Ottawa shooting inflated the rhetoric of ‘homegrown terrorism’
Muslims bore brunt of government’s fear-mongering in wake of Oct. 22, 2014, Parliament Hill shooting, say some
By Kazi Stastna, CBC News
October 22, 2015
As Canadians mark the one-year anniversary of the Ottawa shooting today, Muslim communities around the country will be sharing in the sorrow at the deaths of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent but will also be reminded of some of the ugly rhetoric that accompanied the tragedy and the unwelcome attention it drew to their faith.
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Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, has seen first-hand how the rhetoric around the attacks has affected his community. Complaints to the council about anti-Muslim vandalism and verbal abuse spiked in the attacks’ aftermath and again during the election campaign, fed in part by the heated niqab debate.
He hopes a change in government will help « turn the page on the kind of rhetoric that divides us versus them. »
« We have confidence in our fellow Canadians that they will see these acts for what they are — the actions of fringe groups or individuals on the margins who have been radicalized towards extreme violence through propaganda and other factors, » Gardee said.
Gardee was one of several Muslim leaders who publicly condemned the attacks when they occurred and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony. He said that although some of what we learned about the attackers helped distance them from the Muslim community, most Canadian Muslims recognize that violent extremism remains a real threat.
« Some of what we have learned has certainly provided a deeper and more contextualized picture of what transpired. At the same time, it is clear that violent radicalization towards criminal violence remains an issue and one that Canadian Muslims take extremely seriously, » he said…