Who is to blame? Ottawan mosque vandalized after shooting on Parliament Hill

Written by: Aymen Sherwani – Grade 10

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 This November 1st didn’t just bring about snow and everything cold, ladies and gentlemen. A mosque in south Ottawa, Canada had been vandalized, a little more than a week after the October parliamentary shootings, windows and glass doors shattered during the night. Jalil Marhnouj, Vice President of the mosque in question, is convinced that it is a retaliated hate crime against the Ottawan Muslim community, as the gunman at Parliament Hill also claimed to be a “devout” Muslim.

“You feel unsafe, you feel targeted, you feel terrorized in a way,” stated Marhnouj, in regards to the attack on the mosque. “Anytime there is a media report about Muslims negatively, whether from here or elsewhere, we are all put in a basket: ‘Muslims are terrorists.’ We feel always we are guilty by association, I shouldn’t have to disassociate myself all the time from the actions of others to prove my allegiance.”

If the Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for their public homophobia, does not represent the Catholic Christian community, why do people accuse innocent Muslims of being terrorists? The Canadian Muslim community does not deserve to be demonized due to radicals that are psychologically challenged. What’s worse is that in the U.S there have been over 60 school shootings in 2014 alone, the majority of the perpetrators being labelled as psychological cases, and I don’t see that generating any stereotypes.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32 year old Libyan and French-Canadian, was baptized a Roman-Catholic, but converted Islam during the year 2004. Yet despite his change of spiritual devotion, his attempts at integrating into the Muslim community deemed unsuccessful, as many saw that he held extremist ideologies. Years prior to the parliamentary shootings, Bibeau was actually banned from a Vancouver mosque due to strange behaviour, later revealing to be because of his marijuana addiction. After his death, it was revealed that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau had a Quebec criminal record dating back approximately 10 years, all due to drug related crimes. Portraying him and his beliefs as the “face of Islam”, quite frankly, is ridiculous.

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Amidst the chaos at Parliament Hill on October 22nd, Bibeau ran around the main building, shooting bullets like a madman, eventually killing 24 year old Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian forces member. Our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper describes the event as “a brutal and violent attack” in regards to our perpetrator firing around 30-50 bullets in an act of terror.

However, we can all agree that Corporal Nathan Cirillo was murdered in cold blood. As he guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the National War Memorial at Parliament Hill, he was fatally shot in the back by Bibeau, who later on killed himself as well. Cirillo will be in every citizen’s heart, portrayed as a war veteran and national hero, this Remembrance Day.

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_shootings_at_Parliament_Hill,_Ottawa (Oct 22nd)

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/police-investigate-vandalism-at-mosque (Mosque Vandal)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States (US School stats)

http://www.godhatesfags.com/schedule.html (WBC website)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-funeral-for-corporal-nathan-cirillo/article21347898/ (Corporal Nathan Cirillo)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ottawa-shooting-a-day-of-chaos-leaves-soldier-gunman-dead-1.2808710 (SH quote)

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