Islamophobes promote hate through distortion and lies

MOHAMMED AZHAR ALI KHAN

Islamophobes promote hate through distortion and lies

 


 

 

MOHAMMED AZHAR ALI KHAN





 

 

 

The Montreal blog Point de Bascule is not fussy when it comes to smearing Canadian Muslim organizations and Muslims. Any excuse will do. So it chastised the Islamic Society of Cumberland for “sponsoring” a convention of the Islamic Society of North America which featured controversial speakers. Among them was the Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad, who had visited Canada and the US for talks with officials but was later banned from entering Canada.

   

The ISC is a respected organization, with charitable tax status with the Canada Revenue Agency, which does admirable work. It does not sponsor  conventions of ISNA, which itself enjoys charitable tax status with CRA. Organizations provide financial support to enable diverse Muslims to meet, listen to scholars and question them at conferences. With speakers offering conflicting views, people question them and interesting discussions ensue. I go when possible, particularly when speakers are controversial, in order to debate viewpoints.

 

After condemning the views of JEI founder Syed Maududi, Point de Bascule wrote that I “condoned Maududi’s ideology” when I “sponsored a conference given by his (Maududi’s) successor, as a member of the HCI board.” 

Human Concern International is a relief agency. It does not sponsor conferences. It merely pays to set up a table to provide information about its humanitarian work. Setting up a booth to reach donors does not mean that it condones the views of the speakers. I buy tickets to listen to Islamophobes and other hatemongers to learn about their views and, if possible, to meet and talk to them. By Point de Bascule’s logic that makes me an Islamophobe.  Such logic also dictates that all those who listen to speakers also support their views, which is ridiculous.

 

After trying to tarnish the respectable organizations HCI and ISC for “sponsoring” conferences that invited controversial speakers, Point de Bascule again seeks to malign me by listing some of the donations my family charity made to HCI and ISC. 

 

I set up the Ali Khan Foundation to help the needy throughout the world. I did so to thank God for His blessings on my family. I grew up in Bhopal, India. My religion taught me that the One God created all living beings and that He loves His creations. We were taught that to serve God one must serve His creations. In Bhopal, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis lived in peace and friendship. I went to a school where most teachers were Christian. My father hired a Hindu tutor for me. Several of our servants were Hindus and  Christians. 

 

During independence, hate and violence engulfed British India. A million innocent people were killed and some 14 million were displaced. This butchery reinforced my belief that we must not allow race, religion or ideology to turn us into beasts and that we must remain compassionate, loving and fair to all living beings.

 

My family survived that carnage. Our Hindu neighbors did not harm us. We moved in stages to Pakistan for safety. We rebuilt our lives through hard work. I received scholarships for higher studies from Christian universities and foundations. I made a Christian country which practices my ideals of the brotherhood of man and the rule of law my cherished homeland.

 

Successful professionals, my wife and I live simply but comfortably. I established the Ali Khan Foundation and registered it with Industry Canada and CRA. We invest money periodically, so far more than $300,000. The dividends we receive annually are given to Canadian-approved charities. 

Bascule mentioned some Muslim organizations I contributed to. It did not list the Christian charity World Vision, Ottawa hospitals, Doctors without Borders and others through which we also help the needy. Through HCI and World Vision, we support  orphans in Asia and Africa. I particularly like to give through HCI which works through partners in poor countries and acts promptly to help the victims of floods, earthquakes and other  tragedies. I know that if I give through HCI, most money will reach the needy instead of paying for high-salaried executives.

 

The Ali Khan Foundation did donate to the relief agency IRFAN in 2008 to assist refugees desperately in need. At that time the agency enjoyed tax-free status and the assistance was given within Canadian laws to Canadian-approved charities. This does not prevent Bascule from stating that our foundation “transferred money to the Hamas fund collector.” So you are guilty even if you comply with Canadian laws and operate within them. 

Snooping, prying and spying in desperate efforts to find something to blacken the reputation of law-abiding citizens, Bascule came up short but then sought to malign me anyway. I am not its only victim. It is an equal-opportunity hatemonger. All you have to do is be a Canadian Muslim and you’d  qualify to be a victim of a smear campaign. No questions asked. This is part of a sustained effort to promote hatred against an identifiable group, Canadian Muslims, and turn our fellow Canadians against us. But Canada is fair-minded. It has its share of hatemongers but they remain a minority.

 

— Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan is a retired Canadian journalist, civil servant and refugee judge.