Islamophobia in the age of Trump: Flora Toronto Sun
2017/02/28 Leave a comment
One of the more relatively balanced commentaries in the Toronto Sun by Surjit Singh Flora that, while not in support of mentioning islamophobia, goes much further than the committee study and recommendations of M-103:
Meanwhile, here in Canada, we have two recent, troubling incidents, which illustrate a very different response from our government.
First of all, recently in Toronto, anti-Semitic notes were found on the doors of several units at a Willowdale condo building in Toronto.
In addition, notes with the statement “No Jews” were found on the front doors of several Jewish residences in another Toronto building.
Some of the notes contained anti-Semitic slurs and some neighbours reported that their mezuzahs – blessings traditionally posted on the doorways of Jewish homes – had been vandalized.
Toronto Mayor John Tory condemned the hate-motivated vandalism and said those actions do not reflect the city’s spirit. “Anti-semitism has no place in Toronto,” he noted. “Our Jewish residents should not have to face hatred on their doorsteps.”
This comes after the recent tragic murder of six Muslims at prayer in a Quebec City Mosque. Our government’s response to this tragedy was to debate M-103 in Parliament.
Introduced by Iqra Khalid, the motion asked MPs to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.”
Meanwhile, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said, “Eliminating systemic racism, religious discrimination and Islamophobia is a national call to action. No one should ever have to think twice about calling Canada home.”
While I feel this is a well-meant act in the face of unspeakable violence and tragedy, it is short sighted of our government to single out Islamophobia in their motion.
Racism is in itself an act of violence and the murder at the Quebec City mosque is that racist violence made manifest.
Our government should condemn all discrimination equally. Symbolic acts like M-103 should be backed up with a new, comprehensive review of the legislation and enforcement powers that can give meaning and force to such well-intended symbolic gestures.
I know from personal experience the sting of distrust, disrespect and prejudice that racism inflicts on those who are new, or different, or who worship in a different way.
President Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigration and refugee rhetoric may not, in itself, lead to the rise of Islamophobia and xenophobia.
But the fact a sitting President has given such clear voice to its cause should be reason for great concern for us all. The response of our Canadian government should be one of substance, not symbol.