At the Manning Conference, an alarming view of Islam -

At the Manning Conference, an alarming view of Islam

A panel on ‘Islamist Extremism’ in Canada offered up some spurious claims, but found an audience at the Conservative event

Protesters demonstrate during a Pegida Canada rally at Queens Park in Toronto, Canada on September 19, 2015. Pegida Canada is an organization that aims to stop the Islamization of the west. (Reynaldo Vasconcelos/CP)

Protesters demonstrate during a Pegida Canada rally at Queens Park in Toronto, Canada on September 19, 2015. Pegida Canada is an organization that aims to stop the Islamization of the west. (Reynaldo Vasconcelos/CP)

The Manning Centre Conference, the pre-eminent gathering of Canadian conservatives, opened in Ottawa on Friday morning with a panel discussion that sounded a stark note of alarm, with a contrarian streak: Islamic extremism exists in Canada, and to believe otherwise is dangerous naiveté.

The discussion was billed as “Leading the Response to Islamist Extremism and its Ideology in Canada,” one of the break-out sessions planned by the Manning Centre, which provides research, training and networking for Canadian conservatives.

The morning panel featured Raheel Raza, president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, which describes its mission as “oppos(ing) extremism, fanaticism and violence in the name of religion,” and Thomas Quiggin, a self-styled security and terrorism expert who runs the Terrorism and Security Experts network.

MORE: Kady O’Malley’s view of the Manning Conference

Raza kicked things off by noting wryly that the session had generated intense and sometimes incredulous advance interest. “I’ve had some reporters call and ask me very innocently, ‘Why a panel on Islamist extremism?’ as though the problem doesn’t exist in Canada, just like our current government seems to believe,” she said. Hiding from reality is a mistake in dealing with “the global jihadist insurgency,” she admonished.

Raza described her years growing up in Pakistan as very different from today: pluralistic, egalitarian, with few women veiling themselves. That began to change through the 1970s, and by 1988, her family fled for the secular openness and equality of Canada, she said—only to then feel the same forces rising around them. “During the course of our settlement process, we had the uneasy feeling that the rise in extremism that we had run away from and that we had left behind was slowly creeping into the west, and in Canada as well,” Raza said.

She cited doctored copies of the Koran now distributed in downtown Toronto, statistics on Muslims who express survey support for various aspects of Sharia law and a Toronto-area school board holding Friday prayers and allowing students to take time out of class to pray. She criticized M-103, the private member’s motion that aims to tackle Islamophobia in Canada. “This is of great concern to me as a Muslim, because it gives the impression that there is institutionalized and constant racism against Muslims in Canada,” she said.

When it was Quiggin’s turn at the microphone, he outlined the two camps he believes are engaged in the “global struggle for the soul of Islam.” On one hand are “modernist, humanist, secular Muslims who are trying to take Islam, infuse it with democracy and science and drive it into the future,” he said. On the other are “the Islamists: those people who seek an unceasing, violent struggle which essentially wants to drive Islam into the past,” he argued.

RELATED: The race to the political bottom

He identified the Muslim Brotherhood as the key global driving force behind the latter, and traced the tentacles of its supposedly powerful influence in Canada. He claimed these include the Muslim Students Association, which has chapters at many Canadian colleges and universities. Quiggin described its umbrella organization on Friday as a “front group” originally founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. By way of supporting his claims, he mentioned a half-dozen Canadians who had been charged, convicted or alleged to have participated in terror attacks, or who were missing and presumed to be involved with ISIS, and had at one point belonged to chapters of the MSA.

One of these student associations came under scrutiny after a handful of former members were arrested for terror-related offences. There is no evidence supporting his broader claims.

Quiggin also said that during an awareness week in 2015, the MSA at York University handed out a booklet about women in Islam, which included a chapter on “wife disciplining”—a phrase that drew disbelieving chuckles from the crowd—that recommended physical abuse. There is at least one photo on the MSA’s Facebook page of the book in question – whose full contents are available online and align with Quiggin’s description – displayed on a table at one of the organization’s events.

However, Quiggin’s various research conclusions and work with the obscure TSEC Network have been vehemently criticized by acknowledged security and terrorism experts.

He also attempted to draw an entirely spurious link to Iqra Khalid, the Liberal MP who put forth the private member’s motion against Islamophobia, saying she had been president of an MSA chapter when she was a student. Leaving a verbal question mark hanging in the air, he prompted the audience to guess where she had gone to school, before confirming the answer: York University.

He then linked the massive child sexual exploitation ring in the British city of Rotherham—which victimized some 1,400 young girls and was covered up for years before five British-Pakistani men were charged in 2010—to political correctness run amok. He based that conclusion on comments from the MP representing Rotherham, who spoke of “a culture of not wanting to rock the multicultural community boat.” When Quiggin read that quote from the stage on Friday, a well-dressed woman of about 50, sitting next to a young teenage boy in the audience, gasped in disgust and shook her head repeatedly.

Quiggin touched on a point that Raza had made as well, questioning why public schools in the Toronto area—he claimed 17 or 18 high schools in Mississauga do this, along with others—hold Friday prayers and, he claimed, segregate girls from boys. In fact, it appears Quiggin is conflating one unrelated example—in which a private Islamic religious school separates boys and girls for prayers—with 17 Mississauga public schools that recently backed down in the face of protest and allowed students to write their own sermons for prayers rather than requiring them to be approved by administration.

But regardless of his inaccuracies and misleading connections, Quiggin’s arguments seemed to resonate with at least a segment of the Manning Centre audience. They indulged him by turns with disapproving murmurs and incredulous gasps as he theatrically laid out the supposed creeping influence of Islamist extremism in Canada.

As Quiggin worked himself into high dudgeon over what he claimed was the Islamization of Canada’s public schools, out in the audience, the 50-ish woman once again sighed and shook her head in disgust.


At the Manning Conference, an alarming view of Islam

  1. CPOC…Crackpot Party of Canada

  2. Misleading photo detracts from worthwhile article :(

  3. Its the truth pick up a damn Quran and read it for yourselves.Its all there.

    • Read the Bible Paulette. It’s all there, too.

      • You mean (for example); “If a wife is raped by a man other than her husband, she should be stoned to death as being unclean”.

        Oh, sorry, I thought that you meant Qu’ran.

        • Does it ever occur to you that those Muslims coming to Canada are fleeing tyranny in countries that practice such as stoning women? Surely you realize that Muslim people worked as interpreters and informants for the Canadian in Afghanistan. We brought them to Canada as refugees because they would have been tortured and murdered in their homeland. Mohammed Ali was a Muslim. His family was detained at a US airport and harassed about their religion. Are they a threat? The Old Testament read “an eye for an eye.” Many use that quote to support the death penalty. How many Muslims in Canada have been involved in mass murders? People point out one Syrian man involved in molestation charges. If only that few Christian men were involved in pedophilia charges. Canada has been a known refugee for Nazi war criminals. Weren’t we worried that those who partipated in the deaths of 6 million Jews were going to kill again? Strange, how there wasn’t the hysteria about them that there is about Islam. Perhaps because they didn’t dress funny and they were white.

  4. I am not very impressed with this article. It purports to show intolerance at the Manning conference but the argument put forward is very weak and almost contradictory. Certainly there are 2 faces and voices in Islam as large number of muslims in Canada come from areas that are not western in outlook but maintain an honour-based and shame-based cultural/religious viewpoint and which lack a robust critical (even cynical, dismissive or atheistic) view of Islam. It is this reality that leads to 2 things: justified western criticism and fawning dismissal of this by specious argumentation.

    • Of course they come from countries that are not western in outlook and have viewpoints we do not share. Perhaps ask some questions as to why they come, especially as refugees. Refugees are at risk for torture or death if they remain in the country they are in. They have had to flee those countries or if they have left as immigrants, they want a different kind of life. They know beating a woman and female circumcision is against the law in Canada. They know honour killing is against the law in Canada.

      • Gage G., Once again you falsely said “an eye for an eye” came from the Old Testament. I think I told you before it came from Hammurabi’s Code. That is an ancient code of laws that came from Mesopotamia and had nothing to do with the Bible. Google Hammurabi code and you will see it on Wikipedia where it quotes “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

        Secondly, you need to educate yourself about Islam. Again, you can google it and read countless websites on the subject. The War on Terrorism officially named such by President George Bush is an actual war against Islamic terrorism.

  5. Maclean’s has crossed the line here into #fakenews. Deliberately spreading false information in an attempt to push a narrative. Regarding the Muslim prayers in public schools, the propagandist writing this trash says the guy at the conference was mistaken, and only a private Islamic school in Toronto did such a thing. But this very magazine did a piece on the gender-segregated Muslim prayers in a public Toronto school back in 2011:

    So what are we supposed to believe here, that the author of this piece just didn’t remember that whole controversy, or that Maclean’s doesn’t have an editor? What happened in the last 5 years that has Maclean’s now doing everything in its power to push the Islamist agenda? Has the Muslim lobby in Canada just become that powerful? Or perhaps their battles with the Human Right’s Commission a decade ago has finally left them cowed. Well this magazine may be willing to bend over for Islam, even to the point that it will lie and spread propaganda to help advance its cause, but don’t be surprised when other Canadians don’t go along with that agenda.

    Btw what exactly was the problem with what he said about the Rotherham scandal? They did a public inquiry and found that yes, it was covered up due to political correctness. Can’t offend the Muslims, can we. Wake up Canada. Islam is not compatible with Western values, it is proven time and again.

    • I don’t believe you read the Macleans article you sourced about Islam in the school. It was an argument about separating church and state and it questioned some of the protestor’s real objectives because many were complete islamaphobes. For them it wasn’t about separating religion and state…ensuring religion wasn’t taught in public school, it was about ensuring one certain wasn’t taught there. As for the issue over the Rotherham scandal…how much did the Vatican cover up about the molestation of children, their knowledge of priests who were pedophiles and their practice of moving these priests from one diocese to another when they commited crimes rather that turning the priests into the police? That scandal was of unheard of proportions. What about the scandal that occurred at a University in the US where an assistant football coach molested young boys and it was covered up for years, allowing him to continue to do it even after he no longer worked at the institution? You don’t think that scandal wasn’t covered up for political correctness and the good of the football program and it’s head coach’s stirling reputation? There is a complete double standard. Yesterday, Mohammed Ali’s son and wife were held for questioning at an American airport. Mohammed Ali was not compatible with western values? Wow. He was a North American icon.

      • You’re missing my point. The issue that was apparently brought up at this conference was creeping Islamification of our public schools. The propagandist who wrote this garbage article tried to say that the guy at the conference was mistaken and he was conflating a private Islamic school with the Toronto school board. But as I pointed out, the same thing has absolutely happened in public schools here in Toronto, and Maclean’s has even published articles about it. So it’s beyond disingenuous for this same publication to pretend that they don’t know that it has happened here.

        Not sure where you’re going with the deflection on the Rotherham scandal. Fyi, if an ideology can only be defending with weak whataboutery, that’s a pretty sure sign that it is trash. What has happened with the Catholic church is terrible, as well as what happened at Penn State with Sandusky. But pedophilia isn’t inherent in those things as it is in Islam. Remember, Muslims are told to emulate Muhammed (piss be upon him) in all aspects of life as he was the most perfect human to ever live….and he was a child-rapist. In any event, what happened in Rotherham is a perfect example of what happens when you allow mass Islamic immigration. Just like what’s happening in Germany, Sweden, France etc. In addition to machete attacks and trucks of peace you get plenty of sexual assault, especially of minors. The absolutely insane political correctness of the left puts more children and women in harm’s way just as it did in Rotherham.

        • JohnD80 – your words look like an irrational fear of Islam to me. An Islamic State existed in Spain for 700 years. Christians, Jews and Muslims lived perfectly well together. It was after the Christians took over that Jews and Muslims were told to leave or convert. Lots of Jews packed up and were welcomed by the Turks.
          We invaded The Holy Land and slaughtered Muslims in great Crusades. More recently, we invaded Iraq and we bombed the heck out of Libya. We are responsible for many thousands of dead. We, that is the West, created Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Jordan out of the ashes of the Ottoman empire after the Great War and we created Israel where no such state had existed for a thousand years. We recently helped to de-stabilize Iraq and Syria and now we are complaining about refugees and turmoil. I have no doubt that there are reactionary elements in Islam. Bit rich for reactionary elements in Canada to complain about them though. Finally paedophilia. You have got to be kidding. There have been lots of terrible things done to our kids in Canada and none of those stories had anything whatsoever to do with Islam or Muslims.

          • Fred, you’ve not done your homework. Islamic rule in Spain was anything but peaceable. In India, 700 years of Islamic rule had a death toll greater than the sum of all the wars in Europe over a 900 year time frame, including World Wars 1 & 2.
            Our grade school teachings about the Crusades- that we invaded the Holy Land to take it back from the Turks- was not only basically wrong, but also an extremely gross oversimplification. The Crusades were an eviction of barbarous Islamic rule from Europe. In the end, we lost the Crusades. That’s why Constantinople is now Istanbul, and Jerusalem remained under Islamic rule up until 1924. In spite of driving the Christian Europeans out of the Middle East, the Ottomans remained almost constantly at war with the West, invading numerous times, and engaging in state-sponsored piracy that made the Mediterranean useless for commercial shipping for great lengths of time.
            The bottom line is that any discussion of a greater Muslim presence in Canada needs to occur in proper context. One must be open to discussing the serious societal problems endemic to Islamic countries, along with Islam’s very troubled history of conflict with every culture it comes in contact with.

          • Bill, we are not reading the same history books. The Crusades took place in the Holy Land, Bill, not Europe. One of the first Crusades, I forget which expedition now, actually sacked Byzantium when it was still capital of the Byzantine empire. France and England were involved in a 100 years war. I just got through reading a history of the hundred years war. England mounted regular expeditions sacking and murdering around France for over a hundred years. Then these same splendid fellows go to the Holy Land to do what they typically did to each other – murder and pillage. Sorry, who do you think was barbarous?

            You are absolutely right, there were pirates based in North Africa, like the infamous Barbarossa, who regularly engaged in not just piracy but raids into the south of France, Spain, Italy to steal women and children as part of the slave trade. I have read that such slave raiding took place right up to the early 19th century. Problem is, raiding for slaves was also practised my Christians. I don’t think religion had much to do with it.

            There was trade in the Mediterranean – how on earth did Venice, Milan, Amalfi, Florence make their fortunes in the late Medieval and Renaissance periods? Amalfi made its wealth trading with Byzantines and the Ottomans in the 14th century, I think. And it was Pisa that sacked the place – not Muslims.

            Anyway, we obviously are not reading the same history books.

          • “Irrational fear” eh? Let me ask you, what would happen now if a major media outlet published pictures of the Pedo Muhammed? I see you’ve been demoralized by years of leftist conditioning. If “we” are responsible for the Crusades in your opinion, are all Muslims today responsible for 9/11? And if the Crusades are so terrible in your view, what do you think about the Arab Conquests? I think you got your history of that period from that Kingdom of God movie, or maybe a Salon article.

            So you don’t think that child marriage is a problem in Islam? I’ve noticed that with so many of you “liberals” your default is to deflect any criticism of Islam (the most regressive ideology on the planet) by saying “but but our culture is worse!” With nothing to back it up. And you seriously believe that not a single Muslim in Canada has ever molested a kid? Lol, you’re sick, man. What about the Syrian refugee who sexually assaulted the young girls at a pool in Edmonton a few weeks ago? Doesn’t count I guess. It’s people like you who tried to cover up the Cologne mass sexual assault.

          • Fred28, glad you are doing some study of history. Most don’t but know everything. But I think you are incorrect about Islam and what is going on today. Islam spread first around 700 AD and conquered the whole of north Africa, the middle east and over as far as India. It moved into Spain and took over, then into France but was finally stopped there.

        • “creeping Islamification of our public schools”? Our country has survived not so creeping Catholication of our public schools and the influencing of impressionable children by a backward religion: just a scant 15 years ago they finally admitted that the earth and the planets actually do orbit the sun and that the moon is not held in place by a crystal sphere, only 24 years after men circled the moon without crashing into anything. This is also a religion that advocates the inferiority of women; not so long ago they campaigned against the vote for Canadian women. This is a group that not only advocated religiously motivated violence but perpetrated quite a bit themselves – giving the venerable scientist Galileo at age 70 a physical exam on the rack being one of their lesser misdeeds. In my day, an occasional beating was part of any good Catholic education and of course Father Nelson was a wrestling hold known to many Catholic boys. Somehow Canadian society survived anyway. As my mother frequently advised ‘play nice’.

          • There’s a completely separate Catholic school board, which I don’t agree with, but that isn’t what was being discussed. Is there a public school in Toronto where the auditorium is converted to a prayer room for Catholic students to have Mass? The principal would tell Catholic kids and their parents to kick rocks if they tried that. Refusing the Muslims isn’t an option: for one, you will be branded an “Islamophobe” and have your career destroyed by political correctness. For another, we know how violent Muslims can get when they are offended – ask the family of Theo Van Gogh, ask the staff at Charlie Hebdo.

            The school prayer thing just shows how Islam isn’t compatible with Western values. It shows on a micro level what will one day be evident on a macro level as the Muslim population grows. The public school system wasn’t conducive to their brainwashing prayers, so the school had to change. Eventually all of Western society will do the same.

          • Geraldr, I am not a fan of Catholismo, but I think you greatly err in trying to compare the nature of it with Islam. I have studied books on Catholicsm for years and while there were some dark periods in it’s history, it cannot be compared to Islam as taught in the Koran. Granted there are many moderate Muslims too who just go about their own business, but unfortunately there is a minority which are extreme to different degrees.

  6. These ‘All Muslims Are Terrorists’ sign-wavers are exactly how radical factions like ISIS manage to recruit non-terrorist Muslim youths. By convincing them the west want to destroy them for their faith, to kill their families, to see them purged just for existing, when the reasonable youth argue that seems extreme, all they need to show them is this sort of footage. This idiot with the half-assed sign is perfect ISIS recruitment propaganda.

    Make no mistake, hate make enemies, and those who hate Muslims on a whole, who claim all Muslims are ISIS members (like all Christians are KKK members) are just creating more confused and angry ISIS recruits.

    • There were and are mistakes made from lack of science knowledge and proper information.
      Even now you guys are reading from history books and come to different conclusions. We all should question the mainstream media as I also saw the article and pictures of a cafeteria in a school with girls at the back and girls on their menstruation cycle at the very back as they were unclean.
      I have also seen a video put on line by a Toronto Mosque calling for death to all who harm Muslims and also for Filthy Jews to be killed and their children left as orphans. This was never reported by the mainstream and no disgust by the supposed moderate attendees. I have seen videos of women stoned to death beheaded and shot in the back of the head I could not understand the Arabic language being spoken so had to depend on the narrative translation so to me there is a very wide gap between us and our understanding of religion and ideologies, whatever you want to call it but I do not want to see that here or there for that matter. Religion doesn’t mix and atheism is no better
      but we better get somethings worked out before integrating these beliefs by force the way the governments are doing it now. We may fail completely
      with this social experiment so I prefer to keep separated until we do come to an agreement. I can’t willingly invite people who want to do me my family and neighbors harm into my country and home.
      I don’t understand any ones indignation at that.

      I know I would be immediately attacked and probably be beheaded in most of these countries and definitely forced to obey the customs in the moderate countries if I was even allowed to immigrate. But we are attacked by our own country men for stating our opinion and denounced as worse then terrorists. Wake up and smell the coffee.

      • I am not saying everyone is a terrorist so please don’t label me as saying that.
        There were plenty of moderates that never spoke out against Hitler and Stalin and Musolini but they still rose to power.
        Ameninijad was a more recent addition to that list, so it concerns me that supposed moderates rarely if ever denounce any of these
        terrorists acts or the inciting of hatred anywhere.
        I was glad to hear in this article Raza give her version of events,
        so that is one can we hear anymore.

      • You make a good point by bringing up the Masjid mosque in Toronto. So some idiots went there and protested outside of it with “ban Islam” signs. I’m not a fan of crap like that because then legit criticism of Islam gets lumped in with it. Anyway, our media and politicians predictably tripped over themselves to denounce this protest and praise Islam in general and the mosque in particular. But then the very same day, the story broke that an imam there was reciting supplications praising mujahadeen (warriors carrying out jihad against the infidels) and calling for the cleansing of “the filth of the Jews”.

        The mosque issued an extremely weak and deceptive apology/explanation. They claimed that a “junior employee” had recited the supplications and that the leadership of the mosque had no idea about it. Of course that’s absurd – it was on their Youtube channel! But let’s take them at their word for a second: not a single member of their congregation came to them to let them know that a “junior employee” was spreading such extremist views? So it took a Jewish-Canadian media outlet to let them know about it? That’s pretty chilling. All these “moderate” Muslims at Masjid didn’t think anything was wrong with those extremist supplications. This is what we’re dealing with. And yet to show any concern about this regressive, supremacist ideology means you have a “phobia” and are a terrible person. It’s time for Canadians to wake up.

    • JD, you have illustrated your illiterateness.

      • I agree completely the supposed moderates seem to see no harm in condoning this type of hatred.
        Just like the Germans who sat back and allowed the Nazi party take power and the Russians Chinese etc the list goes on.
        What would be the consequences in a middle eastern or Indonesian country if any Christian for that matter said something similar. We seem to lose sight of that fact.

        • I just hope that people are paying attention to the manipulation by media outlets like Maclean’s here. I already pointed out how the author of this piece committed a major lie by omission. But think about it: Maclean’s could just as easily publish an article titled “At the Masjid Mosque: An Alarming View of Non-Muslims”. But of course they won’t, because they have an agenda and it seems to be the same pro-Islamist agenda that the Liberal party is pursuing. Does anyone actually believe that Muslim Brotherhood affiliated advocacy/lobbying groups actually care about Canadian values?

        • Mohammed Ali Jr. and his mother, the wife of the late great. Mohammed Ali were detained at an America airport upon their return from a trip to Jamaica and subjected to an interrogation about their religion. Is this what can be expected to happen in Canada. Mohammad Ali became Muslim in the late 1960’s. He was born and bred in the USA. We are not talking about limiting our fear and suspicion toward those Muslims who came from countries that are doing barbaric practices, we are talking about going after everyone who chooses to practice this religion even if they have practiced it peacefully for decades in North America.

  7. I am surprised that public schools in Ontario allow Muslim students to hold prayers on public school property. If Muslim students want to hold prayers on a Friday, they should be doing that in a Muslim school or a mosque. Openly participating in religion of any sort should definitely NOT be allowed in any public school in Canada. Public school is public, i.e. paid for by our public taxes and open to one and all. If students want to participate in religion observances while attending school, they should be going to private religious schools. In public schools any reference to Allah, Buddha, God, Hindu gods, etc should only be allowed in comparative religion classes.

    • Apparently this came about because public schools in Toronto decided they would become tolerant in allowing students the freedom to express their faith within the walls of the school. Not everyone can afford to attend a “private religious school.” The Catholic schools have always been fully funded by the taxpayer but not so for other schools of faith.

      • It came about because the school conceded in the face of Muslim pressure. Muslims make demands and as their population grows, they get their concessions. So the area that school is in has a high Muslim population so they rolled over and went against everything that a public school in Canada is supposed to stand for. As I’ve said, this just shows on a micro scale what Islam is all about, and what the end result of unchecked Islamic immigration will be.

        “Liberals” are only to happy to give in to Islamist demands because for one thing, Muslim advocacy/lobbying groups contribute a lot of money towards the Liberal party and Muslims tend to vote in blocs for that party. So therefore the Liberal party and the media outlets that push its agenda will always advocate for whatever these Islamist groups are demanding. The other factor is the ever-present, elephant-in-the-room threat of Muslim violence. All the work put in by the jihadis has paid dividends for the Islamist cause.