Accommodating Muslim inclusiveness

Alexandre  Bissonnette (27), a Quebecer, killed six Muslim men and wounded many more in a shooting spree on Sun. Jan. 29. The men were praying in a Mosque in Quebec City.
This event has created quite a stir in this country. In this column I want to explore some of the issues that I think we need to think about.
There are some implications that could be both positive and negative in our future relationship with the Muslim community.
There is no doubt that the execution style murders of six Muslim men in prayer put fear into the hearts of many Muslims. By the time the funerals for these men were over a week later, there was over reaction by the media, politicians and general public, in my opinion.
I do not want to downplay the horror of this tragedy but had this been people of Jewish or Christian faith, the reaction would not have been the same.
What this episode has done is highlighted the term “Islamophobia”.
Islamophobia is a term that is used to denote the hatred of Muslims. From what I have been able to learn it is much more than that now.
It seems in the aftermath of 911, Islamophobia has morphed into a catch-all phrase to silence anyone who criticizes the religion.
This applied even if people were denouncing extremism like Sharia law or  groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.
As I write this, Parliament is debating a private members motion M-103 introduced by a Liberal MP. This motion is nonbinding, it is not a law or a bill.
According Kellie Leitch, M-103 is an ill-conceived motion that could be in violation of our fundamental freedoms. It seeks to recognize and condemn “Islamophbia” without defining the term in the motion.
While the motion may be well intentioned, there is much criticism of this as it could well do more harm than good.
In the aftermath of this tragedy the Muslim community have realized that they needed to be much more transparent with their religion.
As a result they have opened up their Mosques and welcomed the general public into them so that the rest of our society would have a better understanding of what Islam is about.
I have never read the Koran, the central religious text of Islam, but I talked to a priest a few days ago who has read it.
The context and structure of the book is much different than the Bible.
The Bible is  a historical document  of the Jewish people and the beginning of Christianity after the time of Jesus Christ and talks about God’s love for his people.
From what I was told, the Koran is not a historical document but talks about how to live the life of a Muslim. He said it tends to be much more negative and seeks to condemn anyone who is not a Muslim as an Infidel.
The killing of six innocent Muslim men was a senseless act and the motive for it is still not clear, however it garnered a high level of national media attention in favour of the Muslim community.
I would suggest that this is a public relations windfall for them.
People have bent over backwards to express sympathy and make the Muslims feel included within our society and that is probably a good thing.
Now if they really want to express inclusiveness within our society they need to go one step farther. I think they need to come into our Christian churches and Synagogues to learn about the roots of our religions.
To Christians and Jews, their religion is just as important to them as Islam is to the Muslims.
For true religious understanding and tolerance Muslims cannot continue to look inward and expect the rest of society to afford them special status as is the case now.

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