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.