Bigotry is a dishonourable Canadian tradition; it’s past time that it stopped

By Glen Argan

Words such as “Islamophobia,” “homophobia” and other invented “phobias” of the day, in my opinion, assume too much. They assume people become bigoted thugs because they are afraid of Muslims, gays or whomever.

It reminds of the time that a woman interjected into a serious discussion of some matter which I have forgotten and began shouting, “It’s fear; it’s fear; it’s all about fear.”

Well, maybe is not the result of fear, but of stupidity or of living isolated from people of different creeds, colours, sexual orientations, etc. Maybe it’s the result of unadulterated hatred at the world resulting from being raised in a dysfunctional home.

So, give the bigots their due. Don’t assume they are full of fear when fear may be the least of their problems.

Despite my ongoing concern with using inaccurate and laundered language as a supposed solution to serious issues, I see no reason to oppose Liberal MP Iqra Khalid’s motion to study systemic racism and religious discrimination and “develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.”

Given that six Muslims were recently murdered in a Quebec City mosque, passing such a motion would seem to be the least that Parliament should do. Khalid’s bill is not proposing to change the law nor do I think legal changes are needed.

On the weekend, my daughter told me of an incident her friend witnessed. A woman wearing a veil accidentally brushed against a vehicle near downtown Edmonton. The driver inside the vehicle was immediately enraged and began shouting at the woman, got out of the car and slugged her in the face.

Police were called, and two officers, one of whom was Muslim, arrived and took down the victim’s information. And that was the end of it. No charges, no other action taken. Of course, there may have been some mitigating circumstances, although it’s hard to imagine what they might have been.

It was a clear case of assault against a Muslim woman, and nothing was done. More laws are not what is needed; applying the ones we already have would seem like a good idea.

In this case, fear did not seem to be the issue. Irrational hysteria might be closer to reality.

It is an hysteria that is being stoked by too many politicians and right-wing media idiots, people who have nothing between their ears but straw and who pay no heed to the possible consequences of their incendiary rhetoric.

One candidate for the federal Tory leadership has said the biggest threat in the world today is Islamic jihadist terrorism. In Syria, perhaps. But if he believes this is the biggest threat to Canada, he needs to get a grip. In 2014 in Canada alone, 1,834 people died in motor vehicle accidents. The number of unborn children killed by abortion in Canada is unknown, but probably circa 100,000 a year.

In a sense, the current wave of anti-Muslim hatred is nothing new. It’s part of Canada’s national heritage. My grandfather, a Ukrainian immigrant, endured all sorts of garbage when he came to Canada more than a century ago. Germans were treated like crap during both world wars. Aboriginal people continue to endure outrageous discrimination and hatred even today.

My dad several times told me of witnessing an anti-German rally in Regina during the Second World War in which some German people were manhandled and run out of town. No newspaper reports followed that incident, he said.

That Canadians have been bigots previously is no reason to continue the tradition today. We need to come to our senses and realize that all people deserve to be treated with dignity.

3 comments

  • How does your daughter know that nothing more was done? Does she or her friend have access to Police records?

    What does Islamic terrorism have to do with abortion, and car accidents Glen? There is no rationale in this comparison. Let us work from a logical perspective. I realize that may be difficult in this scenario (high emotions).

    Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, and many others all came to the free western countries to search for a better life. Most of them did not come to the free world to change it into what they had left behind. Yes, some were homesick for the old customs, relatives and friends. They all came eager to meet the challenges of the new country, and they came to work. There was not much opportunity for welfare. They worked within the laws of their new country. They mixed, and intermingled, assimilated, and became people of the country they emigrated to.They wanted to leave the bad things behind. They knew what religious persecution was all about. They did not try to tell the new country that their customs must change to fit their religion. They adapted. They did not insist that Catholic schools, and Universities remove all symbols of Catholic religion. They accepted the laws of the new country. We do not have Ukrainian Law, nor German Law, just Canadian laws. They did not set up a section of the city by themselves, and make it a “no go zone”. They did not tell us that any display of Christmas, or that Christmas Carols were offensive to them. Who, among your readers, would refuse to shake hands with a woman because of his faith or custom? I do not make these things up. They are listed in our print media for anyone to see, and as you say “they would not lie to us”. Search them out. Let us not go blindly into this. Hearts should be open, but minds as well.

    I know a fair number of couples where one is German and the other English, one is native and one is German, Ukrainian and Polish, Jew and Catholic, and it goes on and on. I find it a little strange that in all my years I have never seen a marriage between a Islamic individual to a non Islamic. (where is the assimilation?) I understand that the Koran specifically stipulates that they must not associate with Jews and Christians.

    Did anyone watch the Prime Minister of Israels recent speech where he mentions Irans newest nuclear missile imprinted with the words, in Hebrew, dedicated to the destruction of Israel? Why can they not get along in peace? It is after all a peaceful religion, right??

    I urge your readers to read about proposal M103. It does not protect all religions.

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    • 1. My daughter’s friend has very frequent contact with the woman who was assaulted. More generally, there has been an upsurge in anti-Muslim acts of hatred since the Quebec City murders.

      2. I raised the issues of car accidents and abortion because the Tory leadership candidate said Islamic jihadic terrorism is the world’s biggest problem. In Canada at least, that is not true.

      3. The first waves of Ukrainians, Germans, etc. suffered extensive and unreasoning discrimination when they came to Canada. The Canadian government deliberately blocked Jews from coming to Canada during World War II even thought it was aware of the mass slaughter taking place in Europe.

      4. The discrimination against Catholics and other Christians taking place in Canada is the result of runaway secularism, not Islam. Nor was it Muslims who advocated assisted suicide. As Pope John Paul II noted, there is much basis for Muslims and Catholics to work together for common ends in society and internationally. Secularists strongly oppose the emergence of such an alliance.

      5. I personally know of two Catholic women married to Muslim men. One of them was a parishioner of ours. Personally, I do not recommend interfaith marriages of any sort.

      6. We do not have Sharia law in Canada. Nor will we have it unless non-Islamic Canadians lose their desire for freedom and democracy. At the moment, we do not have Christian law in Canada either, only some fading vestiges of it. Again, we would do well to work with Muslims for laws that respect human life and dignity.

      7. Bill M103 does not “protect” people of any faith. It is a motion, not a proposed law.

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  • Glen I noticed that I neglected to sign my submission. It you list it please correct that for me. Thanks Marvin D. Bloski

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