ANALYSIS: Shooting The Messenger: Canadian Newspaper Does Hit Piece On Critic Of Islamism

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The National Post, a leading Canadian newspaper has published what amounts to a “hit piece” on the Point de Bascule blog, a French language publication published by Marc Lebuis covering Islamism in Canada and whose work has been cited many times here at the GMBDW. The Post article centers on Hussein Hamdani, an advisor to a Canadian agency similar to the US Department of Homeland Security who was suspended over ties that were first identified by the Point de Bascule and reported last month. In the Post article, titled “Hero or extremist?” the author asks “So who is Marc Lebuis, and who is behind his website?” The author then raises four issues about Mr. Lebuis that appear to us to be carefully constructed to damage his credibility. The issues and our response to them are as follows:

1) Anonymity 

The Post article says they tried to reach Lebuis through various means and were unable to do so and that there is no business or charity listed as Point de Bascule, or under Lebuis’s name, although the website does accept donations. The article also cited the clerk of the committee chair where Mr. Lebuis testified as stating that they had no CV on file for him. However, at one time the GMBDW and its editor were also anonymous, a position that we chose because of our experience of the length to which those we criticize would often go to harass and defame its other critics. At that time, our official position was that we would prefer to let the information we provided speak for itself rather than become embroiled in various smear campaigns. Since then we have reversed that position and now clearly identify the GMBDW editor and his qualifications. However, that was our personal decision so we can hardly fault Mr. Lebuis for choosing at least partial anonymity (unlike us earlier, his name is known and he appears in public). We would also point out the blatant hypocrisy of charging Mr. Lebuis with a lack of financial transparency. It has been our experience that not a single one of the organizations or individuals he critiques has ever disclosed any details about their own financing even though unlike Mr. Lebuis, who is a private individual, they usually aspire to speak for the Muslims in their community and therefore are at least morally obligated to be transparent. Instead, they hide behind the protections offered them by positioning themselves as religious groups despite their clearly political agendas.

2) No links to academic research

The Post article cites a local academic who calls Mr. Lebuis a ” “pseudo-expert” with “no links to “academic research.” Apparently, it is being suggested that only those with an academic background have the right to comment on Islamism, a requirement that would disqualify legions of those with much to contribute to the discussion (Not to mention the vast amount of drivel produced on the subject by many academics who clearly have never actually studied what Islamists actually say and do as opposed to producing ever new theories about them.) Using this criteria, every expert with a legal, security, religious, community or other such non-academic background would be disqualified.

3) Smearing of Islam

The same “expert”, whose own qualifications on the subject are not identified, asserts the following about Mr. Lebuis:

His modus operandi, like that of numerous anti-Islam bloggers and organizations based in the U.S., Mathelet explained, is to take anything problematic associated with Islam – like the Boko Haram or ISIS attacks – and link them to people in Canada.

The article then ironically cites the Executive Director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), an organization which has changed its name in a blatant attempt to obscure its real origins, who said:

…it was deeply troubling that the government would choose to act on allegations from a Quebec blogger rather than information provided by Canada’s security agencies. “At best, it speaks volumes of the low regard for security agencies that protect Canadians, and at worst it’s a political witch hunt based on innuendos and guilt by association….“Anyone who is an active member of the Muslim Community has a dossier on Point de Bascule.

This is a charge often leveled against critics of the Muslim Brotherhood who are sometimes said to using smear tactics by “playing “six degrees of separation.” While this charge often does apply to less responsible critics, see below, we have found that Point De Bascule generally does a responsible job of “linking” various groups and organizations to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas, an effort which is part of any credible investigation of covert or partially covert groups and organizations and which is taught in every training course for intelligence analysts everywhere in the Western world. In addition, a look at the Point de Bascule list of relevant organizations shows that while extensive, we find that every example with which we are familiar is indeed tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas and are for the most part are also listed by the GMBDW. The fact that so many “mainstream” organizations are found on these lists speaks to the strangle hold that Islamists have on Islam in the West rather than to any attempt to “smear” the Muslim community.

4) Islamophobia Network

The Post article cited the author of a report on Islamophobia to suggest that Mr. Lebuis “may be part of an international “Islamophobia network”, ironically smearing him with the charge but presenting no evidence whatsoever that it is true. The GMBDW also finds it ironic that such a network is cited and accepted without question even though its existence was established by means of the very same tools employed by Mr. Lebuis (and the GMBDW) to analyze the global networks of the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas, including link analysis, common funding sources, background of key leaders etc., Even the very idea that such a Global Muslim Brotherhood network exists has frequently been criticized by those who seemingly have no problem accepting the notion of a Global Islamophobia network. While the GMBDW accepts without reservation the existence of the Islamophobia network, and have at times been attacked ourselves by some of its leaders, we have never found that Mr. Lebuis has ever engaged in their reprehensible tactics of suggesting that any misdeed by any Muslim anywhere in the world somehow has something to do with the Muslim Brotherhood and/or is mandated by the Quaran.

We have written this uncharacteristically lengthy defense of Marc Lebuis and his work not only because we feel he has been unfairly attacked and maligned but because we also have at times been subject to the very same tactics employed in the Post article. There so few of us who attempt to take a principled position on Islamism, our voices often drowned out by the Islamophobia Network, that we were loathe so see this attack on Mr. Lebuis and his work stand without response.

Marc Lebuis
Marc Lebuis

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