COLUMNIST Tarek Fatah passed away in Canada on Monday after a prolonged battle with cancer, The Hindustan Times reported, quoting a family source.

“Lion of Punjab. Son of Hindustan. Lover of Canada. Speaker of truth. Fighter for justice. Voice of the down-trodden, underdogs, and the oppressed. Tarek Fatah has passed the baton on… his revolution will continue with all who knew and loved him. Will you join us? 1949-2023,” Fatah’s daughter Natasha, herself a journalist, shared the news on Twitter.

According to Hindustan Times, he was born in Karachi, Pakistan before emigrating to Canada in 1987.

He was a columnist and radio and television commentator, both in Canada and abroad, with a huge social media following, the paper quoted the Toronto Sun as saying.

Fatah, who died at 73, was also a political activist with fiercely Right-wing views, and was often derided by Muslims around the world.

He termed himself “a secular Muslim” who clashed with Islamic ideology and was critical of Muslim states, especially Pakistan. He also authored books such as The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism, and Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State.

Fatah was a deeply divisive figure, but never seemed deterred by controversy. He was criticised for peddling ‘fake news’ when he tweeted morphed images claimed to be from a religious seminary, The Quint reported.

He was also a vocal supporter of several conspiracy theories, and often took up contrarian positions.

According to Scroll.in, Fatah supported Donald Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States. He was also beloved by the Indian Right, being invited to events such as the India Ideas Conclave and the Jaipur Dialogues, described by Scroll.in as “Right-wing intellectual summits”.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2023

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