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islamophobia

More than ever, we need to stop petty squabbling between minority groups, and unite together to fight hatred, xenophobia, and white supremacy. This shit’s only gonna get worse before it gets better. An article in the Forward reminds us that we can’t focus on attacking one another when this is our collective fight:

American Jewish groups like HIAS and Bend the Arc have tirelessly organized in opposition of Trump’s cruel policies targeting refugees. These organizations are drawing on a well-spring of support in the Jewish community. That support exists because most Jews recognize that when minorities are targeted by a white-supremacist friendly administration, it’s not only right to fight back; it’s an imperative because we know Jews will be next.

The right never stops at Muslims or black people. As the Charlottesville rally and now the Pittsburgh shooting show, Jews remain under the deadly threat of white supremacist violence.

This is relevant not just to Americans, but to us Canadians and Quebecers as well. In January 2017, a man walked into a Quebec City mosque and killed six and wounded nineteen people. Today, a man walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed at least 11 and wounded dozens of others. He said he did it in part because of Jewish support for Muslim refugees in general, and for HIAS, a refugee and immigrant aid organization that helps refugees in particular.

Meanwhile, our new premier wants to ban religious symbols and pick a fight with religious minorities, including Jews and Muslims, because he’s appealing to the same white supremacist attitudes: the fear that ‘newcomers’ are ‘taking over’ from the white Christian majority.

These are not unrelated events. We all need to recognize that it’s time to set our differences aside and stand together to fight back against this threat.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It’s time we recognize that the fight for ANY minority rights must be our fight, too. It’s not enough to stand up against antisemitism if we’re not also standing up loudly against injustices and hate against people of colour, other religious minorities, LGBTQ people, immigrants, refugees, First Nations, and anyone else who knows what it feels like to be vulnerable.

Vigils and thoughts and prayers are not enough, as long as people keep voting for parties and policies who appeal to white supremacist right-wing Nazi nutbags to get elected. This shit needs to end now. And the only way that it will is if everyone — majority, minority — conclusively denounces the politics of racism and fear, and rejects any candidate or party that runs on that basis.

ETA 10/29: American Muslim groups raised over $120,000 to support the Jewish victims of the Pittsburgh shooting in under 48 hours. Sometimes, tragedy really does bring out the best in people.

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As white supremacists march in the streets in the US, we can’t feel too smug here. Racism is, sadly, alive and well right in our home province, as the Liberal government chooses this moment to revive the debate about religious headgear.

Bill 62, the so-called anti-niqab bill, is being touted by the Liberals as a “compromise” that will allow for “social peace” — just a code word for a majority curtailing the rights of minorities … because any visual evidence of people different from them offends their fragile sensibilities so much that they can’t possibly survive. Or something. It’s akin to suggesting that the way to stamp out sexual assault is by telling women not to wear short skirts. It blames the victim of racism instead of the perpetrator. It assumes that the rights of a majority to not see something that offends them is more important than the rights of a minority to dress or practice their religion as they choose.

And, worst of all, Couillard’s approach is actually the most moderate of the three major parties, with both the PQ and the CAQ calling for even more stringent restrictions on religious headgear. It’s as if we’ve learned nothing from the mosque shooting in Quebec City earlier this year, from the Charter of Values debacle, or from what’s currently happening in the US and elsewhere.

Don Macpherson gets it exactly right in this case:

Bill 62 stigmatizes the tiny number of Muslim women in Quebec who wear facial veils. It encourages their persecution, like the harassment of women wearing Muslim head scarves during the debate on the former Parti Québécois government’s ill-fated “charter of values.”

It would enshrine in legislation the hypocrisy of Quebec’s “Catho-laïcité,” or Catho-secularism. One of Vallée’s amendments pretends that Quebec’s public institutions are founded on the separation of church and state, while the bill would preserve the crucifix placed in the Assembly to symbolize an alliance between the two.

The government pretends that the ban on face coverings in general does not discriminate on religious grounds. But its intent is given away by the fact that the ban is contained in a bill to restrict religious accommodations.

It’s a nasty little secret of politics that targeting vulnerable minorities gets candidates elected. Sadly that isn’t so much of a secret anymore, in the era of Trump. But we have our own demons to grapple with here.

It’s telling that so many quasi-Liberal, left-leaning people in Quebec support this nonsense. They believe, falsely, that because forced religion is bad, the answer to it is forced secularism. They want to hide any visual evidence of differences, in order to protect their “patrimoine”, or perceived superiority over everyone else. There’s honestly not much difference between the pro-laicite crowd and the neo-Nazis people marching in Charlottesville this week… except at least the latter are honest about their racist beliefs.

Bill 62 is a bad bill, scapegoating religious minorities in order to pacify racists. It should not become law. Call your MNA.

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Quebec mosque shooting: Change the rhetoric

01.29.2017

La Presse is now reporting at least 4 6 deaths in the Ste-Foy Mosque shooting. It’s just sickening. We’ll know more about the suspect who was taken into custody soon enough. But this isn’t merely on the shooter. This is on all of us. We can do more — we MUST do more — to […]

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