by Tarek Fatah
For the last 30 years I have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the victims of the bloodthirsty Ayatollahs who run and rule the Islamic Republic of Iran.
A close friend is a Torontonian who has never met his youngest sister, born after he fled Iran through Pakistan’s Balochistan mountains, then to India, only to find refuge in Canada.
Another colleague, who today works for the Canadian Labour Congress, fled on foot over the Kurdish mountains, ducking bullets from pursuing hit squads of the Islamic regime known as Pasadran, or the “Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.”
A Tehran broadcaster tells me harrowing tales of how she escaped with two young boys to end up in Turkey.
At least one friend I know was so brutalized in the Islamic prisons of Iran, he committed suicide in Pakistan.
More than three million Iranians fled the rise of Islamism in their country. From Royalists to Marxists, trade unionists to artists, old and young — the regime shed them like an ogre spitting out seeds while devouring a juicy watermelon.
So when Ottawa decided to expel the representatives of the Ayatollahs from Canada, I thought most Iranian-Canadians would burst out in joy and celebrate the ultimate insult to their enemy.
I was wrong.
Some did rejoice, like the brave Homa Arjomand who led the fight against Sharia Law in Canada, but too many prominent Iranian-Canadians criticized Canada for taking on Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Even Iranian-Canadian broadcaster Jian Gomeshi questioned Ottawa’s decision.
Some have said they would not be able to go on family vacations while others suggested Prime Minister Stephen Harper had become a sidekick of Israel. Few voiced their opinions as Canadians; almost all spoke as if they were first and foremost Iranian.
It seems 30 years of Iranian brutality has paralleled 30 years of Canadian multiculturalism. A policy that asks newcomers to resist assimilating into Canada while encouraging them to cling to their “tribe.”
Many of my friends were unwilling to sacrifice a vacation or Tehran’s famous baklava to stand in solidarity with Canada.
On the day after the mullahs left, and noticing the trend among Iranian-Canadians, I tweeted: “Iranian-Canadians, burn your Iranian passports. Burn them now if you wish to be counted as Canadians.” The reaction by some was outright racist.
One fella replied: “Oh I get it.. your (sic) a Pakistan Muslim, that’s really an Indian Hindu/Sikh… hahaha. How miserable are you?”
Another, an Iranian activist who could face a public hanging in Iran for his sexual orientation, mocked Canada: “I am immensely proud of my Iranian heritage, always will be.”
I asked him “if your primary identity is Iranian, why did you beg to come to Canada? You should have stayed back.” He did not respond.
At a time when other Canadians have given their lives fighting the scourge of Islamist jihadism, is it too much to ask for Muslim Canadians to be with Canada, not where they were born?
The government of Canada has rightly identified the Islamic Republic of Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism which has repeatedly circumvented UN sanctions, and as Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said, is “the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”
All of us — regardless of political stripe, of Iranian or Irish ancestry, should back our government in its courageous stand against Iran.