The Canadian government suffers from many things. Among them is bad timing.
On Thursday of last week, the Canadian Parliament voted through a blasphemy law specifically designed to protect Islam. As Al-Jazeera was happy to report on Friday, the previous day’s vote condemned “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” The non-binding motion that the Parliament passed also requested that a Parliamentary committee should launch a study to look at how to “develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia”. The motion passed by 201 votes to 91.
It is just as well for those 201 Canadian legislators that they were debating all this in their distinguished national Parliament rather than the mother of all Parliaments. For had these legislators been in the House of Commons in Westminster, their thoughts may have taken on a sharper focus.
For one day earlier, the British House of Commons lived through an example of rampant Islamism rather than “Islamophobia”. And although nobody in Westminster decided to turn into a crazy Muslim-hating bigot, they did manage to see what a hateful Muslim bigot could do when armed with the simple weapons of a knife and a motor vehicle.
The Canadian Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, who introduced the motion in Canada, proclaimed that the introduction of a de facto Islamic blasphemy law in Canada was needed because “We need to continue to build those bridges among Canadians, and this is just one way that we can do this.” Hours before she said that, one of Khalid’s co-religionists was using a bridge built more than a hundred and fifty years earlier for a very different purpose.
Khalid Masood of Birmingham chose to use an older bridge to drive at high speed into crowds of Londoners and tourists. On his rampage, he managed to injure people from 11 countries. He succeeded in killing Kurt Cochran, an American on holiday in London with his wife to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. He also killed Aysha Frade, a British national of Spanish and Cypriot descent who had been walking across Westminster Bridge to pick up her two young daughters from school. He also killed Leslie Rhodes, a 75-year old retired window-cleaner, described by a neighbour, who sat at his bedside in hospital as he died, as “the nicest man you ever met.”
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