On Tuesday January 12 the International Legal Forum was honored to host Raheel Raza, a Muslim Pakistani journalist, author, public speaker, and interfaith discussion leader, currently from Toronto, Canada. The evening focused on Radical Islam, democratic values, and human rights as well as a discussion about Western “politically correctness” and how its shekels prevent many of us from dealing with problems head on.
As part of the ILF’s goals to build a global coalition comprised from lawyers, organizations and activists who share its values and wish to fight for similar causes, the ILF is proud to cooperate with Mrs. Raza and assist her in having her unique and important voice heard.Raheel Raza is a fierce activist for human rights, and unequivocally condemns terrorism and all violence in the name of religion, and in the name of Islam in particular. As an inseparable part of this world view Raza also stands out for Israel, its right to exist, its democracy, its fight against radicals and the battle against the unjust discourse it this regard. According to Raza, “Israel is the only community that really understands the dangers of Radical Islam”.
Israel has been on the front lines of the battle against radical Islam for many years, a problem which swept through the Middle East, expanding and taking over countries like Pakistan and Iran in the last half a century, and is now threatening Europe, the U.S, Canada and other Western countries.
The ILF and Raheel Raza are working towards a common objective, defending human rights and leading a battle against radical Islam, while attempting to create a more open and honest discourse about these issues.
Earlier that day, the ILF brought Raza to participate in a conference in the Knesset, titled “advancing a culture of peace in the Middle East”. The conference included many other religious leaders from various parts of the world, including Imams, Sheikhs, Druz leaders, Rabbis and other politicians, activists etc. Raza later compared the gathering to a meeting of all the best doctors who are all looking for a cure to “the disease”, but no one is saying what “the disease” is. All are looking to solve the conflicts, but no one was calling the problem by its name. Raza noted that “unless we put Radical Islam in the center of the table we are never going to solve the problem”.
During her talk Raza touched on her youth in Pakistan where she grew up. At that time the Muslim community was much more open, however when the Saudi Wahhabi influence started to expand in the country and religious leaders made radical and provocative statements, people looked the other way. This, in her opinion, is what allowed radical Islam to spread. That is why she is targeting what she considers to be 75% of Muslims in western countries who aren’t radical, but are scared to speak out – to ensure that radical Islam does not continue to spread.
“They (radical Muslim leaders) know exactly how far they can go under the Hate Law. They use the very freedoms that they then target.” The danger of these provocative messages is that they then also influence the future generation. As Raza said “No one is born a terrorist. It is something that has to be taught.”
Raza believes that the radical leaders are not promoting Islam, but their own personal radical philosophies. Therefore “It is extremely important that non-Muslims are able to differentiate between the core root of Islam, most of which promotes humanitarian and peaceful messages, and the radical messages being promoted by radicals.” Raza added that we must “isolate the virus, and then target it.”
The ILF will continue to work together with Raheel Raza and is planning to bring her message to the EU Parliament as well as to other parliaments, Medias and policy makers around the world. Together with her and other individuals and organizations we will change the discourse of human rights.