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Gora! Gora! Gora!
by R. John Matthies • May 7, 2008 at 12:30 pm
It's not terribly difficult to locate opinion and commentary by moderate and reform-minded Muslims – provided, that is, one knows where to look. Pakistani-Canadian journalist Tahir Aslam Gora is one who fits the above description, and whose opinions merit our attention.
Gora writes from a suburb of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and publishes regularly in the Hamilton Spectator. He has recently published valuable pieces on the subjects of multiculturalism, Islamic banking and Shari'a in the West; and Gora's latest, titled "Muslims, don't shun multiculturalism," is likewise worth a read.
Gora begins with the thought that "Muslims across the western world in general and in Canada in particular blame media for creating an environment of Islamophobia."
Gora praises, in principle, the "multicultural mosaic would give us the opportunity to mix with all cultures in Canada." But he laments the fact that Canada's Muslims, instead, inhabit diversity's gated community, "encouraged [by Canada's intelligentsia and academy] to stay aloof from the multicultural blend."
What must result, he writes, is "alienation" – a term that speaks to religious segregation and institutional hypocrisy alike. And sadly for us all, he continues, the gatekeepers of politically correct orthodoxy will not allow a term like this to inform popular and political discourse.
The fact is, he continues: "This country's society is based on a separation of religion and state."
Gora contends that "if we keep meeting Muslims' religious demands in non-religious places, society indirectly harbours Islamic radicalization. And when that happens, we shouldn't complain about alienation of Muslims." We will have done nothing to prevent this radicalization from festering, this is to say.
This is a bad thing, certainly, and stands to benefit only the most radical elements – at the expense of those Muslims, like Gora, who find a home in Canada, and insist that "Canadian society […] help Muslims become integrated with the core values" of their nation.
A wish to see Muslims integrated in such a way is not a "bad message," writes Gora; neither does this thought amount "racism," as some have claimed. It's rather a "more appropriate direction."
Hear, hear, Mr. Gora. And here's to seeking out your next installment.