In one day the people of seven countries with a Muslim majority population were banned from entering the United States, but several politicians refuse to call it what it is; a Muslim ban.
And in another day, six people lost their lives in a terrorist attack in Quebec City. But instead of deeming it an act of terror, it’s seen as murder.
An important component of the criminal justice model is public confidence in the administration of justice, but how can one have confidence in the justice system when terrorism (which is an admittedly politically-laden term) fails to refer to violent attacks perpetrated by extreme right-wing individuals?
The distance between Québec City and Ottawa, where I currently live, is sizable; and yet after the Quebec shooting I felt just a little bit afraid. As humans, we face frustration, fear, confusion, and loneliness daily. It’s this frustration that inspires some to ask all Muslims to condemn terrorism.
As if this condemnation isn’t automatic.
It’s this fear of what Islam is, or what some may think it to be, that inspires people like Alexandre Bissonnette to commit acts of violence against blameless individuals.
I could say: “Look to the Quran, where does it say commit indiscriminate violence against communities?”
I could also say, “I would hope most, if not all, of us have been raised to know right from wrong and that violence always falls into that wrong category.”
I strongly believe there are individuals in this world who do not care about right from wrong, but I say individuals not groups. Not entire communities. Not an entire faith.
For those who might be confused about Islam, I can say that despite the production of a holy book, we look to scholars to interpret what the holy book says. And there are so many interpretations which can lead to confusion surrounding what Islam preaches both from Muslims and non-Muslims.
If we could all take the time to understand that maybe those who are feeling lonelier than others could feel included.
Multiculturalism is a beautiful thing. Even though we champion Canada as a multicultural nation unless we actually work at inclusion and unconditional integration, we can’t continue to treat attacks against Muslims and those who appear to look like Muslims (yes, this is sadly a thing) as atypical incidents.
For someone wearing a very visible symbol of my religion and other women who leave their homes wondering if they might get harassed, spit on, physically assaulted (which happens more often than you think), I think that we need to work harder at achieving multiculturalism.
The actual risk of terrorism in Canada is low, but it seems like we are all just a little bit afraid of it still happening.
Why not talk about it?
This testimonial was written by a Graduate Student at Carleton University.