Smoky River Express
One of two men accused of spray painting racist graffiti at an LRT station in Calgary last December will be held accountable by the criminal justice system.
Last week, Kyle James Mackenzie pled guilty to one charge of inciting hatred against an identifiable group, as well as one charge of property mischief.
Mackenzie is alleged to have spray painted phrases such as “kill Syrians” on vehicles at the LRT station, as well as in the building (on LRT vehicles and the station building).
According to the Calgary Herald report from March 9, Mackenzie stated, ‘I’m glad that it made the media as I want to be famous for something and I wanted to come to jail in the winter’. Mackenzie made this statement during a police interview in December.
He is also supposed to have said that he doesn’t hate all Muslims, but does hate what ISIS stands for, and that as a French Canadian, he was upset about the attacks in Paris (in early 2015).
Mackenzie’s sentencing is due to take place in June. Whatever the outcome of Mackenzie’s sentencing, I have nothing but contempt for him.
His desire to ‘become famous’ demonstrates depravity and a contradiction in how he views Muslims.
You can’t say that you don’t hate all Muslims, and then spray paint racist graffiti about them or any other identifiable group, especially in a public setting.
Yes, I too hate what ISIS represents, its depravity and unspeakable crimes.
I want ISIS and all terrorist groups like it wiped out. They deserve no mercy and forfeit their right to life.
But I will not condone the racism and stereotyping against Muslims, of which Mackenzie is being convicted. I will and do make the distinction between moderate Muslims and the extremists.
I’ve known many Canadian and foreign-born Muslims. They don’t preach hatred.
They want what other Canadians want – to make better lives for themselves and their families and practice their faith without fear of persecution and intolerance.
Of course, the Mackenzie case is not the only source of anti-Muslim rhetoric. I am concerned about what I find in social media.
Repeatedly, I have seen postings that blatantly stereotype Muslims and their faith.
But I cannot, in good conscience, give those postings a “like” and share them because they too show the depravity, intolerance and hatred of their creators and publishers. They are no different from Mackenzie.
However, the greatest concern I have is that this anti-Muslim rhetoric and stereotyping is flourishing in social media.
The providers and the vast majority of their users aren’t guilty of generating the rhetoric. But they should do a better job of policing what’s posted and remove the anti-Muslim rhetoric upon discovery.
The racist graffiti that Mackenzie is being convicted of is a reminder. We must remain vigilant and uphold the rights and dignity of all ethnic and religious groups, against persecution and intolerance.
Miguel Lavergne, also accused in the December graffiti incident, faces six mischief charges.