Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The dangers of home-grown Islamofascism

The London Free Press
By Rory Leishman

The arrest last week of 24 British-born Muslims implicated in an alleged terrorist plot to blow up airliners flying from Britain to the United States has underlined once again the perils posed by home-grown Muslim terrorists.

Sohail Raza, national security director of the Muslim Canadian Congress, is alive to the danger. As reported in The Free Press on Saturday, he warns that some of Canada's mosques are breeding grounds for home-grown terrorists. He said: "It's a tiny percentage of Muslims, but the message is being broadcast widely. It's very tragic that a minority of so-called Muslims can hold the whole community hostage."

In contrast, Aly Hindi, an imam who holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Western Ontario and presides over the Salheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, maintains: “Nobody in any mosque in Canada encourages terrorism." However, coming from Hindi, such a declaration is hard to credit, inasmuch as he is a self-professed friend of the notorious Khadr family.

Ahmed Said Khadr, the family patriarch, was killed in a shootout with Pakistani soldiers near the Afghanistan border in 2003. All four of his Canadian-born sons are believed to have undergone terrorist training in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. Currently, one of these sons, Omar Kadar, is in detention in Guantanamo Bay, charged with the murder of a United States soldier in Afghanistan.

Like Raza, Tarek Fatah contends that there are extremists among Muslim leaders in Canada. Indeed, on August 3, Fatah announced that he has resigned as the communications director of the Muslim Canadian Congress, because he fears for his life and the safety of his family.

While Fatah claims to have received many death threats, he was particularly upset by an article published on June 30 in which Mohamed Elmasry, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, denounced him as one of four people who are “behind today's wave of anti-Islam vitriol” in Canada. (For the record, the three others listed by Elmasry were Margaret Wente, a columnist for The Globe and Mail; David Harris, former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service; and “Rory Leishman who writes for The London Free Press.”)

Elmasry alleged in his article that Fatah “is well known in Canada for smearing Islam and bashing Muslims.” In response, Fatah contends that this statement is akin to the issuance of a fatwah pronouncing blasphemy -- a crime punishable by death under sharia law.

The Muslim Canadian Congress is clearly a fringe group on the left among Canadian Muslims. It has renounced sharia law and endorsed same-sex marriage, but it hardly qualifies as a voice of Muslim moderation in foreign policy. In a recent press release, the Muslim Canadian Congress denounced Israel for “acting like an unleashed pit bull set loose among the innocent children of Lebanon.”

Elmasry is no less vitriolic. In an article published in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record on July 25, he wrote: “The merciless killing of innocent Lebanese civilians (including women, children, the elderly, and the disabled) and the savage destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure are testimony to Israel’s criminal malevolence.”

With supposedly moderate Muslim leaders resorting to such inflammatory rhetoric is it any wonder that we have a problem with homegrown Muslim terrorists in Canada?

As in Canada, so in Britain, there is profound concern about the degree of alienation and disaffection within the country’s Muslim population. In a major speech on national security last week, British Home Secretary John Reid said mass migration can bring benefits, but warned that it “can also carry insecurity into the heart of our communities.” He added: “We have to get away from the notion that anyone who wants to talk about immigration is somehow a racist.”

Michael Portillo, a Conservative and former British defense minister, concurs. In the Times of London on Sunday, he wrote that Britain had imported terrorism unwittingly “by pursuing liberal policies on immigration (and) extending asylum to those who faced ‘persecution’ without much reflection on why they found themselves in that position.”

Are any members of the Parliament of Canada likewise concerned about the urgent need for immigration and refugee reform? If so, will they please also stand up and speak out on these vital issues of national security?

PS: The aforementioned Elmasry article is available on-line at: http://www.canadianislamiccongress.com/ar/opeds.php?id=2933

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On the supreme authority of Scripture

The Interim
By Rory Leishman

In a statement on June 27, the Rt. Rev. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, presented a plan for expelling the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church of the United States from constituent membership in the worldwide Anglican communion. Specifically, Williams suggested that any Anglican church that unilaterally flouts Anglican doctrine should be reduced to the status of an “associate” member of the Anglican Communion that would “have no direct part in the decision making of the ‘constituent’ Churches.”

While the immediate cause of this impending schism is a dispute over the blessing of same sex unions and the morality of homosexual sexual behaviour, the underlying reasons for the fracture go to the heart of the Christian doctrine on the supreme authority of Scripture.

In an official statement on contraception, the Church of England suggests that the Anglican and Catholic churches have “different ways of approaching questions of Moral Theology. Roman Catholics have tended to look to the 'Magisterium', the official teaching of the Church, typically articulated by the Pope, as the source of authority on moral, as in doctrinal, questions. Anglicans have tended to call on 'Scripture, Tradition and Reason'.”

This statement is incorrect. Unlike liberal bishops of the Anglican Church, the Pope always undertakes in his doctrinal statements to uphold tradition and reason in conformity with the supreme authority of Scripture.

In 2002, a group of distinguished theologians associated with the consortium Evangelicals and Protestants Together issued a joint statement entitled Your Word of Truth, in which they explained that both Catholics and Evangelicals affirm “that Scripture is the divinely inspired and uniquely authoritative written revelation of God; as such it is normative for the teaching and life of the Church. We also affirm that tradition, rightly understood as the proper reflection of biblical teaching, is the faithful transmission of the truth of the gospel from generation to generation through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In contrast, many Anglican bishops typically pay only lip service to Scripture, tradition and reason. As the statement of the Church of England on contraception acknowledges: “Increasingly these approaches are being supplemented by appeals to 'human experience'.”

It was appeals to human experience that prompted the 1930 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops to condone contraception. In doing so, the Anglican bishops broke with the hitherto uninterrupted tradition of the Christian church. And within a few decades virtually every Protestant denomination followed this Anglican lead.

To the manifest dismay of many liberal Catholic bishops, priests and laity, the Catholic Church has stood firm. It continues to uphold the viewpoint expressed by the 1908 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops in a resolution declaring that it “records with alarm the growing practice of the artificial restriction of the family and earnestly calls upon all Christian people to discountenance the use of all artificial means of restriction as demoralising to character and hostile to national welfare.”

In the meantime, a similar division has developed within many Christian churches over the traditional ban on abortion. While liberal Anglicans and Protestants now condone abortion under at least some conditions, Evangelicals and Catholics continue to invoke Scripture, tradition and reason as authority for their view that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” applies no less to babies in the womb than to all other innocent human beings.

Today, these same divisions are compounded by disagreement over homosexuality. While theologically orthodox Christians affirm the clear and unequivocal passages of the Bible against homosexual sexual activity, some liberal clerics attempt to explain away these same Biblical passages, while others contend that the Bible was wrong about homosexuality and that Jesus would recognize in the light of recent human experience with homosexual behaviour that he, too, was wrong to oppose all forms of sexual intercourse outside the bond of marriage between a man and a woman.

In the face of such far-reaching theological disagreement within the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Williams is surely right: A church so divided against itself cannot stand. And given the collapse in membership of all the liberal Anglican and Protestant churches, it’s also evident that no church can long survive that fails to uphold the primacy of Scripture in conjunction with tradition and reason on all questions of faith and morality.

Hezbollah is responsible for the carnage in Lebanon

The London Free Press
By Rory Leishman

That was an appalling tragedy in the town of Qana, southern Lebanon on Sunday, when more than 50 people, many of them women and children, were killed in Israeli airstrikes. Like many European leaders, Javier Solana, the European Union foreign minister, was quick to blame Israel, saying that “nothing can justify” the bombing of Qana.

Is that so? Over the past three weeks, Hezbollah terrorists have fired more than 1,900 rockets into Israel, most of them launched from within towns and villages like Qana, and almost all aimed at civilian populations in Israel. Moreover, these same terrorists began this conflict in Lebanon, by killing two Israeli soldiers and taking two others hostage during a raid into Israel on July 12.

What would Solana have Israel do – simply allow the Hezbollah bombardment of Israeli towns and cities to continue for fear that any attempt to suppress the rocket fire could kill Lebanese civilians? If men, women and children in Spain were being killed and injured by rockets fired from towns in Morocco, it’s hardly likely that Solana would counsel the Spanish armed forces to do nothing to stop the carnage for fear of killing Moroccan civilians.

Why the double standard for Israel? Why are so many people quick to blame the Israeli armed forces for the Qana tragedy instead of the Hezbollah terrorists who started this conflict and are bent on continuing it? On Sunday alone, Hezbollah fired more than 150 rockets into Israel.

In response to the Qana tragedy, Israel has curtailed its airstrikes for 48 hours and agreed to coordinate plans with the United Nations for the safe evacuation during this period of civilians still in the war zone of southern Lebanon. When was the last time that an army displayed such concern for non-combatants? Did the Allied Powers suspend their bombardments along the Rhine in 1945 to allow for the safe evacuation of German civilians from that battle area?

In another tragedy earlier last week, the Israeli air force bombed a UN observation post in Lebanon, killing four unarmed soldiers assigned to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, including Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, a brave officer of the Canadian armed forces.

Like Solana, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan was quick to blame Israel, saying he was “shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defense Forces of a UN Observer post in southern Lebanon." This allegation is absurd and outrageous. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that the Israeli air force deliberately targets either innocent civilians or unarmed observers in a UN observation post.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sensibly refrained from blaming Israel for the death of Hess-Von Kruedener. In commenting on this tragic incident, he said: "We want to find out why this United Nations post was attacked and also why it remained manned during what is now, more or less, a war and during obvious danger to these individuals."

Interim Liberal leader Bill Graham has denounced Harper’s reasonable remark as “completely unacceptable.” Yet even Annan has belatedly admitted that there is no point to posting unarmed truce observers in the middle of a war zone. On Friday, the UN withdrew all 50 of its truce observers from the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Now, Harper is criticized for refusing to join with French President Jacques Chirac and other European leaders in calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Lebanon. Together with Canada’s closest allies – the United States and Britain – Harper points out that there can be no enduring ceasefire until Hezbollah stops firing rockets at Israel and returns the two Israeli hostages.

In a meeting at the White House on Friday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and United States President George Bush also summoned Hezbollah to admit an UN intervention force into southern Lebanon with a mandate to enforce Security Council Resolution 1559 adopted in 2004, which calls for “the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias” and “the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory.”

Should the Hezbollah terrorists refuse to accept these fair and reasonable conditions, the war and all its carnage will continue. And sensible people will know whom to blame.

A measure of Liberal decadence

Catholic Insight
By Rory Leishman

It’s a measure of the decadence of the Liberal Party of Canada that one of the foremost candidates to succeed Paul Martin as leader is a morally benighted Harvard professor and darling of the left, Michael Ignatieff.

In the 2000 Massey Lectures broadcast by the CBC and later published as The Rights Revolution, Ignatieff outlined the evolving understanding of human rights over the past 40 years without mentioning the most basic right of all – the right to life. Moreover, the omission seems to have been deliberate. Like almost all contemporary liberals, Ignatieff is an unabashed exponent of a woman’s so called right to choose to have her baby killed by abortion.

In The Rights Revolution, Ignatieff states: “Abortion rights have increased the freedom of women, while at the same time raising bitter and contentious debate about our right to terminate the life of the unborn.” As authority for this last statement, he refers in a footnote to English-speaking Justice, a treatise written in 1973 by the late Canadian philosopher and Anglican theologian George Grant. In this prophetic work, Grant warned: “If tyranny is to come in North America, it will come cozily and on cat's feet. It will come with the denial of the rights of the unborn and of the aged, the denial of the rights of the mentally retarded, the insane, and the economically less-privileged. In fact, it will come with the denial of rights to all those who cannot defend themselves.”

Except to cite Grant’s book in a footnote, Ignatieff has nothing to say about the sanctity of human life in The Rights Revolution. He does not discuss, let alone refute, Grant’s compelling arguments for the right to life of all human beings. On the basis of no reason or argument whatever, Ignatieff arbitrarily upholds the court-imposed regime of unrestricted access to abortion in Canada that abets the wholesale slaughter of babies in the womb.

Ignatieff is just as irresponsible in dealing with so-called “gay rights.” In The Rights Revolution, he regrets that in 2000, homosexuals still did not have the same rights as heterosexuals to marry and adopt children. As for the rights and well-being of children, he states: “Same-sex parents have taught us that there is no necessary relationship between heterosexuality and good parenting.”

In support of this assertion, Ignatieff also cites no reason or evidence whatever. He seems to be so infatuated with the gay rights ideology that he is unwilling even to consider all the compelling evidence from time immemorial that children thrive best in a united home under the care and guidance of their own natural mother and father.

Ignatieff argues that women need “abortion rights” and homosexuals need “marriage rights” to enjoy agency. He explains: “Agency is the key idea in rights. The word ‘agency’ just means the capacity of individuals to set themselves goals and accomplish them as they see fit.”

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and the majority of her colleagues on the Supreme Court of Canada have embraced this same perversion of human rights. In December’s Labaye ruling, for example, they decreed that despite the ban on indecency in the Criminal Code, perverts have a right to engage in group sex in a public place as they see fit.

How can Ignatieff and these judges be so wrong about human rights and morality? The answer lies in the rejection of religious faith. Like most liberal intellectuals, Ignatieff describes himself as a “secular liberal.” Instead of renewing his mind so that he might know what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God, he conforms to the world.

In conformity with the ideology of secular liberals, Canada has descended into a new dark age. First, we had legalized contraception and easy divorce. Then, we had legalized abortion on demand and same-sex marriage.

And now, as Grant foresaw, we have tyranny in Canada. Our so-called human rights tribunals are so out of control that even a bishop of the Catholic Church risks persecution for stating the truth about marriage and the natural family.

Under these circumstances, any Christian who supports the leadership of a secular liberal like Ignatieff is guilty of an inexcusable betrayal of the faith and the church.