Shiekh Faisal Hamid Abdur-Razak
TORONTO — Death to sinners. That is the religious message brought to you by YouTube. Homosexuals and adulterers, you’d better start running because it’s directed at you.
Don’t believe me? Well, plenty of people watched Wednesday as Sheikh Faisal Hamid Abdur-Razak put his death by stoning show on the digital high road courtesy of the Internet.
A YouTube video featuring an insightful look at the ideas of the Brampton, Ont., preacher who stated that “sinners,” as defined by his own interpretation of Islamic law, can benefit from a jolly good stoning was running all day until it was belatedly taken down.
The sheikh explained that a Muslim who is sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia law actually benefits from this gruesome punishment as her soul is being purified even as the stones rain down on her sinful head.
It would possibly be funny if it were in a Monty Python movie. Almost, but not quite. There is no joke to be had in a medieval form of punishment like stoning. Nor should it be condoned.
Alas, it might be more widely spread than most Canadians would believe.
In 2010 the Pew Research Centre in Washington published the results of an extensive poll of Middle East countries and tapped into their views of modern life.
According to the results, at least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan say they would favour making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion.
Majorities of Muslims in Jordan and Nigeria also favor these harsh punishments. Thankfully none will be proscribed in Canada because we are a free, open and tolerant society that will never become a theocracy where common law is subjugated to religious dogma.
Being free, open and tolerant also means that people such as Sheikh Faisal Hamid Abdur-Razak can take advantage of free speech to spread their own version of moral purification.
This from a man who serves as both president of the Islamic Forum of Canada and vice-president of the Islamic Council of Imams of Canada. Attempts were made to contact the sheikh for comment for this article but they were unsuccessful.
Still, that doesn’t mean we have to withhold our own opinion.
We can surely ask just why a clearly inflammatory piece of speech like that delivered by the sheikh is hosted on the popular video-sharing site. It’s got company, too.
It doesn’t take long to find plenty of disgusting material on YouTube that makes it less of a social site than a sewer of hate and bloody gore, most of it carried out in the sacred name of religion.
There are endless images of gruesome hangings, stonings, executions, assaults, assassinations, shootings and so-called honour killings.
It says a lot about the warped values of YouTube that it will vigorously protect the copyright of Saturday Night Live when an illegal video of a skit from the show is posted but let vivid examples of man’s inhumanity to man be run in all its glory.
A quick YouTube search reveals an alarming number of terrorist training videos from al-Qaida side by side with executions by Al-Shabaab and hate-filled sermons from across the globe.
This is despite YouTube’s insufferably smug claims that it has “community guidelines” that prohibit “dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech and incitement to commit violent acts” and only accepts “religious” films.
If you believe that, then you’ll also believe that a video snuff movie features people sneezing.