Terrorism battle is not a fight with Muslims, says Shahina Siddiqui
Shahina Siddiqui says Canadian Muslims need help against radicalization not slander
Emotions ran high in a Senate committee when Manitoba Muslim leader Shahina Siddiqui got into a heated discussion with an Ontario senator.
Siddiqui appeared at the Senate committee on national security and defence on Monday as part of a study on security threats facing Canada, speaking as the executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association and National Council of Canadian Muslims.
Here is a transcription of the exchange.
Senator Lynn Beyak:
"I just wanted to say that comments I get from constituents all the time is that we all have to stop being offended. Stop being thin skinned and work together. They're tired of hearing excuses. If 21 Christians were beheaded by Jews they'd be called radical extremist Jews. And if pilots were burned in cages by a Christian, they'd be called radical, violent Christians.
Stop being so thin skinned and find a solution to a world wide problem.- Senator Lynn Beyak
"We have to work together. Stop being so thin skinned and find a solution to a world wide problem. So what would you answer to people who are legitimately concerned not about you or me or Jews or Christians but about Canadians in general who are sick of the fighting and want some action? Everybody being offended because somebody says something they perceive as nasty or untrue even though it's documented. They're tired of us being offended and thin skinned and they want us to do something about people who are threatening to blow up malls and are burning pilots in cages and who are beheading Christians."
"The number one targets of these groups are Muslim. Seventy thousand Pakistanis have been killed by terrorist attacks. The same numbers goes across board. So it is not about Muslim versus Canadian, or Canadian Muslims versus Muslims. It is humanity versus terrorism. When you talk about offence, offence is a very mild word to use.
It is not about Muslim versus Canadian, or Canadian Muslims versus Muslims. It is humanity versus terrorism.- Shahina Siddiqui
"What we are dealing with is slander. We are dealing with defamation. We are dealing with accusations made. A person's reputation is all one has. So when I am called a terrorist supporter or somebody who caters to that you are attacking me at a very fundamental level, my employment. I have two Canadian grandkids. How do I tell them that your own country, your own people, are turning on you? I don't have the heart to tell them that the Canada I chose to be my home and I will defend to my last breath, is attacking my faith, my community in general. We don't do that to any other community. Three Muslim youths were killed by a self-proclaimed atheist and if you go on his Facebook you will see his anti-religious rant, nobody called it terrorism. An individual belonging to a fundamental Christian group who killed four of our Mounties, nobody called it a Christian terrorist."
"Christians and Jews have been offended and slandered for millenia. It's got nothing to do with that. As our witness told us last week, being offended is no excuse to kill, pure and simple."
"Do you think they are killing because they are offended? No, they are killing because they want the land. They want the money. They want to control and to govern. They want to implement their hate ideology. They're not doing it because they are offended."
Siddiqui (on mosques funding organizations connected to radicals):
"That's absolutely a very good question, we've been struggling with this since the 1980s. I can tell you that my own organization [was] offered $3 million and we refused even though I had not a penny in my account at that time when I started the organization because this is a Canadian organization and we do not need funding from anywhere else. The same thing about our mosques in Manitoba. We were offered money from Libya when we made our first mosque we refused it, right? Now, are there some mosques that have accepted money from overseas because it was legal to do so. Right? So if we want to curtail them then we have to make it illegal for funding, but not only for Muslims, but all groups."