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9132Islamophobia in Canada: Mosque building site defaced in Barrhaven

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  • Zafar Khan
    Jun 5, 2010
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      Mosque building site defaced in Barrhaven
      By Matthew Pearson, The Ottawa Citizen April 30, 2010


      OTTAWA — Racist graffiti has marred a sign marking the future site of a mosque in Barrhaven.

      The messages — “F*** Muslims,” “Ragheads Go” — and a swastika were spray painted onto the sign at 3020 Woodroffe Ave., near Claridge Drive, between Thursday night and Friday morning.

      Wais Sidiqi, an administrative officer with the South Nepean Muslim Community — the group planning to build a mosque and community centre on the land, snapped photos of the vandalized sign Friday morning, saying “$1.2 million and we get this kind of message.”

      The group paid the city $1.05 million for 1.3 hectares of land, but added expenses brought the total cost of the purchase to $1.2 million. It plans to begin construction next year and hopes to complete the project by August 2013.

      But Emdad Khan, the group’s president, said the racist message doesn’t reflect how the Barrhaven community feels about his group.

      “There’s always one or two bad apples,” Khan said Friday.

      He added the group has developed good working relationships with other religious organizations, schools and elected officials in the community.

      The sign has been vandalized twice before, but this is the first time the graffiti has had a racial tone, he said.

      © Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

      Anti-Islam hate mongers hunted in Pickering


      PICKERING, Ontario – Cops are looking for hate mongers who spray painted offensive graffiti in front of an Islamic centre.

      Investigators from the DRPS West Division are asking for public assistance in determining finding the culprits who spray painted the sidewalk in front of the mosque.

      A couple walking in the area on Wednesday evening discovered the offensive language spray painted in red letters on the sidewalk across the road from the Pickering Islamic Centre on Brock Road North.

      The vulgar comments involved the Islam faith, police said.

      Investigators believe the offensive language was spray painted on the sidewalk sometime in the late afternoon or early evening of Wednesday, April 21st. Officers are reviewing security camera footage and the investigation continues.

      Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact Cst. Andy Lee of the West Division Criminal Investigations Unit at 1-888–579-1520 ext 1929. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or on the website at www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca and tipsters are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.


      Canadian Muslims still have reason to be anxious

      Faith's followers are demonized and stereotyped by politicians and the general public -- and terrorized by radicals

      By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun June 3, 2010


      A young Port Moody Muslim is travelling to Europe for the first time and is worried about being racially profiled.

      Raised in the relative tolerance of Metro Vancouver, Shaheed Devji has won a European Union-Canada Young Journalist Award that has him flying alone to Belgium, where Muslims are sometimes treated suspiciously in airports and elsewhere.

      Devji, a B.C. Institute of Technology broadcast student and SFU soccer play-by-play announcer, wondered if he was just being "paranoid" about whether his laptop was going to be searched.

      Unfortunately, he has a right to be anxious.

      Racial profiling may be just one of the problems Devji experiences away from Metro Vancouver, which has roughly 70,000 Muslims. Some Muslims in Europe, and especially in the U.S., are being subjected to shocking discrimination, harassment and violence.

      In a world on heightened "terrorism alert," you don't have to agree with everything to do with Islam -- followed by more than one billion diverse people around the planet -- to be appalled at the way Muslims are often demonized and stereotyped.

      The most recent North American hate speech came last week when well-known Texas talk show host Michael Berry (who has been a fill-in for Fox TV's nationally syndicated Bill O'Reilly) encouraged his audience to blow up a proposed mosque in New York City.

      When one caller supported a new mosque for New York City, Berry responded: "No, you can't. No, you can't. And I'll tell you this -- if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up ... I hope the mosque isn't built, and if it is, I hope it's blown up, and I mean that."

      This kind of vicious talk, linking all Muslims to bloody terrorism, is almost common on broadcast networks in the U.S., where Muslims make up one per cent of the population.

      In the month of May alone, U.S. Muslims were subjected to numerous verbal and physical attacks.

      One of the top leaders of the pro-Republican Tea Party movement, talk-show host Mark Williams, last month labelled Islam a "monkey religion."

      As well in May, a pipe bomb exploded in a Florida mosque containing 60 people. It started a fire.

      Muslim men were also brutally beaten in both New York and Oregon in suspected hate crimes. And federal authorities last month stepped up their investigation into why a Muslim imam in Detroit was shot 21 times by police -- when he was wearing handcuffs.

      Although these kinds of shocking incidents don't occur with the same regularity in Canada, where Muslims make up two per cent of the national population (three per cent in Metro Vancouver), Muslims, unfortunately, have reason to not feel entirely comfortable here.

      When I wrote about these U.S. attacks on Muslims on my blog this week, epithets and untruths came flooding in about how Muslims "deserved" such treatment, about how Muslims are "all the same" and about how "Islam is a totalitarian religion" bent on "promoting violence."

      Even though many people wrote to my blog that Muslims have no right to fret about being criticized in Canada -- with numerous readers alleging that Christians are more vilified than Muslims in this country -- the figures don't back up the claim.

      A recent Angus Reid poll showed only 28 per cent of Canadians "approve of" Islam. In contrast, the poll suggested 72 per cent of Canadians approve of Christianity, while 57 per cent support Buddhism and 53 per cent feel positive about Judaism.

      In a world where attacks on Muslims in the West continue to be treated by many as just business as usual, it's hard for many of us to really appreciate the anxiety that Canadian Muslims, including a young journalist travelling in Europe, still experience on a daily basis.


      Proposed ban on Muslim veil stirs controversy in Quebec
      By Fabrice Hoss (AFP) – May 20, 2010


      MONTREAL — A proposed ban in Quebec's public service against the niqab, a veil worn by some Muslim women, stirred up a fierce debate this week in the mostly French-speaking Canadian province.

      Widely supported in Canada, Bill 94 would require Quebec public servants and anyone accessing a provincial government service to show their face.
      But Indian-Canadian Tasneen Mughal, who wears the veil, says it is "an attack on Muslims."

      She told AFP she would rather leave Quebec with her husband and their two children and move to neighboring Ontario province than give up her niqab.

      The 27-year-old woman, born in Montreal, is among 100 or so women in Quebec who have garnered much attention for wearing a niqab as committee hearings are held in Quebec City on the bill that is expected to become law.

      "People should be seen... in order to identify a person, for security reasons," Quebec Justice Minister Kathleen Weil said of her brainchild.
      Louise Beaudoin, spokeswoman for the opposition Parti Quebecois, would like the law to go even further.

      "For the rest of Canada, multiculturalism is a virtue," she said. "For us, it's different. We try to find a way to all live with one another, without a return to segregated communities (or ethnic ghettos)."

      Lobbyists for and against the niqab already have submitted some 60 recommendations to Quebec politicians as they parse the bill in committee before members of Quebec's legislative assembly vote on it.
      It is unlikely the bill will be voted into law before the end of the current legislative session on June 11.

      Among the first to testify before the committee, Jean Tremblay, mayor of Saguenay, Quebec, said the niqab is "unacceptable" in Quebec.

      Dominique Peschard, president of the League of Rights and Freedoms, however, denounced the proposed law as "useless."

      He told AFP it "wrongs a small group of believers on the fringes of Quebec society -- women who wear the niqab," who will be "ostracized."

      A Toronto group calling itself "Kill Bill 94" organized online protests to the Quebec law, arguing that the measure runs the risk of "depriving all women of social services, employment, access to healthcare and education, and on top of that creating a climate of shame and fear."

      Even though the controversial act would only be applied in Quebec, the debate is being watched closely elsewhere in the country.

      According to an Angus Reid poll in March, 80 percent of 1,004 Canadians surveyed support the initiative, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper also has deemed a "reasonable" measure.

      Ratifying the law would create a precedent, imposing limits on constitutionally protected religious freedoms in Canada, a multicultural nation that welcomes some 250,000 immigrants annually.
      Copyright © 2010 AFP.