Canadians vest authority in our federal government to act in our best interest, to uphold our collective values, and to respect the rule of law. It should come as little surprise, then, that someone might get the distinct impression that walking into a mosque and opening fire with a weapon is fundamentally Canadian. After all, we are complicit in the legitimization of murder on an unfathomable scale.
“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts [of violence] have no place in our communities, cities and country,” wrote Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau immediately following January’s barbaric attack in Quebec City. Indeed they are, and indeed they do not. But what about Muslims who aren’t Canadian? Who don’t live in our communities, cities, or country? Who aren’t Shiite, or, depending on the particular conflict, Sunni?
This is where things might get confusing for someone that looks to the state to set an example for what is right and what is wrong, to inform which lives have value, and which have none. Because the reality is, both directly and indirectly, the Canadian government and its Western allies have been killing and dehumanizing innocent Muslims year after year after year – in their places of worship, at their places of work, where they study, even while they seek treatment in hospital.
This isn't even partisan politics, as subtly suggested by islamophobe Alexandre Bissonnette's Facebook ‘Like‘ of the NDP on Facebook – but rather this ongoing and pervasive defence of murder on the flimsiest of humanitarian pretenses is deeply ingrained in the very fabric of our parliamentary democracy, and has been since at least 2001. Across the political spectrum, all major federal parties have blood on their hands: the Conservatives in Iraq and Syria, the NDP in Libya, the Liberals in Yemen – often all three are happy to find common ground when it comes to dropping bombs, exporting weapons, or providing the training and logistical assistance to kill millions.
The violence of the state is both unparalleled and beyond dispute. That Muslims have borne the brunt of that violence for almost two decades is not without its sad consequences at home. That the state won’t tolerate violence in our communities, cities and country, but will readily export it across Africa and the Middle East, is perhaps a contradictory moral and legal position too nuanced for someone like Bissonnette.
Canadians don’t shoot innocent Muslims in Canadian mosques, we only drop bombs on them while they work on dairy farms in northern Iraq.