Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Muslim silence over Darfur regretted

WASHINGTON: Tarek Fatah, a progressive Muslim activist from Toronto, has urged Muslims to raise their voice against the Darfur genocide.In an article published in the Globe and Mail, Canada’s most influential newspaper, Fatah, a Pakistani-Canadian, decries the position taken by many Muslims that the Jews have somehow stolen the issue of Darfur. He writes, “The fact that more than 200,000 Darfurians, almost all of them Muslims, have been killed in an ongoing genocide; the fact that more than a million Muslim Darfurians are displaced refugees living in squalor and fear, appears not to have registered with the leadership of traditional Muslim organisations and mosques in this country. One would have expected Muslim organisations to be leading the call for last week’s debate in (the Canadian) Parliament. One expected them … to stand in solidarity with their fellow Muslim organisations and mosques in the country.”Fatah is of the view that “some kind of Arabic-Islamic ideology” is being used in Sudan to ethnically cleanse marginalised citizens who are not considered true Muslims by virtue of being black. He quotes Elfadl Elsharief, a Muslim Sudanese, as saying, “It is nonsense to suggest that the death, destruction and the suffering of the Darfurian people is imaginary or that Zionists are using us as propaganda. The Sudanese government-backed militias are the people who are killing their fellow Sudanese. The tragedy is that Muslims are killing Muslims.”According to Fatah, for three years, the government of Sudan has been engaging in genocide of the people of Darfur. For all these years, Khartoum has invoked its Islamic credentials to stave off any criticism or censure from inside the Muslim world, falsely posturing itself as a defender of Muslim frontiers against Western imperialism. It is time for Muslims to rip off Khartoum’s “mask of deception” and speak the truth. Fatah quotes another Sudanese, el-Farouk Khaki, an immigration lawyer, and president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, who said, “This is racism at its worst. I am an African-Canadian; I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the Darfur crisis has not made news in the traditional Muslim organisations because Darfurians are black. Had they been Bosnian, Kosovar, Arab, Pakistani or Iranian, I can bet you, these grounds would have been full of slogan-chanting Muslims demanding justice. Muslims need to address their internalised racism before they ask others to respect us.” khalid hasan

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