------------------------------

Dear Dr. Elmasry,

Assalam alaikum;

It is sad to note that a person like you who has worked so hard to educate and open the eyes of the Canadian public to Canadian and world politics has been condemned and vilely attacked.

It is all the more sad and disgusting that our fellow Muslims join the ranks when they have not raised their voice against the daily massacre of hapless Palestinians and Iraqis by the two occupying powers.

Many who utter the words "terrorism" and "terrorists" ad nauseum without even defining what terrorism is, have lost their capacity to differentiate between occupier and occupied; so much so, that the victim of the aggression has become the terrorist and the aggressor the victim. That's exactly the situation today in the turbulent Middle East.

I support you for all the good work you have done and hope you continue to do so courageously, exposing all untruths and falsehoods.

Wassalam.

Syed Husainy (Toronto)

-------------------------------------------------

Mohamed;

Please accept my concern for you, CIC, and all of us who labour for "peace with justice."

...I wish I were present to bring people together to talk this situation out -- outside the media, but perhaps then making a statement from all religions in Waterloo Region... I would hope the religious community could come together and think this situation through.

One of our principles as we began was that the faith communities should work on these issues together and speak out for peace, justice and community well-being as a whole (unless individuals or groups were unable to join the conscensus). Obviously everyone wants killing to stop in the mid-east and everyone needs to live in safety -- with justice.

I appreciated the recognition in THE RECORD of your important work in Canada over the past ten years. Especially I salute your identification of anti-Muslim attitudes and prejudices in the media.

May you sense the presence of Allah in these difficult days. My prayers are for you as well as for all people in Waterloo Region and for all in Israel/ Palestine.

Salaam, Brice Balmer (Interfaith Grand River)

-------------------------------------------------

Dear Dr. Elmasry,

Assalamu alaikum.

Just wanted to express my support, and the support of the congregations in Markham, Richmond Hill and Stouffville. The vicious media campaign to which you are being exposed is biased, totally unjustified and should be simply disregarded.

We truly appreciate your great effort, and that of the CIC under your leadership, in serving the Muslim community as well as the Canadian society at large. Your courageous stand in exposing the horrendous brutalities of Israel's military in Palastine can only be admired. Please count on our full support.

Best regards,

Mohamed Azzam