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End of January approaches, must be time to atone
As the second anniversary of the tragic Quebec mosque approaches Canadians find themselves, once again, facing the need to atone for the part they played in the terrible disaster. After all, it was their religious discrimination, in the form of Islamophobia, that played a central role in motivating the events of that fateful evening on 29 January, 2017. The road to the memorialization of a “Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia” is being paved by the Canadians for Justice and Peace in The Middle East (CJPME) in conjunction with the Canadian Muslim Forum (CMF). It is noteworthy that, if their intercessions with Parliament Hill MPs are successful, Canadians will be forced to atone for the mosque massacre on a yearly basis. This would satisfy recommendation #30 of the Heritage Committee’s final report on M-103 that calls for such a “day of remembrance” - but would it be justified by the facts and evidence presented before this same Heritage Committee?
It matters not that the mosque attack cannot be attributed to “Islamophobia”
The sad fact is that, even after two years of breathless assertions, the Quebec City mosque attack cannot be seen to be motivated by Islamophobia. Indeed, the facts of the whole story will never be known as the accused murderer pled “guilty” to all counts as charged – none of which entailed “terror” or “hate”. We do know that, in accordance with his confession, Alexandre Bissonnette declared himself not to be an Islamophobe but, rather, a tragic individual who had descended into a deep and dark depression. Those who asserted otherwise, including highly placed political authorities, did the public a disservice by “jumping the gun”. Indeed, it is not far-fetched to wonder if they were deliberately misleading the public as they pursued a political agenda. It also makes one wonder if that same political agenda is being pursued now.
It matters not that there is no rising tide of hate in Canada
The effort to instate a “Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia” cites a bevy of statistics, surveys and polls to claim that Canada is in the throws of an anti-Muslim hate fest. Problem is, the referenced survey is characterized by leading questions and was marketed to a small subset of the Canadian population. Meanwhile, the related poll discusses attitudes surrounding the ambiguous term, “Islamophobia” and one wonders - were respondents addressing discrimination against Muslims or the criticism of Islam and sharia law? Can any poll be considered to be valid if the underlying subject matter is misunderstood? After all, wasn’t the unresolved nature of the term “Islamophobia” at the heart of the M-103 debate? As for the statistics called up to convince our politicos of the need for atonement, they were “cherry-picked” from a StatsCan “police-reported hate crime” study from 2017.
The StatsCan report notes upfront that hate crime in Canada represents a mere “0.1% of the 1.9 million non-traffic-related crimes” that were reported in 2017. Still, proponents of a “Day Against Islamophobia” clutched at their pearls as they announced a more than doubling of hate crime reports against Muslims from the year before. Problem is, in doing so they left out the context provided by the raw numbers; 139 reports in 2016 and 349 in 2017. Given a population of well over a million Muslims in Canada, these numbers are exceedingly small and subject to wide variations, in percentage terms, given small changes in the raw numbers - up or down. It is such “small numbers” that lead to the error of “judgmental bias” and likely influenced Rebecca Kong, Chief, Policing Services Program, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, under questioning during M-103 Heritage Committee testimony, to say that they could not justify the assertion that there was a "rising climate of hate and fear" in Canada. She stated that the numbers were rather small and incapable of supporting such an assertion.
It matters not that reports can be manufactured
The StatsCan report did note that the sudden rise in hate crime numbers over the year may have been the result of “more reporting by the public” as a result of “public outreach and sensitivity to high profile events”. This would seem to be evidenced by the sharp increase in reports in the month after the mosque attack - an increase that accounted for 26% of Quebec's annual reported incidents. Add to this the initiation of dedicated reporting networks that were stood up by Islamic advocacy groups and we begin to see the possibility that reporting, not hate, is on the rise.
One last consideration in assessing the validity of report-driven statistics is the potential for false claims. There has been a seemingly large instance of such claims including Canada’s own “hijab hoax” debacle just before the first anniversary of the mosque attack. This has clearly been demonstrated to be the case in the British context as the false and misleading reporting of “Islamophobic” events has become an organized endeavor. Such has been the case with the organization, “Tell Mama”, in the UK. Their work has been found by the British government to be unreliable thereby necessitating the removal of government funding for its operations.
What to do? Make your opinion known!
Those who would label you as an Islamophobe, racist or bigot have been busy lobbying your MPs to institute an affirmation in the form of a “Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia”. This is the second year in a row that they have done so and they will succeed if you choose to allow them to control your elected representative. It is time, right now, for you to get your MP to listen to you. Let him or her know you have good reason to believe, on the basis of raw Heritage Committee testimony on M-103, that there is no “rising tide of hate and fear” in Canada. Tell him or her that you resent persistent, fallacious attempts to twist the narrative and characterize good Canadians as bigots. Tell him or her that you expect to be represented in good faith and have your interests and reputation defended. Then tell him or her that if they are incapable of doing so on your behalf, they can start packing their bags ahead of this year’s election! You can find your MPs email address here.
Ongoing operations and trends
C3RF will continue to connect the dots in this election year even as it pushes back on attempts to brand rank and file Canadians as “bad actors”, “un-Canadian” and “Islamophobes”. The dots populate international, national, provincial and local levels of government and the name-calling is meant to cower and chill your ability to express yourself and fight back. Speaking of fighting back, the “reject the Islamic Party of Ontario” petition from last week is going great guns with thousands of signatures. If you haven’t signed, please consider doing so now.
We need your continued support
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Major Russ Cooper (Ret'd)