Muslims can help fight bigotry

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Three things I have gleaned from various sources and accepted as fact are:

1: Muslim groups, government and others don’t want anyone to shine a light on the things Canadians perceive as problems associated with Islam in Canada.

2. Many Canadian are frustrated with government policy on immigration and Islam and have no outlet to express their frustration constructively and there are enough of these Canadians who fear or have concerns about Islam for the government to pass Motion M-103.

3. Muslims want the hatred expressed toward them to stop. Many don’t understand why they are on the receiving end of so much anger. They are told, among other things, that it is because of:

(a) the ignorance of small-minded bullies (see Warren Harbeck, Cochrane Eagle, April 6, p16)

(b) the fear of hard-hearted fascists

(c) closed-minded people who promote prejudice

I believe that Muslims need to be told why a particular Canadian fears them (for example see Fringe should be feared, Cochrane Eagle, April 6, p15). They should know all the varied reasons that people may have for harbouring anger towards them. How can Muslims in Canada work as a group to eliminate or reduce the causes for anger if they don’t know what the causes are? Also, wouldn’t it be a relief to know that some of the anger directed toward them is not personal but something they have very little control over?

Motion M-103 could become something other than an exercise in futility if the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage were to collect a list of the varied reasons Canadians oppose Islam in Canada and present it to the many Muslim organizations for their information. It is then up to the Muslims in Canada to take action locally, nationally and internationally to reduce Canadian’s concern. In some cases, it may be enough to show that they are trying to effect change that brings Islamic religious and cultural behaviour in line with Canadian values.

Fred Noel

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