Chasing Tarek Fatah, the Mirage

Posted by on Feb 1st, 2011 and filed under Community, Recent Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry


Tarek Fateh-The Quitter

IN Urdu, “Tarek” literally means “quitter”.

Interestingly, we saw this definition play in reality on Saturday, January 29, 2011, when Tarek Fatah backed out from a debate with me at the last minute without informing anyone at the venue.

Shamefully, he has still not spoken a word to the organizers about his uninformed absence. All they have to go by is a “press release” by some organization he knows friends in, but one he does not officially represent in any way.

Assuming the press release letter voices Mr. Fatah’s views (the truth of which we may never know) it makes for an engaging read (see attachment).

The clown on the letter by the name of Sohail Raza accuses NAMF of “turn(ing) a debate into a public inquisition”. This is a serious charge. How was this to be a public inquisition, I wonder? And why would it be public? Doesn’t the general public identify with Mr Fatah against the Big, Bad Islamists? Or perhaps, it is the public, not NAMF, which is full of anger toward you, Mr. Fatah, for the propaganda damage you cause them.

And since when did Mr. Fatah tie a “condition” of taking part at NAMF only after he approved of the moderator? Even if true, why did he confirm his attendance by phone two hours before the event? All we know is that he consistently made noise –  Yes –  over many things: the language, the venue, the format, his approval before any video recording, and the choice of moderator.

Hardly a martyr for his cause, he seemed to try every possible way to weasel out of this debate. (We have the entire email correspondence proving this, which we plan to make public soon)

I can go on about the lies of cameras not being allowed at NAMF (a press release to media outlets was sent on the Jan 24, 2011) or of NAMF withdrawing police officers, or of conspiring to “ambush” Tarek Fatah through an “inquisition”, but I wont (All this is extensively covered in an open letter by one organizer of the event).

I only want to express sympathy with those well-meaning, yet naïve folks before whom Tarek Fatah masquerades as some kind of Martin Luther of Islam boldly battling the Islamist boogiemen; folks who believed he would show up to uphold the very principles he keeps saying he fights for.

On his Facebook page, Mr. Fatah wrote:

This Saturday, January 29, I face another Islamic cleric in a public debate. Please do come and see for yourself the danger of allowing Islamism to spread its fascist cancer among the born-in-Canada Muslim youth in our country.

Consider the sympathy he gathers on the same page among some very simple-minded people:

“Tarek, you are a brave man and God is with you and he will protect you from evil”

“Tarek is one of the sane Muslims out there who is willing to smite down the terrorists who plague it”

“I am really horrified at the extent of threat Tarek is facing”

“Tariq. You are a brave man. We are with you be not afraid of these two bit molvis”

“@Tarek – I’m surprised the threat took this long but be well, my friend. Be safe & be blessed by Allah and continue on with your moral courage. The world needs you”

In my honest assessment, Tarek Fatah is inauthentic. He, like many self-styled Islamic reformers these days, wants to cash in on the publicity and martyr-status, but not at the expense of being exposed.

Alas, I truly believed the man, however wrongly guided, carried the potential to serve his community. But with his rude and shameful absence exposing his moral cowardice to face an opponent in debate following a challenge that he threw in November, 2010, and worse, getting others to lie to defend him, that hope has all but disappeared.

Imam Sheharyar Shaikh is the President of North American Muslim Foundation and Imam of Masjid Qurtabah.






5 Responses for “Chasing Tarek Fatah, the Mirage”

  1. Editor says:

    Some of the Comments posted in the previous news item on this issue:

    Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal says:
    January 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    hahahah COWARD!!

    Tarek Fateh runs away from ghosts and women, tail tucked between his legs. So many police there, just like in the Round Table.

    We were in a room full of RCMP, CSIS, Border Services, OPP, yet he ran away like a little girl, screaming and frothing at the mouth, just because I approached him and told him I didn’t like him calling me a member of a cult.

    He likes to talk ABOUT Muslims, but he has no courage to spew his filth to their faces, (at least, not unless there are cameras to dramatize to).

    May Allah continue to humiliate him again and again and again, ameen
    Ali says:
    January 30, 2011 at 12:43 am

    So he didn’t show up to the debate? Did he have an excuse?
    DrM says:
    February 2, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Not surprising at all, I said it years ago. Fatah will NEVER debate a knowledgeable Muslim because that would be the end of his lucrative career as anti-Islamic propagandist.
    OMAR QAYUM says:
    February 2, 2011 at 10:47 am

    As one of the organizer for the debate between Imam Sheharyar Shaikh and Mr. Tarek Fatah, hosted by the North American Muslims Foundation (NAMF), I feel obliged to speak out against Tarek’s last-minute withdrawal from the debate. In a desperate attempt to explain his actions, the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) has issued a press release replete with misinformation. Not surprisingly, Tarek has decided to hide behind the MCC by allowing them to speak on his behalf. For the record, NAMF was never in direct contact with the MCC. Why would we be? Tarek resigned from the MCC in 2006. Furthermore, Tarek issued his challenge as an author promoting his new book, not as a MCC spokesman. During our correspondences with Tarek, he never involved the MCC. In addition, numerous members of the MCC came to NAMF in an attempt to disrupt the event. Regardless, I would like to start with their allegation that there was “a hostile environment, with no moderator, restrictions on the media and the absence of any security”.

    By the grace of Allah (SWT), the event was a tremendous success. There were 600+ people in attendance from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds. Unfortunately, hundreds were turned away due to limited seating and fire safety regulations. Nonetheless it was a peaceful evening filled with lively discussion and laughter. However, the night was not without incident due to the negative role played by the President and Vice President of the MCC, Sohail Raza and Salma Siddiqui respectively. Upon arrival, they hostilely demanded to speak with event organizers. The Executive Director of NAMF, Farooq Khan, witnessed their deliberate disturbance and asked them to relax or security would escort them away; and they were. However, the MCC claims that Sohail and Salma were threatened. If that were the case, why didn’t they press charges when they reappeared with the on-duty officer from 42 Division’s Community Response Unit? Instead, the officer asked Farooq to contact him directly next time. Despite their outbursts, Sohail and Salma were told they could stay if they were civil, but they opted to leave. Furthermore, who was the MCC to demand answers regarding event planning? Was the MCC debating Imam Sheharyar? Or were they guests like everyone else? Clearly, there was an ill agenda to provide Tarek a way out. This brings to light some of the bullying tactics Tarek employs when he compromises himself.

    Another issue that the MCC raised was that of the moderator. NAMF has hosted numerous debates by diverse speakers and has never had complaints regarding its choice of moderator. NAMF moderators are solely there to ensure equal speaking time and audience control. Our audience comes to hear unimpeded speakers and to confront them with tough questions. Tarek was informed of the debate format and the moderator’s role from the beginning. It is true that some Muslim moderators were suggested, but we felt a non-Muslim moderator would be best. On December 17, 2010, Dr. Karen Mock accepted our invitation, but due to a family matter, she cancelled on January 27, 2011. With two days left, we opted to go with a previous moderator, Pastor Neil Bulloch; Tarek was directly informed of this change. We fail to see why the MCC has sensationalized the moderator issue. How was the debate unfair to Tarek? Knowing that Dr. Mock was absent, why did he verbally confirm his attendance with me two hours before the debate? Why did he not inform me of his concerns? Why did he not meet me at the front doors like we agreed by phone? Why did he send his MCC friends inside instead? Who is the mystery police officer that instructed him not to go? Why then was an officer waiting to talk to Tarek inside NAMF? Tarek claims that he was in the parking lot, but nobody seems to of seen him. I don’t think Tarek even showed up because when I called his cell phone half an hour before the debate, a man identifying himself as “Shaikh Tahir” answered and told me that Tarek was in a recording studio downtown. Is this true? Or is it just another example of an MCC member lying? Either way it is dishonest.

    The MCC also accused NAMF of placing restrictions on the media. This is nothing short of slander. On January 25, 2011 a press release was sent out saying: “We invite all news and assignment editors to be a part of this noteworthy event.” and “All Media Outlets are asked to reserve their spot via e-mal …” The irony here is that on Saturday, January 22, 2011, at 12:50PM, Tarek said: “No video of mine from the event/debate shall be used or distributed on the Internet, YouTube without my express consent.” Why the double-speech here? Tarek was the one worried about video footage being released, not us! In fact, NAMF has been publicly releasing e-mail correspondences between Farooq Khan, Imam Sheharyar Shaikh, Tarek Fatah and Dr. Karen Mock. We have already posted an unedited copy of the “debate” on YouTube and are in the process of making all e-mail correspondences available to the public. We have nothing to hide!

    As for the preposterous allegation that security was absent, the police was on premises hours before hand, three security guards from Shield Protection Services were hired, all bags were manually searched and dozens of NAMF staff/volunteers were also present. The fact that Sohail and Salma were so easily able to access a police officer should put this accusation to rest. The important question here is: How did the MCC know that off-duty policemen were withdrawn? Tarek knows because he contacted the police and informed them of Dr. Mock’s absence, and that there was “potential for violence”. It was due to his involvement that our paid-duty officers were withdrawn. It wasn’t until Mr. Khan used other channels to pressure the police that they decided to send on-duty officers. Why was Tarek calling the police? Were we not the organizers providing security for the event? What did he say that cancelled our booking? Why did he sabotage the police protection we had provided for everyone? In addition, the decision to deny our request of off-duty officers by the Toronto Police Service should alarm all Canadians. Aren’t off-duty officers hired to prevent and/or handle potential violence? Don’t they have a moral, and legal, duty to help us? Are they not civil servants sworn “to serve and protect”? Regardless, event attendees can attest to the safety and security provided by NAMF.

    Also, the timing of the MCC press release further casts a shadow of doubt on the credibility of MCC’s claims. Members of the MCC began soliciting printed copies of their press release, on NAMF property, shortly after the debate had started. I received one of these copies 30 minutes into the debate. Are we to seriously believe that the MCC typed, printed and mass copied this document upon their arrival? Or did they arrive with copies of this document? The timeline simply doesn’t add up!

    Finally, I think Calgary Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, summarized Tarek best when he said: “Mr. Fatah has made a career out of making this frankly a bigger deal than it is”, when speaking rebutting him on Shariah law being “implemented” in Canada. Tarek, you have thrived by creating an atmosphere of fear, intolerance and hatred against the very community you claim to belong to. Furthermore, I think you had no intention of debating Imam Sheharyar at any time. Not only did you behave unprofessionally by not showing up, but you failed your supporters who sacrificed their Saturday evening for you. You are no hero of Canada and deserve to be exposed for the danger you pose. I also hope that NAMF takes legal action against you, and the MCC, for fiscal damages and defamation. I pray that Allah (SWT) guides you, and that He ensures all Canadians live free from your vile agenda.

    Omar Qayum

  2. ThirdWorldCharlie says:

    I have copied this post to Tarek boosters (Paikin of TVO, Enright of CBC). I hear some people are doing ‘Access to Information’ search in various Govt. Departments for ‘Muslim Canadian Congress’. If anything came out, it will be very interesting.

  3. Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatoh,

    The people really need to understand what kind of Shaytaan this man is when you are eyewitness to his behaviour.

    In the Round Table (I think it was in 2006), he wasn’t even able to speak in a stable manner. He was screeching and pointing at several Imams, (I recognized Aly Hindy and Hamid Slimi), accusing them of calling him a murtad and accusing them of nifaaq (he said that Mubin Shaikh was an Imam working for CSIS, and they also probably worked for CSIS).

    His eyes were bulging, slobber was flying, he was literally choking on his own rage.

    I was shocked, I was watching him, expecting his head to make a 360 degree rotation…

  4. I’m sorry, please allow me to correct myself. The Round Table I mentioned wasn’t in 2006, I believe it may have been February, 2007.

    I think it was called the Cross Cultural Round Table on Security. I believe it was held in a conference room in the Delta Chelsea Hotel, on Gerrard St., Toronto.

    You’ll have to forgive me for my mix up of the month, life was a little foggy back then.

  5. Connect2Islam says:

    I suggest watching \"Tarek Fatah Story\"/\"When Fatah Fled\" on YouTube. It really does fill in all the blanks and clearly establishes that both Tarek and MCC flat out lied against the mosque.

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