Canadian Arab News,
January 19, 2006
Barring a last-minute jolt of sobriety, Canadian voters seem ready to choose Stephen Harper and his posse of pusillanimous populists to run the country… into the ground.
A PR makeover by the advisor to Australian prime minister John Howard—a staunch supporter of Bush’s anti-Iraq crusade—and uncritical, lazy media coverage have given Harper an unwarranted air of competence and electability. Also, popular anger over Liberal political scandals, and fatigue with 13 straight years of Liberal rule, has bred a “change for change sake” attitude.
As a result, traditional liberal and conservative voters seem prepared to shoot craps rather than use common sense at the ballot box. Such a scenario would prove the value of the aphorism at the top of this column, for indeed many Canadians do not know their enemy.
The danger to this country comes not only from the faux-conservative Harper Party, but also from the people and organizations that support it. In the spirit of “know your enemy,” and the perhaps vain hope that Canadians will come to their senses before it’s too late, here’s how an odious assemblage of mudslingers called the Canadian Coalition for Democracies [sic!] is directly linked to those who would become government.
The Defamation of Omar Alghabra
On Dec. 2 Omar Alghabra won the Liberal nomination to replace outgoing MP Carolyn Parrish, whose honesty will be sorely missed. Seventeen days later, CCD president Alastair Gordon issued a press release stating that a jubilant Alghabra declared: “This is a victory for Islam! Islam won! Islam Won!” and went on to extol his victory as a sign that Islamic power was extending into Canadian politics.
Truth is, Alghabra did not utter these words, and there is no conclusive proof that anyone did.
Four days later, the Toronto Star reported that Gordon had retracted the charge: “We are still seeking confirmation as to where the statements that were in our press release were made, on stage, off stage or not at all,” said Gordon. “We will be issuing a correction on the issues that we were wrong about and I do admit that.…I take full responsibility. I have now talked to quite a number of different people and the mistake was mine.”
However, the damage had been done, and Alghabra understandably rejected Gordon’s apology as inadequate, especially since he was more concerned with ranting against the Liberals than in making a sincere attempt to rectify the harm done to Alghabra’s character and reputation.
“It’s really offensive and outrageous for someone to make an allegation and then have others report it as possible fact,” said Alghabra.” This was a deliberate attempt to smear my credibility.…I don’t agree with mixing politics and religion. Yes, I’m a Muslim, but I’m also a Liberal, a man and an engineer.”
Alghabra is planning legal action, but will wait until after the election to have papers served because only then can damages be assessed.
Any reporter or columnist can make an honest mistake and often an apology is enough to mollify an aggrieved party, but the ethical standards of fair and accurate reporting do not apply to the CCD, which has nothing whatever to do with democracy as it is understood by intelligent, educated people. It’s a propaganda factory that promotes the Harper Party and Israeli/U.S. militarism to the detriment of Canada’s democracy. Just look at who runs the damned thing:
• Executive Director Naresh Raghubeer is a former executive assistant for Mississauga-Streetsville Harper Party candidate, Raminder Gill.
• Senior Vice-President Rochelle Wilner is president of B’nai Brith Canada.
• Secretary Marnie Silver is vice-chairwoman of B’nai Brith’s Young Leadership Action Network.
On the board of directors we have Michael Mostyn, the Harper Party candidate in York Centre, and Georgeanne Burke, the Party’s regional organizer in Toronto. Curiously, Gordon is not mentioned.
Given the make-up of the CCD, any notion that Gordon’s accusation was a mistake or the result of a misunderstanding cannot be taken seriously. B’nai Brith is in the Arab defamation business and the Harper Party embraces holus bolus the fiction of Israeli “democracy” and the demonization of Palestinians as “terrorists.” Under Harper and his obscurantist Israel-can-do-no-wrong foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day, Canada would degenerate into an unfettered echo chamber for Jewish fascism, even though this country purports to uphold international law.
Without doubt, Gordon’s attack on Alghabra was malicious, irresponsible and politically motivated, and as such constitutes a libel. The Muslim Canadian Congress has also asked the Peel Regional Police and the Ontario Attorney-General’s office to investigate the CCD’s role in fomenting anti-Muslim hysteria.
Regardless of the outcome in Mississauga-Erindale, the CCD, B’nai Brith and Harper Party should be thoroughly investigated for disseminating hate propaganda and serving as agents of a foreign power. Assuming that this country’s hate crimes legislation applies to all offenders equally, regardless of religious or political affiliation—and that’s a big assumption—the ensuing ethical scandal would dwarf any Liberal misconduct.
Building a case against the CCD et al. would be relatively easy, since by Gordon’s own admission he made no attempt to verify the accuracy of the pro-Islamic remarks, which were pure hearsay: “I was called by somebody who was present and they were quite concerned about what they had heard.”
At minimum, Gordon had an ethical duty to call Alghabra to confirm the accuracy of the claim, especially given its incendiary nature, but no. Instead he tells us: “Of those who witnessed it, I created the version of events that were shared by those people present.”
First, “somebody” becomes the collective “those,” and still we have no attempt at verification. Second, and most important, Gordon said he created the version of events; in plain English, that translates into, “I made it up.” Despite this admitted fabrication, Gordon passed judgment on what Alghabra allegedly said: “In essence, the message was an expansionist, Islamic message.”
How could he do this? Well, to a propagandist, facts are irrelevant. What matters is the ability of words to inflame passions and reinforce pre-existing prejudices, and zionists like Gordon, Day and Wilner have helped make prejudice against Arabs part of our socio-political culture.
On Dec. 21 Gordon was forced to retract the allegation, but the retraction provides further evidence of libel: “We are still seeking confirmation as to where the statements that were in our press release were made, on stage, off stage or not at all.”
Still seeking?! Why seek confirmation for a fabrication at all? With these words, Gordon admits he deliberately published information he knew not to be
true. Finally, he tries to save himself by disingenuously falling on his sword for the cause: “I take full responsibility. I have now talked to quite a number of different people and the mistake was mine.” (emphasis added)
There was no “mistake.”
Finally, who was the mysterious source that libeled Alghabra in the first place? Step right up Victor Fouad, associate member, Canadian Coptic Association. Copts, as any religious scholar should know, are North African Christians who harbour a strong animus against Muslims.
Did it not occur to Gordon that a politically motivated Christian would be a highly biased source? Obviously not, since the CCD website still features Fouad’s frothing tirade about the “Islamic threat.” If Gordon were sincerely contrite he would pull it and disavow Fouad.
Not likely. Here’s what he said in a CCD press release from July 2005: “If a London- or Madrid-style massacre occurs in Toronto or Montreal, we know today that the killers will be Muslim.” This is the sort of democracy the CCD stands for.
Dear voter: A vote for Harper is a vote for these bigots and buffoons.
Do you really want them running (ruining?) our country?
SOURCES CITED (IN CHRONOLOGICAL OCCURENCE):
“Liberal strategy a dangerous mix of religion and politics,” Canadian Coalition for Democracies, Dec. 19, 2005.
Victor Fouad, “Liberals bring Islamists one step closer to Parliament,” CCD, Dec. 19, 2005.
Chris Clay, “Liberal candidate denies pro-Islamic remarks,” The Mississauga News, Dec 20, 2005.
“Liberal Candidate Target of Ethnic Smear Campaign,” Liberal Party Of Canada, Dec. 20, 2005.
“CCD Regrets Errors in its December 19,” CCD, Dec. 22, 2004.
“Muslim Canadian Congress denounces anti-Muslim hysteria being whipped by Canadian Coalition for Democracies,” MCC, Dec. 23, 2005.
Andrew Chung, “Pro-Islamist words dubbed a ‘smear,’” Toronto Star, Dec. 23, 2005.
——“Candidate rejects apology,” Toronto Star, Dec. 24, 2005.
“Liberal Alghabra receives apology,” The Mississauga News, Jan 12, 2006.