KUTTY: Islamophobia an ever-present danger in Canada

Of note, Kutty’s valid critique of Fatah’s column (There is no Islamophobia in Canada), including the examples of the “blame the victim” as applied to Jews, women, and Blacks. However, by focussing only on the violent extremists of Daesh, he understates the impact of non-violent extremist attitudes within different religious groups:

Reading Tarek Fatah’s recent diatribe, There is no Islamophobia in Canada, was a surreal experience.

A few adjectives quickly came to mind but, “subtle,” “nuanced,” “thoughtful,” and “honest” were not among them.

“Superficial,” “reductionist,” “misleading,” and “incendiary” came to the fore.

The thrust of the piece was that Muslims are to blame for a peaceful multigenerational Muslim family mowed down with a truck and killed while out for a Sunday stroll.

The rationale behind this “blame the victim” argument is that hatred of, or violence against, Muslims is pervasive because of Muslims.

If Muslims are encountering challenges “everywhere,” the argument goes, then it must be the Muslim faith or behaviour that is provoking this hatred.

To appreciate the mendacity of this argument, substitute any other targeted group or community.

Anti-Semitism growing? It must be something about the Jews.

Is sexual assault rampant? It’s because of how women dress and behave.

The police profile Blacks? It’s their fault as well.

Those arguments do not pass the smell test, and neither does the argument about Muslims and Islamophobia.

Islamophobia exists and is on the increase because demonizing, dehumanizing, and otherizing Muslims is acceptable and can be disseminated with impunity, as in the article in question.

Is there Islamophobia in Canada? The perpetrator of the London, Ontario killings allegedly targeted the family specifically for their faith.

The Quebec City shooter was enthralled with Islamophobic figures like Le Pen and Trump.

In the lead-up to the London murders, Muslim women reported a spike in attacks against them, and less than a year ago, the caretaker of a Toronto mosque was killed by a man whose social media featured Neo-Nazi posts as reported by the Sun.

Islamophobic violence has now taken the lives of at least 11 Canadian Muslims in the last four years.

Yet, according to Fatah, there is no Islamophobia in Canada.

The article pathetically attempts to “show” that the Qur’an teaches Muslims hate by selectively citing, out of context, an interpretation of verses from the Qur’an.

Yet, the Afzaals were known in their community as devout Muslims.

They were mosque-goers, almost never missing a prayer in congregation.

At their funeral, the Imam shared that the family were Syeds — descendants of Prophet Muhammad.

Their life was an embodiment of their faith. And what did that embodiment of faith look like?

According to the London Free Press, Salman Afzaal was a “caring physiotherapist” who worked at several nursing homes.

The administrator of Ritz Lutheran Villa described him as “deeply committed to his elderly patients” and “kind and caring … well respected and always had a smile and positive outlook.”

Madiha, studying for her PhD in Engineering at Western, was loved and respected by her colleagues.

As a professor of Islamic law, I am stumped searching for the hate incitement Fatah claims.

On the contrary, the Qur’an, like any text, is subject to interpretation.

It continues to inspire the vast majority of its readers to do good in the world and to search for peace.

That was the experience of Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul Jabbar; Cat Stevens and Arnoud van Doorn; Sinead O’Connor and Dave Chappelle.

Thousands of people continue to come into Islam precisely because they feel that sense of peace on reading the Qur’an.

Conversely, like extremists of other ideologies, Daesh recruits are ignorant haters who abuse Islam for their own political and nefarious purposes.

But none of this matters to Fatah, who has rarely penned a positive word about the Canadian Muslim community since his opportunist flip.

His subsequent track record is one of misrepresentation, selective quoting, and over-generalizations and only justifies and incites hate against Muslims.

It is bigotry. For the Sun to publish it is, at best callous and at worst reckless.

Source: KUTTY: Islamophobia an ever-present danger 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.

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