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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A second look at Omar

Omar Alghabra, the Saudi-born former president of the Canadian Arab Federation who is now the Liberal candidate in Mississauga-Erindale (Carolyn Parrish's old riding), is on the offensive. He's threatening to sue anyone who claimed that, at his nomination meeting, he said "this is a victory for Islam. Islam won. Islam won... Islamic power is extending into Canadian politics."

Various witnesses at the nomination meeting have said that Alghabra proclaimed those words, and the Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD) sent out a press release quoting those witnesses. At first, Alghabra issued a very narrow, Clinton-like denial -- that he didn't say those words in his "acceptance speech".

Parrish herself acknowledges hearing those words -- not from Alghabra, but, as it turns out, from Alghabra's political lieutenant, a Markham alderman named Khalid Usman. Parrish said she found those words "extremely inappropriate" -- quite something from the woman whose idea of political oratory is to stomp on an effigy of George W. Bush.

The CCD issued a clarification; Alghabra and the Reid/Klander Liberals saw weakness and pounced. They called the CCD's original press release an "ethnic smear" (odd, considering all of their cited witnesses were Arab, as well) and went further -- Alghabra issued a press release claiming that the whole thing was manufactured, a manipulation done at the behest of a prominent Jewish activist for the Conservative party in Toronto, publishing her name, e-mail address and private phone number. A nice Saudi touch.

Chuffed with his success, Alghabra started threatening lawsuits; his friends at the Muslim Canadian Congress have called for the police to start investigating and the attorney general to prosecute. More good Saudi moves, but sorry, we don't bring police in to settle political arguments in Canada.

But that's where the blogosphere, normally fearless critics of militant Islam and Liberal blatherskites, started to backpedal furiously, issuing grovelling apologies to Alghabra's delight. I won't link to the dozen or so I've seen.

I wasn't at the meeting myself. But I have read the statements by various witnesses there. Some say Alghabra made the Islamist utterances; others (including Parrish) say it was Usman, Alghabra's lieutenant and mentor who said them. But everyone agrees they were said by Alghabra or his team -- and no-one claims they were retracted or rebutted or disowned by Alghabra in any way. He still hasn't.

I might be more inclined to give Alghabra the benefit of the doubt myself if he hadn't already established a track record as an apologist for militant Islam. Some examples:

1. Alghabra has condemned CanWest newspapers for labelling groups like Hamas and Hizbollah "terrorist" groups;

2. Alghabra has welcomed al-Jazeera to Canada and railed against any restrictions on it, but condemned the CRTC for allowing the "abusive" Fox News Channel in;

3. In the wake of the Arab riots at Concordia that shut down a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alghabra had the temerity to blame Jewish students for silencing campus discussions, and supported an Arab conference on campus whose stated mission was the elimination of Israel;

4. Alghabra has called for the total abolition of Canada's anti-terrorism laws; and

5. Alghabra was stopped at the U.S. border and searched and fingerprinted -- whether that was by reason of demographic profiling, or because he was on a watch list is uncertain. What is certain is that Alghabra turned it into an opportunity to gain media face time, Maher Arar-style, as an anti-American, anti-security mouthpiece.

I say again, I don't know whether it was Alghabra or Usman who made the offensive comments about Islam taking over, Islam being on the march, etc., etc. (in a nomination meeting in a church, no less). I really don't care if it was Alghabra or his sidekick. Neither of them belong in Canada's parliament. I would say that neither of them belong in the Liberal party, either, but these days it's probably more accurate to say that they do belong there -- it's Jews like Gerald Schwartz and Larry Tanenbaum who no longer belong there.

Oh, and for Alghabra, Mike Klander, Scott Reid or any other Liberal bullies: you can serve your defamation papers on me at our magazine's address.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 27, 2005 | Permalink


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» Christian Persecution from Creative Conviction
In a previous post I wrote about the Omar Alghabra nomination incident. Nowehere in that post do I say that Mr. Alghabra himself said the comments he was being accused of saying . But after the CCD issued a clarification I wondered if maybe... [Read More]

Tracked on 2005-12-28 11:35:32 AM

» Is Canada's Liberal Party Running an Islamist Candidate? from Daniel Pipes' Weblog
Western governments generally display little anxiety about Islamists in power (e.g., Turkey) and are happy to help enfranchise their deadliest enemies (e.g., in Egypt). And now the message comes from Canada that they even accept Islamists being elected [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-01-07 7:28:55 AM


Good on you Ezra. But you know that bullies only pick on those who don't fight back.

Posted by: Dishwasher | 2005-12-28 12:58:39 AM

Update 3: Saudis Say Two Most-Wanted Militants Dead
Forbes - 1 hour ago
By ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRI , 12.28.2005, 06:25 AM. Police on Wednesday shot dead a militant on Saudi Arabia's most-wanted list, the second major terror suspect to die in the country in 24 hours, a Saudi security official said. ... >>>
via google news canada

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-12-28 6:06:52 AM

Ezra, I agree with Dishwasher. At 66 years of age it boggles my mind how many in Canada knuckle under to "politically correct" nonsense and bullying such as appears to be the case here. If they are foolish enough to actually challenge you in court, this easterner will financially support your fight (after all, its also my fight!). How truth can survive when we are all "gagged" by PC "rules" is a major problem for this country.
On another point (sort of!), thanks for the "War on Fun"

Posted by: Gerry Turcotte | 2005-12-28 6:14:52 AM

Mmmmm, interesting that he denies it because I recall hearing on CFRB that Rogers TV had it all on tape ...

Posted by: Tony | 2005-12-28 6:59:23 AM

Good post Ezra! Calling Liberals bullies is understating the case.

Posted by: Joseph molnar | 2005-12-28 7:01:44 AM

Good for you Ezra!!
Greetings from Qualicum Bay on the left coast Stephen Harper breezed through yesterday, I had the privelage to meet him and shake his hand. He really doesen't seem very scary to me.Thank god for people like yourselves who are willing to stand up and tell it like it really is We killed the Liberano's in the first half and the Conservatives are on a roll !!!!!

Posted by: bubba | 2005-12-28 9:22:07 AM

Excellent post Ezra - what on earth are people like this creep doing running for anything? He should be in the jailhouse. What are the Liberanos thinking?

Posted by: jema54j | 2005-12-28 10:03:01 AM

I also concur with the readers here Ezra...Good for you too stand upto Islamic brutality and militancy in any of its form....

I am never surprised when foul evil is found streaming from the Islamic world whether here in Canada or in Arabia......it has been that way for 1400 years and will not stop!!

Posted by: Albertanator | 2005-12-28 1:47:51 PM

This guys is scary.....and he is a liberal at that which is even scarier!!!!!!!!!! I hope that a report has the balls to ask Martin about this incident..........

Posted by: themaj | 2005-12-28 3:50:43 PM

It would be interesting to see how that terrorist supporter has made his way to a liberal nomination.

Think how well we are protected by the actual government. If Paul Martin bans handguns, my suggestion would be to ban all terrorist supporters in Canada.

Posted by: Rémi houle | 2005-12-28 4:42:45 PM


The Liberals are the perfect party for terrorist supporters. Remember Martin's friends the Tamil Tigers?

Posted by: lwestin | 2005-12-28 7:20:21 PM

Ezra, you deserve a medal for this compilation! The real problem is that the mainstream media refuse to touch this story. So the question is, what will it take for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail to cover the far more important story surrounding this candidate?

Andrew Chung of the Toronto Star wrote two stories on December 23 and 24, highlighting the mistakes made by CCD, all of which is fair enough. But the Star managed to ignore the fact that some alarming Islamist declarations were made in connection with Alghabra's victory, even though Chung reports that a Star reporter was present at the event.

Below is the letter to the editor that the Star has refused to print or to acknowledge:

Re: Candidate rejects apology, Andrew Chung, December 24, 2005

Not the only story...

Andrew Chung reports fairly on mistakes made by the Canadian Coalition for Democracies and the organization's subsequent correction and apology. However, I am concerned that he missed an unfortunate side effect of CCD's lapse, namely the diversion of the media away from a potentially more important story.

Imagine for a minute that a Conservative candidate won a nomination and, in the spirit of celebration, he or she brought an individual on stage who then made strident declarations about the candidate's win being a victory for Christianity. I suspect the media would be all over it, especially considering media sensitivity to Christian influence evidenced by coverage of Stockwell Day's quietly held beliefs.

Something very similar is reported to have happened at the Liberal nomination in Mississauga-Erindale. According to Carolyn Parrish, "He [Usman] made it sound like [Muslims] were taking over. It was extremely inappropriate."

Had such declarations been made about Christians "taking over", CCD would have joined the media in its criticism. In this case, CCD's lapse diverted the media from another potentially important story, even though the offending comments were not made by the candidate himself.

This fact is not intended to distract from errors made by CCD nor to deny that it is appropriate for the media to cover the incident. However, it is not the only story here.

Alastair Gordon
Canadian Coalition for Democracies

Posted by: Al Gordon | 2005-12-28 10:56:39 PM

Omar Alghabra also thanked ISNA at his nomination meeting for their help. That's the Islamic Society of North America. Khalid Usman is a member as well. ISNA was investigated by the US Senate in 2004 for links to terrorism.

Posted by: PlaidShirt | 2005-12-29 7:41:00 AM

Omar Alghabra wants Islamic Shariaa Law in Canada,

After his nomination, on the 14th of Dec, and in an interview in "Almughtarib" News Paper. Omar made highly alerting statements, including asking Muslims in Canada to unit, how they should not wait for a savior and should stand up together, and above all he wants the Shariaa Law in Canada, and blames the Muslims for not uniting to enforce this Law leaving the minority to have the higher voice.
He also brushed on his meeting with Paul Martin, and the interview ended by asking the Muslims to go and vote. For whom I guess?

I ask Omar Alghabra why did you choose this Arabic News Paper after your nomination and address the Arab Muslims in such a manner.
Would you like to see this whole Article translated to English and published in the Press?

Do you like Taliban and Saudi Arabia? They have the Shariaa all right. You are clearly against the Muslims who are “modern” enough to refuse the Law of Islam. So which side of the fence are you standing on?

The whole article is alerting, and needs serious approach.
In reply to a question about the Shari‘a, Alghabra replies:

Unfortunately, the majority of [Canadian] Muslims remained silent during the research of this law and abandoned the field to a dissenting minority [of Muslims] which had a louder voice. As a result, this plan ended in failure. The problem was not a stand taken [by non-Muslims] against Muslims, but it was we [Muslims] who were divided among ourselves and disunited in our ranks.

Posted by: hr | 2005-12-29 7:50:41 AM

Excellent post.

In discussions with my friends and acquaintances regarding terrorism and militant Islam I always ask them what they consider to be a "moderate" Muslim. Bar none, everyone seems to think as long as a Muslim doesn't blow up a bus or advocate the use of violence to carry out Islamist goals then they are moderate.

My next question is, well, if these moderates wish to enter Canadian politics and eventually institute sharia (and other Islamic practices) in Canada, would you consider that threatening? Again, bar none, everybody thinks such political moves would be menacing for Canada.

So my next question is, well, if there exists the possibility that Islamist but non-violent Muslims can infiltrate our system of government and, in time and by sheer numbers, either form their own party or hold significant sway in an existing party, AND we consider this to be a threat to the future existence of our society, what (if anything) can we do about it? More to the point, what (if anything) will we do about it?

Seriously, is not the greatest Islamic threat to our society political rather than military in nature?

Posted by: mark | 2005-12-30 9:18:47 AM

I never thought that I would ever defend a Liberal, but this cheap and dishonest mudslinging was too much for me. More at my place.

Posted by: Dr.Dawg | 2005-12-30 1:21:45 PM

Dr. Dawg,
He's not a Liberal, not a Conservative, not a Canadian to start with.

It's not a piece of paper that gives you the nationality; it’s your love and respect to the country, the people.

It's not to greedily enforce what you came with; it’s what you have dissolved from the country that greets honestly.

Posted by: hr | 2006-01-01 4:35:33 AM

I wouldn't be so quick to promote Mr. Harper as a dedicated Star Trek fan, Mr. Adamson. Have none of you heard about the "Star Trek Connection"?


He's scary enough as is.

Posted by: tc | 2006-01-12 1:53:30 PM

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