by Mac Olsen
Let’s be clear about the tragedy in Orlando, Florida on June 12 – it was an act of hate against a targeted group.
Omar Mateen went into the Pulse nightclub and murdered 49 people and injured 53 others. The place he went to was a nightclub frequented by LGBT clients. Mateen deliberately targeted them with his murdering rampage.
Whether he was a ‘lone wolf’ or directed by a Muslim extremist group, Mateen was nothing more than a moral coward who deserved to die for what he did.
What happened in Orlando should make our federal government ever more vigilant, to intervene and apprehend would-be terrorists and the ‘lone wolves’ so that the risk to public security is reduced.
I don’t want the federal government to repeat the mistake of allowing extremists like Omar Khadr to go free and live in Canadian society, like they haven’t done anything wrong. Those convicted of crimes like the one that Khadr was convicted of, don’t have a place in Canadian society.
Right now, there is a great debate about letting Muslim refugees come to Canada, including Syrian refugees.
People are fearful that there could be extremists and ‘lone wolves’ among them, and they would do to us what was done in Orlando.
Yes, that is always a possibility and measures are required as part of the screening process to reduce the chance of extremists getting into Canada.
I emphasize, reduce the chance, not eliminate it, because there is nothing fullproof in any screening and monitoring process.
That said, I don’t want Canadians to perceive all Muslims as being like Mateen and Khadr. I don’t want to see Muslims on the receiving end of hatred and intolerance.
That’s the kind of outcome that Muslim extremists like ISIS, Al Qaida and the Taliban desire. They want non-Muslims to hate Muslims. They don’t want peaceful co-existence and tolerance between the groups.
I will also repeat, all of the anti-Muslim rhetoric in social media is wrong. There’s far too much in social media that stereotypes Muslims in certain regards.
Those who spread such rhetoric are no better than the Muslim extremists – they lower themselves to the very people they are asserting to be superior to. They, too, are moral cowards like Mateen, if they promote hatred and intolerance.
As a Christian, I cannot and will not condone such malevolence against Muslims and their faith. God would not accept such intolerance from me. Rather, God calls on all Christians to be charitable to those of different faiths.
I know Muslims in the Peace Country, and have known some in Thompson, Manitoba and Victoria, B.C. They have all been great to know and become friends with.
Moreover, I respect those who are Muslim, so long as they respect that I have a different belief system from theirs.
Live and let live, as the saying goes.
Then maybe, just maybe, there’d be fewer tragedies like Orlando.