Come from the Shadows

Come from the Shadows: part 8

From Terry Glavin’s book Come from the Shadows: The Long and Lonely Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan, pages 154-155:

…In October 2006, the Canadian Peace Alliance joined with the Canadian Islamic Congress, the nominally left-wing Canadian Labour Congress and some of the most reactionary Muslim clerics in Canada in a nationwide protest demanding that Canada pull its troops from Afghanistan. By this time, the progressive Muslim Canadian Congress was beyond the point of being either amused or surprised. The MCC’s Sohail Raza told me: “No, we would not participate in that. It is necessary for our troops to be there. You just have to look at who they are fighting against. The Taliban was the biggest setback for Muslims in our history, and if we were going to have a demonstration about Afghanistan, I would rather see a rally in support of our Canadian troops there.”

Not a few Muslims were justifiably afraid of these people, perhaps especially Iranian-Canadians with families back in Iran. Young Afghan-Canadians were intimidated by the “anti-war” campus shout-fests. “A curtain of fear has descended on the intelligentsia of the West, including Canada. The fear of being misunderstood as Islamophobic has sealed their lips, dried their pens and locked their keyboards,” wrote eleven Muslim-Canadian academics and community leaders in a 2006 declaration published in the Toronto Star. “Islamism is not the new revolutionary movement against global forces of oppression, as a section of the left in this country erroneously perceives.”

But the toxin the Muslim intellectuals warned about continued to spread. So did anti-Zionist paranoia and all the other debilitating contents of the countercultural “ideational package.” In 2007, Toronto feminist, writer and activist Samira Mohyeddin almost gave up trying to mobilize solidarity for Iranian democrats because of the brick wall she’d run up against in the city’s “left-wing” circles, especially at the University of Toronto. “In Canada, you can’t criticize what is happening in Iran without being told you’re helping the White House,” she told me. “l’ve been called an orientalist and a neocon. Isn’t that funny? Can you believe it?”

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