Tarek Fatah (Punjabi/Urdu: طارق فتح; born 20 November 1949) is a Pakistani-Canadian journalist and author. Fatah advocates LGBT rights, a separation of religion and state, opposition to sharia law, and advocacy for a "liberal, progressive form" of Islam. He calls himself "an Indian born in Pakistan" and "a Punjabi born into Islam" and is a vocal critic of the Pakistani religious and political establishment. To this end, Fatah has criticized the partition of India.
|Born||20 November 1949|
Karachi, Sind, Pakistan
|Occupation||political activist, writer, broadcaster|
|Alma mater||University of Karachi|
|Literary movement||Secularism, liberalism and progressivism within Islam, social democracy|
|Notable awards||Donner Prize, Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Book Award|
Fatah was born in Karachi, Pakistan into a Punjabi Muslim family which had migrated from Bombay to Karachi following the Partition of India in 1947. Fatah graduated with a degree in biochemistry from the University of Karachi but entered into journalism as a reporter for the Karachi Sun in 1970, before becoming an investigative journalist for Pakistan Television. He was a leftist student leader in the 1960s and 1970s and was imprisoned twice by military regimes. In 1977, he was charged with sedition and barred from journalism by the Zia-ul Haq regime.[better source needed]
Of himself, Fatah asserts:
"I am an Indian born in Pakistan, a Punjabi born in Islam; an immigrant in Canada with a Muslim consciousness, grounded in a Marxist youth. I am one of Salman Rushdie’s many Midnight’s Children: we were snatched from the cradle of a great civilization and made permanent refugees, sent in search of an oasis that turned out to be a mirage."
Tarek was a long-time member of the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) and ran unsuccessfully in the 1995 provincial elections as the party's candidate in Scarborough North. He subsequently worked for Ontario NDP leader, Howard Hampton.
In July 2006, he left the NDP to support Bob Rae's candidacy for the Liberal Party of Canada's leadership. Rae, a former Ontario NDP leader and Premier of Ontario, had himself left the NDP several years earlier. In an opinion piece published in Toronto's Now Magazine, Fatah wrote that he decided to leave the NDP because of the establishment of a "faith caucus" which he believes will open the way for religious fundamentalists to enter the party. However, after Rae's defeat by Stéphane Dion, Fatah condemned similar racial and religious organizing activity in the Liberal Party, arguing in a Globe and Mail editorial that Tamil, Sikh, Kurdish and Islamist Muslim leaders had engaged in "blatant efforts to wield political muscle," "bargaining the price of their cadre of delegates" and creating a "political process that feeds on racial and religious exploitation." "I respect the diversity of Canada," he wrote, "but I want to celebrate what unites us, not what divides us into tiny tribes that can be manipulated by leaders who sell us to the highest bidder."
At a press conference on 2 October 2008, Fatah sharply criticized the federal New Democratic Party (NDP). He stated that he was a lifetime social democrat who had supported the NDP for 17 years but that he could no longer be affiliated with that party. He claimed that the NDP began opening its doors to Islamists under Alexa McDonough and that, under Jack Layton, he had seen them "flood" into the party. Fatah stated that Islamists in the NDP have pursued a campaign to instill a sense of victimhood in Muslim youth.
In early 2011, Fatah said that he received a threat via Twitter. Fatah contacted Toronto Police Service and later met with two police officers from 51 Division. Fatah said that police intelligence officers, one a Muslim officer who had shut down a previous investigation into a death threat, shut down the investigation and claimed there was no threat. Fatah criticized the Toronto Police over the incident.
Fatah favoured both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders for the United States presidential race in 2016. He said that many Muslim groups, and he himself, have recommended curbs on immigration from countries that harbour Islamist sympathisers, similar to policies promised by Trump.
In February, 2011, Fatah was scheduled to have a debate with Sheharyar Shaikh of the North American Muslim Foundation (NAMF), after Shaikh issued an open challenge to Fatah to debate him. Fatah cancelled at the last minute and failed to show up. Shaikh, who had defended polygamy and opposed secular education for Muslims, was a critic of Fatah's views. Fatah stated that he had cancelled his appearance because the moderator was changed shortly before the event was to begin, and because the audience was "hostile". Fatah also claimed that he was warned by police of threats to his safety. Fatah and Shaikh later appeared together in an interview for Sun News debating the role of Islam in ISIS.
From 2009 to 2015, he was a broadcaster on Toronto radio station CFRB Newstalk 1010. As well as appearing as a regular contributor on the John Moore Morning Show, Fatah was co-host of the nightly Friendly Fire with Ryan Doyle and Tarek Fatah from 2009 to 2011 and from 2011 to 2015 he hosted The Tarek Fatah Show on Sunday afternoons.
Since 2018, Fatah has been a regular host of "What The Fatah" which is hosted by New Delhi Times on their YouTube channel. The talk show mainly focuses on the current International Political trends. It is widely watched in India, Pakistan and Canada
Fatah has been a critic of Pakistan. He has questioned the legitimacy of the state and has advocated support for Baloch separatists. He believes that after Balochistan wins independence, the remainder of Pakistan will reunify with India. In February 2013, after the website of the Toronto Sun was blocked in Pakistan; Fateh claimed credit. He rejects anti-semitism as incompatible with Islam and has supported Israel's "right to exist" and Zionist projects; he has however called for an end to the illegal and "immoral" Israeli occupation of Palestine and anti-Arabism.
In 2003, Fatah broke with Irshad Manji in an article in the Globe and Mail in which he repudiated the thanks she gave him in the acknowledgment section of her book The Trouble with Islam. Fatah wrote of Manji's book that it "is not addressed to Muslims; it is aimed at making Muslim-haters feel secure in their thinking." Manji replied saying that he told her in front of witnesses that "This book was written by the Jews for the Jews!" Fatah was subsequently quoted as indicating that he regrets his remarks and that he was unfair in slamming Manji's book. He said that she was "right about the systematic racism in the Muslim world" and that "there were many redeeming points in her memoir, which I overlooked in my rush to judge it."
Fatah has criticized the partition of India, calling the division of the country "tragic" and lamenting that his homeland of Punjab was "sliced in two by the departing British to create the new state of Pakistan." He states that the British partitioned India so that they might be able to combat Soviet influence through the establishment of British military installations in what was then northwestern colonial India (now Pakistan).
Fatah is a critic of Sharia law. In a discussion hosted by The Globe and Mail in 2007, Fatah claimed that "most of the Islamic radicalism that you see today stems from the empowering of Saudi based Jihad groups that were funded and backed by the U.S. and the CIA throughout the Afghan war against the Soviet Union."
According to the National Post he has also said "Islam is riddled with termites ... and if we don’t cleanse ourselves with truth, the stench of our lies will drive us mad", and that there are "hateful sermons in almost every mosque" in Canada – Fatah himself does not attend a mosque and encourages Muslim parents to keep their children out of mosques because they have become, in his view, schools for fanaticism.
In November 2011, 60 Muslim groups and two dozen imams endorsed a statement that called for action against domestic violence, condemned honour killing as a notion that had "absolutely nothing to do with Islam". Fatah refused to endorse the statement, according to the National Post, arguing that the statement didn't address gender inequality and that honour killing has roots in Islam. According to Fatah, Islam deems the relationship of an unmarried woman as "adultery" and imams must distance themselves from punishing such actions by death.
In April 2008, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) dismissed a complaint about allegedly Islamophobic articles in Maclean's magazine. However, the commission criticized the newsweekly for publishing articles that were "inconsistent with the spirit" of the Ontario Human Rights Code, and doing "serious harm" to Canadian society by "promoting societal intolerance" and disseminating "destructive, xenophobic opinions." Fatah said that for the Commission "to refer to Maclean's magazine and journalists as contributing to racism is bullshit, if you can use that word" and that the commission has unfairly taken sides against freedom of speech in a dispute within the Canadian Muslim community between moderates and fundamentalists.
Michael Coren, a critic of Islam, has praised Fatah for being "brave" enough to admit the "faults and failings" of Islam. Wael Haddara, president of the Muslim Association of Canada, said that he "respect[s]" Fatah for his passion but that it was "hard, if not downright impossible, to find something positive that he has ever said about Muslims." As a result, Haddara argues, Muslims are no longer listening to Fatah. Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, noted Fatah's views to be valuable but rejected his stereotyping of Islam by extrapolating from the behavior of a few extremists. In February 2007, Fatah was included by Maclean's magazine on a list of 50 Canadians described as "Canada’s most well known and respected personalities.". In December 2008, the Toronto Star suggested that Prime Minister Stephen Harper appoint Fatah to one of the vacant seats in the Canadian Senate. Toronto Star's senior editor Bob Hepburn wrote that Fatah is "A prominent spokesperson for secular and progressive Muslim issues who would bring a much-needed unique perspective to the Senate."
Tarek Fatah has been criticised for spreading fake news on multiple occasions. Amid the Delhi Assembly Election in 2020, he tweeted an old communally-charged video, and claimed it to be from Delhi. In Jan 2020, he tweeted another video of Burqa-clad persons dancing to a Bollywood number, hinting that the video is from Shaheen Bagh CAA-NRC protest, whereas, it was found that Fatah had tweeted the same video twice in the past. Because of his continued pattern of spreading fake news on Twitter, especially in sectarian lines, some critics have argued that he is an external agent who wants to create communal disturbances in India. Writing about his targeting of Indian Muslims, AltNews.in accused him of "blurring the lines between rational scepticism and contempt toward the Muslim community."
In 2016, after delivering a talk at Panjab University in India, he entered into a verbal altercation with some students. This was after he called a student from Kargil "a Pakistani Terrorist" and then called a Sikh student a "Khalistani". He also told a Hindu girl in the same event, "You are the real patriot because of your religion." He criticised the students for standing up to show respect when the librarian came in. He told them, "Indians need to stop giving such treatment to their seniors".
In 2017, Chicago based Indian Mufti, Yasir Nadeem al Wajidi challenged Fateh for an academic debate anywhere in the world. He expressed that "If Fateh really liked to debate Islam then he should debate with Nadeem anywhere in the world, owing to conditions including the presence of independent judges and at a public place not in a TV studio." Nadeem also started Surgical Strike, a talk show to debunk the ideas and allegations made by Fateh against Islam.
Muslim Canadian CongressEdit
Fatah was one of the founders of the Muslim Canadian Congress in 2001, after the September 11 attacks and served as its communications director and spokesperson until 2006. He spoke out against the introduction of Sharia law as an option for Muslims in civil law in Ontario, Sharia banking in Canada, which he has described as a 'con-job', promoted social liberalism in the Muslim community and the separation of religion from the state, and endorsed same-sex marriage.
In July 2006, Fatah was the subject of an email campaign at Canadian media over his views. Fatah resigned as the communications director of the MCC in August 2006, citing concerns about his safety and his family member's safety.
Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC)Edit
In October 2004 CIC President Mohamed Elmasry stated that all Israelis over 18 are legitimate targets for suicide bombers. Fatah, along with other Jewish and Muslim organizations, called on Elmasry to quit.
In June 2006, Elmasry said that Fatah is "well known in Canada for smearing Islam and bashing Muslims." Fatah responded that "[t]his is a classic threat to label anyone as an apostate and then marginalize them," ... "and this is what Mr. Elmasry has done by listing me as the top anti-Islam Muslim." Fatah said he saw the label from Elmasry as tantamount to a death sentence. Leonard Librande, professor of religion at Carleton University, told CTV News "There's nothing particularly Islamic in this… There are differences of opinion frequently in the community. It doesn't mean somebody is going to kill you."
Wahida Valiante, president of the CIC, told The Globe and Mail that "Tarek Fatah's views are diametrically opposed to most Muslims. There is a tremendous amount of discussion in the community. His point of view contradicts the fundamentals of Islam." Fatah wrote to the RCMP to complain about the CIC's article claiming that it "is as close as one can get to issuing a death threat as it places me as an apostate and blasphemer."
Chasing a MirageEdit
The Toronto Star reviewer John Goddard said that book was a "richly layered work of stark realities." Emran Qureshi in the Globe and Mail said that Fatah had provided a "substantial contribution to the critique of the Islamic state and the state of Islam, especially in Canada" but criticized the book for its "gratuitous polemics" and sloppy fact-checking. The book was praised by the Mackenzie Institute, as a direct challenge to the far-Islamist fanatics which deriving from the original texts of Islam, successfully argued about how the pursuit of a global Islamic state violated Mohammed's tenets. On 31 March 2009, the conservative Donner Canadian Foundation shortlisted the book for their $35,000 Donner Prize, awarded to non-fiction texts covering public policy.
The Jew Is Not My EnemyEdit
- Rahim, Abdur (19 September 2014). Canadian Immigration and South Asian Immigrants. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 978-1-4990-5872-7.
- An Indian born in Pakistan: Meet and chat with Tarek Fatah at Firstpost Salon this Thursday, Firstpost, 23 November 2015.
- "FACTSHEET: Tarek Fatah". Bridge Initiative. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
- Fatah, Tarek (5 September 2017). "Islamic world hypocritical about Rohingya Muslims". The Toronto Sun. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- "Death Threats Follow Anti-Islamist Tarek Fatah to India | Clarion Project". Clarion Project. 2 March 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- I am an Indian born in Pakistan, a Punjabi born in Islam: Tarek Fatah
- Fatah, Tarek (21 August 2012). "Pakistan: The demon the West created". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
- Fatah, Tarek (25 December 2018). "Memories of my first Christmas with Uncle Joe in Karachi". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
- Creet, Julia; Kitzmann, Andreas (January 2011). Memory and Migration: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Memory Studies. University of Toronto Press. p. 161. ISBN 9781442641297.
- Rouche, Elizabeth (24 April 2016). "Who is Tarek Fatah?". Live Mint.
- Fatah, Terek (23 January 2019). "FATAH: The bankruptcy of ethnic vote banks". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
- Tarek Fatah, "Faith no more—How the NDP's flirtation with religion pushed me out of the party," Archived 13 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine Now Magazine, 20–26 July 2006
- Tarek Fatah, "Race and religion at the Liberal Party convention" The Globe and Mail, 6 December 2006
- The Islamist elephant in the room no politicians will acknowledge by Barbara Kay, National Post, 2 October 2008.
- Tarek Fatah: Some death threats don’t count Archived 10 July 2011 at the Library of Congress Web Archives by Tarek Fatah, National Post, 4 March 2011.
- Tarek Fatah's threatening tweet By Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun, 8 March 2011.
- Tarek Fatah (13 October 2015). "Why this socialist will vote for Harper". Toronto Sun.
- Tarek Fatah (1 March 2016). "My 1st choice is @BernieSanders, but if he's not in the running, anyone but that crooked woman with a crooked laugh".
- Tarek Fatah (21 February 2016). "#Sanders is a real human being just as #Trump is for the GOP. I'm sick of the Teflon Clinton and Cruz types".
- Tarek Fatah (16 August 2016). "Trump's jihad against jihad deserves support". Toronto Sun.
- "Dailytimes | Tarek Fatah's musings". dailytimes.com.pk. 21 July 2014.
- "Cancelled debate highlights tension among Canadian Muslims". National Post. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Hume, Jessica (7 February 2011). "Cancelled debate highlights tension among Canadian Muslims". National Post. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
- Tarek Fatah & Imam Sheharyar Shaikh - ISIS & Islamic imperialism Sun News Prime Time 17 November 2014 (retrieved 12 May 2015)
- "NEWSTALK 1010 - Press Release". Press Release. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
- https://prism.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/handle/11023/2243/ucalgary_2015_perveen_zahida.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- https://www.linkedin.com/in/tarekfatah?originalSubdomain=ca[self-published source]
- Yelland, Tannara (13 February 2015). "Gone but Not Forgotten: the Greatest Hits of Sun News Network". Vice. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
- "Sangh seminar raises Baloch freedom cry". Telegraph India. 2 October 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
- Joshi, Manas (7 December 2019). "'Pakistan will disintegrate in 20-25 years', says Pak-born writer Tarek Fatah in 'Aap Ki Adalat'". India TV.
- "Toronto Sun website blocked in Pakistan: Report". Express Tribune. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- John Goddard (19 November 2010). "The Jew Is Not My Enemy: Tarek Fatah". Toronto Star.
- Tarek Fatah, "Thanks, but no thanks: Irshad Manji's book is for Muslim-haters, not Muslims"[dead link] Archived copy[dead link] at the Library of Congress (21 March 2006). (Fatah's criticism of Irshad Manji), Globe and Mail, 23 November 2003. Republished at Muslim WakeUp! last viewed 11 December 2006. See also Irshad Manji, "The trouble with à la carte critics" Archived 27 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine (Manji's response to Fatah), Globe and Mail, 2 December 2003. Republished at muslim-refusenik.com Archived 14 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine (Irshad Manji's official website), last viewed 11 December 2006.
- "The trouble with à la carte critics" Archived 27 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine by Irshad Manji, Globe and Mail, 2 December 2003
- Gora, Tahir Aslam (26 June 2008). "Canada's a centre for Islamic reform". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- Philips, Amali (2011). "Sharia and Shah Bano: Multiculturalism and Women's Rights". Anthropologica. 53 (2): 285. ISSN 0003-5459. JSTOR 41473879.
- KORTEWEG, ANNA C. (2008). "THE SHARIA DEBATE IN ONTARIO: Gender, Islam, and Representations of Muslim Women's Agency". Gender and Society. 22 (4): 448. doi:10.1177/0891243208319768. ISSN 0891-2432. JSTOR 27821662. S2CID 146561595.
- Fatah, Tarek (13 July 2007). "The question of jihad". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- Blackwell, Tom (27 February 2017). "'Your throat will be slit': Canadian's Muslim talk show in India triggers threats, a bounty on his head". National Post. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
- Daro, Ishmail N; Lytvynenko, Jane (1 February 2017). "Here Are All The Hoaxes And Bullshit Stories That Spread After The Quebec Shooting". buzzfeed.com.
- Lewis, Charles (28 May 2011). "Saturday Interview: Tarek Fatah rails against the corruption and dangers he sees in Islam". The National Post. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013.
- "No 'honour' in domestic violence, not part of Islam, imams to preach Friday". National Post. 8 December 2011.
- Joseph Brean (9 April 2008). "Rights body dismisses Maclean's case". National Post.
- Macleans 50 "Macleans.ca - Macleans50". Archived from the original on 24 February 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2007.
- "Filling the Senate: And the nominees are ..." The Star. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "'Your throat will be slit': Canadian's Muslim talk show in India triggers threats, a bounty on his head". News.nationalpost.com. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
- "Cleric announces bounty on heads of Tarek Fatah, Subhash Chandra". Times of India. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
- "Muslim organisation announces Rs 10 lakh reward for beheading Tarek Fatah". Hindustantimes.com. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
- "Bareilly-based Muslim organisation offers Rs 10 lakh for beheading Islamic scholar Tarek Fatah". The Indian Express. 25 February 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
- Chaudhuri, Pooja (27 January 2020). "Tarek Fatah - A case study of unrelenting divisive misinformation". Alt News. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- Kaur, Amanpreet; Rampal, Nikhil (15 January 2020). "Fact Check: Tarek Fatah loads up on fake again, drops a film clip to mislead on polio". India Today. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- Deodia, Arjun (9 February 2020). "Fact Check: Tarek Fatah passes off old video with communal slogans as recent one from Delhi". India Today. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- Chaudhuri, Pooja (28 January 2020). "Tarek Fatah, the unrelenting fake news peddler who targets Indian Muslims regularly". ThePrint. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- Pooja Chaudhuri, AltNews in. "20 times Pakistani-Canadian writer Tarek Fatah has tweeted fake news – often with a communal bite". Scroll.in. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Pakistani-Canadian writer Tarek Fatah at it again on Twitter". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Fatah Shares Old Video as Muslims Raising Communal Slurs in Delhi". The Quint. 2 October 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Row breaks out over Tarek Fatah comment at Panjab University". The Indian Express. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
- M Ghazali Khan (16 February 2017). "With His Challenge Being Rejected Mufti Wajidi Takes on Tarek Fatah on Twitter". Urdu Media Monitor. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- Ubaid Iqbal Aasim (2019). Deoband Tārīkh-o-Tehzeeb ke ā'īne maiN (in Urdu). Deoband: Kutub Khana Naimia. pp. 157, 165–166.
- Handler R Tarek Fatah and his case against 'radical' Islam CBC News 15 October 2008 (retrieved 12 May 2015)
- Fatah, Sonya (3 August 2006). "Fearing for safety, Muslim official quits". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Jimenez, Marina (28 October 2004). "Islamic leader apologizes but won't quit". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- "Threats force Tarek Fatah to resign from MCC". CTV News. 3 August 2006. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007.
- "Globe and Mail, August 3, 2006" Archived 24 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Sonya Fatah "Fearing for safety, Muslim official quits[dead link]", The Globe and Mail, 3 August 2006
- "Delhi Police arrest gangster hired by Chhota Shakeel to murder writer Tarek Fatah". India Today. 1 November 2017.
- Goddard, John (4 May 2008). "A moderate Muslim longs for a more spiritual faith | Toronto Star". Toronto Star. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Qureshi, Emran. "The state of Islam". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Alexander Mackenzie's Bookshelf, Newsletter July 2008 #73, The Mackenzie Institute.
- "Donner Book Prize". www.donnerbookprize.com. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008.
- Sicard, Sigvard von (2011). "The Jew is not my enemy: unveiling the myths that fuel anti-Semitism". Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations. 22 (4): 496–497. doi:10.1080/09596410.2011.606202. ISSN 0959-6410. S2CID 216152261.
- Bryson, Jennifer S. "A Jihad against anti-Semitism", First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, no. 210, 2011, p. 61+. February 2011.