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in response to reader comment: If Justice will prevail - Queen Elizabeth, should honour Salman Rushdie.

Submitted by David W. Lincoln (Canada), Jun 29, 2007 at 16:55

Hello again Syed:

Here is something else for you, and those who listen to you, to chew on. Even though Michael Coren communes at a different chalice, he and I see eye to eye, and stand shoulder to shoulder on the contents of this column. Regards, David W. Lincoln Eurabia's author comes to Canada www.michaelcoren.com Michael Coren National Post Friday, June 29, 2007

It appears to be a sign that you're doing something abundantly right when the leaders of the Canadian Arab Federation and the Canadian Islamic Congress demand that your conference be monitored by the Police Hate Crime Unit. Which is the case with a Fraser Institute symposium taking place this week, entitled "On The Front Line of Immigration, Terrorism and Ethno-Politics."

In an unintentionally amusing joint press release, the groups speak of "major Canadian bigots, Islamophobes, anti-Arab and anti-immigrant writers and media personalities." As opposed, one assumes, to minor Canadian bigots and Islamophobe media personalities. What it all means, of course, is that they disagree with their targets. Yet instead of simply debating with the conference speakers in a quintessentially Canadian manner, they insult them and try to have them silenced. In fact, the conference the comrades find so irksome boasts an extraordinarily impressive and diverse list of speakers.

Columnist Margaret Wente, author Daniel Stoffman, a former director of CSIS, the retired executive director of the Canadian Immigration Service, ambassador Marisa Lino from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, MPs, numerous university professors, award-winning writers and decorated diplomats and scholars. And the internationally renowned author Bat Ye'or.

If the other speakers provoke certain people, this diminutive, gentle and brilliant 74-year-old lady seems to positively terrify them. They urge immigration authorities "immediately to bar Bat Ye'or from entering Canada." Being deported because of Arab anger would, however, be nothing new to the author of a host of internationally acclaimed works on the history of Islam and its treatment of Jews and Christians. She and her family were forced to leave their native Egypt in 1957, part of the more than one million Jews who were exiled from Muslim states after the Second World War and the foundation of Israel.

Bat Ye'or's name roars the horror of it all. It is a pseudonym, meaning "Daughter of the Nile" in Hebrew. Her name is Gisele Orebi. The persecuted Jews of the Middle East. The silenced catastrophe. A wave of innocents whose existence in Arab lands pre-dated the birth of Islam. Their numbers were greater than those of the Palestinian refugees and they were frequently treated far more harshly. Yet the world said very little, and today the Islamic bloc and their allies in the United Nations and elsewhere pretend this post-Biblical exodus did not happen.

"It is, I suppose, deeply ironic that I was told that I was not allowed to live in Egypt when I was a girl and now as a grown woman I'm told, in part by people from Egypt, that I shouldn't come to Canada either. As for Israel, they'd like that to disappear," she says, more bemused than bitter. "Where ought I to go? No matter. The story has to be told, the true story of how Islam has treated and still does treat its minorities." It is her collection of work on the Islamic conquest of the Christian heartlands of Egypt, Palestine, Syria and North Africa that have caused so much frustration among Muslim opponents.

She writes in detail of Dhimmitude, the method in which Jews and Christians were subjugated and humiliated. "As late as the early 20th century, in some Muslim countries Jews had to remove their shoes when they left their own quarter, were not allowed to ride a horse, were treated as second-class citizens. This idea of equality is nonsense. Their numbers were restricted, especially in the Holy Land, and the same was true of Christians. There were periodic pogroms, right up till the 1940s." A pause, searching for the right words. "What occurred back then is history, but history has to be understood and accepted.

What we have now is revision, denial. Muslim immigrants are taking this false idea of the past to Europe and North America, along with a culture that does not share the Western notion of tolerance, equality, criticism of religion and freedom." This thesis of the spread of such ideas is discussed at length in what may be her most famous and controversial book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis. In it she argues that Islamic fundamentalism has found its way to Europe because most Muslim moderates are frightened of speaking out and European intellectuals and activists have been seduced by its anti-American dynamic. "There are courageous Muslims who do resist but it is difficult and dangerous.

There is an underground of Sharia law across Europe, with terrible treatment of women. This is combined with the threat of violence aimed at anybody who speaks out against what is going on. Censorship through fear. We even see this to a mild degree in Canada, an example being the attempt to stop me entering the country." The cause of Palestine, she emphasizes, is at its heart about the triumph of Islam. "Most of Palestine is in Jordan but we do not hear cries for Jordan to return land.

This isn't about the rights of the Palestinians but about the refusal to accept a non-Muslim state in the region. Palestine has become the fashion of the West, without them understanding the deeper issues of the conflict." Paradox wrapped around irony packaging hypocrisy. Untied by a brave and wise woman who wants only peace and justice but who is still being persecuted for what she is and what she says. A daughter of the Nile, a teacher for the world.

-Michael Coren is an author and broadcaster. © National Post 2007 Copyright © 2007 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

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