Crafting a plan to deal with the ever-looming threat of terrorism is no child’s play. World leaders are still stumped when it comes to devising policies to prevent terror attacks without antagonizing or alienating a section of the world’s population. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hit the nail on the head with his statement on the recent attacks in Egypt that targeted Coptic Christians.
As recent events show, violent extremists often target those most vulnerable. As members of the international community, we must continue to stand against those responsible for these acts of terrorism and counter hate by promoting the values of diversity, inclusion and peace.
Unlike other polarizing leaders like Donald Trump, who believe unceremoniously ousting Muslims from their borders is a quick-fix solution for Islamic extremism, Trudeau’s views are born from an upbringing in a country that historically has prided itself on its socialistic views and culturally progressive policies.
At a time when countries like the United States toy with the idea of a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country, politicians like Trudeau talk about how Islam “is compatible with the Secular West,” while encouraging Muslims to get involved “in the whole breadth of the political spectrum in Canada”. And especially now, when individuals from different religions and cultures are connected at the click of a button, such an open-minded multicultural approach might be our best bet.
Leaders like Trudeau understand that extremist groups such as ISIS are not a mouthpiece for Muslims worldwide, just like the Klu Klux Klan in no way represents the views of all Conservative Christians and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (a right-wing nationalist organization in India) that of Hindus. Viewpoints like this are a driving force for advocating the promotion of a multicultural society—one that celebrates every culture’s shared beliefs in justice, fairness, and equality of opportunity.
Canada is a shining example of how multiculturalism, when fostered and promoted, can weave itself into the fabric of a country for its betterment. While immigrants make up only 20 percent of the population, reports have shown that at least 35 percent of Canada Research Chairs are foreign-born. Immigrants also win proportionally more prestigious literary and performing arts awards, and foreign direct investment into Canada is greater from countries that are well represented through immigration.
The task of assimilating immigrants from different cultures has always attracted the insidious viewpoints of conservatives who insist on living in a bigoted past. However, multiculturalism at its heart is an act that is rooted in feelings of respect, curiosity, and learning. Terrorism uses a mix of religious propaganda and civilian violence to bring about an illusion of control. And there are few things purveyors of terror hate more than defiance through love and compassion.
The bottom line is that by rejecting the idea of multiculturalism, we are in essence “letting the terrorists win.” Islamic extremism and other forms of terrorism want us to fight and kill on the basis of our racial and cultural differences. What better a way to land a scathing blow to the face of terror than by learning to adopt a sense of mutual respect for the cultures of our neighbours and preaching the practise of empathy and love?
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views, policies or beliefs of Around The World Consultancy.