By Tahir Gora
October 08, 2013
Pam Geller and Robert Spencer both spoke in a Toronto event last month despite National Council of Canadian Muslims' fierce opposition.
National Council of Canadian Muslims, former CAIR-CAN, stands for traditional political Islamic organizations and Mosques in Canada.
Contrary to this organization, a newly formed Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations headed by Progressive Muslim leader, Salma Siddiqui, didn't oppose Pam Geller and Robert Spencer's event.
"It doesn't matter we agree or disagree with Ms. Geller and Mr. Spencer but they got their rights to express their views and there should be a dialogue amongst different groups in order to understand each others' in a better way and to dismiss stereotypes against each others,'" said Salma Siddiqui in a Coalition Board Meeting.
As a board member, I went to the event to accept their rights of free expression and also to understand their point of view by first hand.
Both appeared to be very strong critics of Islam and Islamic organizations but they were not hateful.
They were using the same Islamic books to prove irrelevancy of medieval Islamic agenda what most Islamic organizations teach them as a way to live in twenty first century.
Surely, they were critical of those Quranic verses as well where hatred and violence against non-Muslims, women and dissident ideas have been said clearly, not just out of context.
As a member of Progressive Muslim organization, I was not comfortable with that criticism. However, I wanted to say few words that criticism only against Islam's few violent messages is not fair since sexism, similar violent messages in other religious texts are also evident.
Before, I could deliver my opinion both speakers addressed this issue in their speeches themselves. They admitted such issues in other religions too but their emphasis was that the followers of other religions are not pressing such medieval laws and practices today but Islamic organizations.
That was not a wrong argument at all.
I may not agree with some of the stuff they were saying or the way they were delivering it but none of us should shun each others' point of view, especially when any particular point of view merits logical bases.
Given the opposition to Pam Geller and Robert Spencer's lectures anywhere in the West by traditional Islamic organizations create a doubt about existence of moderate Islamic organizations.
But there are few. And there is a need of more moderate Muslim organizations that should have a stomach for civilized dialogue.
However one can also witness the dilemmas amongst handful moderate Muslim organizations that some of them go so unleashed criticizing Muslims all the time rather than offering any solutions.
This is though part of the evolution.
Some so-called Moderate Muslim leaders come with political mindset. They need to attack everything, right or wrong, in order to gain their political agenda and vested interests and hence to leave their finger prints in the history.
So some so-called moderate Muslims are against listening to Geller and Spencer too.
In short, only dialogue is the way for building and contributing a peaceful society. Even conflicting ideas could get along with each other through civilized dialogues.
Accusing, attacking are creating scenes don't work forever. But this is still an obstacle amongst some Muslims.