04 March 2010

Anti-Semitism is out, but anti-Islamism ... well, have we got a nice job for you

From witch-hunting in Canada to unequivocal support for Israel abroad, the Harper government is obsessed with proving its anti anti-Semitism credentials. Anti-Islamism, on the other hand, is apparently not such a great sin. In appointing Gerard Latulippe to, of all things, the human-rights organization Rights and Democracy, it seems quite  oblivious to some of the inflammatory remarks this gentleman has made about Muslims.

In a brief to the Bouchard-Taylor commission, struck by the Quebec government in 2007 amid the heated debate about integrating minorities, Latulippe argued that the concentration of increasing numbers of immigrants from Muslim countries in Montreal undermined “the proper functioning of Quebec society.” He went on to express his concern that if Quebec didn't change the way it selected immigrants, it faced an “unnecessary risk of fostering domestic terrorism.”

He also had something to say about symbolism. He insisted that the public display of Catholic symbols, such as the crucifix in the provincial legislature, reflected Quebec's national identity and should be preserved, whereas the Muslim headscarf should be confined to the private sphere.
The government's appointment showed an unfortunate insensitivity to the Muslim community. Ihsaan Gardee of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada stated, “In our opinion this promotes an unfounded fear of Muslims and of Muslim immigration in Canada.” Indeed it does, however it appears that in the eyes of our government not all Canadian communities are worthy of the same respect.

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