§ How is it possible that books that advocate violence and extremism meet the "selection criteria" of the Ottawa Public Library, but those that speak out against violence and extremism do not?
§ The presence of these Islamic books, and these books alone, in Canada's public libraries, without any others to contradict them, gives them legitimacy. They are seen to represent a certain form of Islam that the government of Canada and the City of Ottawa recognize.
§ This indicates that there is official support for the extremist and terrorist version of Islam, and at the same time no support for a humanist interpretation of Islam.
§ This surah [4:74] also indicates that if you are a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country, then you are in a state of war against your host country. If you are a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country, then you are living with the enemy.
§ If we are to reject this danger, it is important that libraries and other institutions have books that reject these Islamist views and confront their hatred, extremism and violence.
The Muslim Brotherhood classifies as one of their great intellectual leaders Imam Mohammed al-Ghazali (1917-1996). He famously decreed that the assassination of the Egyptian Muslim thinker, Farag Foda, was acceptable. In the views of al-Ghazali, Farag Foda was an apostate for defending secular values and human rights. Moreover, al-Ghazali went into an Egyptian court and defended the assassins: "Anyone who openly resisted the full imposition of Islamic law," he said, "was an apostate who should be killed either by the government or by devout individuals." He added: "There is no penalty in Islam to kill the apostate by yourself when the government fails to do so."
In public libraries across Canada (and elsewhere), the books of Imam al-Ghazali are available, along with others that incite hatred, violence and terror, by authors such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Imam Nawawi. There is not a single Arabic language book in a library that I have visited in Ottawa that attacks or criticizes terrorism and violence and hatred.
A copy of One Hundred Questions in Islam by Dr. Muhammad al-Ghazali, found in the Ottawa Public Library. The image at right shows the inside cover of the book, with the Ottawa Public Library Stamp.