Harper’s silence on anti-Muslim backlash disheartens Muslim groups

Stephen Harper hasn’t spoken out against a spike in anti-Muslim crimes


OTTAWA – Muslim groups are disappointed that Stephen Harper hasn’t spoken out against a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes since two separate attacks by jihadist sympathizers left two Canadian soldiers dead last week.

The prime minister has not publicly uttered one word of support for Canadian Muslims following the incidents, which Harper and the RCMP have labelled acts of terrorism.

He’s remained silent despite an apparent backlash against Muslims , including the defacing of a mosque in Cold Lake, Alta., racist slurs against Muslim candidates in Toronto’s municipal election and threats against the B.C. Muslim Association.

In the latest incident, windows were smashed early Friday morning at the Assunnah Muslims Association mosque in Ottawa.

Mosque president Mohammed Mostefa believes the vandalism was “probably” in response to last week’s incidents: the hit-and-run murder of a soldier in Quebec and the killing of an honour guard at the National War Memorial by a gunman who then stormed the Parliament buildings.

In both cases, the killers were Canadians with an alleged history of drug addiction, mental illness and admiration for extremist Islamic terrorists who’ve been on a brutal rampage in Iraq and Syria.

Muslim groups have condemned the killings and the extremist beliefs which apparently motivated them. But they say their efforts to demonstrate that most Muslims do not share those beliefs and to show solidarity with non-Muslim Canadians need to be reinforced by political leaders, particularly the prime minister.

“We are trying to work together with our law enforcement and our authorities to end this what is called radicalization of youth. We are trying to do our utmost to help,” said Mostefa.

But when political leaders denounce Muslim extremists but don’t come to the defence of moderate Muslims, Mostefa said young Muslims will think: “This is my country and you don’t come to my support to stand by my side.”

And that sends “the wrong message.”

Mostefa’s mosque issued a statement Friday urging all elected officials, from the prime minister to municipal councillors, to denounce acts of hate against Canadian Muslims.

“Our leaders have a very important role to play,” concurred Amira Elghawaby, human rights co-ordinator for the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

“It’s the leaders who have to set the positive tone.”

Immediately following the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Elghawaby noted that then-prime minister Jean Chretien visited a mosque “just to show Canadians that there’s no such thing as collective guilt.”

She said her group expects Harper, “as leader of our country, to speak up for the minorities that live here.”

“He has a responsibility to represent everyone and certainly Canadian Muslim communities are extremely worried about a backlash and I think that needs to be spoken to.”

Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, said it’s “very disheartening” that Harper has not bothered to speak out against the anti-Muslim backlash. But it’s not surprising to her.

“I don’t think he much likes Muslims,” Hogben said.

Canada is a multicultural country with over 1 million Muslims, most of whom are Canadian citizens whose religion is only part of their identity, she pointed out.

“I think it’s absolutely vital that the head of the country, like the prime minister, would accept that and also somehow reinforce it and reassure people.”

Asked why Harper has not specifically denounced any of the recent anti-Muslim incidents, the prime minister’s spokesman Jason MacDonald said: “These acts are obviously unacceptable.

“That’s why our government has issued statements, like the one issued by (Multiculturalism) Minister (Jason) Kenney last week, among others, condemning this vandalism.

“The prime minister has been clear that our full attention is on radicalized individuals, jihadis and anyone else who seeks to harm Canada or Canadians, including Canadian Muslims.”

Kenney last week issued a written statement condemning the vandalism of the Cold Lake mosque as “a cowardly act” that “has no place in Canada.” He said Canadians “will not stand for crimes of intolerance and bigotry against anyone.”

In the House of Commons last week, after being questioned on the matter by a Liberal MP, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird also condemned the “despicable” vandalizing of Muslim municipal candidates’ campaign offices in Toronto.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, has acknowledged the concerns of Canadian Muslims more than once since the shootout on Parliament Hill.

In a televised statement that night, he directly addressed “our friends and fellow citizens in the Muslim community,” saying that Canadians know acts of violence “committed in the name of Islam are an aberration of your faith.”

Trudeau repeated that message the next day in a speech in the Commons and during a visit Friday to a mosque in Mississauga. He also issued a statement condemning anti-Muslim vandalism.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair issued an open letter to the Muslim community several days after the Parliament Hill shootout, promising that New Democrats can be counted on to fight racism and “Islamophobia” and to stand up for human rights.

“As we struggle to comprehend these terrible events, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We are all Canadian and we have all been profoundly touched by this tragedy,” he said in the statement.

Mulcair also took to social media to denounce the vandalism at the Cold Lake mosque, issuing several tweets on the matter.



Harper’s silence on anti-Muslim backlash disheartens Muslim groups

  1. For any Muslims that did vote for Harp, they should not be surprised at all by now.
    He’s still to frightened to come out of his closet.

  2. The only anti-muslim backlash I’ve seen has been online. Unless they now expect the PM to start perusing the comments sections and countering anti-muslim comments where he sees them, there isn’t much he can say.

    • In a small city, a Mosque was vandalized. The people of that small city arrived at the Mosque, with their scrub buckets. They cleaned the hate literature off the walls and replaced the smashed windows. Most Muslim families just want to live in peace and raise their children in a safe place.

      The Muslim people should not expect anything better from Harper. Most of us don’t expect anything better of Harper either.

  3. Harper’s silence fits in with his empire of illusion ‘fear’ factor requiring further legislation that will take away MORE freedoms in order to keep Canadians ‘safe’. Surely it will be a BIG vote getter.
    A fearful society has no chance of being a civil society….and the government NEEDS something to fear in order to operate with impunity.

  4. “Harper’s silence on anti-Muslim backlash disheartens Muslim groups”

    What a load of crap. 1.2 million islamics in Canada – a micro percentage have spoken out about how they regret actions their own people have taken.

    In the meantime, they cannot get their own house in order – where do I start:

    1. Honour killings in Canada on the rise
    2. Large percentage on social assistance
    3. Forced child marriages
    4. Female genital mutilation
    5. Human trafficking and slavery
    6. Halal re-certification money sent to support terror
    7. Continual resistance against integrating into Canadian society
    8. Frivolous human rights charges over issues like refusing to cut a woman’s hair
    9. Demanding Christmas concerts be banned
    10. Demanding prayer rooms in schools where religion is supposed to not be a topic
    11. Demanding all foods in school cafeterias be halal
    12. Refusing to announce Canada wide that armed jihad is bad

    And much much more. One small chip at a time islamics will demand we adapt to them. Today you will call me racist – even though that does not apply as there is no clear racial line in this ideology – any race can fit.

    And the beat goes on – not all take place in all areas but across Canada it is happening.

    In all seriousness – google “How islam is destroying Europe”

    See the anti islamic demonstrations that are growing in Germany
    See the no-go areas for non islamics in France
    See the fall of the Sweden government due to islamic immigration
    See the huge increase in rape crime – all attributed to islamic immigration
    See Norway expelling islamics to reduce crime
    See the damage black muslims are doing in Europe
    See the danger Belgium faces with Brussels about to have a majority islamic population and the next election?? The feared result within one generation is sharia. It is a realistic fear.
    See the no go areas in England for non islamics.

    There is far more – all you have to do is your due diligence.

    And with that increase in islamic population comes the demands first and then the violence.

    These are all things people are afraid to talk about but MUST!!

    Unless you do not value your present way of life.

    And this magazine tells us the poor muslim is worried about a lack of response?

    I could only hope that so called lack of response is intentional.

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