Canadian Muslim Forum
Canadian law dictates that individuals have the right to adopt their religion of choice without any fear or threat to one's life or property. When such threats arise, appropriate measures are taken to grant individuals their due rights and to punish the perpetrators accordingly.
However, when parts of the charter of human rights and freedoms are violated and unjustifiably defended by government policies, and when some politicians, themselves, get involved in hatred campaigns, the civic society must speak out and voice its concerns in every way possible to maintain peace and harmony in the land they cherish the most.
Islam is the second largest religion in Canada with over 800,000 Muslims and making upto 10% of the population of some Canadian cities. Islam is an Arabic word that means submission to God.
Being Muslim is a comprehensive call to Peace. The main greeting of Muslims is 'Peace upon you'. Islam carries a deeply rooted understanding of respect, understanding and love for others regardless of their faith or ideology. However, neither Islam nor Muslims are respected by some Canadian officials and many citizens. In fact, there is an increasing trend of hatred, discrimination and injustice that has been practised against Muslims in Canada.
Since 9/11, numerous incidents of Islamophobia were documented by the media and Islamic organizations. Islamophobic incidents range from verbal and physical abuse to vandalism of personal property, community centres and places of worship. Moreover, much legislation has been passed that targets Muslim individuals without evidence or conviction such as Bill C-36.
The effects of such legislation are clearly seen in the case of Omar Khadr, the child and the only western detainee, who remains in Guantanamo Bay.Neither evidence nor conviction is in place against Khadr.
The Canadian Supreme Court requested from the Canadian government to bring Khadr home, but the court order was simply objected. Furthermore, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon, was quoted not saying the truth when he claimed that Khadr built bombs to kill Canadian soldiers.
Indeed, the Canadian government is setting a poor model for Canadian citizens to follow and is further propagating Islamophobia in Canada. Islamophobia is a growing concern in Canada and the consequences of its infiltration can be harmful to all Canadians irrespective of their faith and belief.
Furthermore, increasing Islamophobia will damage Canada?s image on both the local front and on the international stage. The causes of Islamophobia must be addressed on a fundamental level and a clear guideline must be formulated to identify Islamophobic actions and put an end to the perpetrators of such actions.
Special programs, endorsed by the Canadian government, must be established to educate the general public about Islam and Muslims in order to stop and reverse the effects of Islamophobia. Canadian agencies and policies must defend people's rights, regardless of their faith, race or ethnicity. Only when such measures have taken place, all Canadian will enjoy equality and freedom and our children will enjoy the bright future we dreamed for them.