25 October 2014

Reaction to the Tragedies in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa

Well I'm back.

Did I miss anything?

There are a lot of stories I would like to get to eventually. For example I've been digging up some information on a Winnipeg misanthrope posting on Stormfront as "vikingwarlord14" named Jonathan (and trust us when we note that the online moniker is yet another example of a delusion of grandeur). And god knows that Paulie's photos deserve more attention. Well, that's a poor choice of words. Dear god! Even when this writer takes some time off I'm subjected to a horror that so living soul should be subjected to. Paul Fromm. In a leather bondage thong. That's an image that, once seen, can never be unseen.

But I really think I would remiss if I didn't first make mention of the tragedies of the past week in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa.

I'm not going to belabor the basics that we all already know, though I will provide a brief background. Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo were murdered in two distinct attacks. The two accused, also dead, were Canadian-born recent converts to Islam who have been described as having been radicalized. Neither man appears to have known the other and the second attack in Ottawa appears to have been a copycat attack inspired by the events in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. At least one of the men had a long, troubled, history before his conversion to Islam and had been tossed out of a mosque as a result of his extremist views. The other had attempted to travel to Turkey in order to hook up with ISIS (a particularly evil, fascistic, Islamic movement in Syria and Iraq responsible for countless atrocities) but was prevented from doing so by the authorities; numerous people, including his parents and Imam, tried to steer him away from radical views but were sadly not successful. Both men may or may not have been inspired by ISIS' call for those supporting them to engage in attacks on targets overseas, though it appears likely there was no direct connection. Both may or may not have been mentally ill.

Since the attacks, Muslim Canadians have denounced the murders loudly and unambiguously:

Winnipeg Muslims condemn soldier attacks, fear backlash

Canadian Muslim group calls Ottawa attacks ‘repulsive’

Ottawa shooting: Canadian Muslims denounce attacks

While condemning the murder of Vincent and Cirillo is admirable, one might be troubled by what appears to be the assigning of group guilt to Muslim-Canadians. If there was not a condemnation of the attacks by Muslims, they would be accused of secretly supporting those attacks. I can't recall Roman Catholics in Canada being required to condemn the actions of the IRA, for example, or be suspected of implicitly supporting sectarian violence in Ireland.

But regardless of how many times our fellow Canadians denounce violence carried out by extremists, there seem to be those who will ignore those denunciations and still tar all Muslims as extremists, as our friend Ed Kennedy (formerly of the currently defunct Free Dominion) proves once again:

Not surprisingly, the boneheads we cover here on the blog also jumped into the mix. The irony of some of their comments given some of their criminal backgrounds (keep in mind that "Freedom Fighter" is Kyle McKee) appears lost on them:


Sadly, what I expected also came to pass as a result of the assigning of group guilt:

Mosque vandalized in Cold Lake, Alta.

A mosque in northeastern Alberta was being cleaned up after a brick was thrown through its windows and a "go home'' message was painted on the wall. 

Mahmoud Elkabri, a mosque board member, said he noticed the vandalism when he went to open the doors for prayers early Friday morning. 

He said his family has lived in Cold Lake since 1996 and has always felt welcome. 

"You see a message 'go home' — I just want to let everybody know, this is our home,'' Elkabri said. 

"My kids saw it and they started crying and I said: 'Why are you crying?' They said: 'We were born here and raised here and this is our home.'''....

But in noting this and other acts carried out against Canadians of the Islamic faith, there are still people who allow me to be hopeful that the acts of two deranged men won't allow most of us to jettison the values we as a country claim to uphold:

Town rallies around vandalized Cold Lake Mosque

CBC News Posted: Oct 24, 2014 12:39 PM MT   Last Updated: Oct 25, 2014 1:12 PM MT

When Mahmoud Elkadri arrived at the mosque in Cold Lake, Alta., early Friday morning, he was met with a disturbing sight. 

The words "Go home" and "Canada" had been sprayed across the front face of the building sometime over the night. Vandals had also smashed two of the mosque’s windows. 

"When you’re coming in the morning for a peaceful prayer, it is hard," said Elkadri, who is one of the mosque’s board members. 

"This is our home. My kids have been born and raised in Cold Lake. … I have been in Cold Lake since 1996."

Only a couple hours later, it was a much different sight. Over the course of the morning, dozens of people from the town showed up to help repair the damage. Some helped paint over the damage, while others taped their own messages to the window reading "You Are Home" and "Love Your Neighbour." 

Cold Lake resident Matt Downey, who came down to the mosque with his daughter to deliver flowers to Elkadri, says he wanted to show that the vandals didn’t speak for the majority of the people in town. 

"It’s sad. I mean, these guys are peaceful. I think it is important for the community to show them that we know the difference between extremists and a religion," he said. 

Elkadri said he’s received visits and messages of support from soldiers stationed at the Canadian Forces base in Cold Lake....

Oh, and one more thing.

Remember when we and others suggested that removing Sec. 13 from the Human Rights Act might have been a little short sighted?

Oh, the irony of it all. Not saying that the legislation proposed by the government is an entirely good idea, but I can't help but chuckle a bit to myself over this art:

Online hate speech could be curtailed under new anti-terror push

Move to target online postings could raise ire of free-speech advocates 
By Kady O'Malley, CBC News 
Posted: Oct 25, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 25, 2014 5:00 AM ET

....The government could find itself on the defensive over last year's decision to back a Conservative private member's bill to remove online hate speech from the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to strip the federal human rights commission's power to investigate complaints. 

At the time, the government argued the CHRA was not the appropriate avenue to deal with hate speech and said it would bolster the Criminal Code provisions on hate speech instead. 

Most opposition MPs voted against the bill, which nevertheless passed with the full support of the government. 

Under the current criminal laws, anyone found guilty of inciting hatred against an identifiable group — which the Criminal Code defines as "any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex or sexual orientation" — can be sentenced to up to two years in prison. 

The government's proposed anti-cyberbullying bill, which is currently before the Senate, would expand that list to include mental and physical disabilities. 

It would also extend the power of the court to seize and remove online material that promotes genocide....

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