Sunday, March 05, 2017

Protesters Call for Banning of Islam in Canada 
By Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

“The cracker-element is alive and well in Canada. You’d think we’re
living in Jackson, Mississippi or Johannesburg, South Africa not
multicultural Canada,” a taxi driver said to me when the news came
over the radio.Like me he was an African born in the American South.

The news said, ‘Anti-Islamic’ protesters demonstrate outside Toronto
mosque calling for ban on Islam”. While gathered to pray inside the
Masjid (Mosque) more than a dozen people in the heart of downtown
Toronto with loudspeakers and banners, calling for the banning of
Islam in Canada. This Mosque was located Toronto on Dundas Street West
near University Avenue. This is the same Mosque that handed out
bottled-water when there was a black out in Toronto in 2003.This
follows the killing of six Muslims in a Mosque in Quebec City.

Omowale El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) visited Toronto’s oldest
Mosque on his last visit to Toronto in 1965.  The former leather shop
at 3047 Dundas Street West was, according to early attendee Alia
Hogben, a “very cheap, very dirty, very crummy little place. But it
was ours.”

According to Jamie Bradburn writing in the Torontoist, “When the Muslim
Society of Toronto (MST) opened its Islamic Centre in 1961, it served
a tiny community. The earliest presence of Muslims in Canada was
recorded in the 1871 federal census, when 13 people recorded Islam as
their faith”.

Many Canadians have come out on the right side of history after six
men from the ages of 39 to 60 were killed in the Centre Culturel
Islamique de Quebec Mosque. The victims, all men, were shot in the
back as they prayed. Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, a student at Laval
University, faces six counts of first-degree murder for a shooting
that killed six people and wounded 19 others. Bissonnette is a student
at Laval University who lived in the Cap-Rouge suburb of Quebec City.
Initially police arrested a second person but later let him loose.

It has been mentioned by the Canadian media that Fox News has reported
that a Muslim was involved in the shooting.  Not true. “One of the men
was arrested outside the mosque within minutes of the shooting. He was
later released as a witness, according to CBC News Montreal. The
innocent Muslim spent the night in jail.

Les Perreax and Eric Andrew –Gee writing in  Canada’s National
Newspaper the Globe and  Mail pointed out : ”Mr. Bissonnette's online
profile and school friendships revealed little interest in extremist
politics until last March when French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen
visited Quebec City and inspired Mr. Bissonnette to vocal extreme
online activism, according to people who clashed with him.” It has
been reported by the Canadian press that today he a hard right firm
supporter of President Donald J. Trump. His Facebook profile was
removed from public view Monday morning along with the comments he left behind.

The six victims were identified as Laval University professor Khaled
Belkacemi, 60, Halal butcher shop owner  Azzeddine Soufiane,
57,pharmacy employee Aboubaker Thabti, 44,  Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42,
Moroccan Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, and Ibrahima Barry, 39. Mamadou Tanou
Barry and Ibrahima Barry were cousins from Guinea- Conakry.

Ibrahima Barry, was a father of four, and Mamadou Tanou Barry, who had
two sons.Ibrahima moved to Canada a few years ago and worked in
information technology at the health insurance board of Quebec, NAN

Mamadou Tanou similarly migrated to Canada in recent years and
provided for both his family in Canada and at home in Guinea,
according to his friend.Mamadou Tanou Barry. 42, was a father of two

“Tanou lost his father three years ago, so it became his
responsibility to support not only his family here but also his family
in Africa,” Moussa Sang are said.

The Canadian government and the opposition parties have all condemned
the killings. It must be mentioned Canada is considering sending
troops to Mali. We could see Canadian boots on the ground in Africa.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the shootings an act of terror
that struck at the core of Canada’s intrinsic values of openness and

Prime Minister Trudeau continued: “This was a group of innocents
targeted for practicing their faith. Make no mistake, this was a
terrorist attack,” Trudeau said, adding such senseless violence has no
place in Canada.

“Canada has long been a diverse and accepting nation. We are kind, we
are generous and we embrace one another not in spite of our
differences but because of them.”

The Prime Minister urged people to “try to be the best versions of
ourselves in these dark hours.”

Chantal Hebert the National Affairs Columnist for the Toronto Star,
Canada’s largest daily newspaper called The Canadian Prime Minister
out in her most recent column, “In wake of mosque shootings, Trudeau
silent on Trump’s ban on Muslims”.

Says  Hebert, “Even as Canada’s leaders were addressing the House of
Commons to express their solidarity with the country’s grieving Muslim
community on Monday, the White House’s press secretary was arguing
that the murderous attack on a Quebec City mosque was “a terrible
reminder of why the president is taking steps to be proactive, not
reactive” on national security.

Little, of course, could be further from the truth. If one were to
connect dots between the shooting that left six dead at the mosque and
Donald Trump’s entry ban on citizens and refugees from a number of
Muslim-majority countries, one would find a community that is having a
target painted on its back by the world’s most powerful elected

It is a connection whose acknowledgment does not come easily to Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau or, for that matter, too much of Canada’s
political class. Monday was a day for all leaders to vouch for and
stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Muslim community. It will take a
while to see how far they are willing to walk their talk”.

To the more than one million Muslims that reside in the country he
said: “We will grieve with you. We will defend you. We will love you
and we will stand with you.”

Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America.  Wikipedia
mentions both countries relationship to Islam. According to Canada's
2011 National Household Survey, there were 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada
or about 3.2% of the population, making them the second largest
religion after Christianity. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), 7.7%
of the population is Muslim, and in Greater Montreal, Muslims are 6%
of the total population.

At the moment, Pew believes that there are approximately 3.3 million
Muslims living in the United States. Given the total U.S. population,
this means that Muslims currently comprise 1 percent. But by 2050, Pew
thinks that Muslims may surge to 8.1 million.

Canadian Labour also has condemned the tragic event Toronto & York
Region Labour Council states: “Canada, its people and leaders are all
calling last night’s massacre in Quebec City an act of terrorism. A
place of faith and worship never closes its doors, a sign that it is a
sanctuary of peace for prayer. A weekend that saw thousands across US
protesting Trump’s Anti-Muslim policies was brought home to Canada in
the late hours of Sunday, at the Islamic Cultural Centre; peace was
shattered by a lone gunman who took six lives” within few minutes. The
Labour Council stands with its Muslim sisters and brothers, in our
collective fight against Islamophobia and racism”.

Canada has one Muslim mayor Naheed Nenshi who is the 36th mayor of
Calgary, Alberta.  Nenshi was elected in the 2010 municipal election
with 39% of the vote, and is the first Muslim mayor of a large North
American city. He was re-elected in 2013. Nenshi says ‘we will always
stand up to hatred’.

World leaders have verbally condemned the killings. French President
Francois Hollande has condemned the "odious attack'' on a Quebec
mosque and offered support for Canada's leader. Hollande’s
relationship with Muslims in Africa is criminal.

Islam is not the enemy of Africa, Africans and the oppressed
generally. Imperialism led by the United States of America is public
enemy number one.

Norman (Otis) Richmond, aka Jalali, was born in Arcadia, Louisiana,
and grew up in Los Angeles. He left Los Angles after refusing to fight
in Vietnam because he felt that, like the Vietnamese, Africans in the
United States were colonial subjects. After leaving Los Angeles in the
1960s Richmond moved to Toronto, where he co-founded the Afro American
Progressive Association, one of the first Black Power organizations in
that part of the world. Before moving to Toronto permanently, Richmond
worked with the Detroit-based League of Revolutionary Black Workers.
He was the youngest member of the central staff. When the League split
he joined the African People’s Party. 

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