In the wake of Sunday’s senseless vicious murder of six innocent men as they prayed in a Quebec City mosque many Canadians have been rallying to show their support of Muslims. Online funding sites have popped up to help those families left without a father at least financially if not emotionally.
While we would like to think that these things do not happen here, the sad truth is they do. Hate crimes are possible anywhere. They need not be tragic to be considered hate crimes, often they are more subtle. Last night a man was arrested for posting anti-Muslim messages online.
Not only have people looked outward to see how they can help, but much introspection has taken place as well. What are we, as a society, doing wrong? Why would a person, a university student, feel such vile hatred for one religion that he would go to their place of worship and slaughter them?
On Monday I dropped in for a beer at a place I frequent. One of the regulars was there, with a lovely Quran. Knowing him to not be Muslim I asked why he was carrying the Islamic holy book. He explained to me that when he woke up that morning and heard the news about the shooting he was so moved – anger, sadness, disbelief – that he knew he had to do something. He felt it was very important to make it clear that we are not all like the shooter, indeed we welcome diversity. So he went to a local mosque, stood by the door as people were coming and going, and shook hands with them while saying “sorry”.
He is not an overly emotional person, but he told me that it was not long before he was shedding tears as he stood there shaking hands and apologizing. When someone told the Imam that there was a man at the door crying and shaking hands he came out to investigate. My pal explained that he had been driven to do something, then offered to make a donation to the mosque. The Imam told him to put his wallet away, and instead gave him the Quran as a gift.
It is too easy to blame it on Donald Trump, although his hateful rhetoric can certainly be inflammatory. We must take responsibility for these acts in our own country.