Reaction to Calgary cab video shows progress in fighting racism, says immigration lawyer

Raj Sharma on how Calgary is changing, using the example of a taxi driver who filed a complaint over the racist rant of a passenger:

One way to measure how this city has changed is the public response to a dash-cam video that recently surfaced, which has been seen and shared by many. It shows an enraged drunk inundating Sardar Qayyum — a meek, deferential, Pakistani émigré and Canadian citizen — with a racist diatribe.

Unlike those who preceded him, Qayyum felt that he could go to our law enforcement agencies. He didn’t necessarily have to turn the other cheek.

…The perpetrator in this case has been identified, shamed and has lost his job. Having run the gauntlet of the internet, he and his family will move on after the mob finds their next target.

The public reaction to the video has shown his behaviour is not condoned, it is condemned. That’s a good sign and the support that Qayyum has received is heart-warming.

Racism appears to have progressed. You no longer commonly hear the generic slur of “Paki” being smeared over all South Asians. Unfortunately, racist attacks and tirades against Muslims appear to be increasing. A network of women’s centres is reporting an alarming rise in intolerance, racism and violence against Muslim women in Quebec tied to the proposed Charter of Quebec values, which thankfully remained inchoate.

Violence against Muslim women on the rise, group says

The rant against Qayyum centred around his religion; this incident is merely a symptom of the overall disease wherein the vast majority of Muslims are being tarred and feathered for the actions of a tiny minority. Muslims are “terrorists” or “sympathizers,” but since 2001 nearly twice as many people in the United States have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than radical Muslims. Racists, by their very nature, rarely let the facts get in the way.

As a result, it’s been a chilly few years for ordinary Muslims living in the West, including Canada. However, “ordinary” Canadians with their condemnation of one man’s unacceptable actions have spoken loudly. This should be celebrated in moderation for the concerns expressed above.

I am optimistic that, while it may well be chilly right now for Canadian Muslims, the beauty is that in Calgary, the next chinook is already on its way.

Reaction to Calgary cab video shows progress in fighting racism, says immigration lawyer | Mobile.

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.

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