Canada stands with peaceful Muslims, Kenney says

In contrast to the PM’s messaging and wedge politics on security, radicalization and Canadian Muslims, and the Conservative Party’s fundraising machine, Minister Kenney borrow from President Obama’s language:

Kenney, who is also Harper’s longtime multiculturalism minister, noted the cost borne by Muslims facing extremist elements around the world.

“The vast majority of the victims of this dystopian vision of the caliphate from Nigeria to the Philippines are innocent, peaceful Muslim people who simply want to raise their families in peace and security,” Kenney told the Manning Networking Conference, a conservative policy gathering.

“And we stand with them, we stand with them around the world, we stand with them in Iraq today, we stand in defence of the vast majority of Muslims who reject this cult of violence. Canadians are in solidarity with them.”

Since the attacks this winter in France and in Denmark by Islamic extremists, the Tories have spoken out about their fight against “barbaric cultural practices” and against women who would cover their faces with the niqab during citizenship ceremonies. “Not the way we do things here,” read one Conservative party online message.

Harper referred specifically to mosques as places of radicalization, and unlike U.S. President Barack Obama has offered no messages of outreach to the Muslim community in the past several months.

“The prime minister of this country has a responsibility to bring people together in this country, not to divide us by pandering to some people’s fears,” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said recently.

Harper’s office pointed to a speech the Prime Minister made in December in which he expressed gratitude to those Muslim Canadians who spoke out against attacks that killed soldiers in Ottawa and Montreal last year.

Kenney also rejected the suggestion the party has alienated Canadian Muslims, pointing out he is a frequent visitor to mosques and islamic community organizations, and that his government has offered support against islamophobic vandalism and threats.

He also noted the help the community has offered in combating homegrown terrorism.

“We commend leaders and grassroots members of Canadian Muslim communities for having co-operated with police and intelligence services in reporting incidents or individuals who might be of concern,” said Kenney.

“Indeed our security and police agencies will confirm that potentially violent instances have been prevented, radicalization has been diminished thanks to the proactive co-operation of many in the Canadian Muslim communities so I think that message is clear.”

But it matters that this more inclusive language is made by a Minister, no matter how senior, rather than the PM himself, suggesting the triumph of wedge politics over the very real need, in any counter-radicalization strategy, to have the support of the Muslim communities.

Canada stands with peaceful Muslims, Kenney says – The Globeand Mail.

Interestingly, the Ottawa Citizen account of the speech neglected to mention any of these messages, focussing on Kenney’s hard-line messaging on the risks of further terrorist incidents (valid) and justification of C-51 (not).

Kenney says homegrown terrorism a ‘reality’ in Canada

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to Canada stands with peaceful Muslims, Kenney says

  1. Pingback: Kenney tweets misleading photos of Muslim women in chains | Multicultural Meanderings

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