There is an organized anti-globalization group holding rallies across Canada in opposition to M103, the new motion by Liberals asking the government to stand against anti-Muslim sentiment and Islamophobia. I wrote a message to them over Facebook, on their rally page for my old hometown, which if I don’t post here will probably never see the light of day because they will delete it. So here it is:
M103 is not an affront on free speech. It seeks only to condemn Islamophobic speech, not criminalize those who have spoken. It does not say you cannot criticize Islam, only that you should not hate Muslims. That you would fight to be able to say racist things free from consequence is extremely telling.
Your fight against diversity is dangerous. We are all human. We all feel joy and sadness and pain. And Canada, like the United States, is a nation of immigrants. We stole this country from Native Americans. The least we can do is welcome everyone.
Your fear of Sharia Law is irrational. Sharia Law has no effect on our system of government. We do not live in the Middle East; in fact, Middle Eastern people flee their countries to seek refuge in Canada. They want to live in a First World country (or really any country where radicals aren’t trying to kill them, because Muslims are those most targeted by extremists) because we are supposed to be kind, and respectful, and free. They are not coming into our country–OUR country, meaning THEIRS too when they immigrate–to cause trouble. For many, Sharia means they have a personal responsibility to integrate into Canada respectfully by respecting their neighbours, paying their taxes, and following our laws.
If you want to keep women, children, and Canadians safe, try treating them with respect. Try teaching them to be kind. Try defending ALL Canadians, especially Muslim Canadians, because they are the Canadians hurting right now. They are the Canadians feeling a surge of hate rising from around the Western world. They are the Canadians slain by shooters whose heads are filled with your nationalist rhetoric.
Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence. And right now, the most dangerous consequence of you exercising your right to free speech is that you are inciting others to violence.
Please stop fighting diversity before you get more people killed.
I will be the first to admit that I don’t know nearly enough about Islam, or Muslims, or the Middle East. But the things I do know I only know because I’ve watched Muslim people explain how Islam is a peaceful religion, how the misogyny and homophobia in the Middle East is not a problem with Islam but instead a problem with poor leaders twisting Islam to suit their needs. And all of this reminds me of Christianity, an equally peaceful religion that has been warped throughout centuries to justify homophobia, racism, misogyny, you name it. But I don’t see anyone in a position of leadership calling Christians dangerous. I don’t see Christians failing to drum up support for anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-women movements based on their faith. For Christ’s sake, White, Christian America just voted in Trump, a lying billionaire manchild who shares nothing with his voters besides skin colour and a complete lack of anything resembling empathy or charisma.
There are countries in the Middle East that are undoubtedly less safe than Canada, which is kind of the whole point. Refugees are fleeing horrifying conditions of come here. No one leaves their home unless home might doom them. But instead of showing courage and rising to the occasion, there are Canadians who would give in to fear, and hate. Much like the French government, who hid behind claims of being pro-women’s rights while telling women what they can and cannot wear, these people claim they work for the safety of their people, in this case Canadians (see: white Christian people.) But all they do is make our world more dangerous for everyone.
There is no one more dangerous than the bigoted and the irrationally afraid, but very often they are the majority. They make the laws. But history has shown time and time again that they are on the wrong side. As people ignore the hard data, including studies that say immigrants and refugees are much less likely to even commit crime, they will continue willfully being ignorant. They will continue being the British Empires and the Confederates and the Nazis of the world.
I’m fucking sick of it. We should be compassionate to people in need. It shouldn’t be so hard. (Plus, for the record, it’s what Jesus would do.)