Yet Another Misunderstood Muslim

The Director of Point de Bascule, the well-known Canadian investigative site, was interviewed by Montreal’s LCN/TVA reporter and news anchor Michel Jean on February 15, 2015.

After the Montreal Outremont borough issued a press release Saturday morning saying it had made the decision that an event would not be held in the city’s cultural center following “disturbing information” broadcast on the TVA Nouvelles network Friday, the network’s investigative show J.E. said two fundamentalist imams — Salah Assawy and Omar Shahin —were leading an event organized by a Shariah Academy where diplomas in Islamic studies would be handed out.

Following this event, LCN/TVA’s journalist Marie-Laure Delainey interviewed, after difficult negotiations, one of the two leaders behind the shariah academy graduation event, Omar Shahin. Following the excerpt between Delainey and Shahin, Michel Jean interviewed the director of Point de Bascule to expose Shahin’s disturbing links with Islamic radical organizations and individuals who were directly associated with Osama Bin Laden, the late Al Qaeda leader.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for subtitling this video. Note: the original interview was conducted in English, and then aired with a French voiceover. As a result, the subtitled version is not a synchronized word-for-word match with the English that is sometimes audible in the background:


00:00   We are gathered here tonight to celebrate together the graduation of
00:03   the first group of graduates of the Islamic University of MISHKA.
00:07   MISHKA is an Islamic university and our goal is to convey the true message of Islam to the people.
00:14   Because, as we all know, Islam is misunderstood, really misunderstood. Islam is accused,
00:20   and we as Muslims, we came from all over the world, in North America
00:27   to appreciate two things: justice and freedom. We fled dictatorships and we came here
00:32   so we can value justice and freedom.
00:41   The freedom to practice our religion freely and justice because it is the crux of
00:46   what is the most important in our lives as human beings.
00:53   Because Islam is misunderstood, we have established MISHKA …
00:58   Islamic university in North America to teach the true Islam
01:05   The true message of Islam. To teach the Muslims and non-Muslims,
01:10   because there are many people who depict Muslims poorly.
01:14   Unfortunately people are starting to judge us due to the actions of individuals.
01:19   Question: Can you say that you disapprove of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, St-Jean sur Richelieu, Ottawa?
01:24   In every community there are people who represent their community poorly.
01:29   One cannot judge the entire Muslim community because of the action of certain individuals.
01:34   We as Muslims we condemn the killing of all civilians regardless of their religion,
01:39   color, nationality, and language
01:44   We condemn the killing of civilians, our religion, Islam is very clear:
01:49   He who kills anyone, it is as if he had killed all mankind.
01:59   If someone saves the life of a person, he saves the life of all mankind.
02:03   If there is someone who is Muslim or not, it doesn’t matter.
02:07   If he doesn’t understand his religion you cannot judge him. You can judge him, but not the entire community.
02:13   Because of individual acts. For your information I am a liaison officer between
02:18   the Muslim community and the FBI
02:22   I was also president of the Arizona Advisory Board and the leader of
02:27   an ecumenical dialogue group throughout Arizona, in fact in all the United States.
02:33   I am well known, I reach out, I open my heart to all those who want to work together,
02:43   Because we work together Jews and Christians, to raise money to give to
02:47   the poor people in need to save human lives
02:51   I believe we must work together but if you go on and you ‘google’ my name
02:56   that’s your problem, because if you say I’m extremist or not extremist.
03:00   Because what you see , what you tell me online, you must know the people,
03:05   I am an educator, I work in two institutions,
03:13   a theological foundation, I am also Director of Islamic Studies of Brander and
03:18   vice president of MISHKA
03:24   I am an educator; I do my very best to educate individuals about my faith.
03:29   I’m not an extremist, I work very hard, very hard to teach people what Islam is.
03:34   I give presentations to the FBI, police, pilots, the Marines, to churches,
03:39   hundreds of presentations on Islam.
03:46   to convey the true message of Islam. And if you ‘google’ my name, you will see that
03:51   I’m working very hard with the Jews, Christians and with people of all faiths,
03:57   all people, whoever they may be, because I believe in the brotherhood of humanity.
04:04   Let us work together instead of focusing on what is wrong, people’s bad gestures.
04:09   Let us work together and concentrate on what there is that is good.
04:14   We can do it. We can do better together; we can save lives together in order
04:19   to educate people about one another.
04:26   Question: Are you against Female genital mutilation?
04:31   I do not understand your question, so please… I do not understand what are you saying.
04:37   These specific questions, I do not think this is the time to ask such type of questions.
04:42   But if you look in my books, or other books, you will find all the answers to all your questions
04:54   easily. And there is no harm in having differences on specific issues,
04:59   particularly between Christians and Jews.
05:04   Even within the Muslim community there are differences between… maybe …
05:11   what you are talking about is a topic where there are really large differences of opinions
05:20   even among Muslims.
05:24   So the man we just heard is Omar Shahin. It’s one of two imams who are considered to be radicals
05:28   who will likely participate in a meeting that will be held in a building
05:33   that is the property of the city of Montreal, in the Outremont borough.
05:36   He was prevented from doing so at this location. The event was moved elsewhere and so now, those people, they came to Montreal…
05:40   The interview you just heard with him (Shahin) is an exclusive interview by my colleague Marie-Laurence Delainey
05:46   It was very difficult before to get Imam Omar Shahin to agree to talk with us. A lot of negotiations
05:50   took place before the interview. As she was speaking with the imam, there were people
05:54   filming our crew and therefore also during the interview.
05:57   The interview was done in a very difficult context and while it was being conducted,
06:02   and we clearly see that there are topics Mr Shahin does not want to address.
06:08   I am now with Marc Lebuis, from Point, who is an expert,
06:12   who follows such matters with great attention on
06:16   all issues that relate to Islamism, and he is with me, in our studio, to help us understand the person.
06:22   Hello Marc. Hello. So, we hear Omar Shahin who says: ‘listen, I’m a representative of Islam,
06:27   I am a teacher, I am an educator.’
06:32   These are words he used and repeated several times. Who is Omar Shahin exactly?
06:38   Omar Shahin… in the past he was at the head of an organization in the United States
06:43   that was called the Islamic Center of Tucson, in Arizona.
06:49   In the 1990s the Islamic Center of Tucson in Arizona is alleged to have served
06:53   as the de-facto Al-Qaeda headquarters in the United States.
06:57   Nothing less — nothing less. Many of the people who attended the Center
07:01   were known to have acted as
07:05   Osama Bin Laden’s secretary and another, a senior advisor to Bin Laden.
07:11   This is a partial description of the context, after becoming president of the Islamic Center
07:15   from 2000 and until to 2003 Mr. Shahin continued and did fundraising activities
07:20   for an organization that has been the center of media attention in United States,
07:24   because it was the most important counter-terrorism trial in the country’s history.
07:29   The trial did lead to the conviction of all those who were accused of terrorism financing.
07:39   So links with terrorist financing – so we are dealing with someone
07:44   who has been long associated with radical Islamism.
07:51   In its most classical form. He says ‘I work with institutions’, two institutions, and he said,
07:56   ‘I promote brotherhood and humanity’
08:05   These are beautiful words, no one will object to that. In fact, what does he preach,
08:10   what does he practice? What are his ideas, what’s the philosophy of Omar Shahin?
08:13   For example, if you go on their website, they are promoting a book
08:18   described as a shariah implementation manual.
08:21   In these manuals, and they are all quite similar — So when he told us earlier: ‘google my name to see what I do’,
08:26   and when we do Google his name we land on this website, and on this website we find this book.
08:31   And it is recommended – Yes, this is the organization he is associated with.
08:36   The book is also printed in Saudi Arabia and is also endorsed by scholars of Saudi Arabia.
08:42   What does it advocate? — Of course in these books (Sharia manuals) we talk about how to wage jihad,
08:47   how to fund it, and we are not just talking about inner struggle here.
08:56   We are talking about Jihad proper — Islamic Jihad — Islamic jihad. It also has prescriptions,
09:01   for example, when we follow shariah. it may be true, for example, that Islam does not
09:07   promote, let’s say honor killing, but in these Shariah manuals, for example,
09:12   what will be said is that in a state where shariah is the law
09:16   we do not condemn the parents who find it necessary to kill their own children
09:19   or their children’s children.
09:22   On this specific question, and Marie-Laurence (journalist who interviewed Shahin)
09:27   repeated the question several times: ‘do you agree or are you in favor of female genital mutilations?’
09:30   And then suddenly his English becomes inadequate, he doesn’t understand the question.
09:33   We don’t see it in the interview but she asked someone in his immediate surrounding to explain the question
09:36   in Arabic, and then he doesn’t want to answer the question.
09:39   What is the position of Omar Shahin on these questions?
09:42   In several of these shariah manuals, the position is quite clear, female genital mutilation is encouraged
09:47   and we can say that evidence shows in Egypt, and I understand that it’s about
09:53   90% of women there that have had a severe or less severe genital mutilation procedure …
09:57   — So clearly he is aware that this is not very popular to say this?
10:02   He may know it’s going against the choice of some women to get to that point,
10:07   and it’s always in order to be able to counter, to prevent women from bringing
10:16   dishonor to the family, and also prevent fornication. In order for women
10:21   not to cause fornication and so, the logic is that this will, in short, reduce their sexual drive.
10:28   So, in ten seconds, he was there yesterday, he is not the only one,
10:31   others will be coming and this type of character frequently comes here.
10:35   It is very common yet the good news, in this particular case, and I do not believe we should prevent them from speaking,
10:40   what is good is that our leaders and politicians can know with whom they are doing business.
10:45   Marc, we will have to leave it at this for now, thank you very much, very interesting.

For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.

3 thoughts on “Yet Another Misunderstood Muslim

  1. Omar Shahin exposes himself so blatantly as a lying [epithet], it surprised even me.

    He was asked two questions:
    1) Do you approve of the Charlie Hebdo murders?
    Answer: Blah, blah, and blah. There is no “no” in his reply.

    2) Do you approve of Female Genital Mutilation?
    Answer: I don’t want to get into specific questions.

    Could there be a slimier, more disreputable character who has the audacity to wear a tie and pretend to be an educator?

  2. Diversity at work in YOUR community! More like pluralism being annihilated by anti-pluralism. After all it wouldn’t be pluralistic to exclude anti-plurasm!

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