World Bulletin/News Desk
In the wake of two recent attacks on Canadian soldiers, a “social experiment” was conducted to test Canadians’ attitudes toward Muslims.
The “social experiment” was set up to find out whether Canadians blamed Muslims for the Oct. 22 cold-blooded murder of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. The alleged killer had recently converted to Islam.
In the test, an actor playing the role of a bigot suffered a bloodied nose after attempting to stop a “Muslim” in traditional dress from boarding a bus in Hamilton, Ontario, the hometown of Cpt. Cirillo.
Those watching the exchange between the Muslim and the bigot were unaware the episode was being recorded.
“This is based on the events that happened in Ottawa,” Omar Albach, a student at York University in Toronto, says at the beginning of the video that was posted to YouTube, and as of the time of this writing hads received more than 2 million views.
“We’re going to see if people feel safe to be around Muslims or people who look like Muslims,” Albach says in the video.
“Muslim” actor Zakaria Ghanem is berated by “bigoted” actor Devin Giamou.
Giamou approaches Ghanem as he waits along with several other people at a bus stop, telling him to take a different bus because, considering his garb, he might be concealing a bomb.
That brings a strong reaction from a bystander. “You can’t stereotype and judge people by their clothes,” the unidentified man says. “Or their nationalities or anything else. You know what I mean? What happened there (in Ottawa) was an incident of fanatics.”
Another bystander told the bigot he could just as likely be a terrorist just as the Muslim.
A woman tells the bigot that the Ottawa shooting was “awful and tragic, but I don’t think that’s any reason to persecute some just because of what they are wearing.”
Things got out of hand when two men at the bus stop in front of the Jackson Square shopping mall became incensed when Giamou tells the Muslim to leave.
One of men punched Giamou in the face, leaving him with a bloodied face.
At that point Giamou throws up his hands in defense and declares, “This is a social experiment.”
Albach, who served the cameraman for the experiment, said that during the filming there was not a single negative comment toward the Muslim.
It was a different story, however, in Cold Lake, Alberta, on Oct. 23.
The front windows of the Cold Lake Mosque were broken and the words “Go home” and “Canada” were painted in red on the mosque’s outside surface. The incident occurred one day after Cirillo was killed and three days after the murder of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was run down in Quebec by another “lone wolf” terrorist.
“The writing hurts,” said Mahmoud Elkadri, a director of the mosque. “Cold Lake is our home. Canada is our home.”
Soon after the incident was reported, Cold Lake residents responded with gifts, flowers and posters of support, and a group gathered with graffiti remover, media reported. They scrubbed the offensive words away and joined arms to sing “O Canada,” the country’s national anthem.
“I will thank everyone,” Elkadri said. “They ensured for me that this is my home.”
He added that he had received calls of support and sympathy from Canadians across the country and that it made him “forget about the windows and forget about the writing.”
The funeral for Officer Vincent will be held Saturday in Longueuil, Quebec.
Harper’s silence disheartens Muslim groups
Meanwhile, Muslim groups are disappointed that Stephen Harper hasn’t spoken out against a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes since two separate attacks 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, according to the Global News report.
In the latest incident, windows were smashed early Friday morning at the Assunnah Muslims Association mosque in Ottawa.
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 Mosque president Mohammed Mostefa.
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.”
She said her group expects Harper, “as leader of our country, to speak up for the minorities that live here.”
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.”
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.Last Mod: 01 Kasım 2014, 14:23