The View From Here – Carnage at Quebec mosque shows tragic consequences of alt-right indoctrination

Tom Henihan
It is difficult to imagine a posture more defenseless than kneeling in prayer or an act more cowardly than shooting someone in the back while they are praying.

Along with the sense of grief and outrage at a 27-year-old Quebecer killing six people and wounding five others for no other reason than they were Muslim, it is also reasonable to assert that those who incite hatred must share some culpability for this tragedy.

It may be a stretch to draw a straight line between Donald Trump banning Muslim refugees from entering the US and the actions of the Quebec gunman.

However, it is no exaggeration to say that Trump’s executive order helps to affirm the ignorant prejudice that ultimately led to this murderous act.

The gunman being an advocate of the far right and a supporter of Trump’s policies, obviously did nothing to mitigate or restrain his murderous impulses.

Looking at Trump’s ascendancy, we realize that Samuel Johnson’s famous phrase, “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” is unfortunately an enduring truth.

This is not to suggest that all patriots are scoundrels but that scoundrels know the currency of self-professed patriotism.

The dilemma for the Prime Minister Trudeau, especially following the carnage in Saite-Foy Quebec, is whether diplomacy and cursory dissent is enough.

The NDP and a great many Canadians believe Trudeau should take the moral high ground and openly condemn Trump’s Muslim ban.

There is also the question as to how Trudeau can practice diplomacy with an individual who has absolutely no capacity or regard for reaching diplomatic solutions.

In such a scenario, Trudeau can only leave himself open to the same cress petulance as the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

I trust that Trudeau sincerely believes in an inclusive, multi-cultural society and if so he ought to have the courage of his convictions when dealing with Trump. We should expect no less from the prime minister of an autonomous, sovereign nation. Besides, moral imperatives leave no room for pragmatism.

It makes no difference if it is Britain, France, the US or Canada, the modus operandi of far-right politics is to instill fear and nurture a siege mentality.

Although they sell themselves as strong and decisive, far-right politicians are constantly rallying people to dig in, hide and to refuge refuge to those who need it because that could be dangerous.

That anyone can confuse that position with strength is baffling. It carries all the hallmarks of fear and cowardice.

Donald Trump is not a decisive leader or a courageous man: men of courage aren’t pathological liars.

Donald Trump is a dangerous, manipulative bully with the base instincts of a predatory animal and every opportunity should be taken to articulate and reiterate that immutable fact.

And here in Canada, in light of the massacre in Quebec, it would seem in poor taste for Kellie Leich to continue with her anti Muslim message hiding in plain sight behind a veil of so-called Canadian values.

It is not an empty platitude but a sustaining truth to say, that tragedy such as the massacre in Quebec rouses in us a profound sense of our collective experience and prompts us to demonstrate our compassion and solidarity.

However, we allow racism and hatred to take the lead if we wait for such cataclysms before expressing those higher sentiments.

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