Saturday, January 29, 2011

Debate Cancelled

                                                          Some of the security

                                                          The Debate Topic

                                               Farooq M. Khan,  Executive Director NAMF

                                                              Pastor Neil Bulloch

  I went to attend a debate between my friend Tarek Fatahof the Muslim Canadian Congress and Imam Shehary Shaikh at the North American Muslim Foundation in Scarborough. I arrived early and was told the room wouldn't open to 5:30 PM. There were lots of people in attendance, mostly Muslims but many non Muslims as well and some media. There was a prayer ( which I didn't attend) and the we entered the room.  The crowd was dividing by sex , men on the left women on the right.  Habeeb Ali, the NAMF spokesman, repeatedly said that it was not necessary to sit in a particular way. Anyone could sit anywhere. I was sitting with the men and though some men sat with the women,  only one female member of the press sat with the men.
 The room filled and Mr Ali told some stories of how Mohammed was open and welcoming to everyone. Then Mr Farooq Khan went to the podium and said there was good news and bad news.  The bad news was that Tarek Fatah  was not coming. This elicited cries of Allah Akbhar from some of the audience. Mr Khan did tell them to calm down. He then proceeded to call Tarek a coward and tell of how much effort he had expended to organize the event. He then said that the "debate" (now a monologue) would continue. There was some applause and some in the audience again chanted Allah Akhbar. He then introduced the moderator Pastor Neil Bulloch. I left
 I spoke to Sohail Raza of the MCC ( I am a member of the MCC) who said that two members of the MCC went into the building to ask about the moderator and they were ejected by security. The moderator was replaced with little notice and no consultation with the MCC. The choice of moderator being mutually acceptable,  was a pre condition of the debate. I haven't heard back from Tarek yet, but he tweeted this: Threats of physical violence against MCC vice president Salma Siddiqui disrupt Toronto debate on Islam.  A disappointing evening.

Here is the updated press release from the MCC.
Press Release: Attention News Editor

January 29, 2011

An inquisition disguised as a debate fools no one

MCC urges Islamists to abandon medieval authoritarianism

TORONTO - The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) regrets the attempt by NAMF, the North American Muslim Foundation to turn a debate on Islam into a public inquisition of its founder Tarek Fatah. The 'debate' was to have taken place today between Mr. Fatah and NAMF imam Sheharyar Sheikh inside the NAMF mosque in Scarborough, and was to be moderated by Karen Mock, the Liberal Party candidate in Thornhill.

On arrival at the venue Mr. Fatah was told that NAMF had unilaterally appointed a new moderator after Karen Mock declined to attend, citing ‘family matters.’ In the typical authoritarian style that governs most Islamist organizations, NAMF did not consult with Mr. Fatah on the appointment of the new moderator, nor did they consider the three names suggested by him (Imam Shabbir Ally, Imam Yahya Fadlallah and CBC broadcaster and Islamic scholar Nazim Baksh)

Leading up to the debate, from the appointment of Dr. Mock as moderator to the format of the debate, all decisions were made unilaterally by NAMF, without any consultation with either Mr. Fatah or the MCC. Mr. Fatah did express his reservations about the arbitrary and authoritarian process, but in the interest of free speech and free public debate, reluctantly agreed to participate in the debate as long as it was moderated by Karen Mock.

Mr. Fatah had placed just one condition as a pre-requisite to the debate: a moderator acceptable to both sides. In appointing an unknown moderator without consultation, NAMF acted in bad faith with the intention of creating an uneven level playing field that could prove to be not conducive to a fair debate.

To make matters worse, NAMF issued a statement that no video cameras would be allowed inside the hall. Furthermore, the MCC discovered that the off-duty policemen NAMF had hired for security, had been withdrawn.

In the absence of an agreed-upon moderator, the restrictions on the media, and the withdrawal of police, the MCC has come to the conclusion that what was being promoted as a debate on Islam, was nothing more than an inquisition where Tarek Fatah was to be ambushed. As a result, the MCC has urged Mr. Fatah not to participate in his own inquisition where his own safety would be in jeopardy.

Toronto Police also advised Mr. Fatah not to attend the debate as they could not provide the police protection he had sought after being falsely accused by yet another Imam of "viciously attacked the Quran and Prophet Muhammad." This allegation essentially labels Mr. Fatah of committing blasphemy and as a result, makes him a possible target of attack by radical Muslims.

Speaking about the MCC decision not to participate in the debate, the president of the MCC Sohail Raza said:

"We came to the NAMF Mosque in good faith and to hear a healthy debate, but on arrival discovered a hostile environment, with no moderator, restrictions on media and the absence of any security. As a result, we have decided not to enter the premises and become potential targets of violence.”

Raza asked Islamists to be more forthcoming in the future as an inquisition disguised as a debate fools no one. "On behalf of the MCC I urge Islamic organizations to abandon medieval authoritarianism and embrace democracy," he added.

For more information, please call Sohail Raza at (416) 505-1613

Update: Here is the monologue from "the debate":

More from Five Feet of Fury and BCF.


hunter said...

That is scary. Hopefully MCC will win this debate, but it sounds like an ambush.

Most scary is that women sat separate from men. Is this the 7th century? Are women not considered equal? Where are the feminists protesting against the treatment of Muslim women? Where are the usually very vocal feminists on this issue? Where are the NDP, who supposedly fight for the little guy? Absent.

Maverick said...

Actually the crowd was mixed, men and women did sit wherever they wanted to.

There was no threat of physical violence. Throwing up red herrings to avoid a debate one feels he will perform poorly in, simply shows every the real nature of Tarek Fatah.

Long on claims, short on evidence.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely lame.

For those who were present at the debate, including Roy, will testify to the fact that both security and media was there.

It was disappointing that Tarek Fatah didn't show up... but it just goes to show that he is a man of zero substance..and today he proved it!

Anonymous said...

Roy, you do know that Tarek Fatah had confirmed his attendance at 3:30 pm knowing fully the change in moderator. Not sure why the moderator has been such a striking point for him but to cancel last minute was very unethical of him...something that he continously was accusing the imam of being throughout their email correspondences.

Harris said...

It was extremely disappointing that Tarek Fatah decided not to show up for the debate. He should have had the courtesy to say so at least a day in advance when all the emails went out to everyone about the change in moderator. I went there with a sympathetic ear for him and now I have lost all respect for him. All his excuses for not showing up dont hold water, after what I saw myself there. Harris

Anonymous said...

Ludicrous statement. I was at the debate. I counted at least 7 policemen in addition to security, and there were 2 studio-type cameras in the middle of the hall facing the stage. Very unfortunate that to add on to the no-show, MCC decides to defend this excuses. I hope someone posts photos or video of the police presence.

been around the block said...

OK, so who was the replacement moderator? No mention of his/her name. Was it Pastor Neil Bulloch whose photo appears here? 'No mention of who he is.

I'm sorry, but I can't help detect the irony in the first moderator's name: Dr. Mock. She ducked out too.

Is there any way Islam can be discussed these days without becoming a mockery?

As for the topic of debate, "Does Secular Liberalism Exemplify the Qur'an and Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)?", the obvious answer is "NO." So, where's the debate? Why a debate of this topic in the first place? It's a forgone conclusion what the answer is, no matter what side of the debate you're on.

I'm beginning to think that Westerners and Muslims live in two separate realities, between which there seems to be no meeting point between Western democratic freedoms and strict observance of Islam, a 7th-century religion.

bigcitylib said...

Between these pictures and the comments here I bet you could refute every one of Fatah's contentions on his facebook site. I'd also note that there is a new version of the MCC statement at TFs site that may differ from the one hosted here. His story appears to be evolving.

Anonymous said...

@been around the block - you do knwo hwo this debate came out to be right? It was Tarek Fatah how challenged the Muslim community about this. Please don't make pathetic excuses for Tarek chickening out. The fact of the matter is that he can't debate with Islamic scholarship because he and both of his books are full of innaccuracies that the lay non-muslim and muslim can't seem to decipher. He distorts facts and uses fearmongering .. it takes a little bit examining of his work to come to that conclusion.

@bigcitylib - did you notice that he has deleted every single comment that was questioning him about his lies in the press release? He accuses of imams of censorship and lies....yet look at what he is doing???? lol
Even his own supporters who were questioning him on his fanpage, their comments have been deleted as well. How utterly pathetic!
Tarek - I didn't expect much from you anyways, but this act of yours have dissappointed even your own supporters. You lies are catching on.

Btw, the "debate" has been uploaded on youtube!

mezba said...

There was no restriction on cameras (I have a DSLR), but only tripods due to lack of space.

There seemed to be enough security. Mr Fatah attends book readings with far less security (or even none!) and sometimes people show up to challenge his views!

His no-show shows more about him than anyone else.

been around the block said...

"Anonymous" (thanks, brilliant moniker): re my post, "Please don't make pathetic excuses for Tarek chickening out."


I made absolutely no excuses for Tarek Fatah, I simply made the observation that, given the topic of debate, there was no debate.

Whether or not Tarek Fatah showed up was beyond the purview of my comment.

As for your comment that Tarek Fatah "distorts facts and uses fearmongering," are you implying that the other side never does the same thing? Please, we're all grownups here and quite well-informed.

I'm sorry. As a woman looking in on what many Imams have to say about a woman's place in Muslim society -- let alone, Canadian society -- I'm not attracted in any way to the Muslim faith. Sharia Law? No thanks. Burqas? No thanks. My husband has "the right" to beat me if I disagree with him? No thanks.

I live within the tenets of my Christian faith. I believe in faithfulness to my husband, caring for and making sacrifices for my children, doing volunteer work in my community, worshipping the Lord, my God, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving my neighbour as myself, and being a partner with my husband in all of the challenges that life brings our way. But, I do not agree with or admire the strictures put on too many Muslim women -- who must cover up because they might incite men to temptation.

Muslim men need to take ownership of their own temptations and not place all of the burden and blame on their women, thus forcing them to hide themselves and be seen in public only if they're accompanied by a male member of their family.

There are many other restrictions and penalties placed on Muslim women with which I disagree and which I find appalling.

There should be absolutely no compunction for Canadians to either adhere to or acquiesce to Sharia Law in the Dominion of Canada, and I deeply resent the attempt by some Muslims to impose their religious laws on the citizens of our country, which has been generous and hospitable by allowing them to immigrate here.

been around the block said...

BTW, would someone please answer my question: Who is Pastor Neil Bulloch and why was he asked to be the replacement moderator?

Was Tarek Fatah informed of who the replacement moderator was ahead of time?

Lots of questions to which there seem to be few answers.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely believe that a "debate" or "discussion" on Islam and the Koran, now-a-days must be conducted under "controlled conditions:" No "Allah-o-Akbar" mob, an unbiased secular moderator (not a religious pastor), and each side must have a fixed number of pre-arranged questions. Instead of calling it a hostile "debate," it should be called a "dialogue" to understand other party's point of view.
Among Muslims in general, a single "wrong word or expression" can get you harmed or killed outright. The so-called Muslim "Imams" have the pulpit, and as such rule the mind of the "faithful." Their supporters would make a mockery of arguments presented by the opposition, while they will be awarded "applause" rewards for any right or wrong statement they present [as an example, please see]. Thus, these "Imams" have no credibility.
Thus, I would question the sincerity of the NAMF and their self-titled "Imam" in having this debate, as it appears that their actions and speeches made in the absence of Tarek Fatah [when he was not present to defend himself] were nothing but to acquire Brownie points, and gain cheap popularity (in order to magnify their own status) rather than serve Islam. "Allah will throw back their mockery on them, and give them rope in their trespasses; so they will wander like blind ones" [The Koran, 2:15].

Anonymous said...

@ Been around the block - I am a Muslim woman who observes the hijab and live within the tenets of my muslim faith as you do of your Christian faith. For you to suggest that Muslim women are somehow restricted and opressed is quite the simplistic in nature. Have you met a practicing Muslim woman before? Have you interacted with her? Perhaps spoken to her about what her opinions are? You are free to disagree with things that do not appeal to you about the Muslim religion but please spare us the condescending tone. Please explain where Muslims have imposed their religious laws on the citizens of this country? Oh btw, I was born and raised here so I don't need to thank our country for allowing me to immigrare here. I am as Canadian as one can be!

Did you listen to the "debate"? If you were well-informed as you claim to be, im sure you would acknowledge the fact that Tarek Fatah has lied time and time again...and showed his true colours last night when MCC released their press release that was full of outright lies and accucations. As I mentioned, not only were police and security there, they were also checking out bags! The moderator change had been informed to Tarek and all NAMF members a day before the event because Karen Mock had cancelled on the 28th yet Tarek Fateh reconfirmed his attendane at 3:30 pm with the NAMF ED on the 29th.
MCC's press release was being placed on the windshields of vehicles parked outside even before and during the debate started which has risen many concerns and suspicions.

Attendees had posted numerous messages and posts on Tarek Fatehs fanpage and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them has been deleted! So much for transperancy that he so often harps about.

It was unfortunate that he didn't show up but it was even astonishing was the fact that he has concocted a plethora of lies which even his supporters are catching on to.

@ Anonymous - I agree with you to a certain degree with regards to the conditions of how a debate of this nature should be conducted in. NAMF actually did a great job. HOwever please keep in mind, it was Tarek Fateh, not NAMF, who challenged ANY Muslim imam to a debate ..their time, their location, their topic. So NAMF can not be discredited whatsoever. They accepted the challenge and Tarek chickened out. Plain and simple. He wasn't there to defend himself because he chose not he knew he couldn't. We all are catching on to his lies.

Also, please note that there were many supporters of Tarek Fateh including non-muslims who were there. He made a sad choice. I felt bad for the audience..the hall was packed!

Oh well!

been around the block said...

Anonymous ... however, I don't know precisely which "Anonymous" I'm addressing ... I am not in an argument with you and your particular circumstances, nor am I defending Tarek Fatah.

I do have problems with freedom of expression being challenged by certain Muslims in Canada's Human Rights (sic) Commissions, which are kangaroo courts where truth is no defense, and with Muslim women, whose faces are completely covered, insisting on appearing in court veiled. No other Canadians are allowed to appear in court with their faces covered, and a dangerous precedent will be set if one particular group is given this "right." There is no such right in the courts of justice in Western democracies, where one is assured of facing one's accuser (whatever the crime), there never has been, and I hope there never will be.

Fatwas. All I know is that death threats do not come from Tarek Fatah. I understand that he has received death threats from Muslims with whom he disagrees, a disgraceful response to someone whose views differ from theirs. Like it or not -- and many immoderate Muslims seem not to -- our laws uphold Canadians' rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. If others don't like another's religious views, that's unfortunate; but, to threaten death and/or violence to those whose religious convictions differ from theirs -- or to those with no religious convictions -- is contrary to the way we deal with these issues in Canada.

Could you tell me, please, who Pastor Neil Bulloch is? Why was he called in to be the replacement moderator and in what church is he a pastor?

Anonymous said...

Excuse after excuse after excuse.

I would like to challenge Tarek Fatah on the same topic: HIS venue HIS moderators - in fact I agree on any changes IN ADVANCE ... all I ask is the he shows up.

Anonymous said...

I think i know who the last guy is LO

mezba said...

The video of the debate

should also prove

1. The cry of Allah Akbar (God is Great) is when the NAMF official mentioned he has a witness that Mr Fatah confirmed he would attend.

2. The official told the people shouting "Allah Akbar" to "calm down", so some people saying they allowed the 'extremists' to carry on is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

PROOF that Tarek knew at least a DAY IN ADVANCE that Karen Mock the original moderator was not coming:

Compare that to his statement on the MCC Press Release that he just found out when he arrived there:

Tarek Fatah DARED any Imam to debate them on THEIR time THEIR venue THEIR moderator ... he said so on The Agenda with Steve Paikin and I was sitting right next to him.

Also - those who DID come can attest to the fact that security was present and even though some overzealous handful (out of the few hundred present) did shout Allahu Akbar when they heard Fatah was not coming - there was no hostility in any real sense. Habeeb Ali spoke very nicely, very positive ...

The excuses seem to be choice of venue, choice of moderator -- ironically the very same things Tarek HIMSELF "dared" of the Imams and Mosques.

Tarek is NOT the defacto rep of regular Muslims .. he represents HIMSELF. There are MANY peaceful, cooperating for justice type Muslims.

I personally just wanted to ask him ONE question: Is CSIS, the RCMP and the DND really "infiltrated by Islamists" as he has claimed? (Absolutely NOT is the real answer)

Sadly, he balked (regardless the MCC spin) and chose not to show up so thus, I could not ask him.


been around the block said...

Please, Mubin Shaikh, tell me who Pastor Neil Bulloch is and why he was chosen as moderator when Karen Mock backed out.

I have no case for Tarek Fatah. I am not on "his" side, I'd just like to know with whom Mr. Bulloch is affiliated: which church?

Omar Qayum said...

I was one of the organizers of the debate. Around 3:30pm I called Tarek and he said he was coming from 5:30pm. Around 5:45pm I called him again and a man identifying himself as "Shaikh Tahir" answered and told me that Tarek was in a studio recording; he had left his cell phone with him. I called once again shortly before the debate was to begin and the same "Shaikh Tahir" answered saying that Tarek was downtown. Tarek knew who the new moderator was and had our contact information. Why did he not contact us if there were any problems? Why did he just pull a no-show? Instead he sent his MCC crowd whom we hadn't been dealing with at all.

Anonymous said...

It is not fair to just view one side of the story. Especially that Mr. Fatah KEEPS DELETING THE PRESS RELEASE from NAMF.


As one of the organizer for the debate between Imam Sheharyar Shaikh and Mr. Tarek Fatah, hosted by the North American Muslims Foundation (NAMF), I feel obliged to speak out against Tarek’s last-minute withdrawal from the debate. In a desperate attempt to explain his actions, the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) has issued a press release replete with misinformation. Not surprisingly, Tarek has decided to hide behind the MCC by allowing them to speak on his behalf. For the record, NAMF was never in direct contact with the MCC. Why would we be? Tarek resigned from the MCC in 2006. Furthermore, Tarek issued his challenge as an author promoting his new book, not as a MCC spokesman. During our correspondences with Tarek, he never involved the MCC. In addition, numerous members of the MCC came to NAMF in an attempt to disrupt the event. Regardless, I would like to start with their allegation that there was “a hostile environment, with no moderator, restrictions on the media and the absence of any security”.

By the grace of Allah (SWT), the event was a tremendous success. There were 600+ people in attendance from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds. Unfortunately, hundreds were turned away due to limited seating and fire safety regulations. Nonetheless it was a peaceful evening filled with lively discussion and laughter. However, the night was not without incident due to the negative role played by the President and Vice President of the MCC, Sohail Raza and Salma Siddiqui respectively. Upon arrival, they hostilely demanded to speak with event organizers. The Executive Director of NAMF, Farooq Khan, witnessed their deliberate disturbance and asked them to relax or security would escort them away; and they were. However, the MCC claims that Sohail and Salma were threatened. If that were the case, why didn’t they press charges when they reappeared with the on-duty officer from 42 Division’s Community Response Unit? Instead, the officer asked Farooq to contact him directly next time. Despite their outbursts, Sohail and Salma were told they could stay if they were civil, but they opted to leave. Furthermore, who was the MCC to demand answers regarding event planning? Was the MCC debating Imam Sheharyar? Or were they guests like everyone else? Clearly, there was an ill agenda to provide Tarek a way out. This brings to light some of the bullying tactics Tarek employs when he compromises himself.

Anonymous said...

Another issue that the MCC raised was that of the moderator. NAMF has hosted numerous debates by diverse speakers and has never had complaints regarding its choice of moderator. NAMF moderators are solely there to ensure equal speaking time and audience control. Our audience comes to hear unimpeded speakers and to confront them with tough questions. Tarek was informed of the debate format and the moderator’s role from the beginning. It is true that some Muslim moderators were suggested, but we felt a non-Muslim moderator would be best. On December 17, 2010, Dr. Karen Mock accepted our invitation, but due to a family matter, she cancelled on January 27, 2011. With two days left, we opted to go with a previous moderator, Pastor Neil Bulloch; Tarek was directly informed of this change. We fail to see why the MCC has sensationalized the moderator issue. How was the debate unfair to Tarek? Knowing that Dr. Mock was absent, why did he verbally confirm his attendance with me two hours before the debate? Why did he not inform me of his concerns? Why did he not meet me at the front doors like we agreed by phone? Why did he send his MCC friends inside instead? Who is the mystery police officer that instructed him not to go? Why then was an officer waiting to talk to Tarek inside NAMF? Tarek claims that he was in the parking lot, but nobody seems to of seen him. I don’t think Tarek even showed up because when I called his cell phone half an hour before the debate, a man identifying himself as “Shaikh Tahir” answered and told me that Tarek was in a recording studio downtown. Is this true? Or is it just another example of an MCC member lying? Either way it is dishonest.

The MCC also accused NAMF of placing restrictions on the media. This is nothing short of slander. On January 25, 2011 a press release was sent out saying: “We invite all news and assignment editors to be a part of this noteworthy event.” and “All Media Outlets are asked to reserve their spot via e-mal …” The irony here is that on Saturday, January 22, 2011, at 12:50PM, Tarek said: “No video of mine from the event/debate shall be used or distributed on the Internet, YouTube without my express consent.” Why the double-speech here? Tarek was the one worried about video footage being released, not us! In fact, NAMF has been publicly releasing e-mail correspondences between Farooq Khan, Imam Sheharyar Shaikh, Tarek Fatah and Dr. Karen Mock. We have already posted an unedited copy of the “debate” on YouTube and are in the process of making all e-mail correspondences available to the public. We have nothing to hide!

As for the preposterous allegation that security was absent, the police was on premises hours before hand, three security guards from Shield Protection Services were hired, all bags were manually searched and dozens of NAMF staff/volunteers were also present. The fact that Sohail and Salma were so easily able to access a police officer should put this accusation to rest. The important question here is: How did the MCC know that off-duty policemen were withdrawn? Tarek knows because he contacted the police and informed them of Dr. Mock’s absence, and that there was “potential for violence”. It was due to his involvement that our paid-duty officers were withdrawn. It wasn’t until Mr. Khan used other channels to pressure the police that they decided to send on-duty officers. Why was Tarek calling the police? Were we not the organizers providing security for the event? What did he say that cancelled our booking? Why did he sabotage the police protection we had provided for everyone? In addition, the decision to deny our request of off-duty officers by the Toronto Police Service should alarm all Canadians. Aren’t off-duty officers hired to prevent and/or handle potential violence? Don’t they have a moral, and legal, duty to help us? Are they not civil servants sworn “to serve and protect”? Regardless, event attendees can attest to the safety and security provided by NAMF.

Anonymous said...

Also, the timing of the MCC press release further casts a shadow of doubt on the credibility of MCC’s claims. Members of the MCC began soliciting printed copies of their press release, on NAMF property, shortly after the debate had started. I received one of these copies 30 minutes into the debate. Are we to seriously believe that the MCC typed, printed and mass copied this document upon their arrival? Or did they arrive with copies of this document? The timeline simply doesn’t add up!

Finally, I think Calgary Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, summarized Tarek best when he said: “Mr. Fatah has made a career out of making this frankly a bigger deal than it is”, when speaking rebutting him on Shariah law being “implemented” in Canada. Tarek, you have thrived by creating an atmosphere of fear, intolerance and hatred against the very community you claim to belong to. Furthermore, I think you had no intention of debating Imam Sheharyar at any time. Not only did you behave unprofessionally by not showing up, but you failed your supporters who sacrificed their Saturday evening for you. You are no hero of Canada and deserve to be exposed for the danger you pose. I also hope that NAMF takes legal action against you, and the MCC, for fiscal damages and defamation. I pray that Allah (SWT) guides you, and that He ensures all Canadians live free from your vile agenda.


Omar Qayum

Anonymous said...


Chasing Tarek Fatah, the Mirage

In Urdu, “Tarek” literally means “quitter”.

Interestingly, we saw this definition play in reality on Saturday, January 29, 2011, when Tarek Fatah backed out from a debate with me at the last minute without informing anyone at the venue.

Shamefully, he has still not spoken a word to the organizers about his uninformed absence. All they have to go by is a “press release” by some organization he knows friends in, but one he does not officially represent in any way.

Assuming the press release letter voices Mr. Fatah’s views (the truth of which we may never know) it makes for an engaging read (see attachment).

The clown on the letter by the name of Sohail Raza accuses NAMF of “turn(ing) a debate into a public inquisition”. This is a serious charge. How was this to be a public inquisition, I wonder? And why would it be public? Doesn’t the general public identify with Mr Fatah against the Big, Bad Islamists? Or perhaps, it is the public, not NAMF, which is full of anger toward you, Mr. Fatah, for the propaganda damage you cause them.

And since when did Mr. Fatah tie a “condition” of taking part at NAMF only after he approved of the moderator? Even if true, why did he confirm his attendance by phone 2 hours before the event? All we know is that he consistently made noise – Yes – over many things: the language, the venue, the format, his approval before any video recording, and the choice of moderator.

Hardly a martyr for his cause, he seemed to try every possible way to weasel out of this debate. (We have the entire email correspondence proving this, which we plan to make public soon)

I can go on about the lies of cameras not being allowed at NAMF (a press release to media outlets was sent on the Jan 24, 2011) or of NAMF withdrawing police officers, or of conspiring to “ambush” Tarek Fatah through an “inquisition”, but I wont (All this is extensively covered in an open letter by one organizer of the event).

I only want to express sympathy with those well-meaning, yet naïve folks before whom Tarek Fatah masquerades as some kind of Martin Luther of Islam boldly battling the Islamist boogiemen; folks who believed he would show up to uphold the very principles he keeps saying he fights for.

On his Facebook page, Mr. Fatah wrote:

This Saturday, January 29, I face another Islamic cleric in a public debate. Please do come and see for yourself the danger of allowing Islamism to spread its fascist cancer among the born-in-Canada Muslim youth in our country.

Consider the sympathy he gathers on the same page among some very simple-minded people:

“Tarek, you are a brave man and God is with you and he will protect you from evil”

“Tarek is one of the sane Muslims out there who is willing to smite down the terrorists who plague it”

“I am really horrified at the extent of threat Tarek is facing”

“Tariq. You are a brave man. We are with you be not afraid of these two bit molvis”

“@Tarek – I’m surprised the threat took this long but be well, my friend. Be safe & be blessed by Allah and continue on with your moral courage. The world needs you”

In my honest assessment, Tarek Fatah is inauthentic. He, like many self-styled Islamic reformers these days, wants to cash in on the publicity and martyr-status, but not at the expense of being exposed.

Alas, I truly believed the man, however wrongly guided, carried the potential to serve his community. But with his rude and shameful absence exposing his moral cowardice to face an opponent in debate following a challenge that he threw in November, 2010, and worse, getting others to lie to defend him, that hope has all but disappeared.

Yours truly,

Sheharyar Shaikh

President - North American Muslim Foundation

Imam – Masjid Qurtabah

Truth Seeker said...

(1) If Tarek Fatah truly intended to attend the debate but sincerely thought that it would not be safe for him to do so, I think people should urge him to make a You Tube video refuting the NAMF Imam. After-all he made many believe that a debate will happen, people attended and he was not there! He owes it to himself and the public.

(2) Does anyone have a picture of the Toronto police and media? So far, we only people's testimonies that there were police and media. We should have concrete evidence.

(3) If the media was there, how come they are not publishing anything? Or broadcasting anything? Perhaps they need some time.

(4) Can anyone - NAMF, MCC or Tarek - inform the public about the agreed upon debate format? This is important to figure out if it was truly a fair debate. From the debate videos, one can say that the way the whole debate was set up, nobody can actually defend themselves if they were Tarek even though they can under a different set up.

(5) Did Sohail Raza and Salma Siddiqui (1) distribute flyers, (2) demand to speak to the organizer, or (3) cause deliberate disturbance at the event? I am not clear about NAMF's account as to which of those 3 happened?

(6) Can anyone provide the original challenge that Tarek made on the Agenda with Steve Paikan?

Anonymous said...

Truth seeker - NAMF made ALL correspondences between Shehryar and NAMF public. They had emailed every single email between the imam and Tarek out to their members.
NAMF has been more than transparent about this whole thing and therefore are getting a lot more support. They even made the emails to Karen mock and Steve paikan public.

This was Tarek Fatahs original challenge made at Steve paikans, Agenda on the show titles 'Who's a moderate Muslim'

"I am a Muslim the way the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad wanted me to be.... Someone should come and challenge me on that. That is why they (Islamists) have never agreed to have a debate with me in any mosque, anywhere in this country. Their audience, their time, Lets talk about Islam." and "Despite the fact that Islamists know that I am right, they wont debate me on this issue".

This email went out as well which indicated ALL media were allowed/invited:

"Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Less than a week is left for a debate that will make history, Insha-Allah! I wanted to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you all for spreading the word in the community and for taking the time to invite your friends and family. For those who have not confirmed yet, just know that insha-Allah it will be a debate that will be talking about for months to come. Many non-muslims have confirmed attendance; it is obligatory upon us Muslims to be present in big numbers to show the respect and support that Islam deserves. All major media organizations have been invited and the expectations are high.
The debate will start @ 6:00 pm sharp; a huge audience is expected so your spot will be based on a first come first serve basis, admission is free. There is plenty of parking available in and around the center. Also,we are looking for volunteers for the debate, those that are interested can forward the details to, please feel free to email us with any questions or call us @

Hope to see you all there Insha-Allah.

Your NAMF Team"

Tarek Fatah hides behind his lies and censors any comment that questions him about teh debate. Now he has a bunch of sympathisers on his FB feeling bad for him for having to go through this ordeal but these horrible, jihadist muslims. If only they knew the lying tactics this man uses...if only! I'm surprised how some people are so blinded by his devious ways....surely people can't be that dumb..or can they?

emad said...

Tarek Fateh is a confounded liar and I witnessed this first hand at the event. I was one of the first there and there was a police presence and adequate coverage - just no tripods were allowed. The two MCC cronies who were "expelled" were distributing printed copies of the official MCC statement a short while before the debate started - go figure. The no-show was PREARRANGED. No further proof is needed that this man is nothing but a publicity whore who would do anything to get attention - even at the expense of truth and integrity.

mezba said...

Some of the emails between the imam and Tarek Fatah.

Again, we were all there (plenty of eyewitnesses) who will testify to the security and cameras. The youtube video is out as well.

What I don't understand is why is there no sufficient media coverage of the event. Could Mr Fatah's ties to journalists (his daughter worked for CBC) have anything to do with it?

mezba said...

The Jewish Tribune has an article about the "debate".

Truth Seeker said...

@Mezba. I am not using my real name. People do not know who I am but they could guess correctly.

I have first hand experience where the newspaper contacted me, even met me and took pictures of me. But when I refused to say things that have a "Tarek Fatah spin" when they were trying hard to fish for it, despite being promised my story will be published - it was not!

Help me understand said...

Roy - what are your views on this whole fiasco?

I see you're a 'good' friend of Tarek Fatah so i'd really like to hear your opinion of him after clearly seeing him chicken out of a debate that HE challenged the muslim community to partake in. What are your opinions of his constant lies and attempts on censoring every single question/comments that is posed to him regarding his lies in his press release.
Do you really consider him a man of honor and integrity despite his devious ways?
I just really want to know the extent of which he has duped certain people into buying into his fearmongering tactics.

mezba said...

The National Post on this story.

Truth Seeker said...

What the police had to say in the National Post article is very interesting. It goes against what Tarek Fatah and the MCC members are claiming. For example, take a look at this that was pointed out:

I Support Lord Black