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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Justin Trudeau, Montreal's alleged "terror mosque," and the media

The National Post's Jonathan Kay is smart, witty, and an eminently reasonable guy. He's also one of Canada's most insightful, articulate journalists. If that wasn't explicit enough, I like the guy.

It's that reasonableness, I would assume, that propels him to resist hysteria and oppose leaping upon any bandwagon seeking the vilification of an entire community. Because of the significant support for terrorism among the Imams and congregants of Canada's mosques, Muslims by-and-large have been unfairly portrayed as supporting terrorism, when in fact the opposite is true. Most Canadian Muslims are law-abiding citizens who detest terrorism, and indeed, like other faith-communities in Canada with their religions' houses of worship, only a minority of Muslims even attend mosque with any regularity.

It seems in the spirit of turn-of-the 20th Century newspaperman Finley Peter Dunne's quip that his business was "to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted," that Jon has lashed back at Sun News' attack on Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau's recently publicized visit to a Montreal mosque linked to extremism and the recruitment of terrorists.

Bashing both Sun News and its audience, Jon wrote, "some of the network’s journalists seem to regard themselves as semi-official members of Stephen Harper’s opposition-research team. And since many Sun viewers already suspect that Trudeau was born in Kenya along with Barack Obama, its Muslim Menace programming presumably plays well to the network’s base. " But the crux of Jon's complaint seems to be that reports of the Assuna Annabawiyah's links to terrorism are a few years old, and therefore invalid, writing:
"In fact, the network botched the story: In the clip that Sun News had loaded on its web site as of 2pm on Thursday, the host reads out an old statement from the U.S. government, declaring that the mosque is among nine institutions where “known al-Qaeda members are recruited, facilitated or trained.” But the statement actually didn’t say “are.” It said “were.” (You can actually see the text in the printed version of the U.S. memo, which appears on the screen as the Sun host misquotes the key word.) As this CBC report from 2011 indicates, the reference relates to several jihadis who passed through Montreal in the late 1990s. "
I'm not sure how convincing a retort that is. The Assuna Annabawiyah was listed by US intelligence sources as Canada's equivalent of London's notorious terror-linked Finsbury Park Mosque. One of the Assuna mosque's former Imams is currently being held in Guantanamo for terrorism and one of its former congregants is currently on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List with a $5 Million dollar bounty on his head, and that's just two examples of many. As recently, not a decade ago but last year, Montreal's La Presse reported that Bernard Drainville, Quebec's Minister for Democratic Institutions, asked that Revenue Canada investigate the mosque for concerns about its abusing its charitable status.

That same La Presse report stated that the mosque's facebook page had a post saying that it is  "incumbent upon the Muslim woman to stay in her home and not get out except in case of urgent need, and then in this case under strict conditions." Assuna Annabawiyah's facebook page still contains a video giving helpful hints on how to avoid shaking hands with a woman.

Is this proof on ongoing support for terror? Perhaps not. But its history and the values the Assuna Annabawiyah mosque espouses are hardly of the sort that a responsible political leader should give implicit approbation with a high-profile visit.

It was a serious error of judgment by Justin Trudeau to make a pilgrimage to such a place to pander for votes, but one that is completely in character for the foolhardy Liberal leader. However pointing out such matters is not only in the purview of journalists, but is their responsibility.

Sun News was living up to that responsibility by highlighting Justin Trudeau's visit to the Assuna Annabawiyah mosque. Perhaps rather than using the controversy of that visit to bash a rival and mitigate Trudeau's gaffe, the National Post should be exploring whether such a party leader is fit to govern Canada.

(Updated Aug. 7 /14)


Anonymous said...

I thought Trudeau Mania 2.o went off the rails when he attended an Islamic conference whose sponsor was stripped of its federal charity status last year for funding Hamas?

Oh wait, forgot about the low information Liberal voter getting their info from the Justin Hair filtered news from the Justin-infatuated Lame Stream Media.


Chris B said...

It took me 2 min to figure out Jonathan Kay's political affiliation: LIBERAL.
His Wikipedia Page tells all about his socio-political views: income equality (Obama's favorite punch line), pro same-sex marriage, anti Iraq War, believes in man-made global warming.


Therefore, as a LIBERAL journalist, he would love to see Trudeau as next PM, God help us IF that ever happens, so it's his normal "duty" as a liberal journalist to defend his liberal leader.

BTW, the only TRUE (fiscally AND socially) conservative journalists are Ezra Levant and Brian Lilley.
Personally I've stopped watching Michael Coren since he has openly announced in the Toronto Sun his suddenly evolved views (like Obama's and H Clinton's) on same-sex marriage AND since he has openly endorsed LIBERAL John Tory for Mayor, same like Sue Ann Levy and the entire Toronto Sun Editorial Board.
Personally I watch only Fox News, VERY conservative (fiscally and socially) network AND very pro-Israel as well, this week Sean Hannity is LIVE in Israel, all this week at 10pm.


Shalom from a proud (non-Catholic) Christian FOR Israel.

Richard K said...

I don't know what Jon's political affiliations are, or if he has any. I've never heard him say or seen anything he's written to indicate he is a big "L" Liberal. As far as being a small "l" liberal, I'd put myself in that category.

We disagree on certain things, but as far as motives go, I think Jon's a decent person to the core.

Aloysius Gonzaga said...

Well, why isn't the National Post asking Trudeau those difficult and uncomfortable questions? I'm glad someone at Sun Media is doing so.

Skippy Stalin said...

I didn't see the segment, but, by any chance, did Sun ask why the Harper government hasn't done anything about the "terror mosque?"

It occurs to me that such things are the responsibility of the federal government, Harper has been in power for some time and isn't shy about arresting folks.

Of course Trudeau's an idiot, but that's a secondary concern is Sun's allegations are actually true, are they not?

Richard K said...

That's kind of the Liberal party's position on this - except for the 'Trudeau's an idiot part', which I think they should use as part of their promotional material. "Make Canada more democratic! In the US, they say any kid can grow up to be President, if Justin is elected, then any kid will already be smarter than our Prime Minister."

Maybe that needs a bit of work.

But the point is that the mosque is a centre of the most extreme form of Islamist radicalism. These are people who say Gays, apostates, and adulterers should be killed. And its former Imam is in Guantanamo, for crying out loud. Whether an actual terror charge is being laid now or not really isn't the point. But if the actual laying of charges is your measure for whether something is inappropriate or not, then I look forward to you applying that standard to our beloved mayor!

Skippy Stalin said...

My understanding is - and, again, I didn't see the segment - is that the King Street Clown Car is running around honking "TERROR MOSQUE! AL-QAEDA! TERRORISM!ELEVENTY!" The implication of that seems rather clear.

I'm further given to understand that the federal Tories then piled on.

Now, if the Conservatives are going to make a political attack, which is what this appears to be, since no one really thinks that Teenage Jesus is an actual jihadi sympathizer (just a moron), then they should take care to make sure that their ducks are in a row.

It does seem too cute by half for Sun News and the Conservatives to move from "al Qaeda" to "some folks with goofy religious beliefs" if, in fact, that's what happened.

As for everyone in this story, including Ford, I'm under no obligation to presume anyone's innocence, particularly since this smells more like a political clusterfuck than a legal one.

Sun News and the Tories took an amateurish shot, which doesn't surprise me from SNN, but does from Harper, and it seems to have gone bad.

Richard K said...

Go back and look at the coverage - The place was listed by a variety of US intelligence agencies as an al Qaida recruiting centre and one of its former Imams is still in Gitmo.

Prince Bonehead's flacks and some in the media have been saying the info on the mosque came out after Trudeau's visit in 2011, but in 2013, Prince Bonehead continued to very specifically boast about his pilgrimage to that specific mosque.

Naw, I don't think anyone seriously believes Prince Bonehead supports jihadis blowing up marathons, but the obliviousness and willingness to look the other way for a vote, and his cosying up to jihadis is, or should be a matter of public interest, and it's not just Sun News or the Tories that should be taking his ineptitude and useful idiocy seriously.

And there really is a pretty clear pattern of many of our media professionals going out of their way to run interference for Prince Bonehead. The National Post isn't generally in that category, but lots of others are.