Originally Posted by Bhabha
I know some liberal Muslims who live quite comfortably and harmoniously here in Toronto. Many of them wear hajibs. Nobody freaks out about it. We do take issue with the Sikh guys who want to carry knives (Kirpan), but they get away with it currently, and there was an issue over a Muslima who wanted to wear a full on burqa on her driver's license (rendering the photo pointless). There was also Stephen Harper in the last election who wanted to deny women from covering their faces while taking oath of citizenship and becoming Canadian. I don't find that completely unreasonable, but he faced backlash for it (and he lost the election).
Yes, there is a history of Europeans doing horrible things and western imperialism is still active. I stood with those that protested against the Bush wars and I oppose imperialism in all of its forms. There is also a huge negative perception of Islam and Muslims in the west, especially following 9/11. But let's not pretend that popped into existence out of nowhere. Everything from 9/11 to Charlie Hebdo to Daesh to the nut that attacked Canada's parliament has fueled it. This has been unfairly generalized to Muslims as whole, a sort of broad brushing which pretty much always happens due to tribal human minds (and yes, Muslims do it too).
Those of us who recognize tribalism and bigotry for what it is push the message that Islam is not the enemy, and not all Muslims are terrorist Deash types (which should be obvious, and is to anybody who isn't a bigot). And you would think that decent Muslims everywhere would take us as allies in that, and seriously slam against the radical Muslims who promote violence and hatred. A lot of decent Muslims do. I know a few very outspoken ones. But what really shocks a lot of non-muslims is that a far greater outcry comes when somebody draws a cartoon. That is ridiculous.
When those cartoons were brought into the public eye (by Muslims protesting them and calling attention to them (so more people could see them?) after they had gone unseen long before), very few in the west dared to publish them, both because they feared a very real threat of violence and because they didn't want to offend. This set up a double standard (you can have "the Book of Mormon" and not fear death) and further painted Muslims as fragile and potentially violent. Later we had the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Je Suis Charlie.
On this very board I have come across Muslims I find perfectly compatible, with a live and let live attitude, who I would call my own brothers and sister and stand and protect them from western bigots who lump them in with the above perception of Islam. I have also come across those who want to hunt and kill homosexuals, and equate Atheism with true Evil.
I don't know about you personally, but perhaps you are in the former group. Tonight I am having dinner with my neighbours, who happen to be a married gay couple. We may invite the man across the street and the quirky single woman a few doors down. We'll all be drinking wine and listening to music on the stereo. We may dance. Next weekend if the weather is as nice as it was last weekend, I may go down to the nude beach and soak in some sun. If you were my neighbour, would this be a problem for you? Would you try to shut any of this down on us? So long as none of us tried to stop you from praying in your house or wearing your head scarf, would you co-exist with us harmoniously? I think you probably could, and the bigotry that you may face (especially in the US or France right now) is something that we can both fight against together.