I went to meet a couple of friends downtown to watch Mission Impossible 3. As we were walking down University Ave., I started to hear shouting and chants. We looked at each other - the chants sounded familiar. Could it be ... Arabic? And why were there so many policemen on the road, blocking off lanes?
Then they came into view. Marching straight beside Mt. Sinai Hospital, where it says "Quiet Zone", came hundreds of men in white tunic and green turbans, followed by women in jilbabs pushing prams with kids in tow, marching and chanting.
As we watched, puzzled, the march was led by a car with speakers attached to its roof, and we could see a guy inside, with a microphone in hand, screaming what sounded like nasheeds. And following the car was a marching band!
Apparently, someone forgot the memo from Saudi clerics that musical instruments are banned. Or are drums the new dafs?
But what were they protesting/marching about? As far as I could remember, the Danish cartoons were a distant issue, and we Muslims have it pretty good in Canada. Especially South Asians. Then came the banner.
Wait a minute - celebrating a birthday? Lost that memo too?
Honestly, Satan is very creative. A female Muslim ex-blogger and MSA exec of UofT once commented that the Ummah seems to have a lot of time on their hands. Looking at this march, I can't help but think she was right. We have so many issues to deal with. The lack of spaces allotted to women in the mosques. The false interpretation of Islam by many clerics. The oppression of women in our rural communities. The false cultural dogma that colours our religion. The awful treatment of expatriate workers in the Arab world.
It's hard to solve those problems. It's impossible to criticize our clerics. It's much easier to grab a 'I Love Muhammad (s)' sticker and go marching. So go ahead, pick up a placard.
As one Saudi girl who was with my friend remarked, "You know, I am an observant Muslim, but when I see stuff like this [women screaming at the top of their lungs that Muhammad(s) is protection against all evil and sicknesses - shirk in my book] and that if I were non-Muslim, I would think Islam is so-uncool."
Satan is indeed creative.
These tourists got more than what they paid for.
Tags: Toronto Muslims