"Negative sentiments against Muslims and Jews are on the rise in 'old Europe' more than anywhere else in the world today, a survey released in September  by the Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project has shown". "Meanwhile, a recent Leger Marketing poll has shown that nearly two out of five Canadians hold anti-Muslim sentiments". "The unfavourable view of Muslims was more pronounced in French Canada. 'It is indicative from this poll that more needs to be done by Canadian Muslims to educate the public about Islam and the Muslim community,' said Ihsan Gardee, CAIR-CAN [Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations] community relations director. 'At the same time, the poll speaks to the need for the active integration of Canada's growing Muslim population to combat Islamophobia and discrimination'."
The author, a priest from the diocese of Quebec, reflects on a visit he made to the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau where he saw the cement block foundation of the camp barracks. "The bricks that make up those foundations, that build our society's capacity for mass murder, do not spring up overnight. They are laid gradually through many small actions and omissions of action -- ancient prejudices we fail to question, careless generalizations spoken to a friend, a family member or fellow practitioner whose discriminatory perspectives we will not confront. Over time, these acts and these failures to act accrue and solidify. They form the foundation upon which greater works of darkness can stand. In the aftermath of January's massacre at Quebec City's Grand Mosque, much has been said about the role that the media and identity-politicking politicians have played in cultivating a public discourse where discriminatory rhetoric is normalized and where violent acts become thinkable. It is right that this is so". "In the aftermath of such horrific violence, it is cathartic for us to repeat the words, 'Never again'. As time passes, as the outward appearance of those hateful acts seems to rot away, we may be tempted to believe that this evil has been closed down and emptied out. But it happened. It can happen. It can happen again".
"People from many faith met twice early in March  in Vancouver to show support for one another at well-attended public meetings that celebrated diversity and took a stand against acts of hatred. Both gatherings were in reaction to concerns about an upsurge in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of social conflict that seem to have accompanied the inauguration of the Trump administration in the United States" (p. 1). "Anglicans were involved in sponsoring both gatherings. The first took place March 7  at Vancouver's Or Shalom Synagogue" (p. 1). It was sponsored by the diocese of New Westminster and speakers included Bishop Melissa Skelton and Rabbi Adam Stein. The second event was "followed two days later by a presentation at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church -- involving a rabbi [Laura Kaplan], an imam [Mohammad Shujaath Ali Nadwi] and a bishop [Michael Ingham] -- entitled 'Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance'. This event was organized by St. Andrew's and Christ Church Cathedral" (p. 1). Bishop Michael Ingham's "talk focused on the theology of hope. Ingham said that biblical hope is neither passive optimism nor unrealistic wishful thinking" (p. 10).
The writer reflects on a recent morning when he pulled into a gas station and glimpsed a man who "had his shoes off and he was kneeling on a spread-out garbage bag. He was facing east. He was praying". At the same time "CBC Radio had Donald Trump on saying: 'No more Islamic terrorists ! We don't want them !'." "The aural message and the visual message, received at the same instant, were irreconcilable. ... Trump's miserable, hateful edict about an important issue that may affect millions, an issue about which he demonstrates no real knowledge, interest or compassion, versus the sight of a devout Muslim, an ordinary man, a cab driver as it so happens, performing his simple morning ritual ... The very next morning, six men were killed in a mosque in Quebec City. They were shot in the back while praying. We cannot allow our private lives or our public policy to be governed by fear and ignorance".
"In the wake of the U.S. ban on Muslim immigrants and the killings in a mosque in Canada, we are challenged by the age-old question: who is my neighbour". In 2016 St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, England, organized a lecture series "Who is my neighbour". The first lecture was given by Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury. "Williams began with The Parable of the Good Samaritan. .... He turns the question around by confronting his audience with the question: when are you a neighbour to the other ? Williams contends that Jesus invites us to be neighbours, and we do so by our involvement in the life of another. To be a neighbour is to give life to another. I am a neighbour any time I give life to another. I fail to be a neighbour when I withhold or withdraw life from another. .... To be a neighbour is another narrative. It is about sharing, serving, welcoming and including the other in my life: it is an act of compassion".
"Anglicans and other Christian leaders expressed their 'sympathy and solidarity' with Muslims following a deadly attack January 29  on a mosque in the Ste-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City. The attack which left six people dead and 19 others wounded, occurred just before 8 p.m., when a gunman opened fire while evening prayers were underway at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec. Police have charged Alexandre Bissonette, 27, with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder" (p. 1). "In a January 30  statement, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said his heart 'goes out to all Muslims across Canada as they struggle with this terrible attack', and that the church holds in its prayers the victims of the attack, their families and their imams" (p. 1). "Coadjutor Bishop of Quebec Bruce Myers and Bishop of Montreal Mary Irwin-Gibson also issued a statement expressing their 'grief and repugnance at this brutal act of violence against another community of faith' in the midst of prayer'. When one is attacked, we are all attacked, and our whole society is diminished', the said" (p. 15). "The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) expressed 'shock and sadness' at the attack, and in a statement signed by CCC president Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, recommitted itself to 'opposing the hate and prejudice that disfigures our communities and leads to violence both at home and abroad' (p. 15).
"The dean of theology at London, Ont.'s Huron University College denies discriminating against a non-Muslim prohibited from auditing a course on Islamic preaching after initial acceptance. The Rev. Canon Todd Townshend says the decision to exclude auditors, including the complainant, was due to academic logistics after the course filled up with students taking it for credit. Designed principally for Muslims, 'The Muslim Voice: Preaching, Public Speaking and Worship' was technically open to non-Muslim auditors. 'We might have accommodated this student if he had indicated right away that he wanted to take it for credit', said Townshend. [Moray] Watson, a chartered accountant who regularly monitors Islamic websites and is concerned about Islamic extremism, launched a formal complaint against Huron, A Presbyterian-raised atheist, Watson is alarmed at 'Islamic proselytization in my backyard' and possible radical funding sources for Islamic studies. He contends that since Huron receives public funding, its courses should be open to taxpaying public". [Text of entire article.]
That the Council of General Synod recommend the following resolution to General Synod:
- Be it resolved that this General Synod:
- Strengthen its commitment to the pursuit of peace with justice for all in Palestine and Israel, and
-- 1. Reaffirm its existing commitments (GS2010, A184) to solidarity with Anglicans in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East in their work for justice and peace;
-- 2. Reiterate to Canadian Anglicans and to our federal government, the established policy of the Anglican Church of Canada (GS 2010, A184), which
--- i. recognizes the legitimate aspirations, rights and needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, with dignity within sovereign and secure borders;
--- ii. condemns the use of violence of all kinds, especially against civilians;
--- iii. calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine; and
--- iv. calls upon Israel, as the occupying power, to respect the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the settlement of its own citizens in the occupied territories.
-- 3. Commit to act together with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the United Church of Canada to:
--- i. enable deeper church-wide awareness of and response to the call of Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth (2009);
--- ii. educate the church about the impact of the illegal settlements on the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis, and about imported products identified as produced in or related to the illegal settlements and misleadingly labeled as produced in Israel, and about the complexities of economic advocacy measures;
--- iii. explore and challenge theologies and beliefs, such as Christian Zionism, in support of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories;
--- iv. and strengthen relationships with Canadian Jews and Muslims, to resolutely oppose anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.