As I think of those who lost their lives whilst praying in the mosque in Quebec a year ago, today, I’m reminded that Canada is the best country in the world to live in, however, we are a work in progress.
[The Quebec City mosque shooting was a mass shooting that occurred on the evening of January 29, 2017, at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, a mosque in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City, Canada. Six worshipers were killed and nineteen others injured when a lone gunman opened fire just before 8:00 pm, shortly after the end of evening prayers. Fifty-three people were reported present at the time of the shooting.]
As we celebrated the Canada 150 throughout last year we aimed in our celebrations to invite First Nations and people from different faiths and races. Not only Muslims. As I just concluded the first One Love Cruise I am blessed to have people from from all faiths and nationalities aboard the beautiful Carnival cruise. The power of love is the only thing that seems to fight deadly racism, one white supremacist who converted to Islam said to me just after the Quebec tragedy! I am working on a documentary to share his story with the world!
I am not oblivious to the deliberate policies that divide us and those who are intent to follow suit the tweets that aim to denigrate us.
What is true, however, is that little funds are placed upon investing in people. More funds are for research and political promotions, besides in exorbitant buildings in the name of worship.
As chaplain I see men and women worry about suicide, delayed justice, immigration detentions prolonged, divided families, racism in its raw form, homophobia, anti Aboriginal and Black racism among other ugliness. So to hear the ringing cries of Islamophobia from Quebec last year, the day after we just celebrated One Love Gala for the successful reintegration of inmates, and the day before our Interfaith musical at a church with a Rabbi, shocked me first and made me angry after.
Knowing that it’s like pulling teeth to fund programs and faith based work in our communities. It’s easier to get buy a blunt and legally smoke in front our children now than to ask for funds to invest in the spiritual and social wellness of our youths.
A young man walked into my office this week just to share his grief of a young cousin who died from suicide. He lost three friends similarity! A girl who I had known for years in Ottawa doing fabulous community service revealed in an email on Launchgood I read last night that she has been on suicide watch since last year. I feel incredibly sad and yet I continue to beat the road of Interfaith knowing that the interactions of different races and faiths and sexuality is what will destroy racism and stop more Muslims from being killed. However, the police reports in Canada demonstrates differently. More people have increasingly been victims of Islamophobia and Antisemitism of recent.
I ask where is the funding and the resources to make people feel like family and neighbors again? Not with increased poverty. We see Muslims operating more food banks and volunteering together against homelessness or venturing into unchatterered waters on many aspect of socio-economic fronts and not only on Rohingya and Palestine but it’s not debunking the myths as fast as we wish.
It’s time to stop crying wolf and make every act of racism me too- invest in people and not tweets!