This week, Canadians observed the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. For Sikh Canadians and Jewish Canadians alike, the Day of Remembrance has particular resonance. That our two communities have shared experience in facing terrorism was pointedly on display during the 2008 Mumbai attack.
Freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are rights that are so fundamental to the maintenance of democratic principles of state that it calls for a fervent protection of the rights of atheists and religious persons, alike. The rights of atheists and the rights of religious persons ought not to entail persecution of said persons.
In the United States gruesome murders are common and merit only passing attention. In a shooting spree, also in April, three people were killed at a Jewish community centre near Kansas City. The media did not mention the religion of the accused. Had they been Muslim their religion, and perhaps Muslims in general, would have been maligned.
With every day that passes, the Nigerian schoolgirls could be moving further into dangerous territory of all kinds. Exploitation like the kinds they may be facing can have intensely disturbing effects on a child's social, emotional cognitive and spiritual well-being -- as well as their long-term development.
As I write this, the swell of a Western grassroots outcry against the Nigerian outfit, Boko Haram, appears to be forming across social media. There's a specific aspect of war crimes which it is necessary to emphasize, and that's the use of sexualized violence against women as a tool of war. Can we all agree to stop using the phrase "the forcible sale of women into marriage"? Church bells and nuptials this is not. It's profiteering from rape in a triple currency which is simultaneously economic, military and psychological in nature.
Groups like the Tamil Tigers intimidated, assaulted and extorted Tamil-Canadians to provide financial support to the Tigers. Babbar Khalsa, a Sikh separatist group, also continued recruiting and fundraising within the Indo-Canadian community despite its sponsorship of the 1985 Air India bombings that killed 331 people.