Canadians voice support for Muslims amid ‘hatred’ unleashed at Liberal MP

Ahmadiyya spokesperson says he’s concerned that the uproar over the motion, combined with the Jan. 29 mosque shooting in Quebec City, will tarnish Canada’s international reputation as an open and inclusive society.

OTTAWA – Canada’s Muslim community has received an outpouring of support in the wake of stinging personal attacks against a Liberal MP and her motion to condemn and combat Islamophobia.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada says individual Canadians and elected officials alike have reached out in the 48 hours since the federal Liberals voiced support for the motion put forward by Mississauga MP Iqra Khalid.

Still, spokesman Safwan Choudry says he is troubled by the messages Khalid described receiving through social media about her motion.

Khalid told the House of Commons she has received thousands of sexist comments, Islamophobic remarks and even death threats after introducing the motion, known as M-103, late last year.

Khalid read the transcript of one particularly disturbing YouTube video sent to her office in which the author suggested she should be shot.

Right-wing activists and some Conservative leadership candidates have said they fear the motion could be a precursor to a crackdown on free speech, even though it doesn’t alter the country’s hate speech laws.

Choudry says he’s concerned that the uproar over the motion, combined with the Jan. 29 mosque shooting in Quebec City, will tarnish Canada’s international reputation as an open and inclusive society.

The ban will not affect Canadians, until it did | Naila Chaudhry

My mind cannot stop wondering: what if that happened to me? What if that was my brother? My family? This just happened in my home. Not down south, but in my home, in Canada.

At least six dead in Quebec City, as a mosque was attacked shortly after evening prayers. This also happens just days after United States President Donald Trump bans refugees, migrants and foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries. As I flipped through every news channel, I heard this ban would not affect Canadians — but it just did. My fellow Muslim brothers have just been murdered in Canada because of their faith.

You see, Trump’s policies are a global issue. They may not be a threat directly, but when policies are based off of hate, it normalizes a hateful rhetoric. It normalizes animosity. That ideology then transcends borders and, ultimately, innocent people pay the price.

My mind cannot stop wondering: what if that happened to me? What if that was my brother? My family? This just happened in my home. Not down south, but in my home, in Canada.

Here in Saskatoon, my community is anxiously awaiting the next few weeks to pass, as the first ever purpose-built mosque in Saskatoon is almost finished. The construction is coming to an end after the 14 years I have lived in Saskatoon waiting for its completion. However, in these 14 years, I have never once fathomed that here in Canada our mosques could be a target of such violence. I could never imagine community members being killed while praying.

A mosque is a house of God. Its purpose is to emulate peace. It is a place for all people to come worship. Muslims are peaceful people. In times like this, my community and I open our doors for dialogue. Fear has been ignited amongst people, but hatred and violence is not the answer. It is never the answer.

The Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, once said “swords can win territories, but not hearts. Force can bend heads, but not minds.”

Let us win hearts and bend minds with compassion, with love. Mosques around your community are open to all people. Let us not fear one another. Let us come together and unite under humanity. Let us not divide. Let us stand in alliance against hate. Let us talk.

________________
Naila Chaudhry is a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat in Saskatoon.

Read original post here: Perspective: The ban will not affect Canadians, until it did | Naila Chaudhry