"We welcome you. We love you. We support you — we believe in your rights."
When I was a young child I remember watching my dad as his headaches would start. His eyes would begin to glaze over. In those moments, my dad would regress to a terrified six-year-old boy, speaking in whispered tones in his native Yiddish, begging his sister to be quiet as they hid from the Nazis in a Belgian church.
Unfortunately, the absence of a clearly identified clergy in the Muslim world (particularly in the Sunni world) does not favour a reform of Islam. To reform this religion, the various representatives of Islam all around the world should cooperate, coordinate their action to find common ground on major issues.
If it is not right to host Islamophobic or white supremacist speakers, then it is not right to host Muslim supremacist, homophobic and transphobic speakers. Indeed, all zulm (oppression) is connected. Muslims overwhelmingly condemn ISIS. However, according to Muslim human rights activist, Shafiqah Othman Hamza, it is not enough to quote Qur'anic verses on peace while ignoring the systemic persecution and discrimination of minorities.
There needs to be a concerted effort to confront the rise of prejudice that was encouraged by the Conservatives in their bid for re-election. Although Steven Harper has been defeated, the lingering "permission" given to bigotry needs to be challenged in every workplace and community across Canada. Canadians have never been immune to the corrosive influences of racism and anti-Semitism. At this point in history we are called upon to specifically challenge Islamophobia. The fact is that our Muslim brothers and sisters have been made to feel defensive about their faith and unsure of how their neighbours accept them.
While we may find that there are some dangerous strangers, to decide that we should make negative assumptions about everyone we do not know is downright foolish. It is time to go back to celebrating the fact that our Canada is a welcoming and tolerant country in which we raise our children to respect and include all of us.
Kim Davis, claimed that her "conscience will not allow" her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples -- In late August, a Calgary a bus driver named Jesse Rau refused to drive the Calgary Transit's rainbow bus. Both individuals raised religious objections. These are interesting normative positions. Can an individual refuse to obey a law if it conflicts with their personal interpretation of a religion? Does it matter if the individual is an elected official or a private citizen? To sort this out, let us engage in a thought experiment.
Often two individuals or groups who detest each other have more in common than they'd like to admit. Islam's lunatic fringe and their comrade Islamophobes are such bedfellows. And their supporters, who intellectualize to legitimate their xenophobias are just as much mirror images of each other.
Horrific and murderous events in France and Nigeria have, once again, led us to examine the relationship between religion and violent conflict. But this framing, while commonplace, is simplistic and incorrect. The religious texts and teachings of spiritual leaders from any major religion are resolute in their condemnation of violence as a means to fulfilling objectives of any scale. When reviewing the source material one finds there is no rational relationship between religion and conflict. In fact, religion is a pretext for cooperation, not conflict.
Perhaps there is an element to which the Conservatives truly believe they are fighting a cultural and religious practice that they find repugnant. Even still, that seems far beyond the point, as has been stated many times by various commentators: a conservative man forcing a woman not to wear a niqab is effectively the same violation of her liberty as a conservative man forcing her to wear the niqab. What could be more Canadian than including someone's harmless religious practices in a citizenship ceremony, or really any other facet of public life?