Merry Christmas, Walid Madkour and Heba Ismail.
I hope you wish Christians a Merry Christmas to show respect to other faiths, because you have shown no respect for your own! All religions are seen in the light of practices of its followers, and you have disappointed us.
The case of Madkour and Ismail is a shame to me as a Muslim. Madkour and Ismail, immigrants from Egypt, were tenants in an apartment owned by John Alabi, who had rented the place to them regardless of their faith.
Alabi himself is an immigrant from from Nigeria who became a Canadian citizen and worked his way up to become a home owner. He rented the apartment in his home to help make his mortgage payments.
Madkour complained to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that his religious rights were trampled because of how Alabi chose to show the apartment when Madkour and Ismail decided to move out: Alabi came into his apartment with his shoes on. Alabi testified that he specifically did not wear his street shoes when he showed the apartment but rather clean house shoes.
Even so, Madkour and Ismail objected, because they said their bedroom was their prayer room and that Alabi defiled it with his shoes every time he showed the apartment.
When this story first emerged, I recall thinking that the tenants will never win because Alabi did not do anything that was disrespectful. An entire room is not a prayer space for Muslims. We have a prayer rug which is used for prayers, and I don’t recall reading that Alabi violated the prayer rug.
When workers or cleaners come to our house, we just remove the prayer rug. That’s it. We constantly have visits by fire inspectors, the super or mechanics – there is no hullaballoo about us being Muslims and needing special attention. We are citizens above everything else.
Our religion is a personal matter for us to handle without being a nuisance to the public. By showing such arrogance and intolerance, Madkour and Ismail have tarnished my faith.
Let’s take the example of other faiths. We have Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on our door on a regular basis. Some of us have no qualms about closing the door in their face. Does that make us disrespectful to their faith? No. We have fundamentalist Christians telling us that we won’t find salvation until we accept Jesus as the son of God. We refuse. Does that make us disrespectful, and are these groups going to report us to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario?
So it came as a rude shock when I read that John Alabi not only lost the case (a $12,000 fine) but now has to pay his accusers legal costs (another $5,000).
He has been portrayed as a racist (maybe the racism in this case was from the other side) and has had personal tragedies to add to his trauma. I believe he has been treated unfairly.
I would thus like to inform the adjudicator, Jo-Anne Pickel, what is disrespectful to another faith. The annual Al-Quds Day parade that takes place on the main streets of Toronto (and in previous years on the grounds of Queens Park which is government property) in which hate is spewed against Jews is disrespectful.
I don’t see Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal taking up a case against the organizers of this show of disrespect.
The persecution of minorities by Muslims is disrespectful but that does not get much attention. For example, imams telling Muslims not to wish Christians Merry Christmas is disrespectful. Yet it is happening right here.
Why, then, is there is a double standard for Muslims only? Is this because the government has encouraged them to play the Islamophobia and victim card to the hilt? And because institutions like Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal have caved in to the Islamist propaganda?
It seems to be the case.
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