Muslims are a marginalized group within Canada. We don't have access to political power in the way white people do, and we are in fact subject to stereotypes and demonization from political power and the media alike -- the collective blame laid upon Muslims legitimizes the idea that all Muslims should be punished for the acts of a tiny minority. Once this idea is legitimized, spates of hate crimes are committed and some Muslims end up feeling unsafe in their own communities.
In the wake of yesterday's mind-boggling announcement out of Quebec, we must ask: Why is there the need to accommodate religion in this way? I have never quite figured out how someone else's attire affects my philosophy. Seeing a man wearing a kippa has never pressured me to consider Judaism as an option for my personal philosophy.
Is domestic terrorism, instigated by white supremacists, such as Breivik, on the rise? Recently, more incidents of hate crimes are reported to be taking place, with alarming frequency. There have been at least seven reports of hate crimes targeting Muslims and mosques in the last 10 days in the United States. Here in Canada we look down at the U.S. and say, "well, everything is worse down there, more guns, more violence, more racism." Not so fast. According to Statistics Canada figures from 2009, the frequency of hate crimes are up.