Canada: “Islamophobia” accusations and bitter infighting plague Conservative Party’s upcoming leadership convention
Christine Douglass-Williams writes in Jihad Watch:
After a series of setbacks, supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) face disappointing news: the “Islamophobia” battering ram has emerged as a stumbling block, causing an uproar within the party only three months ahead of its leadership convention. The party is set to pick a new leader in August, as Andrew Scheer resigned as CPC leader in December, two months after the Liberal government win in the federal election despite the “impressive” lineup of scandals plaguing Trudeau. These include ethics violations, the monumental SNC Lavalin corruption scandal, historic big spending, a welcome mat for returning Islamic State fighters, the infamous Roxham Road illegal immigration debacle at the Quebec-US border that saw tens of thousands of illegal migrants swarm in, Trudeau’s internationally humiliating visit to India, and his repeated blackface antics. The big question was: why didn’t the official opposition Conservatives win, when the election was virtually handed to them? During the SNC Lavalin corruption scandal — which involved links to Libya — the Conservative party had a clear lead months before the fall 2019 general election.
Amid the myriad of possible reasons why the Conservatives frittered away this lead, a few basic reasons stand out: a lack of trusted leadership and a betrayal of democratic values, which eroded the Conservative support base and in fact fractured that base into two separate camps. Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, excoriating “extreme multiculturalism” and “fake Conservatives,” suddenly quit the party to form his own party, the People’s Party of Canada (PPC). With the PPC and the CPC both vying for their votes, many conservative Canadians were just too despondent to cast a ballot.
Then there were Andrew Scheer’s pre-election gaffes, which did not go over well with his support base. Two months prior to election day, a video surfaced of Scheer pandering to an anti-Israel imam who supports wife-beating, among other questionable members of the Islamic community. The video in itself could not be blamed for eroding Scheer’s support, but it merely provided further evidence of a paramount concern within the conservative sector of Canadian society: that it was becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between the Conservatives and the Liberals.
Scheer also made headlines when he threw the Tory MP Michael Cooper out of a Commons committee hearing involving “online hate” after Cooper’s understandable confrontation with a Muslim witness who had become provocative. “Online hate” was one of the issues mentioned in the followup document to anti-Islamophobia Motion M-103, a document which promised to “monitor citizens for compliance.” Free speech is the cornerstone of democracies, and diversity of opinion is necessary, but Scheer established a troubling “cancel culture” within the Conservative Party. He fanned the flames of political correctness to the detriment of Canada, as Justin Trudeau drilled into Canadians that “we have a problem with Islamophobia.” Trudeau even accused the Conservative Party of “Islamophobia.” So a prevailing question arose in considering Scheer for Prime Minister: did he earn enough respect as a leader to challenge the leadership of Trudeau? Canada certainly answered that question on election day, despite the favorable polls Conservatives had enjoyed only months before in the face of Liberal corruption.
Now more bad news has emerged, revealing the same fear, division, lack of leadership and rancor that caused the parting of ways with Maxime Bernier. This time it centers around Jim Karahalios and MP Erin O’Toole, both contenders in the Conservative leadership race, that is, contenders up until recently. Karahalios has been forced out.
In March, Karahalios set off a firestorm when he sent out a letter warning about O’Toole’s campaign manager Walied Soliman, a prominent lawyer. The subject line was “Say NO to Shariah Law. STOP Erin O’Toole.” The letter was in specific reference to a 2007 newspaper article in which Soliman promoted Islamic finance. This excerpt from the National Post gives a brief picture of the fallout:
“Mr. Karahalios’s bigotry will result in electoral obliteration for our Party,” said O’Toole in a statement on Wednesday. “For the sake of our Party — and respect for our members — every leadership candidate should join me (and Jason Kenney and Doug Ford) in condemning his disgraceful rhetoric.”
Soliman called it a “nasty email” in his own Twitter post. “It’s obvious he wants to get a rise out of me, but to be honest, all I feel towards Mr. Karahalios is pity,” he said.
Asked for comment, the Karahalios campaign responded that they are seen as a threat by other campaigns because they are “less than $100,000 away” from qualifying for the final ballot.
“Red Tories behave like Liberals, when you disagree with them they persecute you,” said an emailed statement.
The result: after qualifying to run, Karhalios was ejected by a subcommittee for engaging in “racist Islamophobic remarks that besmirched the expressed principles of the Conservative party.” Karahalios took the matter to court and was victorious; Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell overturned the ruling of the subcommittee on the grounds that “the decision was made by a subcommittee that didn’t have the authority to do so.” But a day later, Karahalios was yet again disqualified.
No conversation, no dialogue, no questions posed to Erin O’Toole, nor to his campaign chair Walied Soliman; only accusations of “Islamophobia” and “racism” against Karahalios.
A bit more about Walied Soliman: he was recognized as a 2019 Global Citizen by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) — a self-described Muslim Brotherhood-associated organization — and the United Nations Association in Canada. The MAC was one of the few organizations proudly to broadcast its Muslim Brotherhood roots, but only up until the last few years. It eventually deleted its own declaration from its website, ostensibly amid growing adverse publicity. On the About MAC section of its website was written this (in paragraph 2):
MAC roots are deeply enshrined in the message of Prophet Mohammad. It’s modern roots can be traced to the vigorous intellectual revivalist effort that took hold in Muslim societies starting in the early twentieth century. This revival aimed at reconciling faith with the challenges of modernity and providing a clear articulation of balance and moderation in understanding Islam. In the Arab world, this revival culminated in the writings of the late Imam Hassan al-Banna and the movement of the society of Muslim Brothers (commonly known as the Muslim Brotherhood). Al-Banna’s core messages of constructive engagement in society, focus on personal and communal empowernment, and organizational development had a deep impact on much of the Muslim world.
Here is a 2015 screenshot:
Guilt by association certainly should be eschewed, but the association between the MAC and the Muslim Brotherhood should raise questions in a free society in which people have a constitutional right to ask questions and give comments. There is enough information circulating to warrant at least some concern about Walied Soliman, and to call for an investigation of what his views might be about the Sharia, as well as about some of his controversial connections.
But discussions in Canada are now all but shut down on key issues involving Islam. Let’s have a brief look, however, at some possible questions: is it “racist” and “Islamophobic” to accuse someone of supporting the Sharia? If the answer is yes, then it implies that something is wrong with the Sharia. So does this then mean that Walied Soliman and Erin O’Toole view the Sharia in a negative light? After all, they have certainly distanced themselves from the implication of any association with the Sharia. So why not come out and make clear where they stand, instead of savaging Karahalios?
A second question might be: why would they not explain their positions on the issue of whether they support Sharia finance and more broadly, the Sharia in general? This is a fair question, no? Had they simply explained why they believed that Karahalios was mistaken and that they do not in any way or form endorse the Sharia, this would have sufficed, and deflected the firestorm that erupted. Instead, tempers flared, leaving the impression that there was something to hide, and Karahalios was sent packing. Very bad for optics.
What is erupting in the Conservative Party is disconcerting. But all is not lost. Another Conservative leadership contender, Derek Sloan, who is not too busy politicking to confront this explosive issue, stated:
“One thing that should put us Conservatives head and shoulders above the Trudeau Liberals is our commitment to respect grassroots democracy. This commitment must be demonstrated at every opportunity, especially in a leadership contest…….Well, today, another candidate’s fate is up in the air: Jim Karahalios.
A number of weeks ago, Jim Karahalios was denied the opportunity to run. This, in spite of LEOC [Leadership Election Organizing Committee] initially approving Jim’s entry into the race; in spite of Jim collecting the required 3000 signatures; and in spite of Jim raising the $300,000 entry fee…we know exactly why Jim Karahalios was evicted from the race.
One of the other leadership candidates didn’t like the contents of Jim’s campaign communications, and he then filed a complaint against Jim’s campaign. This complaint first led to a fine being levied against Jim’s campaign, and then, ultimately, to the disqualification of his candidacy altogether.
This was a huge overstep on the part of the members of LEOC who were involved. They were wrong in their disqualification of Jim Karahalios. Jim Karahalios has since gone to court to get reinstated as a candidate.
True, it shouldn’t be up to a judge as to who should be the next CPC leader. But it shouldn’t be up to LEOC, either. It should be up to the members of the Conservative Party of Canada. Should LEOC be censoring what candidates can and cannot say? No, they should not. Let the members decide. This is why we have elections. Candidates say things and the voters make their evaluations, and then they vote. Sure, Jim made statements that some people didn’t like, and not everyone may agree with him. Indeed, Jim even attacked me at one point, but I didn’t go crying to the party that I didn’t like what Jim said. Let Jim Karahalios run. Put Jim Karahalios back onto the ballot.”
Sloan has captured what is wrong with the Conservative Party of Canada, and what needs fixing.
And as for Walied Soliman and his promotion of Sharia finance, Soliman owes Canadians answers as to whether or not he supports Sharia financing and why; and whether or not he supports Sharia more broadly.
Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, summarized the risk of supporting Sharia finance. He warned that it is “green-lighting a seditious system that supports jihad.” He further stated:
If you understand what Shariah is, you understand that it is a pretty awful system. Not something that you’d want insinuated in your society and becoming a major feature of your economic system…..Shariah (Islamic law as dictated by the Koran) governs all aspects of life, from the personal practice of the faith to how you relate to your family to how you relate to your business partners, to your community … all the way up to how the world is run, and it is all one seamless program. You can’t say ‘I’ll take the personal pietistic practice … and skip the beheading and the flogging and the stoning and the global theocracy.
Terrorism funding and the funneling of billions by Islamic banks to al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other jihad groups is another related subject. Islamic finance also owes much of its foundation to jihadists, notably Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, a Pakistani Muslim scholar and Islamic jurist who was founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, and Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
As it stands of this writing, the fate of the Conservative leadership race hangs in the balance. Given the Conservative Party of Canada’s competitor, the People’s Party of Canada, and given the results of the last election, it is critical that sound leadership be restored to the party.
If the Conservative party has lost control over its own Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC), how does it expect to lead Canada, should it win in the next general election. How can it be equipped to confront interrelated national issues including immigration, the economy, national security, the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic supremacist groups, the abuse of multiculturalism and the identity politics that are tearing Canada apart, the UN Migration Pact, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the international front, among others?
Due to the lack of democratic principles foisted upon the Conservative Party by the LEOC, a general capitulation to the Islamic supremacist lobby that began under Andrew Scheer, and a fragmented conservative base, it looks as if Canada may well be headed for yet another Liberal government win, unless the Canadian conservative base manages to turn the ship around.