I have a new post up at Global Comment
On Christmas day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to blow up a trans-Atlantic Northwest Airlines flight arriving from Amsterdam in Detroit. Though he is Nigerian, he has alleged contacts with al Qaeda operatives in Yemen. This event would spur a new round of Islamophobia in which western residents would make apologist arguments regarding violence and paint all those of Muslim faith as violent threats to society.
Rather than dealing with the issues that lead to violent action, the default answer has been racial profiling. Birmingham Labour MP Perry Barr Khalid Mahmood, who is Muslim, stated:
“I think most people would rather be profiled than blown up… It wouldn’t be victimisation of an entire community. If people want to fly safely, we have to take measures to stop things like the Christmas Day plot. Profiling may have to be the price we have to pay. The fact is the majority of people who have carried out or planned these terror attacks have been Muslims.”
This mirrors Anne Coulter’s rhetoric: “Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim.” This kind of logic can only be understood if the working definition of terrorist is applicable only to those who practice Islam. It further characterizes all Westerners as good and pure, thereby demonizing Muslims.
On January 4th, it was reported that a Molotov cocktail (bomb) had been thrown inside of largest mosque in Hamilton, Ontario. The mosque is also the home of the Islamic School of Hamilton. The school educates two hundred children between kindergarten and grade eight. Fortunately, no one was injured in the attack. According to the Hamilton Spectator, the police are investigating the attack as a hate crime. This is the second time this mosque has been attacked. Nowhere in the reporting on this incident have the words “terrorist attack” been used.
MP David Christopherson expressed his pleasure that this incident was being investigated by the police and declared, “We have racism in our community, but we are not a racist society.” I suppose it was accidental that both times in which there has been an air attack on the U.S. by a Muslim, this mosque has been attacked. It certainly could not speak to the ways in which Canadians view those practicing the Muslim faith.