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November 20, 2011

Harper's new era of intolerance

This letter is intended to show that 1,000,000+ Muslims living in Canada are not only dismayed and disturbed, but that we are disgusted by Peter Mansbridge's interview with Prime Minister Harper on September 6, 2011.

In this day and age of mass media, lightning speed circulation of news, instant sound bites and constant bombardment of propaganda, we find ourselves the target of insensitive journalism or no journalism at all. Not only that it is insensitive but also it is immoral since the trained professional is supposed to ask critical questions.

Peter Mansbridge’s interview was more like a staged play rather than critical journalism. Why was Peter so cozy with the Prime Minister? The journalists are the front lines for the safety of democracy because they’re supposed to ask the hard questions to politicians. What was the point of the interview on September 6th if Peter was not going to rebut any of his statements – T. V. ratings?

Prime Minister Harper made some very serious and racist remarks against the Muslims of Canada and without any reason. He went on to say that Islam, or rather Islamic-ism (which is a non-word), is the greatest threat to the security of Canada. Could Peter have asked some critical questions, such as asking the Prime Minister as to why he made such profoundly racist and bigoted, anti-Muslim statements?

Could Peter have asked the Prime Minister to augment his dangerous statements against the Muslims with some proof? No, rather he smiled lovingly and went on to the next question. If this was not staged then maybe we should believe that it is minus 30 in Jamaica. Peter being at the top of his game and as an anchor for the CBC kept smiling with almost romantic glances while the Prime Minister marginalized an already marginalized community who have been facing the brunt of the brutality of media, the security apparatuses and politicians for over a decade – why?

It is evident and starkly clear that the whole interview was scripted and that Peter was not allowed to question the Prime Minister’s answers. Why would the CBC kowtow to such a state of humiliation where journalists sit there like tape recorders, or maybe like walls, blurting out questions but having no moral force to ask the poignant and pungent queries – a shameful act, in an obsequious manner – we ask why?

Why didn’t Peter retort with statements such as: Dear Prime Minister why would you single out Muslims when they have committed no act of terrorism? Maybe, Peter could have given the Prime Minister a bit of a history lesson, while keeping his composure, that in history when heads of states make statements which scatter minority groups to the periphery of society, know that fascism is the next agenda. Have we lost, as Canadians, all journalistic integrity? Our publicly funded, corporately designated CBC has succumbed to the lowest level of morality. We the Canadian Muslims take offense and with good reason to this lopsided and skewed form of journalism. We are making a plea to every law-abiding, Canada-loving citizen to stand up and make these news corporations accountable. They feed us fluff and propaganda on a continuous basis, which degrades our ability for discernment of real news.

The time has come that we no longer can stand idly by while our information outlets are increasingly usurped by unscrupulous corporations and power lobbies. It’s a dark day for democracy that millions of us in Canada can watch our top anchor with our Prime Minister gloating over their utterly intolerant view of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from their own. If the Prime Minister is like that, should the anchor follow his lead or to truncate his indecency and twisted form of logic?

Peter shall regret the so-called informative interview just as Colin Powell regrets his unscrupulous and scandalous statements at the UN, jeopardizing the lives of millions. One might ask, what is the connection to Colin Powell’s statement, which had tremendous harm for millions of people? The connection is that when heads of states make reckless comments that endanger lives of certain sects of the population (Canadian Muslims), zealots to take liberty and further subjugate and harm the people who have been described as danger to society as a whole. These are very dangerous times for Canadian Muslims because now we have to worry as to who will attack us, ridicule us, defame us, deny us our rights as law-abiding citizens and who will, if not the politicians and the conservative party, trample over all rights given in the Charter.  Martin Luther King stated: “Justice denied anywhere is justice denied everywhere”.

We want all Canadians who care for democracy and the right to freedoms voice the largest protest against these infringements of basic protections from our government. If the head of the government makes blatantly bigoted statements and the top news anchors fail utterly to curtail what is said, then we will trundle down the slippery slope of dictatorship and fascism.

Zia Khan is the Director of Just Media Watch

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Dotan Rousso. Holds a Ph.D. in Law—a former criminal prosecutor in Israel. Currently working as a college professor in Canada.

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