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Gerrard Street Mosque Mural Fiasco

It was a quite morning in Gerrard India Bazar. Suddenly, I saw a Sun Media Van pulling in between a restaurant and the Mosque.

Later, I noticed two to three people walking around the mosque and talking about the calligraphy that was inscribed on the outer walls of the Gerrard St. Mosque.

I then saw Muhammad Saleem, a resident and a businessman at Gerrard St. approaching the Sun Media team and wanted to know what all about those movements.

Later, I learnt from Muhammad Saleem that Sun Media team was told by their columnist, Tarek Fatah that those words are Jihadi slogans.

Those words in Arabic with their roman pronunciation:

نَصۡرٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ فَتۡحٌ قَرِیۡبٌ ؕ

nasrun mina Allahi wafathun qarreebun

And the literal English translation: "help from Allah and a near victory."

I was aware of Tarek Fatah's column in the Sun Newspaper and his campaign against the artistic Mural calligraphy.

I was also shocked that how my country's media get trapped by the wrong interpretation of Islam by their own people, by my own people.

I pondered is that Mural based on a Koranic verses is just about Jihad cry?

I remember that I used to use the same Koranic phrase in my childhood while writing my school exams that always meant to me that I seek help from Allah in order to maintain myself successful in my grades.

I used to seek same help from my Allah before starting my kite matches.

This is a normal practice to many Muslims and other communities that they use some religious prayer to express their longings to things and feelings they keep dear to their hearts.

Yes, some Jihadis use Gerrard St. Mosque calligraphy as a war cry including Hizbullah alike but the biggest war cry is Allah o Akabar (God is the greatest).

These words ironically are the opening words of the Azaan (The Muslim call to prayers, raised 5 times a day everyday and everywhere).

So should we ban Muslims' fundamental prayer part, Azaan, in all mosques in Canada?

If this is the case then should we take down Islam's Kalima Tauheed from every Mosque in Toronto because it's used by Al Qaeda for their Jihadi rhetoric.

Should any organization composed of three to four people, based on their hyperbolic fears against Islam and a community of about one million, should ask Canadian Governments to ban all those basic religious slogans that don't mean Jihad actually but are used by Jihadis too?

If any organization for the sake of moderation of Islam is really sincere in terms of curbing Islamic extremism in Canada they should take some concrete actions rather than just creating scenes.

For instance, Progressive Muslims Institute Canada happened to stage a first-ever anti-terrorism protest outside Queens Park last June. That was a concrete step.

Other organizations, claiming they exist for the moderation of Islam should follow such footsteps.

The organization campaigning against Gerrad St. Mosque Mural has also used her hyperbolic attitude in order to create divisions amongst Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in the wake of that self-created controversy.

As a person who happened to live close to Gerrard India Bazar, I know very well that Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and others in that area share each other's religious slogans, feelings and celebrations as do people of all faith in India.

So no one should try spreading hatred and division amongst eachother.

Unfortunately, it seems clear that as Al Qaeda is using misinterpretation of Islam for their political purposes, by the same token pretentious anti-Alqaeda people are using Islam for their political gains and media attention by generating fear and misinterpretation in the name of Islam too.

The Mosque Mural on Gerrard is simply a piece of art and the spirit of the message should be "Help from Allah and near victory {success} over the hatred."

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