Western democracies that have opened their doors to immigrants from less fortunate regions of the world generally hope that those who choose to take advantage of their generosity will leave their political, social and religious differences behind and adopt the laws, culture and practices of their new homeland.
Such is not always the case, of course, and emboldened by their host countries’ openness to multiculturalism, many newcomers bring along the worst of their traditional cultural and religious practices.
Consider, for example, the attitudes of some Muslims to apostasy or ridda as it is known to many.
One famous example is the death sentence issued in 1989 by Ayatollah Khomeini to Salman Rushdie, who was condemned to death for his book The Satanic Verses. And another is Abdul Rahman, an Afghan convert to Christianity who was arrested and jailed on the charge of rejecting Islam in 2006, but later released as mentally incompetent.
Now we hear that a few weeks ago, an immigrant from Iraq was knifed in the Dutch town of Rolde by another immigrant from Iraq—the assailant was a Muslim who took offense at the victim’s conversion from Muslim to Christianity. Apparently, similar incidents have occurred in other cities in Holland, but the media there prefer not to report them.
Other reported incidents include:
- A former Muslim told Dutch television of his car being smashed with iron bars and stones being thrown through the windows of his house.
- A Turk who tried to assassinate his sister who had become a Christian.
- An asylum seeker from Iraq was told by the police to move to an undisclosed location.
- A Moroccan girl was also advised by the authorities to relocate.
- A Christian convert received a telephone call from the local imam who threatened him with Koran verses calling for the death of apostates.
We also hear of outrageous reactions right here in Canada.
As reported by CTV, in June 2006, Mohamed Elmasry, the national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, described Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC), as someone who is “well known in Canada for smearing Islam and bashing Muslims.”
Those comments, combined with an e-mail campaign against him, left Fatah in fear for his life and caused him to resign from the MCC.
"This is a classic threat to label anyone as an apostate and then marginalize them,'' Fatah said. "And this is what Mr. Elmasry has done by listing me as the top anti-Islam Muslim.''
Dr. Ahmad Shafaat of Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec has writen that:
“The third type of apostate is one who leaves Islam and then engages in hostile actions against Islam and Muslims, e.g. knowingly engages in propaganda against Islam and Muslims blatantly ignoring facts that he is expected to know well, passes secrets to the enemy, takes part in fighting against the Muslims. Such an apostate can be punished by anything from exile to death.” [emphasis added]
Canada is obviously not immune from the sort of extremist violence being experienced in Holland. All the necessary ingredients exist here except that the Muslim population in Canada is only about 2.5 per cent, while in the Netherlands it is approaching 6 per cent.
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