By Alan Simons
NOVEMBER 23, 2007 – At a meeting held in July 2005 with the Prime Minister of Canada, 19 Canadian-based Imams stated:
As Canadian Muslims, we welcome this opportunity to meet with our Prime Minister. We have conveyed to Prime Minister Martin the views, concerns and aspirations of our Muslim communities across Canada.
We hope that this meeting will forge a constructive partnership to build what Pierre Trudeau called a “just society.”
That vision of a just society attracted many of us to come to this country. And, that vision continues to make us proud to be Canadians. We are committed to building a Canada that is generous, compassionate and fair; a Canada guided by moral clarity, empathy for all and a genuine interest in wanting for others what we want for ourselves…
As citizens of this world, as Canadians and as neighbours, our lives and fates are irrevocably tied together and that reality soundly refutes the claim of “us against them;” there is only “we.”
On Thursday, September 6, 2007, the same day as the Israeli Air Force hit a Syrian radar post near the country’s northern border with Turkey, knocking out Syria’s entire radar system as a prelude to striking a suspected ‘whatever’, a religious ceremony was being held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Canada’s Navy held their annual religious service to pray for peace.
The majority of those who attended included politicians, the military and war veterans. Clergy from the Anglican, Catholic, United and Jewish faith also attended, plus the Navy’s padre and Imam Dr. Jamal Badawi, who serves as a volunteer Imam for the 3,000+ Muslim community in Halifax.
A naval officer explained the history of the ceremony, a Royal Navy tradition, dating from the Second Anglo/Dutch war of 1665-1667.
Each Chaplain was invited to give a benediction. The Rabbi spoke about the book of Jonah, and of men going down to the sea in ships, and in storms. The Catholic priest quoted Isaiah “nation shall not lift up sword against nation.” The Anglican and the other Protestant clergy spoke on the same theme.
Renowned Muslim Scholar
Imam Dr. Jamal Badawi was the last to speak. Renowned Muslim scholar and speaker, he has spoken at numerous international conferences relating to global peace and unity. In 2005, he was one of the 19 Imams to meet with Canada’s Prime Minister.
Born in Egypt, Professor Badawi has been involved in Islamic education in North America since 1963. He is Professor Emeritus at St Mary’s University in Halifax, where he served as Professor of both Management and Religious Studies.
It only recently came to my knowledge that Imam Dr. Badawi commenced his speech by insisting “peace is dependent on submission to the ‘messenger.'” He asserted that we (Jews and Christians) have no right to interpret their holy writings, unless it is under the supervision of ‘he’ who is authorised to interpret their writings, and then, only if ‘they’ can render their true meaning.”
Christians must repent and submit to Allah
The Imam, I understand castigated the Christians for their blindness, warning them they “must repent and submit to Allah, because Jesus was just a partial historical development of the Divine message, and if they are really true to Christ then they must acknowledge Muhammad as Christ’s legitimate successor.”
Remember, all of this occured at a Canadian military religious service.
Imam Dr. Badawi then allegedly turned his fury on Jews, and without naming them directly said “the perfidious small community that has undue influence, that international group who defends injustice and control the media and business.” It is said that he continued raving and allegedly referred to the “slaughtered Palestinian children, their agent Israelis raping their women, destroying homes, destroying any chance for peace for us over here (in Canada).” He also allegedly referred to the Jews living in Canada as “guilty of all the so called crimes done by them over there… vicious liars who misrepresent decent Muslims.”
Harsh antisemitic words indeed from a respected man of calling, of peace? A Muslim scholar, who in June 2006 said, “Normative Islam believes in peaceful co-existence, in being ‘justly balanced.’ It rejects extremism, whether of excess or neglect.”
Based upon the above comments, I’m mystified as to what on earth Imam Dr. Badawi really means by normative Islam.
As one of the 19 Imams who two years ago declared to Canada’s Prime Minister that our lives and fates are irrevocably tied together, it would seem that Imam Dr. Badawi’s calling does not include the likes of me, or any of my Christian friends. Conversely, my vision of Pierre Trudeau’s just society is obviously very different to the views of Dr. Badawi.
To quote John Newberry:
Boys and girls come out to play,
The moon does shine as bright as day;
Come with a hoop, and come with a call,
Come with good will or not at all.