Canadian Media and Islam

The Ottawa Citizen

The Ottawa Citizen is part of Postmedia, Canada's largest chain of "English-language daily newspapers by paid circulation ... reaching millions of Canadians every week."

The Paris Massacre

The Citizen is not atypical of the Canadian media in general in perpetuating ignorance when the truth might offend. The day after the massacre it published an article in which a former editor of the paper trotted out that old canard about Islam being a religion of peace.

Islam ... needs to ask fundamental questions about itself. Why, throughout the world, has it allowed a “religion of peace” to look so often like a religion of death, fanaticism and intolerance?

Keith Spicer: The questions France now asks itself. Ottawa Citizen, November 14, 2015

I will let the leader of Islamic State explain why this is so disingenuous.

Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting. No-one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State. It is the war of all Muslims, but the Islamic State is spearheading it. It is the war of Muslims against infidels. There is no excuse for any Muslim not to migrate to the Islamic State ... joining is a duty on every Muslim. We are calling on you either to join or carry weapons [fight] wherever you are.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in an audio message made public May 14, 2015

The Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror ..."

Bukhari 52.220

Within twenty-four hours of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre the Citizen had its first misleading article.

Aisha Sherazi: The true offence to the prophet Muhammed

It is said that the Prophet Muhammed (sic) never took revenge for any personal injury to himself. When his deadly enemies were all standing before him defeated, having persecuted him and his followers, hunted them down for years, and were at his mercy after the city of Mecca was taken back, he forgave every last one of them.

Ottawa Citizen, January 7, 2015

Read Mecca Surrenders, the actual account of the taking of Mecca in the Koran and in the Hadiths (sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad). Before entering the Ka'ba, the Prophet of Mercy ordered the assassination forthwith of six men and four women.

Cold-blooded murder was also his way of dealing with the satirists of his time, the poets.

What the Citizen would also like you to believe:

We can also rely on our hearts to tell us what we know about the character of the prophet Muhammed, and look to the message that he brought. Chapter 7 of the Holy Quran commands, “Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant.”

This has to be the most galling misrepresentation of all. The author of "The true offence to the prophet Muhammad", a former principal of a local madrassa has to be aware that verse 7:199 had been abrogated by the Verse of the Sword.

The title of the editorial in the print edition of the Citizen was Terrorist acts are an offence against Islam. That headline is equally misleading.

Iraq and Muhammad's Birthday

It was mainly Muslim women, acting as spokespersons for the Canadian Islamic community, who appeared on television, with stern Muslim men looking on, and demanded that those who dared to publish mostly innocent caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad be prosecuted.

Since that watershed moment, women have increasingly become the public face of Islam in Canada, in effect giving a religion whose founder demanded the violent elimination, if necessary, of opposition to his God's Rule, a gentle often pretty face, and no where is this more evident than in the Ottawa Citizen.

On Muhammad's birthday, 52 lives were literally shredded by his followers in Iraq. There was no mention of the attacks in the Ottawa Citizen, the National Capital's most read newspaper, only a picture on its front page of women awaiting donated food at a shrine in Islamabad with the caption "Food donations usually increase on Mawlid, a day of observance in the Muslim world for Muhammad's birth date."

Muslim women awaiting donated food

Fawning Over the Koran

On the somber twelfth anniversary of 9/11, the Ottawa Citizen, the National Capital's most read newspaper prominently displayed on its front page a photograph of a Muslim woman fawning over the incredibly violent book which inspired the massacre.

Muslim woman fawning over the Koran

Newspapers like the Ottawa Citizen would like you to believe that Islamic theology is not at the root of the violence, but that it is Western democratically elected governments who are to blame. By shifting the blame, to paraphrase former jihadist Hassan Butt, they become the terrorists' accomplices:

When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network, a series of semi-autonomous British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology, I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.

By blaming the government for our actions ... [they] did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.

Hassan Butt, The Observer, My plea to fellow Muslims: you must renounce terror, July 1, 2007

The Muslim Mary

All Canadian mainstream media, since the cartoon protests of 2006, have learnt to thread carefully where Islam and God’s Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad are concerned. The Ottawa Citizen is no exception, except that the national capital’s leading and most trusted newspaper seems to have gone the furthest in sacrificing impartiality for peace in our time.

Every year at, Christmas time, Boreal invites visitors to read The Two Marys, a Christmas story like no other.

The Two Marys was in response to The Muslim Mary published by the Ottawa Citizen on December 21, 2006. In that Christmas story, the writer implied that Muslims are more devoted to the mother of Christ because Mary is the only woman mentioned by name in the Koran. Mary's son, in the Koran, is just another messenger and those who claim otherwise are perverted.

5:75 The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger before whom other Messengers had gone; and his mother was a godly woman. They both ate [earthly] food. Look how We make clear Our Revelations to them; then look how they are perverted!

Allah, in His Koran, is vociferous in denying that Mary's baby boy is the Son of God. He will even have Jesus himself, on the day of his birth, at the request of his mother who is being accused of having a child out of wedlock, refute his divinity

Wife Beating

Making superficial misleading comparisons like the one made in The Muslim Mary in the pursuit of peace in our time is one thing, publishing what you know to be untrue in the pursuit of that elusive peace is another.

The recently arrived Ottawa imam is quoted in the Citizen (Ottawa imam condemns ‘honour killings’, Dec 11, 2011) as urging “a packed Ottawa Mosque to look to the examples of the Prophet Muhammad, who never hit or abused his wives in any form.”

I am sure the imam meant well, but this is simply not the case. In a hadith the Prophet gave his silent approval to hitting a wife asking for money.

... Umar then came forward, and when he had asked and had been granted permission he found the Prophet sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He told that he decided to say something which would make the Prophet laugh, so he said, "Messenger of God, I wish you had seen the daughter of Kharija when she asked me for extra money and I got up and slapped her on the neck."

God's messenger laughed and said, "They are around me as you see asking for extra money."

Abu Bakr then got up, went to A'isha and slapped her on the neck, and Umar did the same to Hafsa ...

Sahih Muslim 9.3506

In another hadith the Prophet himself violently punched his child-bride in the chest (read What Aisha Saw to the end).

If the imam meant that the Prophet did not physically harm his wives, except under extraordinary circumstances, which intruding, half-dressed, on a private conversation your husband is having with an Archangel no less would qualify (but not hitting a wife or daughter asking for money), he should have said so!

Because he did not, the reporter for the Citizen should have asked for clarification; as he should have when he quotes the imam as saying that “one of the major problems in dealing with many issues, including domestic abuse, is that people often pull Quranic verses out of context and act on them … [that they] should be read in conjunction with others, and with the teachings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad to get a proper understanding of the scripture.”

The Koranic verse, which I believe the imam is referring to, is revelation 4:34 whose is intent, even without referring to the Prophet’s actions in hadith 2127, is clear and unambiguous on its own.

4:34 Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because they spend some of their wealth. Hence righteous women are obedient, guarding the unseen which Allah has guarded. And those of them that you fear might rebel, admonish them and abandon them in their beds and beat them. Should they obey you, do not seek a way of harming them; for Allah is Sublime and Great!

It is high time that the mainstream media and the religious leadership start being more forthright and quit pretending that everyone’s scriptures contain the same message. Peace in our time will be within reach when we start building bridges (and yes, making accommodations) based on the trust which springs from being honest with each other.

Ottawa Hijab Day

Bernard Payeur