The Muslim Equation

Friday, 09 June 2006 19:00 GFP Columnist - Trevor Hill

The news conference (CTV - June 5/06 regarding the attack on the Toronto Mosque) with the Toronto Police Chief and many of the Community Muslim Leaders, is an example of Canadian openness, tolerance and respect. 

These principles are extended to the Muslim people as with all people in this country, and as we waited for the news conference to begin, we witnessed the several minute prayer, sung by a fellow Muslim. In retrospect, I don’t believe other news conferences start with anything similar. That - is Canada.

“Terror in Toronto!” Here we go. As usual the media is quick to use scare tactic terms regarding terrorism and all that entails it. Other sensationalized terms such as ‘a shaken Toronto’ are broadcasted to the Canadian masses. The word ‘Muslim’ resonates across the country as Canadians have visions of middle eastern men running amok in our cities blowing up our sacred buildings. 

Then a Toronto Mosque is “attacked”. Swift as lightning the Muslim community is up in arms…so to speak. Crying for justice and protection from the evil Canadians. Human Rights this, that and the other, are tossed about as if they invented the Rights themselves. And yet, you can rightfully ask for them in the wake of such oddities - here in Canada.

Didn’t hear that day of how upset the Community Leaders were that a Canadian was going to blow up the same Parliament Buildings that represent the country in which they themselves stand in and call home. During the same news conference, one Community Leader pronounced that ‘half of the Muslim people that come to Canada are fine’. Umm, what about the other ‘half’? Hello? Besides me, did anyone else hear that? Mr. CSIS? Mrs. RCMP?

And already thoughts of conspiracy hit the airwaves, most religious attacks include your garden variety of nasty symbols spray painted across the walls and the surrounding area. However there were none. Nor did anyone enter the premises. On a whole that is fine, yet rumours that someone in the Muslim community may have done this deed are quick to circulate. Oh, how could that be, we ponder, doesn’t this country give these people - all people who come here - the very best of everything we possibly can? What can the people of Canada say to the Muslim community?

How should we explain that trying to put a dent in the Peace Tower, or trying to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange or the CN Tower will not ‘scare’ us? Sensational terms like “Terror in Toronto” won’t really do squat for the Canadian demeanour. We are not Americans, these terms do not ‘scare’ the Canadian public, it may just ‘cheese’ us off, (for a lack of better adjectives).

And really, beheading our Prime Minister? Sorry, you won’t be able to remove him until the next election, especially if the new ‘fixed election day’ motion passes and even for Canadians, beheading the PM is a bit extreme here in this country. I fear that Canadians won’t take the blowing up of parts of our country by either ‘home-grown’ or ‘imported’ terrorists very lightly.

Perhaps the Canadian Mainstream Media should use these ‘scare’ terms less since they’re more likely to get us going than just plain facts and concentrate on what the reality is, instead of trying to make this any more detrimental than it already is.

Could the wise Canadian Muslims use their influence on their young people to teach them that it is not us who invaded your Afghanistan country. Or Iraq. Or anywhere else over in the Middle East.

It is not us that dictates foreign policies that screw you over.

It is not us that throw bombs at your homes because we have nothing else to do.

As usual, we’re just trying to help out, as Canadians have always done for all people around the world and we don’t mind, it’s a part of what this country is. Because we are Canadians!

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