When the Prime Minister of this country has declared that “Islamicism is the biggest threat to Canada” how can Muslim immigrants feel safe? As residents of Canada, we are all supposed to be guaranteed certain basic rights, like freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom from arbitrary arrest, right to due process if we are arrested. All of this means little when an entire religious community is targeted as a threat by the government. From the recent Quebec Charter of Values seeking to prevent Muslim women from wearing hijabs to the Thorncliffe community’s very own fight to establish a mosque and to allow Muslim students to hold Friday prayers at school, it is clear that the rights of Muslim communities are under attack.
How do we make sense of all of this?
As Sid Lacombe, from the Canadian Peace Alliance, explained, nourishing Islamophobia among the Canadian population makes it easier for the government to justify their imperialist policies in the Islamic world. From its ongoing occupation of Afghanistan, to its participation in the Libyan intervention, to its constant war-mongering against Iran, Canada has been consistently using the threat of “Islamists” to gain support for expanding its military spending and killing innocent people. Denying the rights of Muslim communities at home goes hand in hand with invading Muslim nations abroad.
Ultimately, whether we want to fight against Canadian imperialism or ensure that Muslims in Canada are not unfairly targeted, we cannot continue to shake our heads at all the bad news. We must organize in our communities and take collective action to bring about a society free of racism and imperialism!