Meeting on Wednesday, the 18 attending members of the Questers’ Book Club unanimously voted to deplore the despicable assault and murders at the Quebec City mosque. Members of the club have previously met with Islamic representatives in dialogue.
Muslims were already enumerated in the first Canadian Census of 1871. The first mosque in Canada was completed in Edmonton in 1938. Muslims have been residents and citizens during our whole history as a nation going back 150 years as of 2017.
Muslims have been a significant part of the Canadian mosaic, adding to our pluralism and diversity. Canadian writers and thinkers have repeatedly pointed to these values as at the root of the Canadian experience. Just recently, Prime Minister Trudeau published a book, Common Ground, which emphasized these values as essential to Canada. John Ralston Saul has carried this essential story far back into the 19th century.
Hopefully Canadians appreciate the deep roots of Canadian diversity and will turn away from nativist or populist ideologies imported from other countries. Muslims have contributed much to Canada. Just recently your paper highlighted the new restaurant opened by a Syrian refugee family (Jan. 22) and in many regions our hospitals and universities would be hard-pressed without Muslim professionals and employees.
We invite all religions, races and cultures to unite in love and respect to ensure Canada continues as an example for other nations to copy.