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Daily News Analysis

Canada’s own brand of deadly Islamophobia

Khadijah Ali

Myth-making is an important component of every society’s self-identity.

The US claims to be the ‘indispensable power’ and ‘light on the hill’.

Britain claims it is the ‘oldest democracy in the world’ and the zionist entity claims to be the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’.

Canada takes pride in being a ‘multicultural society’ and a place of harmony and freedoms.

None of these claims has any relation to reality but that has not prevented its proponents from peddling them.

Take Canada’s example.

Canadians are quick to draw comparison with life south of the border where school shootings are rampant, gun violence is out of control and drug addiction is widespread.

Viewed from this perspective, Canada appear relatively peaceful but it would be unrealistic to stretch this argument too far.

Similarly, it would be wrong to think that racism and Islamophobia are peculiar to Europe.

This belief has been reinforced by the rise of such Islamophobic politicians as Geert Wilders whose party won a majority of seats in the Dutch parliament.

He has called for banning the headscarf and the Qur’an, shutting down mosques and Islamic schools and stopping Muslims from entering the country.

The situation in Britain, France, Germany, Austria and a host of other European countries in little better.

Despite Europe’s horrible record, Canada leads the G7 countries in terms of targeted killings of Muslims motivated by Islamophobia.

This is hardly something to be proud of despite the high-sounding talk about multiculturalism and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Muslims’ lived experience is far different from this rosy picture of Canada.

In the wake of Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza, there has been more than 1,000 percent rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes in Canada.

For the most part, these are perpetrated by pro-Israeli groups.

Even universities, hospitals, corporations and law firms have become openly Islamophobic and have targeted people expressing sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

Where is the protection supposedly afforded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

A partial list of people from different walks of life targeted, fired or suspended for expressing sympathy with the Palestinians provides a glimpse into the challenges facing Muslims, Palestinians and their friends in Canada.

Global News Zahraa Al-Akhrass, Western University chaplain Aarij Anwer, Hamilton school board trustee Sabreina Dahab, Toronto School board advisor Javier Dávila, Air Canada pilot Mostafa Ezzo, University of Ottawa physician Yipeng Ge, NDP MPP Sarah Jamal,

CTV production assistant Yara Jamal, Langara College instructor Natalie Knight, University of Alberta official Samantha Pearson, Toronto police Shumail Mian, Toronto police Mustafa Rahmanzadeh, Privy Council official Nisam Siddiqui, Nephrologist Ben Thomson, School principal Rich Ward, Anesthesiologist Christian Zaarour, Dozens of restaurant employees.

Students have been suspended from school for wearing the keffiyeh, the checkered Palestinian scarf.

Police have assaulted and arrested pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

The list goes on.

So, one is forced to ask: Is Canada a democracy or a zionist colony where expressing sympathy for the Palestinian cause is forbidden, just like in Occupied Palestine?

Muslims have suffered the deadly consequences of Islamophobia long before the recent zionist onslaught on Gaza began.

On January 29, 2017, the Quebec City Mosque was attacked by a terrorist killing six worshippers and wounding 19 others, one of them disabled for life.

The assailant, one Alexandre Bissonnette was a university student!

The Quebec City Mosque terrorist attack was preceded by an arson attack on the only mosque in Peterborough (Ontario) on November 15, 2015.

The mosque was completely destroyed.

Fortunately, nobody was injured or killed because worshippers had already left the mosque.

If Muslims feel apprehensive about their safety in Canada, they have good reason.

There have been far too many deliberate killings of Muslims.

On September 12, 2020, Mohamed-Aslim Zafis was volunteering outside the International Muslim Organization (IMO) mosque in Rexdale.

He was monitoring the number of people entering the premises due to Covid-19 capacity restrictions.

He was attacked with an army knife, his throat slit and killed on the spot.

If these successive attacks left the Muslim community deeply traumatized, much worse was to follow.

On June 8, 2021, three generations of the Afzaal family, husband and wife, their 15-year-old daughter and her elderly grandmother were repeatedly run over by a racist killing them in London, Ontario as they were out for an evening walk.

The family’s 9-year-old son sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The child has been left deeply traumatized.

There has been a series of violent attacks against Muslim communities, including in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Mississauga and Toronto.

In Edmonton, Muslim women have been physically and verbally assaulted, including at knifepoint.

Alarmed by the increasing incidents of Islamophobic attacks, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights arranged hearings into incidents of Islamophobia.

The committee heard that Islamophobia is a daily reality for many Muslims.

While politicians talk about multiculturalism, how our diversity is our strength and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone’s freedoms, one in four Canadians do not trust Muslims.

What is fueling such suspicion leading to hatred and violent attacks?

“These are the questions that prompted the Senate Committee to undertake its study on Islamophobia in Canada.”

It gave 13 recommendations. Will the federal government act on any of them?

Following the June 8, 2021 cold-blooded murder of four members of the Afzaal family, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Hate has no place in Canada.”

A number of other politicians, including the Conservatives, who have been in the forefront of stoking anti-Muslim hatred, joined in this chorus.

What practical steps have been taken? Unfortunately, few if any.

The federal government refused to pass legislation making Islamophobia a hate crime.

One wonders why.

It is also important to ask whether Canadian politicians are serious about combatting Islamophobia or they merely mouth slogans against it?

Their policies even in the face of such horrific crimes do not evoke much confidence.

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