Prime minister Justin Trudeau is calling on politicians to combat ‘hatred’ in the wake of the New Zealand terror attack in which 50 people were killed.
The Canadian leader addressed the country’s House of Commons, where he spoke about the importance of tackling extremism – including "Neo-Nazi terrorism, white nationalism, right-wing extremism and anti-immigrant hatred."
In an extensive speech, he condemned violence and hatred of all kinds.
Just a few days ago, our friend and ally suffered the worst terrorist attack in their history. An attack motivated by Islamophobia.
50 men, women, and children murdered at prayer. Dozens injured. Gunned down by a monster. A terrorist. A coward.
A man whose manifesto included white supremacist sentiments was charged with the murder of 50 people when he allegedly launched a shooting spree in two mosques in New Zealand.
Trudeau talked about Canada’s burgeoning Muslim community, of which there are over one million members, and maintained that it is the country's "responsibility to maintain” the freedom of their people.
But it was Trudeau's unwavering attack on right wing extremism that was historic its condemnation.
Toxic rhetoric has broken into the mainstream.
It’s anti-Semitic. Islamophobic. Anti-black. Anti-Indigenous. Misogynistic. Homophobic. The list goes on and on. This rhetoric is dangerous, hateful, and vile. It lives and festers online, spilling out into the real world with deadly consequences. We see it here in Canada, in online harassment, anonymous letters, defaced places of worship, acts of violence, and even murder. When we fail to denounce hatred with total conviction, we empower those people and legitimise their violence. We’ve seen an increase in the number of terrorist attacks targeting Muslims all around the world.
So, families flee to democracies like Canada, and the United States, and our allies, praying that their new homes will give them safety. hoping that their kids will know a place where they are not targeted because of faith.
These same families who fled violence in their homelands are now too often met by a new kind of violence when they reach new shores. Anti-immigrant hatred. Right-wing extremism. White nationalism. Neo-Nazi terrorism.
He likened "fringe" white supremacist groups to Daesh, Al-Queda and Boko Haram – terrorist groups “they say they despise.”
Politicians stand around, and we offer our condolences, and we say nice things in the aftermath. We say that we’ll do better. We say that never again will such hatred be allowed to fester unchallenged.
And then, when the flames die down, and the smoke clears, we look the other way. We revert back to politicking, figuring out how we can tap into that powerful rage to harness a few more votes. We scapegoat the “other” to play to our base.
With a wink and a nudge, we legitimize this evil.
Trudeau is compelling politicians to do more to combat extremism - especially of the white nationalist kind
The light outweighs the dark, the good greatly outnumbers the evil. We see it when our citizens come together at vigils in the wake of tragedy. We see it when strangers link arms to protect places of worship.
We see it in offers to walk with those who feel unsafe. This is an important fight.
I’m calling on politicians of all stripes to follow the example set by the good people we serve, and do the right thing. We must counter this hatred.
And together, we will.