A bnw portrait with a blue overlay with a backdrop of off white described by text in gray and warm red

FACTSHEET: Tarek Fatah

Published on 25 Mar 2019

IMPACT: Tarek Fatah is a Canadian writer who has consistently denied the existence of Islamophobia in Canada, opposes the niqab and has called for a ban on the burqa, and is a prominent opponent of Motion 103, which called on the Canadian government to condemn Islamophobia.

Tarek Fatah is a self-identified liberal Muslim who was born in Pakistan. In a 2017 article, he described Pakistan as a “genocidal (Islamic) state” he fled from to live in Canada.

Fatah has a weekly column in the Toronto Sun where he writes about various topics. Some of his articles include: “Don’t use divisive term ‘Islamophobia,’ expert tells MPs”; “As MPs look for Islamophobia, mosques continue promoting intolerance”; and “Mosque sermon calls on Allah to slay non-Muslims ‘one by one’.”

Fatah dismisses the term Islamophobia, and consequently, he opposes Motion 103, which calls on the Canadian government to condemn Islamophobia and recognize the need to “quell the public climate of fear and hate.”

On September 20, 2017, Fatah addressed the Parliamentary Committee on Canadian Heritage, on Islamophobia in Canada where he claimed that Muslims “mock Christians and Jews daily. When we read the opening words of the Quran that is the Surah Al-Fatiha five times a day, a minimum of 20 times a day, anyone who prays is mocking Christians and Jews.”

In response to a March 2018 incident when anti-Muslim activist Sandra Solomon ripped pages of the Qur’an, Fatah claimed that her actions were “derisive, uncouth, ill-mannered, uncivil and most certainly undeserving of the cross she proudly wears as a symbol of her faith in Jesus.” In the article, Fatah was concerned that Solomon’s actions gave fuel to those who say that Islamophobia does exist in Canada.

In response to the Quebec mosque shooting, Fatah falsely claimed the gunman, Alexandre Bissonette, “was not alone. His Muslim accomplice has been made state-witness to avoid talk of Muslim on Muslim terror.”

In an August 2018 tweet, Fatah likened multiculturalism to a drug, stating, “Once a politician gets addicted to its high, they are done forever; prisoners of overseas agendas that are hostile to Canada.”  

Fatah has been a vocal opponent to the veil and niqab since the mid-2000s. In 2006, he said that “wearing veils — whether as an expression of religious identity, or as a means of political defiance — is not in the best interest of Canada’s Muslim communities.” In 2009, Fatah criticized a Muslim woman’s refusal to take off her niqab to testify in court.

In 2013, Fatah wrote an article in the Toronto Sun titled, “West should ban niqab,” which stated, “It’s time to take the veil off the lies Islamists tell and to ban the niqab and burka from all public places.”

In 2010, Fatah supported Bill 94, which denied public service in Quebec to anyone with a face covering. Fatah regularly mocks women who wear the niqab or burqa on his social media and in June 2018, after Doug Ford was elected Ontario’s premier, Fatah called on Ford to ban the burqa forever.

Fatah has repeatedly claimed that the hijab is a “political flag of the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood.” In September 2014 Fatah tweeted that if a woman “is against ISIS, then she’d take it [the hijab] off.”

Fatah regularly accuses prominent North American Muslim organizations and politicians of being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. In January 2019, Fatah accused U.S. congresswoman Ilhan Omar of being a “fifth columnist,” and described the hijab she wore as a “Muslim Brotherhood flag.” In June 2018, he accused the largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group, the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), of being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2012, Fatah supported the right-wing conspiracy theory promoted by then-U.S. congresswoman Michelle Bachman, that accused Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abdin, of being a Muslim Brotherhood supporter. This theory was created by “misinformation expert” Frank Gaffney. In a 2012 piece, Fatah accused Abedin of “have[ing] affiliations with organizations linked to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood,” which Fatah likened to “a political aide of Henry Kissinger being the daughter of two members of the Soviet communist party politburo.”

Fatah supports U.S. President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and claims the ban is the fault of Muslims themselves as a “result of 15 years staying silent and hating US while lying that we don’t. Promoting Sharia, not Secularism.”

In 2010, Fatah and Raheel Raza, who sits on the advisory board of the Clarion Project, an organization that promotes anti-Muslim content,  co-authored an article in the Ottawa Citizen criticizing the establishment of a Muslim community center in New York, erroneously dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque.” The authors stated, “We Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel.”

After the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, Fatah founded the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC), an organization that claims to “represent the Muslims in Canada who are not currently represented by another organization.”

Fatah is an award-winning writer; two of his most famous books are Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, and The Jew is not my enemy. In 2007, he was included in Maclean’s magazine list of 50 most well-known and respected personalities.

This factsheet is published in collaboration between the Bridge Initiative and researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University. More information about this project can be found here.