Shalom Life | October 09, 2014

No, A Canadian Mosque Is Not Teaching 4-Year-Old's 'to Behead'

An article published by WND with a misleading headline discusses an episode of 'Byline with Brian Lilley' which looks at an Ontario mosque where a school play saw children conducting a mock beheading

By: Daniel Koren

Published: October 6th, 2014 in News » World

No, A Canadian Mosque Is Not Teaching 4-Year-Old's 'to Behead'

A recent episode of Byline with Brian Lilley, a news program that airs on Canada's Sun News Network, focuses on the 'radicalization of Canada,' starting with an incident involving a Pakistani mother and her son who threatened and intimated her daughter after she began dating a white male who worked with her at McDonald's.

The segment then turned to an Islamic Centre in Thornhill, Ontario, the Islamic Jaffari Centre, where, according to footage Lilley obtained, 4-year-old's were taught to conduct a 'mock beheading' during a school play.

The footage (watch it here) was taken over two years ago - please note that the threat of ISIS only became pertinent earlier this year - and finds young Muslim children conducting a mock beheading during a school play. At its end, the boy playing the part of the executioner proclaims, "Here are the heads."

Lilley notes that the Jaffari Centre is associated to a local mosque that irked several Thornhill and Richmond Hill residents (the majority of whom are Jewish) when they announced their plans to build a “massive, Muslim only condo complex in a very Jewish neighborhood.”

The mosque also made headlines, Lilley says, after being suspected of teaching propaganda in affiliated schools about “crafty Jews being compared to Nazis in disturbing passages on jihad.”

“The people at this mosque are not integrating into Canadian society,” Lilley explains. “They segregate themselves, be it with their clothing or in trying to build a Muslim-only complex. Given what we know about what was already being taught in the school associated with the mosque, more questions need to be asked and answered.”

However, Lilley admits that he is no expert on Muslims or their faith, and asks his guest on the show, liberal activist/author Tarek Fatah, author of The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism, to explain the play to him, asking if it was similar to Catholics teaching their children about Jesus by having them conduct a play on his crucifixion.

Fatah replies that the scenarios are actually quite similar, as the play depicts the martyrdom of Muhammad’s grandson and brother.

“It’s a Shiite school, and it’s commemorating one of the great tragedies in Islamic history, which is the slaughter of the Prophet Muhammad’s family by the caliphate of the time,” says Fatah, who also notes that he himself watched these plays as a boy growing up in Pakistan.

“The children really go out to participate,” he explains. “Looking at it from a Canadian context, I was deeply disturbed because it means that the indoctrination of 3, 4-year-old's that has been going on for centuries – and which even I as a child in Pakistan thought it to be perfectly normal – how much damage it would do in desensitizing me or my friends or buddies who are now in their 60's as to what is ‘martyrdom’ and why would anyone wish death was a good thing.”

However, Fatah notes that he does not believe that the parents, or teachers, at the Islamic Jaffari Centre are "trying to make the kids into radicals."

“After all, these are the victims of radicals,” he says. “Most Shiite Muslims today are being slaughtered by fellow Muslims. So that context has to be there. This was not some ISIS or al-Qaida or Taliban type of people.”

Now, THIS is a fundamental part of the segment that needs to be addressed.

Given the threat of ISIS, and their quest to behead American and British journalists and aid workers, the public is, naturally, scared of terrorists radicalizing civilians on home soil. Also, given the fact that many members of ISIS come from the West, whether it be from Europe or North America or otherwise, governments across the world have increased measures to prevent individuals who have become radicalized while traveling to Syria or Iraq from returning and spreading radical Islamist theology.

However, news agencies that decided to publish this story have neglected to mention that these children aren't being taught to behead others in the school of British rapper turned ISIS member Jihadi John, but were merely reenacting a religious history lesson.

WND (America's Independent News Network) picked up the story, publishing it with the headline "Canada Mosque Teaches 4-Year-Old's to Behead.' TLV Faces, a fellow Jewish publication, reprinted the story with the exact same headline, but with the addition of the word, "SHOCKING."

Click bait? You bet. But will people reading this story find out that this two-year-old footage is not entirely something they should be afraid of, and has absolutely nothing to do with ISIS? Doubtful.

The comments on these articles are really what's disturbing, as this kind of reporting only stands to affirm and increase Islamophobia (ask Ben Affleck, it's a thing) which has been gaining momentum throughout the world on the heels of ISIS' terrorist agenda.

One person commented, "How is this any different than kids re-enacting the violent Crucifixion of Jesus Christ at a government-funded Catholic School? Or kids begging their parents to let them buy video games where they murder and kill other people with guns and do "head shots"?

It's a valid point. The first, of many, responses, however, reads, "Obviously you are a Muslim and believe the beheading of innocent people is OK. Why don't the whole lot of you who don't like Western culture pack your bags and go back to the country you came from? Which religion other then Islam teaches you to kill people? Also, before you comment, look at the countries like Pakistan, Iraq, etc. and see how the Christians are treated, maybe we in the Western world should treat you the same."

Other comments, like "If the Canadians had any sense, they would bulldoze that mosque" follow a very similar trajectory.

In the news segment, Fatah acknowledges that someone needs to talk to the leadership of the community - particularly the Islamic Jaffari Centre - and explain to them that "celebrating death, no matter what, is a bizarre experience. It desensitizes bloodshed among kids."

Fatah is right. We need to start a dialogue so that leaders do not expose young children to such scenarios. But by that rationale, is it not equally detrimental for children to conduct a play on the Crucifixion of Christ?

If this centre is indeed spreading propaganda that compares Jews to Nazis, or are indeed teaching children to behead others with the intentions of becoming radical jihadists, then news agencies, condemn away. But to publish misleading headlines that will only add fire to the flame and ostracize Muslims from Western society - just as during this summer Jews and Israelis were ostracized ample times for supporting an "apartheid" state - is wrong.

Violence and discrimination against Muslims today, whether in the West or in Iraq and Syria, is real, just like such violence and anti-Semitism against Jews is real, and taking place right now. We cannot blame the entirety of Muslims for the threat of ISIS, just as we cannot blame the entirety of Jews for the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Despite the percentages, despite the terrorists, despite Jihad, it is unfair to accuse an entire religion of people for what a group of individuals do. There may be a higher percentage of Muslims who support joining religion and state as opposed to other religions, and there may be even more Muslim terrorists than there are Jewish, Christian, Hindu, etc., but that doesn't justify always assuming the worst of Muslim people,

That goes against the fundamental principles of what makes Canada and the United States a haven for open-mindedness and democracy. Worse, it goes against everything we are supposed to stand for.

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