I was saddened to hear of the horrific tragedy in a Quebec mosque this week. We hear about such events around the world but not in our own country. We have seen isolated incidents but nothing to this magnitude. I thought our country was different. Overall, we are respectful, accepting and supportive of our fellow citizens. We saw that this summer during the wild fire in Fort McMurray how many people came from all faiths, cultures and backgrounds to support those who were displaced from the fire. Together we welcomed and supported them. We held fundraisers and volunteered our time. I am proud of our community and what we did. It is a good example of our true heart for our fellow man.
Recent incidents of racism do not reflect the majority of us. Are these individuals acting out of fear or ignorance?
I had the opportunity to visit a mosque after the Quebec shooting and heard from Muslim community members who expressed concerns about whether they should send their children to school or go shopping the next day. They were fearful about what we as a community would say or react to them. This bothered me that our community would feel uncomfortable in their own community.
What can we do? What should we do? How do we stop the fear on both sides? Personally, I am going to continue to meet, support and respect all citizens in our community. When I hear the negative comments or misinformation I am going to speak up. I will not sit idly by, nor will I be passively disengaged. I will stand up and show both compassion and concern for my neighbour, my fellow Edmontonian, and my fellow Canadian… are you with me?