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Muslim Canadian Congress Issues a Statement Condemning Hamas for Inciting Hostilities

By Rhonda J Spivak, B.A., L.L.B.

Muslim Canadian Congress Issues a Statement Condemning Hamas for Inciting  Hostilities
By Rhonda Spivak, Feb. 1, 2009

The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) has set itself apart form other  Canadian Muslim and Arab groups  by issuing a statement that in addition to  criticizing Israel for its “disproportionate” response to rocket attacks by Hamas, also condemns Hamas for inciting recent hostilities. 
The MCC statement condemned Hamas for treating the Palestinian people as human-bait in a ploy to provoke Israel into launching an all-out attack on Gaza. In censuring Hamas, the MCC said, “the Islamist group had deliberately put the civilian population of Gaza in danger as it played the role of Iran's agent provocateur in the region.”

The statement from the MCC, issued on December 28, 2008, read in part as follows:

  The MCC believes Hamas deliberately rocketed Israel in an attempt to provoke an Israeli response. The fact that Hamas did not fire a single rocket at Egypt, despite that country's blockade of Gaza, clearly demonstrates the attacks on Israel were not to protest the blockade, but to trigger a military response.
Instead of working towards a two-state solution and the creation of a Palestinian State, Hamas has done everything in its power to undermine the authority of President Mahmoud Abbas and sabotage the peace process. No other national liberation movement in modern history has offered martyrdom as a substitute to freedom and statehood. Hamas has set back the clock for the Palestinians and it is time for all Palestinians to recognize that Hamas offers only death, destruction and a place in Paradise, not a Palestinian State.

The MCC urges the Palestinian people to take the road of non-violence and civil disobedience to achieve Palestinian Statehood and an end to Israeli occupation. The path to sovereignty and nationhood can be accomplished by walking in the steps of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King, not Sayyid Qutb and Osama Bin Laden.

Notwithstanding the follies of Hamas, the MCC feels Israel's bombings are inexcusable and condemns the continuing Israeli attacks on Gaza. The MCC demands Israel end its incursion and lift the economic blockade of the territory, which has turned Gaza into one large human cage.
In the statement, the MCC also  condemned the “disproportionate response by the IDF to the rocket attacks by Hamas, leading to hundreds of casualties.”

In a telephone interview with the Jewish Post and News  on January 2, 2009 Tarik Fatah,  the founder of  the MCC and a  Toronto Muslim who is originally from Pakistan, said that the  MCC  is”the smallest [Moslem] group in Canada” with about 300 paying members, and offices inToronto.

“We have Arabs in our group, but not many.  We have Turks, Pakistanis, Iranians and other Muslims and a handful of Arabs,’ he said.

 In a telephone interview with the Jewish Post and News on January 2 , 2009 Farzana Hassan,  a freelance writer and author  living in Toronto,who is  the current President of the MCC, said “There are a lot of Turkish Moslems on our Board. Most of the Moslems in our group are from South Asian origin.”

Hassan, who is of Pakistani origin, says “The members of our group identify themselves as secular, liberal progressive Moslems, although some of them are practicing Muslims at home.  But everyone is reformist in their outlook.”

When asked if the MCC has received responses from Arabs in Canada  in  reaction to that part of its statement condemning Hamas,  Tarik Fatah replied “We’ve had some very unpleasant emails sent to us by the  Canadian Arab Federation, but this doesn’t deflect us [away] from what we’re talking about.”

Hassan added, “We are the only [Muslim] organization that hasn’t taken the traditional route of issuing an all out condemnation of the Israelis.  …We’ve received some positive emails [about our statement], but mostly from the Moslem groups it’s [been] negative.”

Hassan said “We believe that the Palestinian people need to recognize that Hamas is not their friend in this conflict and that Hamas is using its own people as pawns’…The only leadership that can be of use to the Palestinian people is one who is willing to sit at the negotiating table and is willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and that Israel is here to stay.”

Tarik Fatah  also said that “Hamas is really playing the role of the spoiler in all of this.”

 As he said,“They are playing the role of a provocateur in this instance.  It’s not helpful.  There’s no outcome to this that leads to the creation of a Palestinian state.  This is undermining the efforts of the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis who have been trying to negotiate a settlement for the last ten years, and those efforts were continuing up until last week [the last week of December 2008].” 

When asked if he would like to see Hamas overthrown, Fatah added, “Hamas is a political party and as offensive as it is, it was democratically elected… Our challenge is to make sure that we expose Hamas’s ideology for what it is…They are undermining PA President Abu Mazen…It [Hamas] is a state within a state.”

In its statement the MCC also expressed alarm at the on-going Israeli attacks on Gaza and has asked the international community to intervene and bring about an immediate ceasefire.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.