Steve Rockwell may be the unlikeliest name ever for a Muslim cleric--it reminds one of those old square-jawed comic book heroes (like, say, Flash Gordon or Steve Canyon; alternatively, he could be a character on The Flintstones). But a cleric he is, and a very vocal one at that. In today's Toronto Sun, Farzana Hassan devotes her latest column to the man and his subway "mission":
A fresh attempt [to fight Islamophobia] is a TTC ad campaign launched by imam Steve Rockwell, a convert to Islam from Christianity.
He says he is a disciple of Ahmed Deedat, a Muslim active until the nineties in ecumenical dialogue with Christians, but also with a well-known policy of spreading Islam through the Western world.
Rockwell hosts a weekly television program called “Call of the Minaret”, which he says invites viewers to see Islam in a dispassionate light, by shedding all their prejudices.
It addresses what Rockwell says are “misconceptions” about Islam.
Rockwell’s organization “Muslims Against Terrorism” also claims to fight terrorism on behalf of all Canadians – including non-Muslims.
It has posted an ad inside a Toronto TTC station stating: “Any Muslim who hurts Canada or a Canadian is an enemy of Islam”.
That may be a potent statement opposing Islamist terrorism, depending on exactly what it means.
Rockwell should clarify whether his priority is to defend Canadians or Islam – and how.
The ad goes on to state: “We, the Muslims of Canada, want you the Canadian to know that we will watch your back. We will do whatever it takes to guarantee your safety.”
That sounds more like a rhetorical statement, unless Rockwell is backed by a law enforcement agency.
He did say his organization, “if we see or hear of somebody going to join ISIS or commit an act of terrorism, we’ll call (the authorities) ... It is no pleasure to the Muslim community when a Canadian is hurt.”The problem, as Hassan sees it, is that his rhetorical flourishes are largely meaningless unless he is prepared to "specifically repudiate armed jihad in all circumstances" because "terrorism is inextricably linked to jihadism in the contemporary world." So far, Rockwell has not done so. Instead, he seems more concerned about Islam's "image"--as if the core problem was one of faulty P.R. (and not the jihad imperative being a core component of Islam):
Rockwell is forceful enough at elaborating his other intention: To protect and enhance Islam’s image.
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, he said, “I think Muslims in this country should not sit back and let the twisted view of Islam fly. From all the violence perpetrated by ISIS and the Taliban and Boko Haram, these are sensationalized by the media ... and with the few Muslims that are responding to them positively and joining (groups like ISIS), it gives a twisted view of Islam, and that is not what Islam is all about.”So what sort of "untwisted" Islam does Rockwell hew to? Well, it's not the kind I would term as "moderate". Here, for example, is part of my post about a debate Rockwell participated in on AM 640 (where he used to be a regular--and extremely, um, animated--guest):
I hope the Oakley Show will post the audio of the, ahem, lively discussion this morning between Ezra Levant and Imam Steve "The Splenetic" Rockwell. It was quite possibly the funniest and most flagrantly anti-Semitic hour of broadcasting I've ever heard. The imam was there to answer questions about that Muslim marriage guide which counselled mild to moderate wife beating. He did so by: claiming such words aren't part of Islam, but are "tribal"; quoting a Jewish prayer recited by men thanking the Almighty for making them men; insisting that whatever was in that book was borrowed from Jewish teachings/part of (surprise, surprise!) a larger Jewish conspiracy. The imam also gave thumbs up to polygamy in Canada, and claimed that Canada's Constitution is--I kid you not--based on sharia.
In other words, same old Imam Rockwell...And here, in its entirety, is another post:
"If Sharia Law Becomes the Order of the Day, Canada Will Be Truly Blessed"
Those exact words just came out of the mouth of Imam Steve Rockwell on AM640. The imam was arguing in favour of "multiculturalism" (the Trojan horse that abets the sharia agenda he articulated above).Now, it could be that since then Rockwell has turned over a new leaf and no longer wants Canada to be governed by Islamic law (which, as Mark Steyn writes,"is incompatible with [the American] constitution, as it is with the entire legal inheritance of western civilization.") My hunch, though, is that despite his honeyed "we've got your back" assurances, we're dealing with--say it along with me now--the same old Imam Rockwell.
Update: Is this a case of dueling Muslims Against Terrorism? On the Ceeb site, Syed Soharwardy of the Calgary-based Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (a name that always makes me giggle), is said to be the founder of Muslims Against Terrorism; Soharwardy has just has just issued an anti-ISIS fatwa, which I'm sure will hold great sway with young'uns racing off to join the coolest jihadis du jour. In this onIslam post, however, we read that Steve Rockwell is the president of Muslims Against Terrorism.
So is there one Muslims Against Terrorism, one founded by Syed and presided over by Steve, or two separate entities? Online I can find only one--the ISCC one. (On this site you will learn via another link that the final sermon orated by Islam's founder was the first "Charter of Human Rights & Freedoms.") But, truthfully, I can't imagine two such combustible and narcissistic characters as Syed and Steve joining forces in the same endeavor.