I'm feeling a little dejected by the response of fellow Canadians to the terrorism in France. Instead of welcoming the refugees, we're burning down mosques, and beating Muslim women who are just going about their business. I'm seeing epic hate in my Facebook feed, from friends of friends, and worse, from my own family. My heart is breaking.
From a Christian standpoint, we have no choice but to bring in as many refugees as we can. Jesus was a refugee, and is a refugee today. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me. Right?
To turn these people away is to defy God. Scripture is crystal clear on this one (for bloody once). From Leviticus, the city of Sodom to the epistles, and the words of Jesus himself, we are obligated to help. You don't get to call yourself Christian until it's no longer convenient. Yeah, you're scared. So? Did Jesus say "Follow me. Unless it gets scary." No. The whole message was to get out of the boat onto the crashing waves and trust that following love is the only way. Get out of the boat and bring in the refugees.
From a human standpoint, COME ON. These are human beings, fleeing from death and destruction. Suggesting that they are the problem is so fucking sickening, I can't even begin to even. GAH. The illogic. The irrational fear. It's mindblowing. There are 1.1 billion Muslims in the world. If they wanted you dead, you'd be dead. FFS.
I want to do something to let the Muslims who live here know that they are welcome and do not have to be afraid, at least of me. I smile as I pass by. I might start saying salaam. I'm tempted to start a movement in which white women wear a hijab to show solidarity, I'm so upset. There aren't many Muslims in my neighbourhood though, so I don't know what the point would be. (I live in the whitest city... it's almost embarrassing).
I'm angry. I'm really angry about this. Because I'm scared of what this country is becoming. The American-style hatred and bigotry is not something I want to live with. Closeted, passive-aggressive racism was bad enough. This is appalling.
Ya know, it hit me. The refugees aren't the least of my brothers. They're just people who need a new place to live. The racists, the bigots, the fearful Canadians who want to turn away people to die, those are the least of my brothers. (Literally, in one case.) I think I need to treat them with a little more patience and understanding. I will keep educating them, gently. But I will not allow them to hurt others in my space.
It's really easy to ignore the haters, or worse, dehumanize them. I've seen too many posts calling the assholes who hurt that Muslim woman in North York "animals". Dehumanizing angry people takes away their agency, and takes away any hope of educating them. It's literally giving up on their humanity. I'm not saying we can make the world perfect and that we can eliminate all bigotry by being nice. Not going to happen. I'm not that flaky. :) But I am saying that by dehumanizing, we actually contribute to the problem by not addressing it before it gets to that point. "Oh, those aren't men. Those are animals" abdicates our responsibility as a society to prevent crime, to prevent ignorance from becoming violent hate. Our previous government fanned the flames, made the problem far worse. We must not give up on bigots. We must show them the way back to civility. Even if it just means they stew quietly. That's far better than beating up people they're afraid of.