What you may ask is diversity fatigue? It is the Herculian effort required by diversity practitioners to keep the momentum going through the toughest economic crisis since the depression. It is maintaining the gains with front-line managers (the so-called frozen middle) who ask "when will this diversity thing end? Have we not handled it by now?"
On February 15, 2013, Muslim students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, attended a Friday prayer service, seeking enlightenment and spiritual comfort. Instead they were delivered a Khutbah filled with offensive comments against sexual minorities and women. Unfortunately, the Cornell incident is not an isolated one.
The American Presidential election between Republican Candidate, Mitt Romney and incumbent Democratic Candidate President Barack Obama, takes place in only a two days on November 6, 2012. Its outcome may result in a remarkably different future for many. What happens in the U.S. affects us all -- both here in Canada and overseas. As a Muslim Canadian woman, I wonder, what is on the mind of a Muslim American woman right now?
The subject matter and plot of Innocence of Muslims are an abomination, deeply offensive to people who really, really don't need to be offended any more, particularly during this delicate time in their history. But I believe absolutely in my right to be offended. Which is the reason I simply can't propose that we lessen our democracies by banning any writings and films offensive to Muslims or any other religious folk.
I initially vacillated between addressing Westerners in this blog, to alleviate their fears that Muslims were all crazy, and addressing the destructive Muslims that were affirming by their actions the discourse of the very people they hate. Amid my vacillation I realized that either article would be written for me alone. Those enraged Muslims that believe the U.S. government approved the video are not online seeking out measured arguments. Nor are those who simply can't understand "Muslim irrationality." So to my fellow Muslims caught in the middle I would say that we can't spend all our energy, time and writing reacting, defending, and explaining.
Canadians who value tolerance, respect and harmony should not listen to the voices of people like Chris Selley of the National Post who wrote that the media should show clips of the anti-Islam film behind the outrage if it offends people or not. Why on earth would anyone go out of their way to screen this obnoxious product, unless it is to inflict further hurt on Muslims and inflame more anger? Those who are portraying themselves as advocates of freedom of expression are hypocrites in the highest order. Canadians should listen to balanced voices that bring people together at a time when hatred is taking its toll on humanity.
The man who "wrote" and "directed" Innocence of Muslims -- the same movie which has led to the deaths of four U.S. diplomats, up to 10 Libyans, four Yemenis, and one Lebanese in Tripoli -- in is fact Nakoula Bassley Nakoula, an Egyptian Coptic Christian living, or rather, hiding, in California. But what may help one better understand this artiste is to look at the company he keeps, namely, Pastor Terry Jones and Steven Klein.
It's said that a majority of Muslims have been hijacked by a tiny percentage of Islamic extremists. But it's also true that many Muslims consider the incidents of September 11, 2001, to have been staged by the Bush administration, the CIA, Jews, etc. The question arises as to why a majority of Muslims would assume that nothing bad could be delivered by Muslims? And why have many Muslims related all bad things to the United States, other western countries and Israel? Majority Muslims in the West should open their eyes and minds and get beyond the conspiracy theories.
An 11-year-old Pakistani girl with Downs Syndrome might be put to death for blasphemy. Killing people for expressing negative and/or dissenting views on religion, for burning Qurans, for writing letters -- is this Islam? No. In Islam, a law that penalizes a person for challenging or disparaging the religion -- is blasphemy itself.
One of the most effective ways to counter the rising anti-Muslim sentiment is not only through words, issuing statements and being on the reactive and defensive mode all the time but through a more proactive mechanism to show what Muslims are all about. The anti-Muslim prejudice can only be countered through active participation in the society -- something I witnessed on the last day of Ramadan, at the International Muslim Organization of Toronto.
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.
Yesterday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, seven people were killed and a number injured, including a police officer, when a gunman, named Wade Michael Page stormed a congregation of five hundred people at an American Sikh gudwara. While we and other faith groups dug into our hearts in this manner, the Westboro Baptist Church representative Fred Phelps tweeted: "Beautiful work of an angry God who told Wisconsin to keep their filthy hands off his people." No. Before we are Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, B'hai, Jain, Zoroastrian, Aboriginal, Wiccan, Humanist and Sikh -- we are human. God only cares about the way in which we treat one another.
You'd have thought Maclean's would have blazoned the death of Section 13 all over its front cover. With a massive headline along the lines of "SCREW YOU, CENSORS!!!" Or "WE WON!!!" Instead, the cover featured a generic picture of an innocuous youngish woman and an innocuous youngish man grinning maniacally and the silly headline: "The majority of us are singles. So why do we still live in a couples world?"
The most retrogressive segments of Muslim society often angrily conclude that reformist Muslims only speak from a position of ignorance when questioning orthodox religious practice. Progressive Muslims are ignorant, self-serving, heretical, and hypocritical according to these conservatives, who consistently accuse revisionists of being fifth columnists with nefarious ulterior motives.
If you obsess about Israel's supposedly murderous nature, yet feel neutral about Guatemala, Nigeria, Indonesia, Brazil -- each of which (though arguably not guilty of genocide) is responsible for the outright massacre of at least 100,000 innocent civilians -- then you are a bigot. You may not be an anti-Semite. But you have a problem with Jews.
Minister Kenney has worked hard to strike the right balance between promoting Canadian diversity on the one hand, and identifying the shared requirements and responsibilities of all Canadians on the other. Multiculturalism cannot condone breaking the laws of Canada, which no cultural or religious tradition can excuse. Honour killing is murder.