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'We, as Muslims, have suffered'
The Ottawa Citizen ^ | September 8, 2002

Posted on 09/08/2002 1:51:19 AM PDT by sarcasm

Next week's first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States also marks the end of a difficult year for Canada's estimated 650,000 Muslims.

Last fall, not long after the U.S.-led military campaign began in Afghanistan, reporters from across the country attended Friday prayer meetings at mosques from Saint John to Vancouver, attempting to capture the mood of the Canadian Islamic community as it confronted the early fallout from 9-11.

Yesterday, nearly a year later, a new team of reporters returned to some of those mosques to hear what the spiritual leaders of Canada's Muslims are saying now, on another Friday in a much-changed world.

A rhetorically-charged war on terrorism has, at times, had members of the North American Islamic community on the defensive about the actions of the extremists who carried out the deadly hijack attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Some Canadian Muslims have faced threats and intimidation, and have sometimes countered with charges of systemic discrimination, prejudice and misplaced blame.

There has been sharp debate about historic injustices faced by Muslim nations around the world, and about controversial military responses to the Sept. 11 plot.

And there has been considerable reflection about the place of Islam in Canada and the world, a struggle of faith amid a swirl of political, cultural and military struggles for which there is no end in sight.

What the latest snapshot from Canada's mosques makes clear is that, almost a full year after the horrors of Sept. 11, those struggles have barely begun.

- - -

Sept. 11 was a terrible human "tragedy" but it also had the effect of exposing millions of people around the globe to the true teachings of the Islamic faith, Muslim worshippers in New Brunswick's largest city were told yesterday.

Al Niaj, the interim imam for the mosque in Saint John, told about 35 Muslims gathered for services yesterday that the West must stop viewing the world in terms of good versus evil, and that peace in the post-Sept. 11 world will only come with greater understanding and tolerance among different countries and faiths.

But he also noted that knowledge of Islam among non-Muslims has grown exponentially over the past year, and that "no one on the face of this Earth now can stand in front of God on the day of judgment and say that they haven't heard of Islam. The judgment is on them to either accept or reject."

Mr. Niaj expressed sadness over the immense loss of human life wrought by the terrorist attacks a year ago. But he criticized how many people in western nations have cast the U.S.-led military campaign against Afghanistan, and the seemingly imminent assault on Iraq, as battles of good against evil.

"The big issue now is how different sides are trying the manufacture support for war and see the whole world as black and white," said Mr. Niaj, a 58-year-old who leads most of the sermons for this small congregation.

"We need to be more vocal with wisdom, which means knowing what to say and how it has to be said," Mr. Niaj said. "We have to encourage dialogues with all faiths."

He read from an interview with British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who was captured by the Taliban after she slipped into Afghanistan illegally soon after the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism began.

The interview, posted on the Islam Online Web site, quotes her as saying she was treated better by her Taliban captors than are enemy prisoners held by the U.S. at Camp X-Ray in Cuba.

"My treatment by the most 'brutal, evil regime in the world'," she is quoted as saying, referring to U.S. President George W. Bush's description of the Taliban, "is a total contrast to the treatment of those men being held in Camp X-Ray."

Mr. Niaj said the tragedy of Sept. 11 opened the world's eyes to Islam.

"Since Sept. 11 of last year, there has been a huge interest in Islam all over the world. Since Sept. 11, more than 25,000 people have embraced Islam in North America. You cannot find translated copies of the Koran in markets," he said. "The people who are fighting Islam are indeed, unknowingly, helping Islam by spreading Islam all through the globe."

- - -

About 500 people gathered at Al Sunna Al Nabawiah Mosque on Avenue du Parc in Montreal yesterday for the weekly noon prayers and listened to the imam, Sufian Omar, lament the decline of Muslim power around the world.

Omar told worshippers the message of Islam was that people should worship one God and no one else, and he reminded them of the glorious past of Muslims when they conquered empires and states to spread Islam as a religion.

The imam did not mention Afghanistan or Iraq, but made a brief reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying Muslims have become very weak and that they always "beg" the U.S. and the UN to assist the Palestinians.

"Muslims had wisdom and strength in the past, but these days we beg the United Nations and the United States to stop the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians," said Mr. Omar, a bearded man wearing the traditional white Arab garment.

Muslims, he insisted, must take greater responsibility for achieving the political and economic development that will make peace possible.

"Muslims should support the weak whether he or she is a Muslim or not. The clearest example of the weak who should be supported now are the Palestinians," he said.

"I am not talking about Palestinians in particular, but I am taking them as an example to remind people of the principles of Islam," he added.

One of the worshippers, who would not give his name, said most Muslims condemned the Sept. 11 attack because it was against innocent people.

"I believe most Arabs do not approve and have condemned the attacks. Islam is against such violence and against targeting civilians in war. We all know that from the history of Islam.

"But also," he added, "I wish people around the world would think about why these men killed themselves."

- - -

The imam of Ottawa's largest mosque devoted most of his khutbah, or sermon, to the impact Sept. 11 had and still has on the Islamic community.

"We condemn what happened, but we, as Muslims, suffered as a result of that incident," Shaikh Gamal Solaiman told about 1,000 Muslim men and women attending Friday afternoon prayers at the Ottawa Mosque on Northwestern Avenue.

He reminded listeners that many Muslims were killed in New York City's World Trade Center, and that since the attacks there has been a "continuous effort to portray Islam as the image of oppression and aggression."

Speaking in both English and Arabic, and making a veiled reference to the U.S. government's intention to attack Iraq, Shaikh Solaiman said that the fallout from Sept. 11 should not "be taken as a licence" for any country to "go and attack" another country.

He instructed worshippers to remember Islamic history, which is replete with instances of "people intoxicated by their power and misguided because of their influence and wealth that have tried to suppress and put out the light of Islam."

But that has never happened nor ever will, "even if they don't like" Islam, added the imam.

"Allah is a merciful God and will not deprive people of such mercy."

Shaikh Solaiman urged Ottawa Muslims to remain loyal to their faith and values, and instill such virtues "in the hearts" of their families.

"Your religion does not invite you to hate others."

In an interview after the service, the 70-year-old, Egyptian-born cleric said he has prayed that Mr. Bush would be "rightly guided" and "have some sort of sense" in making his decision about whether to declare war against Iraq and oust President Saddam Hussein from office.

"It's not about whether Saddam is killed or removed," said Shaikh Solaiman. "I'm concerned about the people and the environment of Iraq."

The imam suggested the U.S. government has targeted the entire Islamic world with its war-against-terrorism rhetoric, particularly Mr. Bush's reference to the predominantly Muslim nations of Iraq and Iran as part of an "axis of evil" and his warning to the world that "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

Should the U.S. attack Iraq, the imam said he didn't anticipate Canada's Islamic community would experience the type of backlash some Muslims did in the months following the Sept. 11 tragedy.

"Canadians in general are not haughty or arrogant."

- - -

In Edmonton, Imam Shaadam Sherif condemned the Sept. 11 attack as terrorism against innocent people, saying true followers of Islam are not terrorists.

But Mr. Sherif said more people have died in Iraq from Western attacks and in Palestine at the hands of Israel. He suggested that violence is also terrorism because it kills innocents.

"We as Muslims do condemn terrorism," he told about 700 worshippers at Edmonton's largest mosque, the Al-Rashid Mosque. "We do no agree with those who kill innocent people or transgress on other people's property."

He said Allah sets out a principle of freedom and justice that does not allow for innocents to die by violence. "Those who truly follow Islam are not terrorists."

But there is a misconception in the West that they are terrorists, he said, speaking in Arabic through an interpreter. Other religions, including Christianity and Judaism, can have fundamentalist factions but no one equates them with terrorism, he argued.

"We find that maybe 4,000 people died in the World Trade Center. That was an injustice.

"But isn't it an injustice to have two million people killed in Iraq over 10 years?" he asked, referring to the Gulf War and a subsequent trade embargo blamed by many Muslims for causing starvation.

"Isn't that terrorism?" he asked.

Mr. Sherif added that Muslims in the West and in Canada deserve the same respect as others.

"As Muslims and Arabs who live in this community, in this nation, in the West, we should not feel any lesser of a citizen just because we are Muslim or Arab," he said. "We have as much right to this land as the next person does."

- - -

Leaders at Vancouver area mosques declined a reporter's request yesterday to attend a service the same day.

Mohammad Ahmed, secretary of the ul-Haqq mosque in east Vancouver, said a new protocol has been developed whereby all reporters' requests must be cleared first through the B.C. Muslim Association's headquarters and that takes time to arrange.

Leaders at a third mosque in Richmond did not return phone calls yesterday.

- - -

In Calgary, more than 800 Muslim men gathered for Friday prayers in a large, darkened room at the main mosque.

In a separate area -- joined to the main room with only a few small windows -- nearly 100 women and children also participated in the service.

The imam, Dr. Iqbal Al-Nadvi, who moved to Calgary four years ago, spoke in both Arabic and English.

During the English part of his sermon, the final 15 minutes of the hour-long prayer service, he addressed the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Mr. Al-Nadvi, a native of India, said the world still feels suspicious about Islam.

"It is presented as a threat to the West, as an enemy to the West," he said.

But he told those gathered that they must take the opportunity to explain Islam to others.

"For me, it is a blessing in disguise," he said. "Islam is now a No. 1 concern, Islam is now a No. 1 issue."

Unfortunately, he added, it's often perceived in a negative way.

Following the sermon, the imam insisted there must be a level of co-existence among all Christians, Jews and Muslims.

"We must develop one ideology," he says, referring back to the message of his sermon. "If there is animosity, it cannot survive."

Edited in Ottawa by Randy Boswell, with reports from David Stonehouse in Saint John, Kinda Jaioush in Montreal, Christopher Guly in Ottawa, Colette Deworiz in Calgary, Duncan Thorne in Edmonton and Valerie Casselton in Vancouver.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 09/08/2002 1:51:19 AM PDT by sarcasm
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To: sarcasm
"Sept. 11 was a terrible human "tragedy" but it also had the effect of exposing millions of people around the globe to the true teachings of the Islamic faith, Muslim worshippers in New Brunswick's largest city were told yesterday."

Yes, I certainly learned a lot about islam on that day.. That it must be defeated completely.
2 posted on 09/08/2002 1:54:24 AM PDT by Monty22
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To: sarcasm

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: ATTACK ON AMERICA! (click here)

3 posted on 09/08/2002 1:55:04 AM PDT by Cindy
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'We, as Muslims, have suffered'

Not nearly enough....

4 posted on 09/08/2002 1:58:27 AM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: sarcasm
LINKS OF INTEREST:

Opinion.TELEGRAPH.co.uk - TELEGRAPH NEWS: "LONDON TO HOST ISLAMIC 'CELEBRATION' OF SEPTEMBER 11" by Thair Shaikh (090802)

ISLAM ONLINE.net - News: "AFGHANS: WE ARE READY FOR JIHAD AGAINST U.S." by Husbanullah Mutawakel, IOL Correspondent (090702)

CBN.com: "STRIKING SADDAM: ENDING A TYRANT'S NUCLEAR QUEST" by George Thomas (090802)

NY POST.com: "IRAQ NUKE SITES UP & ATOM AGAIN" (090702)

GLOBAL SECURITY.org: "PUBLIC EYE PICTURE OF THE WEEK - 2002"

IRAQ WATCH.org: "BULLETIN"

FOX NEWS.com: "NEW INTELLIGENCE EXPOSES IRAQ'S NUKE PUSH" by Carl Cameron (090602)

BBC News: "IRAQI AIR DEFENSE SITE ATTACKED" (090602)

THE LIVE WIRE: "RESOLVING OUR INDIFFERENCE OVER IRAQ" -Commentary by Gregory J. Rummo

DAILY STAR.com.lb - LEBANESE NEWS: IRAQI MINISTER TO VISIT FOR TALKS ON TRANSPORT COOPERATION" (090702)

DAILY STAR.com.lb - LEBANESE NEWS: "LEBANESE DESK WILL BE BIGGEST AT BGHDAD TRADE FAIR" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Earlier this year, Lebanon signed a long-awaited trade agreement with Iraq that will allow Lebanon to increase its exports to its former No. 1 trading partner. According to the agreement, all Lebanese-made goods will enter the Iraqi market duty-free. Syria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey have already signed similar trade deals with Iraq.") (090502)

MEMRI.org - MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE: "IRAQ NEWS WIRE No. 8" (090102)

WORLD TRIBUNE.com: "BOLTON: IRAQ, CUBA SEEK MATERIALS BANNED BY BIO WEAPONS PACT" (090202)

WASHINGTON POST.com: "FUGITIVES SOUGHT BY U.S. FIND A PROTECTOR IN CUBA" (090202)

NewsMax.com: "CHINA AND IRAN TEST-FIRE MISSILES" by Charles Smith (090602)

IRNA.com - ISLAMIC REPUBLIC NEWS AGENCY: "IRAN SUCCESSFULLY TEST FIRES SURFACE-TO-SURFACE FATEH MISSILE" (090602)

SOFTWAR.net

MEMRI.org - MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE Special Dispatch Series No. 417: "IRANIAN CONSERVATIVE DAILY: 'AMERICA IS THE NEW NAZISM'" (083002)

NewsMax.com NewsMaxWires: "RUSSIA BEGINS WORK ON IRAN NUKE PLANT" (090202)

ALBAWABA.com: "600 RUSSIAN EXPERTS START WORKING ON KEY PHASE OF IRAN NUCLEAR REACTOR" (090102)

5 posted on 09/08/2002 2:00:20 AM PDT by Cindy
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To: sarcasm
""We find that maybe 4,000 people died in the World Trade Center. That was an injustice.

"But isn't it an injustice to have two million people killed in Iraq over 10 years?" he asked, referring to the Gulf War and a subsequent trade embargo blamed by many Muslims for causing starvation."

There's that 'but' again. Always with a 'but'. 9/11 can never be unconditionally blasted by these idiots, they have to throw in a 'but'..

2 million now? How the hell did 2 million die from sanctions? I thought it was 1 million, and even that number was complete make-believe. Next, it'll be 50 million islamics that the US kills daily.

Screw these guys. I can only HOPE that we start killing that many daily!
6 posted on 09/08/2002 2:02:32 AM PDT by Monty22
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To: Monty22
2 million now? How the hell did 2 million die from sanctions? I thought it was 1 million, and even that number was complete make-believe. Next, it'll be 50 million islamics that the US kills daily.

We can only hope.

7 posted on 09/08/2002 2:31:14 AM PDT by woofer
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To: Cindy
Awesome links list.
Thanks for your efforts.
8 posted on 09/08/2002 3:00:36 AM PDT by Taiwan Bocks
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To: sarcasm
Can anyone document even one case of bigotry-based violence by a non-Muslim against a Muslim in North America since Black Tuesday? I have yet to see a confirmed report of one. Yet these whiny allegations about the sufferings of Muslims since the atrocities continue unabated.

Islam, the "religion of peace," can be defeated most easily: just let its adherents keep showing the world what they really are.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit the Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

9 posted on 09/08/2002 4:32:10 AM PDT by fporretto
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To: fporretto
There were some. But it never came near the 3,000 we lost. It is rather telling that more Muslims lost their lives in the WTC than were assaulted afterwards in retribution.
10 posted on 09/08/2002 4:43:24 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: sarcasm
"We need to be more vocal with wisdom, which means knowing what to say and how it has to be said,"

Stopped reading right here since it means : How do we lie about the true nature of our goals?

11 posted on 09/08/2002 4:53:05 AM PDT by Stentor
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To: sarcasm
"no one on the face of this Earth now can stand in front of God on the day of judgment and say that they haven't heard of Islam. The judgment is on them to either accept or reject."

Rejected.

12 posted on 09/08/2002 5:10:35 AM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: hellinahandcart
At which point God will probably reply, "Thou hast chosen wisely!!"
13 posted on 09/08/2002 5:15:03 AM PDT by MarineDad
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To: Monty22
There's that 'but' again. Always with a 'but'.

Why, this article's just chock full of 'buts':

**********

Sept. 11 was a terrible human "tragedy" but it also had the effect of exposing millions of people around the globe to the true teachings of the Islamic faith

Mr. Niaj expressed sadness over the immense loss of human life wrought by the terrorist attacks a year ago. But he criticized how many people in western nations have cast the U.S.-led military campaign against Afghanistan, and the seemingly imminent assault on Iraq, as battles of good against evil.

The imam did not mention Afghanistan or Iraq, but made a brief reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

"Muslims had wisdom and strength in the past, but these days we beg the United Nations and the United States to stop the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians,"

"Muslims should support the weak whether he or she is a Muslim or not. The clearest example of the weak who should be supported now are the Palestinians," he said. "I am not talking about Palestinians in particular, but I am taking them as an example to remind people of the principles of Islam," he added.

"I believe most Arabs do not approve and have condemned the attacks. Islam is against such violence and against targeting civilians in war. We all know that from the history of Islam. But also," he added, "I wish people around the world would think about why these men killed themselves."

"We condemn what happened, but we, as Muslims, suffered as a result of that incident,"

Imam Shaadam Sherif condemned the Sept. 11 attack as terrorism against innocent people, saying true followers of Islam are not terrorists. But Mr. Sherif said more people have died in Iraq from Western attacks and in Palestine at the hands of Israel. He suggested that violence is also terrorism because it kills innocents.

He said Allah sets out a principle of freedom and justice that does not allow for innocents to die by violence. "Those who truly follow Islam are not terrorists." But there is a misconception in the West that they are terrorists, he said, speaking in Arabic through an interpreter.

"We find that maybe 4,000 people died in the World Trade Center. That was an injustice. "But isn't it an injustice to have two million people killed in Iraq over 10 years?" he asked, referring to the Gulf War and a subsequent trade embargo blamed by many Muslims for causing starvation.

**********

So many 'buts'. There is no author credit given, but from the number of 'buts' in here I'll go out on a limb and guess that it was written by some Muslim 'but'-muncher...

14 posted on 09/08/2002 5:25:55 AM PDT by hellinahandcart
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: stella
Conflating unrelated phenomena is a key tactic of those who want power over you. The near-term point is to confuse and paralyze you about a particular issue. The longer-term goal is to induce in you the habit of accepting insane, patently false statements without question or exploration -- something that anyone who's been force-fed a sufficient amount of deception and confusion will adjust to in time.

Islam, the "religion of peace," the only major religion whose founding documents exhort its adherents to violence and deceit against the non-believer, must constantly change the subject, issue flat contradictions of well-established facts, and challenge the presumptive soundness of the evidence of one's own senses. If it did not do these things constantly, it would all too quickly be found out for what it is: a program of totalitarian oppression with a thin theological veneer.

It's possible that there are some sincere and benevolent Muslims out there. But given the dictates of their creed, it's unwise to extend them the benefit of the doubt. Far better that they be regarded warily until they've proved their bona fides. If that causes them some discomfort, they can become Christians, and learn firsthand how Islam treats those who spurn its "gift."

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit the Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

16 posted on 09/08/2002 8:27:02 AM PDT by fporretto
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To: sarcasm
Face it, you can't make muslims happy. Suffering and anger are part and parcel of their cult. They are, after all "slaves" of their angry vengeful god.
17 posted on 03/30/2003 9:58:49 AM PST by rageaholic
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To: Monty22
We, as Muslims, have suffered


You think so? Just wait 'til we get to BAGDAD!
18 posted on 03/30/2003 10:15:01 AM PST by dagoofyfoot
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To: sarcasm
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." (Matt. 5:15-16a)

9/11 showed us the fruit of this demon seed. What's to understand?

19 posted on 03/30/2003 10:27:32 AM PST by sweetliberty ("To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.")
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To: sarcasm
Unfortunately, he added, it's often perceived in a negative way.

When you look at it's founder's life ---Mohammed, it would be hard to see it in a positive way. The truth hurts but Islam was started by a pedophile polygamist ---probably not all that different than David Mitchell --aka Emmanual. Some self-annointed profit who made little girls his "wives". If Mohammed was living in the US, we'd have had him imprisoned for what he did to that 6 year old girl he called a "wife".

20 posted on 03/30/2003 10:37:36 AM PST by FITZ
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To: Monty22
"But he also noted that knowledge of Islam among non-Muslims has grown exponentially over the past year, and that "no one on the face of this Earth now can stand in front of God on the day of judgment and say that they haven't heard of Islam. The judgment is on them to either accept or reject.""


These are the kind of statements that give them away. It would only be more obvious if he said all infidels must be killed.

21 posted on 03/30/2003 10:41:21 AM PST by sydbas
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To: Monty22
"I believe most Arabs do not approve and have condemned the attacks. Islam is against such violence and against targeting civilians in war."

Huh? I have heard very few condemning this perverted religion. Funny that all arabs are not moslems but they (those who are not moslems) will come to the aid of those that are. Does that make any sense?

22 posted on 03/30/2003 10:43:19 AM PST by IamHD
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To: sydbas
. It would only be more obvious if he said all infidels must be killed.

Probably in the non-english part of the Khutbah.


23 posted on 03/30/2003 11:09:55 AM PST by tet68 (Jeremiah 51:24 ..."..Before your eyes I will repay Babylon for all the wrong they have done in Zion")
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