Quakers are appalled at the bigotry and discrimination we see targeting the diverse members of the Muslim faith in Canada. We call on all Canadians to stand against this.
We cannot help but think that deeply divisive and harmful political rhetoric is one of the drivers of this growing hostility. We are witnesses to scapegoating of Muslims, which distracts from the many significant issues this country faces. We ask our politicians and news media to take firm stands against Islamophobia, hate, racism, division and inequity.
To retain and strengthen its multicultural identity, Canada needs to increase educational and intercultural dialogue initiatives that will foster understanding and share accurate information about our diverse communities. Like Christians and Jews, most Muslims live by the creeds of the Abrahmic Traditions, which honour peace, love, commitment to God and to creation. These Abrahmic faiths share history, and some fundamental moral and spiritual beliefs.
We support the right of individuals to choose to wear the clothing that they feel is appropriate to them, including the hijab, burka or niqab. Human rights, such as the right to religious expression, are of critical importance. When human rights are taken away for any Canadians, rights are effectively made vulnerable for all. We recognize that the niqab has been worn by some Muslim women in Canada for decades and it is neither new nor a threat. We encourage those who are afraid of the clothing or customs of their Muslim neighbours to remain calm and to examine the real sources of their discomfort.