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Commentary
Fear is no excuse for racism

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The threat of terrorism has unleashed the worst in some people and exposed that racism is alive and well in America.

There is no emotion more repugnant, or more quickly sows the seeds of social discourse; than racism which thrives in the presence of ignorance and fear.

But fear is no excuse for racism. You can be fearful of terror attacks within your borders without singling out an entire religion, or race, as the cause of your fear.

And in the case of the rising tide of fear and racism towards Muslims, it is largely unfounded. First of all, ISIS has killed more Muslims than any other group. They are a Salafi jihadist militant movement whose members adhere to a wahhabi, or fundamentalist, doctrine of Sunni Islam.

Most of the Syrian refugees who are seeking asylum in the west are victims of ISIS and would rather flee their homeland and seek asylum and ab uncertain future in a country they no nothing about than subject themselves and their children to the extremely fundamentalist doctrine of ISIS.

This point can’t be stressed enough. They are not terrorists, they are the victims of terrorism. How hard is that to grasp? Lumping them in with the same people who have killed their loved ones, driven them from their homes and destroyed their lives is so wrong its unconscionable.

Besides that, Americans are far more likely to be the victims of homegrown terrorists, or gun-toting wackos, than some lone wolf ISIS sympathizer. Of the top 10 mass killings in the United States this year, nine were committed by American citizens that happened to be white and middle class.

Of the 67 mass shootings that have so far occurred for which the perpetrators were identified, only two were committed by members of the Muslim faith, and only one, being the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, was committed by ISIS sympathizers.

By painting all Muslims with the same terrorist brush, Donald Trump is stoking the latent racism in American society that has the potential to ignite into a firestorm. The only saving grace is that 60 per cent of Americans aren’t buying what the self-professed master salesmen is hawking.

But getting back to my original premise: you can be worried about the threat of ISIS sponsored terrorism; you can be horrified and angered by the atrocities they’ve committed; you can even be concerned about whether or not the Liberal government is adequately vetting the arrivals; but none of it justifies alienating or discriminating against an entire religion.

So far in Canada, we have embraced the better angels of our nature by embracing the Syrian refugees, and in doing so we are a shining example of acceptance and tolerance to the rest of the world, and our American neighbours to the south in particular.

(Posted 11:30 a.m., Dec. 15)

 

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