Home > News and politics > Muslim Fears in Wake of Canadian Terrorist Cell Arrests

Muslim Fears in Wake of Canadian Terrorist Cell Arrests

04-Jun-06 04:08 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
Intriguingly, over and over again, I hear voices from Canada’s Muslim community express questions to authorities concerning both fears of persecution and unfair suspicion by authorities.  Much of this seems to come from two ultimate sources, in my view:
  • the way the Americans have ended up treating their Muslim population, and
  • the way such incidents as this might impact the views of the society around them and their faith.

Yes, there are the cases, like that of the Arar case, where either percieved persecution or misacarriages of justice (like Arar) occur within Canada, by Canadian authorities.  However, while no amount of injustice should be tolerated without challenge in our society, historically it can’t be entirely unexpected.  Even by members of the Islamic faith.  I point out that in World War II, both Germans and Japaneese Canadians fell victim to exactly the same kinds of persectuion – often reaching the point of what I would call atrocities.  Historically, it has been extremely hard for human beings, who are after all creatures that are by nature intolerant of superficial difference and tend to fear what they don’t understand, to suddenly be asked to set aside those primal fears in favour of some higher philosophy.

Yet while difficult, such a goal is quite within our reach as thinking, reational beings.  Especially when we acknowledge that none of us is perfect.  Especially the government, which is of course made up of many, many people (and an exponentially great number off errors it seems).  And so, quite rationally, the Muslim community is fearful of the inevitable reaction to events such as those in the Toronto area this weekend, but it seems also fixated on where those perceptions may lead.

So far, I would argue – even being mindful of the Arar case – that Canada’s record has been better than that of other countries.  Fortunatley here, unlike in many other countires (like the U.S. and France), our cultural philosophy is based on tolerance.  The Muslim community in Canada appears to accept this quite readily, notwithstanding the 17 arrested in the Toronto area this weekend, and that too is to our mutual credit.  As such, while some may find cause to fear these events, I am optimistic that while Canada’s position on the war in Iraq or other world hotspots may be in a mode bening toward greater favour with the US, that (to my mind quite righteous) opposition to such moves will remain peaceful, as is our tradition.

And, as is the directive from the God of Abraham, whom is the God Canada’s constitution recognizes as supreme, for those who believe.

 

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Terry Glavin

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