Quebec’s religious symbols ban welcomed by some who left Muslim countries behind

Ameni Ben Ammar lays out a spread of Tunisian hospitality on the coffee table of her small apartment in downtown Montreal.

Traditional pastries, a homemade cheese chicken pie and Tunisian wine.

Despite having left six years ago, the bond with her North African homeland is still strong.

But she says as much as she misses the Mediterranean lifestyle, for her, living in Tunisia had become untenable.

“I couldn’t handle the changes in my country,” she said, referring to what she describes as a steady progression of religious influence on society, the company where she worked, and even her own family.

Ben Ammar was raised by an atheist father and a mother who was a practising Muslim but didn’t wear the veil … at least until recently.

“She saw that the neighbours wore it, her friends wore it, and said, ‘I don’t want to be the only one not wearing it,'” Ben Ammar said. “She didn’t want to be different.”

Ben Ammar’s mother’s decision to don the veil is just one example of what she sees as her country’s transformation from a secular state to a place where government and religion now coexist, and sometimes clash.

An atheist, she strongly supports the CAQ government’s plan to ban religious symbols such as the hijab for government workers in positions of authority, like police officers, prosecutors and teachers.

“The woman is representing the state and for me the state should be neutral.”

Quebec is home to thousands of Muslims originally from French-language countries in North Africa.

While many have come out strongly against the ban, others, like Ben Ammar, relish the idea of a clear-cut line between church and state after having to negotiate the blurring of those lines in their home countries.

Ben Ammar was disappointed to see such a large march against the law on Sunday as thousands poured into downtown Montreal to decry Bill 21 as discriminatory.


Ben Ammar says the protest, organized by a group headed by controversial Imam Adil Charkaoui, does not represent the views of all of the province’s Muslims.

“Who gave this association that organized the [protest] the right to talk in the name of Muslims here?” she said.

Aunt of mosque shooting widow favours bill

Two people who did speak at Sunday’s protest were Aymen Derbali and Saïd El-Amari, survivors of the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting.

El-Amari called Bill 21 “racist” and “Islamophobic.”

But that perspective is not shared by someone else whose life was broken by the tragedy.

Zahra Boukersi’s niece Louiza lost her husband, Abdelkrim Hassane, in the shooting.

Hassane was murdered by a gunman, along with five other Muslim men, because of his faith.

Still, Boukersi, who teaches French at Montreal-area private elementary school, does not see the CAQ’s bill as fuelling Islamophobia, but as a necessary bulwark against what she calls “radical Islamization.”

“I have students who see me as a role model,” she said. “I’m not sure what kind of role model these [veiled] women will represent for the young generation.”

Boukersi fears a replay of what she lived through in her native Algeria, where she says as a teacher, wearing a hijab went from a personal choice to a social imposition.

“We thought like you do here,” she said. “That it’s nothing at all, nothing at all. But no, it became a real nightmare.”

Boukersi left Algeria in 1996 during the country’s “black decade,” when Islamist rebels battled the Algerian army for power in a bloody civil war.

She says many North Africans who have lived a similar experience also support Bill 21.

Still, Boukersi feels the law should be modified to allow more flexibility for veiled women who want to become teachers so they don’t end up dependent and marginalized.

“Yes, there are women who wear the veil to proselytize, but there are women who wear the veil because it encourages them to emancipate themselves,” she said.

“This is how they’re going to earn their financial independence.”

Sudan: Racist Genocidal War Criminal, Terrorist President Omar al-Bashir Resigns After Months of Protests

News outlets say Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has resigned after nearly four months of demonstrations against his autocratic 30-year rule.

Both the Associated Press and Reuters say they have learned from government sources that the 75-year-old ruler will step down and that consultations are underway to form a transitional council.

Reports of al-Bashir’s ouster came hours after Sudan’s state-controlled television said the army will make an “important statement” sometime Thursday, but offered no details about the upcoming message.

Thousands of residents of Khartoum poured into the streets of the Sudanese capital and marched to the headquarters of the country’s military, where protesters have staged a sit-in since last Saturday. At least 22 people have been killed in clashes with security forces, according to activists.

There are reports that army vehicles carrying troops have surrounded the presidential palace, which is on the grounds of the military headquarters. Reuters and the French News Agency (Agence France Presse) are reporting that soldiers have raided the headquarters of al-Bashir’s ruling party.

The protests began Dec. 19, with demonstrators accusing al-Bashir’s government of economic mismanagement that has sparked skyrocketing food prices, and fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Al-Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist coup in 1989, imposed a nationwide state of emergency Feb. 22 in an attempt to suppress the protests after an initial crackdown failed. The government said weeks ago that 31 people had been killed, but the group Physicians for Human Rights estimates the death toll is at least 60.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in connection with atrocities in the western region of Darfur

Canada: Muslim who said “all non-Muslims should be killed” ordered to meet weekly with imam for Islam instruction

Canada: Muslim who said “all non-Muslims should be killed” ordered to meet weekly with imam for Islam instruction

“On Thursday, he was sentenced to an additional six months, in addition to the time his has already served since his arrest in June 2016. He must also meet weekly with an imam for religious counselling.”

The order to meet with the imam is predicated on the assumption that jihad terrorism and the Islamic State have nothing to do with Islam, and that Pamir Hakimzadah misunderstands his peaceful religion. Pamir Hakimzadah must be laughing up his sleeve at this aspect of his sentence.

“‘Fulfilling the wishes of God’: The inside story of a police investigation into a Toronto ISIS supporter,” by Stewart Bell, Global News, February 28, 2019 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

…After returning to Toronto following a failed attempt to join ISIS, Pamir Hakimzadah told a witness “all non-Muslims should be killed” and Canada should be under Islamic law, a Crown prosecutor alleged in documents obtained by Global News.

In the newly-unsealed court transcripts, the prosecutor also alleged that Hakimzadah, 29, said he wanted “four wives and several female slaves” and “he would be fulfilling the wishes of God to kill non-Muslims.”

But despite his alleged extremist rhetoric and 2014 trip to Turkey to join ISIS, Hakimzadah was not arrested by the RCMP until 2016, when he tried to board another flight to Istanbul….

Hakimzadah pleaded guilty on Feb. 1 to a single count of leaving Canada to participate in terrorist activity. The charge related to his 2014 trip to Turkey. He was never charged over his second attempt to leave Canada in 2016.

On Thursday, he was sentenced to an additional six months, in addition to the time his has already served since his arrest in June 2016. He must also meet weekly with an imam for religious counselling.

The judge said his guilty plea, family support and charity work all weighed in his favor. He also had not encouraged others to support ISIS, the judge said. He will be eligible for parole in three months.

Because he pleaded guilty, few details of the case have been publicly disclosed, but transcripts of Hakimzadah’s September 2016 bail hearing allege that in 2013 a witness became concerned about his “obsession with Islam.”

Without telling his family, he applied for a Canadian passport, which was issued on Aug. 20, 2014, when ISIS was in the headlines for its genocide of Yazidis. He flew to Istanbul via Amsterdam on Oct. 22, but a suspicious cab driver turned him in to police.

Unaware he had been arrested, a friend phoned Hakimzadah’s family the next day. He said Hakimzadah “was going to enter Syria to fight for Allah,” alleged the Crown, Jeff Pearson. The friend later clarified that Hakimzadah “had left Canada to join ISIS.”

Turkey held him for almost a month, banned him from the country for one year and deported him back to Toronto on Nov. 19, 2014. The RCMP was not aware he had tried to join ISIS and he was not arrested at the time, but according to the Crown his family knew.

“When Pamir returned home in November 2014, he told his family that he had travelled to Turkey in an effort to fight for Allah, but he got caught. He said that Allah didn’t allow him to fight for the cause at the time, but that he would try again,” according to the Crown.

As the expiration of his Turkish travel ban approached, Hakimzadah told his family he intended to leave for Syria once again, and conducted online research on how to travel there without being detected, the Crown alleged.

“He said that he would have four wives and several female slaves and that he would be taken care of by the state,” the Crown alleged. “Pamir stated that Muslims were being oppressed all over the world and that it was up to other Muslims to go and fight for them.”

“He added that he would be fulfilling the wishes of God to kill non-Muslims,” the Crown said. “He also added that it would be acceptable to lie to non-believers, as it is simply an act of war that all non-Muslims should be killed and that Sharia law should be the law of Canada.”

A witness recalled having 20 to 30 conversations with Hakimzadah about ISIS, Islam, fighting for Muslims, killing non-Muslims, travelling to Syria and dying as a martyr, the Crown alleged.

“I’m going away for the Islamic cause to please Allah. That’s my intention. I’m going to help and fight for the sake of Islam,” he allegedly said in a surreptitious recording, one of several made by the witness.

Another witness said the “entire family knew about him wanting to participate in jihad,” and that when an uncle challenged his ideology, Hakimzadah chastised him for voting in a Canadian election.

According to the Crown, his landlord in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park said Hakimzadah had said he was going to Afghanistan and that, “ISIS was not extreme in its views and that he supported them and that given the chance, he would join them.”

But Canadian counter-terrorism police only began to investigate once a witness came forward in January 2016 — almost 14 months after Hakimzadah was deported from Turkey over his initial failed attempt to join ISIS.

On June 27, 2016, Hakimzadah tried to board a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul. His ticket allowed him to fly on to Afghanistan. The airline prevented him from boarding because he was on the no-fly list….

During the investigation, the RCMP found a handwritten document called Brain Dump, which an Islamic extremism expert said suggested he was “weighing the pros and cons of joining jihad in Syria,” the Crown alleged.

But prosecutors charged him only with one count of terrorism. His lawyer Luka Rados said what Hakimzadah did was “not the most serious terrorist offence,” adding his client was remorseful and open to de-radicalization counselling….

Detroit imam: ‘Jews killed prophets, amassed gold, headed brothels in Europe’


On January 27, 2019, an antisemitic lecture by Michigan-based Shiite Imam Bassem Al-Sheraa was uploaded to the YouTube channel of the Al-Zahraa Islamic Center, which is in Detroit. Al-Sheraa said that the Jews have distorted sacred texts and sanctioned the killing of prophets such as Jesus and John the Baptist. He accused the Jews of employing tricks and fraud in matters of religion and morality, and of amassing gold and spreading usury. Explaining that usury is a “peculiar Jewish philosophy,” Imam Al-Sheraa said that the Jews have used it as a means of attaining power, even though it contradicts their religious teachings, and that even the modern banking system is based on the Jews’ “instructions and vision.” He further said that Jewish women have historically established and managed “dens of female iniquity” and headed the brothels of Europe, and that the Jews allow their faith to be passed down maternally so that their women could increase the Jewish population through prostitution. Al-Sheraa is a graduate of the Najaf Hawza in Iraq. He emigrated to the United States and serves as the imam of the Al-Zahraa Islamic Center of Michigan. He also founded the Scholarly Najaf Hawza in Northern America – Michigan.

Qatari school texts encourage jihad, martyrdom at young age

 Qatari Islamic Education textbooks for grades six, eight, nine and 12 deal extensively with the Islamic ethos of jihad and martyrdom. The books present jihad as the factor that led to the victories of Islam during its early history, as proof of true piety on the part of the Muslim, and as an honorable act that the Prophet’s Companions aspired to with all their hearts—so much so that they were devastated if prevented from engaging in it.

Moreover, jihad and martyrdom are presented as noble acts of sacrifice decreed by Allah, which entitle the believer to special rewards and a place in the highest level of Paradise.

The material is accompanied by questions and exercises in which the students are required to elaborate on the importance of jihad for the individual and society, and memorize Koranic verses encouraging jihad and martyrdom.

This report reviews the indoctrination of these values in the Qatari Islamic Education textbooks for the aforementioned grades.