By Tarek Fatah
September 25, 2018
For many years now, a medieval ritual has
been carried out by Muslims on the streets of Canada to mourn the murder of
Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussain Ibn Ali, in the Iraqi city of Karbala,
when Muslims loyal to the then-ruler of the Islamic Caliphate slaughtered
Prophet Muhammad’s entire progeny save a few women and an ailing son.
put this in perspective, the tragedy, observed as ‘Ashura,’ unfolded 1,400
years ago, way back on Oct. 10, 680 AD.
first time non-Muslim Canadians saw the spectacle of an ‘Ashura’ march was in
2010 when processions were held in cold weather in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary,
and Montreal. At that time, it consisted of nothing more than mourning songs
and light, symbolic chest-pounding.
the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, self-flagellation is not just
beating chests in wild unison; it extends to whipping oneself with razor-sharp
blades, cracking skulls, and bleeding baby boys with cuts on their heads.
year, the self-flagellation ritual reached a point when last Sunday hundreds of
young men took off their shirts on University Avenue facing the U.S. Consulate
and started beating themselves in frightening unison.
lawyer, originally from Lebanon, who was walking by the procession recognized
what was happening and quickly recorded the scene taking place outside the 361
University Avenue Courthouse and sent it to the Toronto Sun.
Another recording then emerged from 2017 that
showed this practice of hundreds of shirtless men marching on Canadian streets
and beating their bare chests and faces. This had happened without any
objection from any politician, public figure, or member of law enforcement.
reached out to the candidates vying to be Toronto’s next mayor and asked them,
if elected, would they permit such public display of medieval rituals on our
Current Mayor John Tory’s office said the group marching bare-chested
“would not have received a permit from a City Division for this activity. It
would most likely be (deemed) a protest, although a cultural ritual, as it was
done in front of the US Consulate.”
Tory did not address the question of whether he would permit such a procession
main rival in the race, Jennifer Keesmat, did not respond at first, but after
some persistence, her office sent the following message:
“Thank you for writing into the campaign. We
hear your feedback and appreciate you sharing it with us. We’ll pass it along
to our team.”
only candidate who did address the issue was Faith Goldy, who has been
portrayed as a pariah by much of the media elites and the political class.
Responding to my question, she wrote back:
“The roots of this cultural practice have no connection to Canada while the
spectacle itself is profoundly incongruent with Canadian values. Mass
demonstrations wherein shirtless men self-flagellate have no place on our
shared publicly funded streets. As Mayor of Toronto I would see to it that such
demonstrations were dispersed at once, while any infractions would be dealt
with to the fullest extent of Canadian Law.”
question is this: Why couldn’t John Tory or Jennifer Keesmat say the obvious
and call out this barbaric practice as such? As long as the elites remain
subservient to ethno-religious voting banks, let’s not blame the likes of Faith
Goldy in Canada or Tommy Robinson in the UK. All they do is fill a vacuum. The
Swedish Democrats do it in Scandinavia. The CAQ does it in Quebec while Maxime
Bernier is just warming up his engines. Calling them racist is the easy part.
Tarek Fatah, a founder of the
Muslim Canadian Congress and columnist at the Toronto Sun, is the Robert J. and
Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.