And, where is Maher Arar???
An amazing opinion piece in today's National Post about that supposed spy for the Israelis Mohammed Essam Ghoneim el-Attar who is on trial in Egypt.
El-Attar fled Egypt to escape persecution from family, friends and society at large, because he was gay. For being homosexual, he was disowned by his own relatives. His gayness had ostensibly brought shame and disgrace to the family's supposed good name. Only someone from the Arab world can understand what a gay man experiences inside prison walls. It is puzzling: Why did Arar choose not to utter a single word demanding the freedom of a fellow Arab Canadian who was going through the same travails he underwent in a Syrian jail?
Reports from Cairo have quoted experts on the Egyptian justice system as saying el- Attar's confession, while being held incommunicado for more than six weeks at an unknown location, should be treated with extreme scepticism.
"If you want me to be frank, 95% of the confessions extracted by Egyptian police are false. The defendants are forced into signing them, and there's only one way of getting them to sign. You hang the suspects up, and you beat the hell out of them," says Mahmoud Qatari, a retired police brigadier-general.
Maher Arar was not alone in the conspicuous silence that descended on the politicians and human rights activists on Feb. 14. Amnesty International was there; so was the Canadian Labour Congress. Both said nothing. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's followers in Canada at the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Muslim Association of Canada, had sponsored the event; but they too chose to stay mum, despite the fact Brotherhood members fill up thousands of jail cells in Egypt.
I wrote to the Canadian Islamic Congress, the Canadian Arab Federation, CAIR-Canada and Professor Tyseer Abol Nasser, who chairs the so-called Canadian Muslim Network and was master of ceremonies, asking them why they had not raised the case of Mohammed el- Attar. Not one of them had an answer.
Is it because El-Attar had "confessed" to being an Israeli spy? Or was el-Attar ignored by the Islamic groups because he is a gay Arab man?
The saddest thing about the event is the fact that both Arar and his wife failed their first big test as self-professed human rights activists.