Last Sunday, during their Ramadan, a Muslim community was the targeted victim of a disturbing act in Québec City.
According to the President of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Québec, Mohamed Yangui, four mosques in Québec City are vandalized at least once a year. He reacts to the hate crime with a pacifist approach. As he told Radio-Canada in a recent interview, “Our community loves and respects everyone. I just wish for the feeling to be mutual.”
When someone we don’t know is targeted by hateful acts, it is often easy to look the other way. Whereas, if it happens to our friends or family, we respond with concern.
Indifference and silence make us accomplice to the crime.
I grew up in a Canada where people’s differences were not only respected, but appreciated. It is what makes us great, here at home and on the world stage. We have taken our country’s values of inclusion, respect, and multiculturalism for granted. We have let our guard down.
We all have a responsibility to speak out when confronted by hateful acts of discrimination, like the one in Québec City. These gestures are troubling, they worry me. The great tragedies of our history have been allowed to happen because of indifference. To quote Martin Luther King Jr, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
Now more than ever, inclusion, equality and respect must guide our values and all aspects of our daily lives—because my Canada includes everyone.
Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E.