All told, it's pretty scary stuff for a generally-pacifist nation like ours.
Of course this disturbs me greatly. But what digs even deeper is the anti-Muslim sentiment that the arrests have elicited. The names of the accused suggest they are all Muslim. In an almost-repeat performance of the post-9/11 backlash, Muslims here are being targeted simply because of their religion. A mosque has been vandalized, and folks who had nothing to do with the plot are being threatened.
This goes against my view of the world, for it opens the door to similar discrimination against members of any group. Tomorrow, it could be me. Or you.
So I wrote this for today's paper:
Don't tar Muslims with terrorist brushYour turn: I recognize that the spectre of terrorism frightens us all. But does the ensuing backlash scare you, too? If most terrorist plots seem to involve radical Muslims, will the religion ever be able to move past this obvious problem with public relations?
Published Tuesday, June 6, 2006
The London Free Press
I’ll be the first to admit that when I initially read the list of those arrested in connection with the alleged terrorist plot to blow up major Canadian landmarks, I was struck by the origin of their names.
It would have been easy for me to jump to the usual conclusions equating an entire religion with terrorism.
Easy is what vandals have done to a Toronto mosque in the wake of the arrests. Easy is what self-righteous Canadians are doing in droves this week: blaming all Muslims for the alleged acts of a relative few.
After we get past the initial hysteria associated with Canada’s new-found status as a global target of terrorists, we need to ask ourselves whether our collective response represents the best we can do.
It doesn’t. Those who target all Muslims expose themselves as the racists that they are.
Canadians would do well to let the justice system deal with these alleged criminals. Anyone not already in custody does not deserve to be victimized by association.