A town hall to discuss recent hate incidents and hate crimes in Canada was held in Richmond Hill on Tuesday evening.
“The purpose of the town hall is to discuss what has been happening locally since the US election, what we should be doing to keep ourselves safe and how we can work with the authorities and Government to be peaceful citizens but still have our voice heard and rights protected,” said Saud Juman, the organizer of the event.
Speakers at the town hall included Maryam Alikhani and Mark Topping of York Region Police’s Central Hate Crime Unit; Sabreena Ghaffar Siddiqui, a researcher on Islamophobia and Abbas Kassam of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).
Sabreena Siddiqui told the audience that there is an underreporting of hate incidents by Muslims.Here comes the disconnect--a sentence spoken by Siddiqui which has more to do with taking responsibility for internal problems than it does with ginning up fears about impending, Trump-engendered "hate crimes":
“Allow yourselves as immigrants, as people of colour, as Muslims, the permission to complain if an injustice is being done,” Siddiqui advised the audience. “But you should recognize and tackle the inequalities in your communities.Wow. Such truth-telling, so rare in these days of victimhood politics, is as shocking as it is refreshing.
Over in the Toronto Sun, another Muslim truth-teller, columnist Farzana Hassan, explains what's behind the rise of "populism" in Europe and the U.S.--and it isn't because of "racism" or "Islamophobia". It's because Western freedoms have been under assault:
But although considerable right-wing populism has been articulated by white supremacists and what has now come to be known as the alt-right, apprehension about outsiders has always been normal even among people with enough goodwill not to subscribe to racist ideologies.
Europe, and by extension the entire Western world, has gone through an arduous process of forging societies that recognize a common humanity in all. That is what gave rise to Western liberalism in the first place.
Events of recent years have assaulted Western freedoms of speech, of conscience and religion.
The West has built societies that are pluralistic, that are based on liberal principles of social justice and equality for all marginalized groups. But now Westerners are afraid.
Even Angela Merkel, who last year admitted over a million refugees into her country, acknowledges this fear. And for many expressing this sentiment, it has nothing whatsoever to do with racism.
It has more to do with preserving what the West holds dear and, in its most primal form, simply with protecting its citizens from harm.I have a hunch that neither Sabeena nor Farzana will be invited to speak at any future town halls about "hate crimes."
Update: Speaking of Western freedoms coming under assault...:
A 12-year-old boy attempted to commit attacks on a Christmas market and near a town hall in Ludwigshafen, western Germany, in the space of just over a week, officials say.
Hubert Stroeber, a spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office, told Reuters that the boy, who is German but of Iraqi heritage, tried and failed to detonate a nail bomb at the Christmas market on Nov. 26 and then planted another self-made explosive device in a backpack near the town hall on Dec. 5. A passer-by drew the police’s attention to the abandoned backpack, and specialists destroyed it in a controlled explosion.
The boy was possibly controlled by ISIS, according to the German magazine FOCUS. The “religiously radicalized” boy was “instigated [by an] unknown member” of the terrorist organization and had been planning to flee to Syria last summer, it reports.
Authorities also told television network ZDF that the boy had been radicalized via social media and the internet...