The province of Ontario has declared January 29 as a “Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia.” This is the result of the horrific attack against Muslims praying in their mosque in Quebec.Thankfully, there has been only one such attack deadly against our Muslim brothers and sisters at their mosques, here in Canada. Sadly, there have been far too many attacks on religious places around the world, often against Churches and Christians. Here, in Canada, we have seen attacks on our Jewish communities rise.
According to a Statistics Canada’s report released on Nov. 28, 2017, after recording
“a notable increase in hate crimes against the Muslim population in 2015, police reported 20 fewer in 2016 for a total of 139.”
“Similarly, after an increase in 2015, hate crimes against Catholics also decreased, from 55 to 27 in 2016,” the report notes.
“In contrast,” Statistics Canada found, “hate crimes against the Jewish population grew from 178 to 221 incidents” during the same reporting period.
I do not want to diminish the attack, but why are we setting aside a day to commemorate this, thankfully, one attack? One. Attack. And why it is being rolled into a day against Islamophobia? Islamophobia is the irrational fear of Islam and I think it now refers to fear of backlash against the Muslim community, whether the attack is on the community or attacks committed by members of the community: we are directed to avoid anti-Muslim push back. There seems to be a deep seated fear on the part of politicians and police about blow-back on Muslim communities. When was the last time there was a deadly retaliatory attack against Muslims following an attack by a Muslim or on Muslim communities? I do remember the Charlie Hebdo attack, in France. Retaliation for the offence of drawing a picture of the Prophet in an unflattering manner.
According to the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada
“The principal terrorist threat to Canada and Canadian interests continues to be that posed by individuals or groups who are inspired by violent Sunni Islamist ideology and terrorist groups, such as Daesh or al-Qaida (AQ).”
Here is a list of attacks, committed by Muslims/Islamists in Canada. Do we need to fear more attacks? Is that irrational on the part of Canadians? All Canadians?
2004: Sleiman El Merhabi – United Talmud Torahs of Montreal arson http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Talmud_Torahs_of_Montreal
2006: Toronto 18 Terror Plot to behead Prime Minister http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/homegrown-terrorist-toronto-18-bomb-plotter-saad-khalid-recalls-his-radicalization-1.2532671
2012: Chiheb Battikh: Muslim Association of Canada director charged with kidnapping http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/chiheb-battikh-leader-mac-education-department-convicted-six-years-jail-kidnapping-ransom-montreal/
2013: John Nuttal and Amanda Korody – plot to blow up Victoria Parliament buildingshttp://www.vancouversun.com/news/Surrey+couple+charged+with+terrorist+plot+against+legislature+Canada+with+exclusive+video/8605678/story.html
2014: VIA Rail plot Suspects have al-Qaida ties: RCMP http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/arrests-made-in-ontario-quebec-in-alleged-terror-plot-cbc-news/
2016 North York military stabbing suspect faces nine charges https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/03/15/north-york-cfb-centre-stabbing-suspect-due-in-court-tuesday.html
2016 Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent murdered http://projects.thestar.com/news/canada/a-country-in-mourning.html
2019 Minor charged in Kingston, Ont., terror probe released on bail https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kingston-terror-minor-released-1.5083623
How many retaliatory attacks have been recorded that we need to worry about backlash against Muslim communities?
Here is part of the Motion
In the aftermath of the shooting, the Prime Minister of Canada condemned the act as terrorism and stated in the House of Commons that the six victims were “gunned down by ignorance and hatred, fuelled by Islamophobia and racism”. The leader of the Federal Opposition and the Premier of Quebec also condemned the shooter’s actions as an act of terror. The Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police called the shooter a criminal extremist and warned that “caustic” political debate can have deadly consequences.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission states the following with respect to Islamophobia: “Islamophobia can be described as stereotypes, bias or acts of hostility towards individual Muslims or followers of Islam in general. In addition to individual acts of intolerance and racial profiling, Islamophobia leads to viewing Muslims as a greater security threat on an institutional, systemic and societal level”.
In the aftermath of the Quebec attack, the Ontario Human Rights Commission called on “governments and communities, and each one of us, to ask again, what we can do, what we must do, to eliminate Islamophobia”.
The cities of Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham and Hamilton have all designated January 29 as a Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia. Many municipalities across Canada commemorate the events of January 29 with their Muslim community partners.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”