More responses in Canada to the Quebec City mosque shooting:
2017-FEB-01: Thoughts on the massacre were expressed by Mohamed Boudjenane, the acting president of the Canadian Arab Federation:
In 1982, he arrived in Canada as an immigrant. He and Azzedine Soufiane -- one of the men killed in the mosque shooting -- had both come from Morocco. They knew each other but were not close friends when they were students at Laval University. Mohamed issued a statement saying, in part:
"Over the last decade and a half, the national conversation about immigrants — and specifically Arab and Muslim immigrants — has taken a dark turn.
Debates about reasonable accommodation and Quebec’s so-called Charter of Values have tapped into a virulent current of racism against Arabs and Muslims (and anyone else who looks like them). That sentiment is very real, even if it isn’t always apparent. The message has been that Muslims and Arabs are worthy of suspicion, that we cannot be integrated, that our values are un-Canadian. And now, because of it, we cannot even feel safe in our own communities, even while at prayer.
Thank you to everyone who has shown support for our community in this difficult time. It is appreciated. But more is needed than nice words or reassuring gestures; we need accountability. That starts with the talk-show demagogues in Quebec and elsewhere spewing hatred under the guise of freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
As a former journalist, I recognize that these are important values. Nonetheless, they can never justify hate propaganda and incitement to commit hate crimes. And I firmly believe this is what happened here." 1
"Sam," 23, is a Muslim student at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Her father is an Iranian Canadian who works in the U.S. When interviewed by Huffington Post, she said:
"People here are trying to pretend that American politics and Canadian politics are not connected. At the same time there are a lot of xenophobic policies and Islamophobia that influences Canadian politics."
She said that the shooting at the Quebec City mosque nearly broke her:
"I was just feeling so burned out from the whole weekend. Then the anger dissipated to heartbreak." 2
2017-JAN-31: An unrelated, positive event in Texas shortly after the Quebec City mosque attack:
Every odd-numbered year, Muslim Capital Day is held in Austin, TX. Muslims of all ages, including many school children, travel there and receive education about the state government. In 2015, participants were met by two dozen protestors. One woman grabbed the microphone and gave a speech condemning Islam from a conservative Christian perspective.
This year, it was very different. By coincidence, this year, the event was held two days after the mass shooting in Quebec City. Muslims visiting the Capital were met with at least 1,000 supporters who formed a massive human circle several rows deep around the Muslims. One was a woman wearing a blue T-shirt that said: "I stand with my Muslim neighbors."
Sarwat Hussain, president of the San Antonio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR) told the crowd:
"Civic engagement ... it is not just a privilege. It is God-given privilege, and it’s also a blessing and our duty to participate. ... Lately, we have seen some demonstrations against us. That is not going to stop us at all." 3
Twenty Democratic state lawmakers also attending the event. State Rep. Celia Israel (D) of Austin told the crowd:
"We are with you ... this is your country, this is your state. Texas needs you, and you belong here."
Three of the Muslims attending the event were:
Fatima Ali, aged 12, who said:
"It’s important to interact with people to make sure they know who we are. I want them to know we are peaceful." 3
Laila Khatar, 35, a teacher of Arabic at Renaissance Academy in Austin, who said:
"We are here to show our Muslim identity. We are proud of it. At the same time, we are also American citizens and we are part of this community. We want to do what’s best for everyone to make our voices heard."
Alia Salem of CAIR’s Dallas - Fort Worth chapter said that she was thankful for the actions of both President Trump and Biedermann because they had helped boost CAIR's calls for civic engagement. She said:
"They’re the ones whose actions have inspired you to be here today. I’m glad to see hate can turn into absolute love." 3
This event happened on JAN-31, two days after the multiple murders in Quebec City. It also followed a weekend which included many demonstrations across the country against President Trump's racist and religist 4 executive order that banned the entry of individuals from seven predominately Muslin countries, and temporarily blocked the resettlement of refugees in the U.S.
Other reactions in the U.S. to the mosque mass shooting:
President Trump made a private phone call to the Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau. He does not seem to have made any public comments.
Rowalda Abdelaziz, writing for Huffington Post, noted that very few media outlets covered the Quebec mosque murders on their front pages. She said:
"The only immediate reaction came from Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s troubling comments calling the Quebec City mosque attack. He said:
'... a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the president is taking steps to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security' ..."
"Trump ... did not reach out to Muslims in his own country. His continued silence on the targeted killing in Canada reinforces a fear many Muslims have: Things can get worse." 2
Tarek Ismail is a senior staff attorney at "CLEAR." the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility project at CUNY Law School. He said:
"The disregard for Muslims is so evident. Without a strong effort to organize and mobilize, to expect anything else other than complete dismissal of our community, is wishful thinking." 2
Ray Mellott made a posting to the Huffington Post article. He commented on President Trumps lack of reaction to the Quebec mass murder. He said:
"So what do you expect? The shooting doesn't fit his narrative. On the other hand, if it had been a Muslim shooting up a church, he would have been all over it."
Joseph Novak posted:
"There were attacks on three mosques over the weekend. One in Canada invoked a shooting while two in the U.S. were burned down. Not mentioning this violence is condoning these acts. Trump not only condones it he is going to ramp up the anti-Muslim hate by publishing a weekly list of crimes committed by Muslims. He will use these lust to attack "sanctuary cities". Xenophobia is the tools of a totalitarian regime." 2
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Commentary by Mohamed Boudjenane: Rooting out hatred toward Muslims requires more than nice words," The Toronto Star, 2017-FEB-01. at: https://www.thestar.com/
Rowalda Abdelaziz, "Donald Trump’s Silence On The Quebec Mosque Shooting Is Dangerous For American Muslims," Huffington Post, 2017-FEB-01, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Alexa Ura and Alex Samuels, "At Texas Muslim Capitol Day, supporters form human shield around demonstrators," Texas Tribune, 2017-JAN-31, at: https://www.texastribune.org/
"Religist" and "Religism" are words that we coined in 2009 to refer to hatred and discrimination based on religion. "Religism" corresponds to "sexism" and "racism." A Google search on 2017-FEB-03 found 2,840 hits to "Religism" on the Internet.