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).
"'Aiming for Islam' [Oct. 2011, p. 5] conjures up the spectre of a takeover of Christendom by Islamist fanatics. Like most Christians, my Muslim friends acknowledge and condemn extremists in their faith. ... We must reach out to people of others religions to share the riches of our respective faiths. Studying Islam has opened my mind and deepened my understanding of the loving submission to God contained in Jesus' words 'Thy will be done'. Interfaith dialogue is an essential ingredient".
"Re: 'The rising tide of anti-Semitism' [Oct. 2014, p. 2]. Anti-Semitism is a vile bigotry, lethal to its victims and destructive to its perpetrators. It is to be condemned. However, anti-Semitism should be distinguished from discussion of politics of the state of Israel. Despite the fierce opposition of many in Israel and the Diaspora, the current government is dealing with Palestinians unjustly and is in contempt of several UN resolutions. People of faith should also reject the rising tide of Islamophobia, which has become as acceptable in our time as anti-Semitism was prior to World War II. The fanatical fundamentalists who identify as Muslim, Christian or Jewish need to be challenged and their ideas debated, whether they originate in Saudi Arabia, Canada or Israel. Rather than succumb to their poisonous pseudo-religious notions, we would do well to advance the Charter for Compassion, to demonstrate in words and actions that the basis of all religions is the Golden Rule". [Text of entire article.]
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".
"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).
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.