Tarek Fatah wrote a column in the Toronto Sun in January that tells me something I didn’t know.
One of the reasons I avoid attending Friday congregations at mosques is a specific ritual supplication uttered by Imams at many mosques in Canada and around the world, just prior to our formal Friday community prayer, the Juma’a.
In the supplication, the cleric prays to Allah for, among other things, to grant “Muslims victory over the ‘Qawm al-Kafiroon,’” the Arabic phrase that lumps all non-Muslims — Jews, Hindus, Christians, Atheists, Buddhists and Sikhs — into one derogatory category, the “Kuffar”, or non-Muslims.
Well that’s gross. For one thing there’s the lumping, for another there’s the derogation, for another there’s the “victory” – which, given that there’s not One Big War on with Muslims on one side and the Kuffar on the other, must mean domination. Imagine the yelling there would be if the pope prayed for god to grant Christians victory over the Muslims. It’s an ugly prayer with an ugly thought behind it.
This supplication is not obligatory. Not uttering this prayer would in no way adversely affect the holiness or solemnness of the collective community prayer.
I have long argued with my orthodox and conservative Muslim friends and family that at least when living among non-Muslims, we should avoid praying for their defeat at the hands of Muslims.
It’s not great when not living among us, either, especially since even majority-Muslim countries have plenty of non-Muslims in them. It’s even more bullying when Muslims are the majority, in fact.
He has friends who agree with him, but they’re afraid to act on their agreement.
Inside the mosque, I was hoping that in wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the cleric would have the good sense not to speak about non-Muslims as adversaries or enemies, but my hopes were dashed.
Far from condemning the acts of terror, the cleric, speaking in English, thundered that Islam “will become established in the land, over all other religions, although the ‘Disbelievers’ (Jews, Christians, Hindus and Atheists) hate that.”
It’s just bullying. It’s dominance-display. It’s nasty.
At the end of his “khutba” (sermon), the cleric repeated the ritual praying to Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims. That prayer is:
“O Allah, pour patience upon Muslims, strengthen their feet and give them victory over ‘Qawm -el Kafiroon’ (Non-Muslims).
“O Allah, give victory to our brothers the Muslims, the oppressed, the tyrannized and the ‘Mujahedeen’ (those who fight jihad against non-Muslims)”.
Then we all stood up in orderly rows, turned towards Mecca and followed the imam as he led us in the ritual prayer that is obligatory for all Muslims.
As I left, I knew I would not be returning to that mosque again.
Always jockeying. Give ME the biggest ice cream cone, give ME the best seat, give ME the adoration and worship, give ME authority and power.