It was an extraordinary--and, alas, extraordinarily grim--evening at Toronto's Shaare Tefillah Synagogue last evening. Under the sponsorship of the International Free Speech Society, a trio of alarm-sounders--David Littman, Bat Ye'or (his wife) and former imam Sam Solomon--informed the assembled (I'm not good at guestimating numbers, but there could not have been more than 100-120 or so there) of what fate has in store for them if nothing is done to defeat (because nothing short of defeat will do it) the resurging caliphate, which in our time bears the acronym OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference; caliphate, conference: same diff).
First up, David Littman. For many years now, Littman has had the challenging task (to grossly understate the difficulty) of speaking truth to power within one of the most disgusting, dissembling bodies on the planet--the United Nations' "human rights" arm. (First it was a "commission". Now it's a "council". But nothing has changed; if anything, it's achieved new heights--or depths--of Zionhass, which it dusts in a coat of sugary, high-flown "human rights" palaver). Littman, who represents a couple of NGOs, is like the sole sane resident of a loony bin, who is constantly pointing out to a less than receptive audience that it is unfair and just plain crazy to keep singling out Israel as the most ignominious, rigths-abridging place on the planet when the ones who are doing the singling out, many of them Arab and Muslim, have long ago signed onto a treaty, the infamous Cairo Declaration, that embraces sharia, a fundamentally inequitable system of Islamic laws. And, oh, yeah, having embraced sharia "rights," they trash the genuine rights of their own people left, right and centre. Littman says he's akin to the child in the Andersen tale, the still, small voice of reason who refuses to go with the flow and admire the Emperor's finery when the potentate is obviously naked. The thought that popped into my head as Litwin regaled us with his brave but necessary exercise in futulity: Speaking truth to power is difficult, sometimes dangerous, but often do-able. Speaking truth to irrationality, to lunacy: that's well-nigh impossible.
Next to speak: Sam Solomon. I had heard Solomon speak at that IFPS conference on free speech and freedom of religion held in Washington, D.C. last fall. As someone who grew up in Islam (I'm still confused about where the "Solomon" name comes from), he can literally recite the Koran chapter and surah--and does. And when he does, speaking in the loud, incantatory style of a Muslim preacher, I must say, I feel my entire body seizing up, and for a moment or two, I stop breathing: hearing German barked out in movies about WW2 often has the same effect .) Solomon said that the very idea of a "two-state solution" is ridiculous because Islam, and those who practice it, could never countenance something that is a 100 per cent violation of their faith. And the existence of a sovereign Jewish state, a state where those whom Islam reviles as the lowest of the low, the minions of the devil, the defilers and revilers of Allah's revelation, cannot--can never--be permitted. To do so is to repudiate Allah and his Messenger, simple as that. So to persist in the illusion that "peace" in anything other than the Islamic sense of the word (i.e. the peace, the big sleep for Western civilization, that will come once sharia law is installed globally) can be effected between Jew and Muslim is, well, barking mad.
Finally, Bat Ye'or. Ye'or is married to Littman, and, visually, they make rather a striking couple, in a Mutt and Jeff sort of way, he being so tall, and she being so, well, tiny. Vardit, who was sitting next to me, said she reminded her of another small ball of fire--Kathy Shaidle (who was there with her blogger hubby, the intrepid and indefatigable BCF). Ye'or's message was perhaps the grimmest of all. Essentially, there's a battle going on for custody of Chrisitianity. For Western civilization to survive, the Judeo-Christian construct, the one that gave rise to that civilization must continue. However, it is facing a bold and concerted challenge from the OIC, which wants to sever the Judeo from the Christian and create a Christian-Islamic teaming. In that way, it uproots Jesus--the Muslim prophet Issa--from his Jewish origin, something that lo these many centuries later still sticks in Islam's craw (if a religion can be said to have a craw), and makes him officially--and finally--theirs. Thus, the Christian-Muslim pairing isn't really a partership (since Islam does not accept the equality of non-Muslims, infidels). It is a ploy to de-Judaize Jesus, get the Christians (and especially the Vatican) onside, get rid of Israel (an impediment to their plans) and, eventually, ride the OIC stallion (charger?), the current caliphate, to global predominance.
If that's not scathingly brilliant, ambitious and terrifying, I don't know what is.
(Interestingly--and tellingly--Ye'or mentioned that this is the first time she's been invited to speak at a synagogue. "I've spoken at many chuches," she said, but, clearly, her message is too incendiary for most shuls--so a tip of the hat the Rabbi Stern for opening his doors to her and her co-speakers.)
As riveting as the speakers were--and, indeed, they were--for me the high point of the evening came toward the end. By then, the question period had gone one for around an hour, and many people had already left. Then--the next to last questioner, a large, somewhat chubby chap, white-haired, wearing a sky-blue shirt. "My name is Mark Harding," he said into the microphone. At that stage, I gasped. "Do you know who that is?" I said to Rochelle Wilner, who I had been chatting with at the back of the room. "That's the Christian guy who, back in 1997, was convicted of a 'hate crime' for speaking the truth about Islam. He spent time in jail, and afterwards they sent him to an Islamist imam for 're-education'."
Needless to say, after the program had officially ended, I sat myself down next to Harding and introduced myself. I told him I'd been writing about him in my blog. "What happened to you was a travesty," I said. "The government of Canada owes you an apology." He thanked me profusely, and we chatted a bit about his ordeal. "I don't hate Muslims," he said. He never "hated" anyone. As a Christian evangelical, he was trying to bring them to Christ by exposing the hatefulness inherent in Islamic doctrines. But back in 1997, several years before 9/11, warning people about Islam's designs on the planet--designs they have never kept secret--was construed as "hate speech." The Christian's "hate speech," not the Muslims'. Post 9/11, of course, Harding seems like a latter-day Jeremiah, as everything he warned about, including Toronto being a potential target, was completely borne out. At the time, however, the judge, a Jew, who was completely ignorant about Islam and its teachings, thought Harding was a raving loony, and sent him straight to the slammer. (He still has a criminal record, he told me.) "What about that 're-education' stuff?" I asked. Actually, he explained, it was part of his post-jail "community service." He was really only supposed to be licking stamps and acting as a general dogsbody for that Islamist racket, but the imam took it upon himself to include some, ahem, special lessons in Muslim scripture. Luckily, Harding told me, "God was good, and I only had to listen to it for an hour."
Update: LGF caught it on film (in London, the night before last).