What a wonderous world we live in!
Like it or not, we live in a world where people are increasingly being categorized not by who they are (as individuals), but by what they are (race, gender, religion, ethnicity, political ideology, etc.).
It is essential that we fight this category-based fragmentation of our society because if we do not, we will necessarily lose our individual identities – or even the right to aspire to our individual dreams!
That is why it is important that we help amplify the very voices that defy ‘neat categorization’.
Like, say, the voice of Tarek Fatah!
A respected commentator and a self-described moderate Muslim, he has been critical of those who try to force Muslims into a monolithic block, denying the individuality of the Muslims and their right to hold a variety of views, from religious to political to any other kind. Good on him for that!
Last Sunday (18th of November, 2012), Mr. Fatah had been recognized for his role by receiving the ‘Lion of Judah’ award from the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJC). Following the award, Mr. Fatah delivered a speech that, from all accounts (and I’ve heard a few) was at odds with the spirit of the event in that it denied the Jews that same individuality and attempted to treat them (as well as other members of our society, like, say, ‘conservatives’) as monolithic groups, reduced to simple ‘cogs in a machine’ and not the individuals that we all are.
In addition, Mr. Fatah’s speech appears to have been fraught with factual errors, like his claim that south of the border, the Republican party was against the civil rights of blacks while the Democrats supported them. (This is an often repeated lie, but even a cursory examination of historic data will demonstrate that during the civil rights movement in the South, it was the Democrats who were passing the racist laws and the Republicans who fought them…)
Unfortunate, to say the least.
For a first hand account of the event, with direct transcripts from Mr. Fatah’s speech, please, head over to BlogWrath.
Scaramouche has another eyewitness account of the event.