'Islamic State',  Canada

Nelofer Pazira on the shootings in Ottawa

First Glenn Greenwald decided to blames Canada for a recent incident in which a soldier was run over by an Islamic State sympathiser. Now Nelofer Pazira writes in similar vein about yesterday’s shooting at Canada’s parliament in which another soldier was killed as well as the shooter himself.

The first sentence deflects blame away from the actual killer:

The safest country in the world is no longer a safe place and many Canadians will be asking today whether this is because the Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper pushed Canada into joining the US-led war in the Middle East.

She goes on to explain that multicultural Canada ‘which prided itself on tolerance’ became ‘divided’ after the government put a number of Muslims on a watch list. Given that the man who murdered a soldier with his car was one of those under surveillance, it would seem that this move wasn’t completely unjustified. Another source of division, according to Nazira, was Canada’s decision to join the fight against ISIS. She then notes:

Canada has a large Muslim population – more than 2 per cent are Canadian citizens – but the word “radicalised” only came into use recently when the Harper government revealed it believed that about 30 young Canadians had gone to support Isis.

This suggestion that Canada had no issue with radicalisation until very recently isn’t true. For example the ‘Toronto 16’ plotted with Al-Qaeda back in 20o6.

She goes on:

Canada refused to join the UK-US war in Iraq in 2003. As a bargain, then Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien offered to send troops to Afghanistan. Initially, Canadians were not told their soldiers were on a combat mission. Only when their bodies began to return home did it become clear that Canada was at war in a Muslim country. Canadians eventually forced Harper to withdraw their soldiers from Afghanistan.

Her emphasis on the fact Afghanistan is a Muslim country is interesting, as though that in itself explained, without any further analysis being required, why the decision to send troops to Afghanistan was a bad one. She goes on to express concerns that Muslims will now be viewed with suspicion in Canada, implicitly contradicting her earlier assertion that Canada was completely safe until very recent changes in foreign policy.

So what happens next? Will Canada’s Muslim community – which has existed for more than 100 years – now have to “re-prove” it is loyal to a country which is fighting in the Muslim world? There have been plenty of “plots” uncovered in the past – in one of which Muslim extremists were apparently threatening to kill MPs. Since 9/11, many Muslims in the country have offered to work in government security in order to prevent incidents like those this week.

She is fond of using quotation marks to imply a sneer of (unexplained) disbelief – as well as ‘plots’ in that paragraph, she stated, in relation to the car murder, that ‘the attacker was shot dead and identified as a Muslim convert influenced by “radical Islamists”.’ Just as there is no acknowledgement of the appalling events which caused action to be taken against ISIS, so any discourse or teaching (except Harper’s) which might have caused two men to become killers is scare quoted out of existence or importance, with an implication of dishonesty or exaggeration.

Her next, and last, point is intriguingly ambiguous.

How long this co-operation will continue now that Canada is in action in Iraq is another question.

Is she suggesting that Muslims will now withdraw their support, or that their presence will no longer be welcomed?

Hat Tip: Terry Glavin

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