Tarek Fatah was at the forefront against political Islam, and he was a strong defender of secularism.
My condolences go to Tarek Fatah’s family, and friends.
He died this past weekend after a long illness.
Despite of our differences, we shared the following three principles: He was a defender of secularism (total separation of religion from the state, and duly fought for a one secular school system,) freedom of speech with no condition and Integration.
During the rise of a Sharia Court in Canada, in 2003, we, the defenders of women’s rights in Iran called for an “International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada”. We understood that interference of Sharia in the justice system would push back women’s rights. Not only for women whose faith was Islam but also for all women living in Canada. Tarek Fatah was among one of the first who understood the move of Islamists in Canada and admired the activists of the campaign for confronting a Sharia Court.
Political Islam is a movement that always aims to penetrate the system of a state. Their main target is justice and the educational systems, especially if they find a weak piece of legislation, such as the arbitration act of 1991 in Family Law; or if they receive government support.
Tarek was one of the speakers at the campaign’s panel discussions, demonstrations, and conferences that we organized for two years, 2003-2005. He was also among members who met with government officials. When the arbitration Act of 1991 was amended, he was the first to congratulate us for the victory.
Tarek also became one of the speakers in our campaigns against polygamy (one man having several wives), against the niqab (covering head to toe and even the face with a piece of cloth. The niqab is well-known as a flag of political Islam/ known as Islamists), against honor killing (killing a member of a family, or relative or community to protect their so-called honor). The victims are usually at the forefront of women’s rights, someone who wants to integrate, or outspoken against backward traditions and customs).
Tarek was against child brides, forced and arranged marriages and always blamed the system for not putting harsh consequences for the wrongdoers.
On March 8th, 2022, for International Women’s Day, we organized a panel discussion on “Rising Secularism, Challenging Islamism” in several countries: Canada, England, Sweden, Germany, France, and Afghanistan. He was invited to participate as a speaker. As soon as he received the invitation, he called to say he was delighted with the title of the panel and very pleased with the composition of the participants. (Participants were mixed gender). He liked the idea of men speaking on Women’s rights on International Women’s Day. Due to the situation in Iran, the conversation lasted over 45 minutes. He stated that all his life, he believed that Islam can be reformed but with the revolutionary uprising in Iran led by women, he realized that he was wrong. He was fascinated by the movement of women and men side by side, fighting against the Islamic Republic of Iran and chanting, “the time is over for the reformist, and the fundamentalist” while burning their compulsory Hijabs.
He was confident that the rise of secularism will be the end of Islamism not only in Iran, and the Middle East but also in the West too. For more information about his speech and the panel visit www.nosharia.ca
While activists fled from Iran and were busy with the revolutionary uprising led by women, on January 3, an Islamic Scholar Sheikh Tariq Abdelhaleem called on all Muslims to learn from the Taliban.
After long discussions with the activists of “The International Campaign for One Secular School System” Tarek too agreed that the only way the members of society can be safeguarded from the rise of Islamists in Canada, is for Ontario to adopt a bill such as “Quebec’s Bill 21 law”. For more information, about the meeting discussion please follow this link below in the Toronto Sun.
A few weeks ago, I called Tarek to let him know about the Charter of the Minimum Demands of Iran’s Independent Trade Unions and Civic Organizations.
He was not feeling well but he wanted to be involved in the revolutionary uprising in Iran.
He was very pleased with the following demand in the charter:
“Unconditional freedom of belief, expression and thought, freedom of the press, political parties and local and national labour and grassroots groups, freedom to organise, strike and demonstrate, and freedom of social media, as well as audio-visual media.” Without hesitation Tarek stated that “we don’t have this in Canada” he then added, as day by day this act of freedom of expression in Canada gets limited by Islamophobic acts and now by the Trudeau appointed Hijabi Islamic activist Amira Elghawa, we in Canada must say so long to freedom of expression.
Tarek voice has now been silenced but never forgotten.