Our letter to the Chronicle Herald was published last week. Full text is below:
Quakers are appalled at the bigotry and discrimination targeting Muslims in Canada. Canadians must stand against the deeply divisive and harmful political rhetoric driving growing hostility. We ask our politicians and news media to take firm stands against Islamophobia, hate, racism, division and inequity.
Like Christians and Jews, most Muslims live by creeds that honour peace, love and commitment to God and to creation. We support their right to wear clothing they feel is appropriate, including the hijab, burka or nijab. When human rights, such as the right to religious expression, are denied for any Canadians, rights are made vulnerable for all.
A truly tiny number of individuals claiming to be motivated by Islam have acted or planned to act violently in this country. Individuals acting violently have also claimed Christianity, Judaism and Sikhism to be motives. We condemn all expressions of violence, as well as its roots in exclusion, injustice and inequality. Quakers support services for all Canadians, such as adequate housing, employment opportunities and culturally safe mental and other health services. Such services foster healthy and peaceful communities.
While the state must ensure our security, we join with others in profoundly questioning Canadian actions that appear to disproportionately impact Muislims, indigenous people and people of colour. These include increasing surveillance, extrajudicial renditions, security certificates and closing the space for legitimate forms of dissent. We are deeply concerned by the flawed “Anti-Terrorism Act” Bill C-51 and changes to Canadian citizenship (increasingly restricted through Bill C-24).
Countless people of all (and no particular) faiths work for justice and peace and against the marginalization of Muslims or other Canadians. Quakers work with them to put our faith into action.
Barbara Aikman, clerk, Annapolis Valley Religious Society of Friends