A birthday present for Tarek Fatah: the Sir Salman Rushdie Freedom Award for Courage in Free Speech

'I am an Indian born in Pakistan, a Punjabi born in Islam; an immigrant in Canada with a Muslim consciousness, grounded in a Marxist youth. I am one of Salman Rushdie’s many Midnight’s Children,' said Tarek Fatah.

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Last Sunday, as the Toronto Argonauts were hoisting the Grey Cup upon defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Regina, author and activist Tarek Fatah was also being presented with some snazzy silverware – namely, the Sir Salman Rushdie Award for Courage in Free Speech.

The award was presented to Fatah by Muslims Facing Tomorrow, an organization that is “committed to defend and promote the values of individual freedom, gender equality, human rights, freedom of conscience, free speech, science, and democracy.”

Fatah is certainly a perfect choice for an award that honours courage when it comes to free speech.

Fatah is the author of The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism ·and Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic illusion of an Islamic State. He was also celebrating his 73rd birthday on Sunday; so perhaps the best birthday present was an award honouring Fatah for his principled and courageous stance he has taken on many “third rail” issues, most notably radical Islam.

By way of background, Fatah was one of the founders of the Muslim Canadian Congress in 2001, after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

He also was a huge critic regarding the Ontario Liberals’ plan of introducing Sharia law in the province as an option for Muslims in civil law.

Fatah has also denounced Sharia banking in Canada, which he has describes as a “con-job.” And he has endorsed same-sex marriage, which remains a hot-button issue in so many Muslim countries.

Indeed, his opinions are so controversial in the Islamic world that Fatah dares not return to the place of his birth, Pakistan, for fear of being arrested – or worse.

Of himself, Fatah asserts:

I am an Indian born in Pakistan, a Punjabi born in Islam; an immigrant in Canada with a Muslim consciousness, grounded in a Marxist youth. I am one of Salman Rushdie’s many Midnight’s Children: we were snatched from the cradle of a great civilization and made permanent refugees, sent in search of an oasis that turned out to be a mirage.

As for the moniker that graces the Award for Courage in Free Speech, Salman Rushdie is the author of several novels, but when The Satanic Verses was published in 1988, Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death. The fatwa is still in effect and the latest assassination attempt against Rushdie occurred in August in New York, an attack that left Rushdie severely injured.

Check out our exclusive interview with Tarek Fatah, who like Salman Rushdie, check out our exclusive interview with Tarek Fatah, who like Salman Rushdie, refuses to bend the knee when it comes to voicing opinions – despite the threats issued against him by those weaponized thugs who abhor free speech.

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  • By Raheel Raza

PETITION: I Support Salman Rushdie

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