Hugh Fitzgerald: Swift Current’s Muslim Community Hoping for Education on Islam in Wake of Mosque Shootings [Part I]


In Swift Current, local Muslims gave a thought not just to the Muslims killed in New Zealand, but to other Muslims, too — namely, themselves.

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Following the deadly attack on two mosques in New Zealand, Swift Current’s Muslim community is reacting to the tragedy, which have claimed the lives of 49 people and have garnered vocal responses from local and global politicians.

After a prayer service at the Islamic Centre of Swift Current Friday afternoon, calls for tolerance, education, and inclusion were heard from its participants.

‘Mirvat Ouwayza, one of the participants in the prayer, spoke about her reaction, and said that inclusion is something she would strive towards.

Would that ‘inclusion” Ms.Ouwayza will “strive towards” mainly mean that Muslims should be included — welcomed — in the larger society? But they already are. There are no barriers to Muslim “inclusion” in liberal Canada, and this attack on a mosque in New Zealand — news of the “man bites dog” variety — hardly changes that. Wherever in the Western world Muslims have now settled, the obstacle to their “inclusion’” in the larger society is not the attitude of the indigenous Infidels, who have been remarkably welcoming, but rather, the attitude of Muslims who are taught, in the Qur’an, that they are the “best of peoples” while all non-Muslims are the “most vile of created beings.” It makes little sense for Muslims to wish to integrate with those who are the “most vile.” Besides, the Qur’an reinforces the message: “Do not take Christians and Jews as friends, because they are friends only with each other.”

“What happened in New Zealand is breaking our hearts, because they are innocent people. Whether they are Muslim or from different religions, it would be hurting our hearts, because any innocent people, they aren’t supposed to be killed in this way.”

Could Mirvat Ouwayza tell us what she thinks of the Muslim terrorists who murdered the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in France? Does she think that blasphemy should be punished by killing, or does she believe that Muslims who wish to continue living in the West must accept the Western view that freedom of speech permits even what Muslims, or non-Muslims, might regard as blasphemy?

“All immigrants in general choose, for example, Swift Current, or Canada to be our home, because we are seeking safety – we are seeking to be in a good place for our children to be raised in. For this reason, we are here in Canada, and for sure we are all against racism [sic]against any religion. We are happy to live with all other religions in general.”

Why is it that Muslim immigrants seek safety in Canada, or other Western countries — the very safety that they do not find in their own, Muslim, countries of origin? Why are so many Muslim countries convulsed in violence, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan? Why are so many Muslim countries run by family despotisms, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Morocco? Why are so many Muslim countries run by authoritarian regimes, such as that of Erdogan in Turkey or of El-Sisi in Egypt or the military junta headed by Bouteflika in Algeria? Why are violence and aggression so much a part of life in the Muslim countries? Why do Muslims seeking a peaceful and quiet life find it only in Dar al-harb? These are questions those Muslims enjoying the peace and tranquillity of life among the Unbelievers in Swift Current, Newfoundland ought to be asking themselves. But will they?

Meanwhile, Anas is a Syrian refugee and entrepreneur, and noted that New Zealand’s deadliest-ever shooting highlighted the need for education about inclusivity.

“I think what happened was an isolated action. I condemn it – I condemn any type of violence against any person,” said Anas. “We are peaceful people, we like to live with peace with anybody, and I wish that the government does something to clarify the image [of muslims] that the media has portrayed around the world.”

Anas, even at this point, is still offering Taqiyya. “We [Musims] are peaceful people, we like to live with [sic] peace with anybody.” Not a hint of recognition that — let’s compose the desired response — “we too, Muslims, must examine what we learn and teach to make sure our lesson is one of peace and tolerance, not feigned but real. We have much that needs changing in our faith, we know that.”

“Whoever has a problem with Islam, I recommend them to come up to a Muslim person and ask them about anything that he’s in doubt with,” Anas explained. “Hopefully, we can avoid this type of violence in the future, as this obviously is a misunderstanding of Islam.”

“Come up to a Muslim person and ask them [sic]about anything that he’s in doubt about”? Here we are, not for the first or last time, being invited to Ask-A-Muslim Anything. Let’s take a brief intermission now, so as to come up with ten questions to Ask-That-Muslim.

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