Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter June 16, 2006

The average Canadian is stunned. This happens in other countries, not in Canada. But wait. This did happen in Canada. There are reports of 17 people being arrested for plotting terrorist acts. The police feel the youth were inspired by al-Qaeda. One of the lawyers is reported as having said his client is alleged to have been plotting to blow up Parliament and behead the Prime Minister. A news article can be found on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation web site. One CBC article gives a point-form summary of the bomb plot investigation. There are even reports that the CBC itself might have been a target. Unfortunately, the news about possible terrorists being arrested in Canada may have resulted in some hate crimes against Islamic people. A mosque was vandalized and the Al-Mahdi Islamic Center was set on fire. A report on what sounds like hate crimes can be read on the CBC web site. The Canadian Jewish Congress condemned the attacks against the Islamic community. The CBC article gives a brief summary of recent hate crimes in the Toronto area.

We encourage people to leave things to the police. Try not respond in anger or fear against the Islamic community. Most Islamic people are not terrorists and are not dangerous. Acts of terror are the work of a very small group of extremists.

The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, is to be given a lot of credit in how he responded to the alleged terrorist plot. He has not blamed the terrorist plots on Islam. In a National Post article, Harper is cited as saying those accused of this terrorist plot “represent nothing but hatred.” An Ottawa Sun article, which can be read on the Edmonton Sun web site, quotes Harper as saying, "If we look back to the 1930s, that those who have extremist ideologies or practise terrorism, love to use the words of culture and of faith to back their actions."

The reaction of Canadian Islamic leaders has been very positive. They have called for a summit to fight extremism. An article about the proposed summit can be read on the Globe and Mail web site. Islamic leaders are also asking parents to safeguard their children from extremists. In a Canada.com news article, Islamic leaders are asking parents to know who their children are associating with and to watch for signs of “excessive preoccupation with religious rituals”.

In the face of terrorism and alleged terrorist plots, we encourage people to be calm and to not focus anger on groups of people. There are extremists who have used religion to try to defend their acts of hatred and murder for years. Terrorists using religion as an excuse to kill people can be found in virtually every major world religion. Faith-related terrorism is not a problem limited to Muslims. We can do a lot to reduce faith-related terrorism by reaching out in love when alleged terrorist plots are revealed. The very small minority of Muslims who are using Islam as an excuse to hurt people will find it much more difficult to gain any recruits to their cause when they see Christians, Jews, and Hindus reaching out in love to the Islamic community.

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The Stop Hate web site has a few updates. Additional links have been added about bullying. There is a new book review on the Stop Hate web site. The book reviewed is Love, Honor and Respect: How to Confront Homosexual Bias and Violence in Christian Culture. Book reviews can be read by clicking here. Two books we are hoping to review in the coming weeks include Amnesty International's books Stonewalled – Still Demanding Respect: Police Abuses Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in the USA, and Sex, Love and Homophobia.

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A few of the news stories we have been following appear below:

  • A Northern Ireland Seventh-day Adventist Church has been targeted for vandalism for about eight months. More information can be found on the Adventist Review web site.

  • A British Broadcasting Corporation news article describes violence in Romania as people wanting to break up a gay rights march clashed with gay rights marchers and riot police. The protesters are reported to have thrown eggs, rocks and plastic bottles at the marchers.

  • Gay marriages and attempts to legally block gay marriages remains a very hot topic. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation article, on the Amnesty GLBT web site, has an article about calls from President George Bush for a constitutional ban on gay marriages. The news of changing the constitution of a country, so a minority group can be discriminated against is a real concern. A Stop Hate 2000 colleague sent us the link to a MS NBC article about the Senate defeating the bill to ban gay marriages. Another Stop Hate colleague sent us information about an article on the Pennsylvania Senate Panel passing a gay marriage ban. The article can be read on the PenLive.com web site.

  • Given the level of work-place discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-identified people, it is easy to understand why there are concerns about the Halifax Regional School Board survey asking teachers to list their sexual orientation. The story can be read on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation web site.

  • In a Washington Blade article, the United States State Department is reported as being concerned by violence against gay people in Iraq.

  • In Ontario, Canada, the Human Rights Tribunal ruled that transsexuals who are strip-searched by the police have the right to choose to be searched by a male or a female police constable. An article about the ruling can be found on the Amnesty LGBT Concerns web site.

  • A PlanetOut news article states there are plans to create a memorial in Vienna to the many gay people who died in the Holocaust.

  • The book, Pink Blood, was briefly mentioned in recent newsletters. We are mentioning it again in this newsletter, because the book is a must read for people interested in homophobia-based hate crimes. Information about the book can be found on the Pinkblood web site. The book can be purchased at www.amazon.ca or www.amazon.com.

Anybody with news about hate crimes is welcome to email us.



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