Recently, Quebec has witnessed very alarming anti-Muslim and anti-Islam rhetoric that has led to moral onslaught against citizens of Muslim faith. The discriminatory campaigns against any group of citizens due to their religious or ethnic background will lead to unhealthy social harmony within any society.
A simple Google search reveals that Muslim leaders and organizations across the globe have overwhelmingly condemned ISIS. However, on various online forums the question remains, "Where are the moderate Muslim voices?" On closer inspection, online commenters are not concerned about the umpteen condemnations by Muslim leaders but by the efficacy of such efforts.
A ceremony designed to showcase our national values of freedom of religion, expression, accommodation and speech? Well, let's just say that this election year, the Prime Minister should focus on reaching elsewhere for points rather than conjuring fear from diversity at a time where cultural understanding and unity are desperately needed.
My name is Faisal Kutty. I am a lawyer, law professor, public speaker and writer. I write in response to testimony to your distinguished Committee on February 23, 2015 by a fear monger well-versed in McCarthyism, Mr. Marc Lebuis.In my opinion, Mr. Lebuis and Pointe de Bascule hold anti-Muslim, anti-Islam views. Often unable to identify real threats, they insulting law-abiding Canadians through innuendo and mischaracterization of tenuous or even non-existent links and associations.
Many Muslim communities around the world are calling the killing of three young Muslims at Chapel Hill a hate crime. Others are calling it a parking dispute, a sort of road rage over space. According to his Facebook page, Craig Stephen Hicks, the alleged murderer was a supporter of gay rights, but didn't seem to extend the same warm feelings towards Muslims and Islam. Why tolerance is higher for one minority group and not another has complex roots.
It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. The Prime Minister of Canada is deliberately stirring up prejudice against one group of Canadians for one reason only -- political advantage. The sad reality is that many Canadians and Quebecois seem to be vulnerable to embracing an anti-Muslim sentiment. We are all appalled by the brutality of ISIS, with their voyeuristic killing of innocent victims. The tragic murder of two soldiers in Canada has added a sense of vulnerability inside our own country. Stephen Harper's response is to declare that Canada is under attack by "global Jihadists" and introduce sweeping legislation giving new powers to CSIS.
It is mind bogglingly outrageous to learn that a Quebec judge would serve her own religiously discriminatory interests rather than promote the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms under which she governs. As a proud Canadian Muslim woman I firmly believe that we as a society are better than this and we need to speak out against discrimination under the guise of secularism.
Three young adults were killed in the Chapel Hill Shooting in North Carolina, 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. Two of them were a married couple that had only been married six weeks. Unfortunately there is a shortage of information on North American media outlets. To all politicians who have voiced a concern for the safety of Muslims, who have specified that the ongoing war on terror is not against the overwhelming majority of law abiding Muslims in our society, let us hear you speak. Let us hear you denounce this hate crime, you can start by calling it what it is.
Muslim scholar Afifi Al Akiti has clearly stated that there is no legal precedent in Islam on targeting innocent civilians and that Hamas violated this admirable precedent in 1994 by bombing a public bus in Jerusalem. We cannot forget news items like that of Hassan Askari, a Bangladeshi Sunni Muslim, who risked his own life to aid three Jewish travelers in New York from anti-Semitic assault.
There is no doubt in my mind that what happened to the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo was an unacceptable tragedy. Nobody should die because of their views.Still, despite the tragedy of the lives lost, I still cannot stand behind the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan. And the automatic herd of people rushing to back the slogan without applying critical thought to it or educating themselves about the publication is a deeply troubling phenomenon.
Now a few days after the horrific attack in Paris, hashtag #JeSuisCharlie floats about the Internet as a neoliberal nod of solidarity to those who were killed in yesterday's attack. While I see its good intentions, in the big picture this hashtag serves as a demonstration of alliance with that coveted icon of western identity: freedom of speech. But make no mistake, the reasons the perpetrators carried out this attack were more complex than simply freedom of speech. For what is pitifully lacking in most every media representation of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo is the historical background of what this attack was about.
Zehaf-Bibeau was driven by "political and ideological motives" in the murder of Cpl. Cirillo. Even before the day was out, our Prime Minister came out and labelled him a terrorist, without truly knowing who he was and why he did what he did. Knowing that Bourque intentionally targeted five Mounties, murdering three in cold blood in June, how come he wasn't (and still hasn't been) vilified as a terrorist?
Muslims are justifiably worried that we'll be implicated in the crimes of these individuals. But Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was still a human being looking for support from both his Muslim and non-Muslim communities. And although we'll never know the truth, it seems he eventually found his support on the Internet, which preys on the marginalized in our society. People want moderate Muslims to speak out and decry radicalization. And they do, but tweets and press releases are not always the answer because they don't solve a very real societal problem. There are unwell people out there who need our help. And they are increasingly showing up in our mosques.
When we, as atheists, say that Islam is the problem with the Middle East, we aren't saying that Muslims as people are the issue, we really are saying that the root of the crisis is the system of ancient, outmoded beliefs. Belief in Allah is not merely an identity marker, it is a belief that is acted upon, and criticizing this belief doesn't make one a racist.
Ali A. Rizvi recently wrote an open letter to "moderate Muslims." I'm not sure if Rizvi's letter was directed toward me, as I don't measure my faith in chicken wing flavours, but I'm going to respond anyway. Rizvi's good will doesn't last long as he immediately begins to lecture Muslims about our "increasingly waning credibility" in the West.
There are thoughtful and effective ways to look at all the facets of violence against women and it can certainly be done without promoting bigotry. For example, in March, the Ottawa Police, the Ottawa Rape Crisis, and Algonquin College partnered to put on a full day event on violence in the name of honour.
When I leaned over and asked a woman in a movie theatre to please put her cellphone away, she started yelling at me. She AND her husband called me an F'ing TERRORIST repeatedly. Does the colour of my skin or the fact that I wear a piece of cloth on my head make it alright to lambaste me in public in front of my child and her friends?
If the goal is mid-east hegemony, for example, manufactured hatred for Muslims (Islamophobia) becomes a necessary first step. The 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon created a huge shock on the mental landscapes of the U.S and the world. This shock created a collective numbness, and a window first for Islamophobia and then for military action.