On a day when the world paused once again on the anniversary of September 11, 2001 to pray for peace and reflect on the long road still ahead in attaining global understanding, a Conservative MP’s skewed interpretation of national history has sent shockwaves through the Canadian Muslim community and beyond.
In a recent newsletter to his constituents in the Alberta riding of Calgary West, Rob Anders wrote:
“The war of 1812 ensured that the historic traditions of British liberty would live on in North America. It gave strength to the Canadian militia movement and to the notion of a citizens [sic] duty and responsibility to bear arms for the defence of the nation. These same principles of freedom, liberty and volunteer military service are alive today and have guided us through the last 10 years of warfare against Islamic terrorism.”
CIC national president Amin Elshorbagy said his organization is not alone in feeling “surprise and discontent” at the Tory MP’s factually incorrect statements. “Not only is Mr. Anders’ analogy historically and contextually absurd; the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ is deeply offensive to all Canadians who believe in the values of diversity and multiculturalism,” he said.
As the sponsor of Islamic History Month Canada – an annual October celebration of Muslim contributions to world knowledge and culture – the CIC is committed to forging stronger networks of harmony and dialogue between Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians. IHMC is unique in North America and has been hailed as a Canadian inter-cultural success story.
“Our own federal government officially recognized and proclaimed Islamic History Month in 2007,” he continued, “yet today some uninformed politicians still insist on facing our bridge-building attempts with more trench-digging and the raising of artificial barriers through Islamophobia and hateful attitudes.”
Dr. Elshorbagy reaffirmed CIC’s position that politicians at all levels of government should work with community and cultural leaders to build a harmonious society in which everyone can experience full belonging.
“Canadian Muslims will not be drawn into the trap of xenophobia and disenfranchisement,” he concluded. “Aside from the incorrect historical inference, we find it wholly unacceptable that Mr. Anders linked terrorism to Islam …Terror is a global and societal problem, not a product of religion. We learned that from 9/11, and have continued to learn it from tragic events like last summer’s massacre in Norway and the latest shooting in Quebec. Ignorance and fear are what feed terrorism.”Well, no. What fed the terrorism of 9/11 was Islamic triumphalism and the jihad imperative as set forth in the Koran. It's a shame--no, let me rephrase that: it's shocking--that the good Dr. thinks that Canada's sanctioning an official "Islamic History Month" means that that gives the Canadian Islamic Congress permission to rewrite history for us.