As A Brown-Skinned Canadian

According to Robert Fisk, as a Brown-Skinned Muslim Canadian, I should be ‘checking the airline timetables for a flight out of town.’

This has been a good week to be in Canada â?? or an awful week, depending on your point of view – to understand just how irretrievably biased and potentially racist the Canadian press has become. For, after the arrest of 17 Canadian Muslims on â??terrorismâ? charges, the Toronto Globe and Mail and, to a slightly lesser extent, the National Post, have indulged in an orgy of finger-pointing that must reduce the chances of any fair trial and, at the same time, sow fear in the hearts of the countryâ??s more than 700,000 Muslims. In fact, if I were a Canadian Muslim right now, Iâ??d already be checking the airline timetables for a flight out of town. Or is that the purpose of this press campaign?

First, the charges. Even a lawyer for one of the accused has talked of a plot to storm the Parliament in Ottawa, hold MPs hostage and chop off the head of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Without challenging the â??factsâ? or casting any doubt on their sources â?? primarily the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Canadaâ??s leak-dripping Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) â?? reporters have told their readers that the 17 were variously planning to blow up Parliament, CSISâ??s headquarters, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and sundry other targets. Every veiled and chadored Muslim woman relative of the accused has been photographed and their pictures printed, often on front pages. â??Home-grown terroristsâ? has become theme of the month â?? even though the â??terroristsâ? have yet to stand trial. [read]

[Hat Tip: Kabob Fest]
From the moment they rounded them up they were terrorists, case closed. Forget about the long judicial system they have to go through before they actually achieve that status. I read the papers here in Toronto everyday and watch the nightly news and even I have to convince myself sometimes that these guys haven’t gone through the system yet. It’s already game over.

This kind of scares me. I was born in this country and with headlines insisting that these brown-skinned Canadians are home-grown terrorists I can see clearly the slippery slope the media is taking this country. It translates to brown-skinned peoples (such as myself) should be considered terrorists even if they are Canadian. This is the mould that’s being created. As Fisk points out, Muslims are now being edged into the “other” category in the sense that that there are two types of Canadians: “Canadian-born” (Muslims) and just “Canadian”. The former are potential terrorists or at the very least a threat and the former are the pure and true types of Canadians.

It’s kind of ironic in a â??twisted fateâ?? sort of way because a few days ago before this all happened I was having a discussion with my professor and our little political science research group. We were attempting to define (for â??funâ??) what a Canadian is and we were using all sorts of historical texts and media themes to try and reach some abstract definition. Perhaps I should, next time, excuse myself from the conversation as I’m apparently no longer a Canadian, just…“Canadian-born”.

So look out for the brown-skins because weâ??re coming to get you!

(Because obviously we have nothing better to do with our time)


  • Golly, guess me and my Canadian fair-skinned compatriots will have to give up our self tanning lotion for safety’s sake. For goodness sake, Nas, I’m so sorry you have to listen to this!

  • To be fair to the Canadian media, I mean finally after a 500 year wait, they get some local news worth publishing, are they gonna let it slip away just like that???

  • I liked the National Post article. Somebody finally had the guts to question whether or not Islam and peaceful democracy are really possible. It is about time.

  • onzlo, do you honestly think this piece of news is the biggest thing to ever hit Canada? we can sit here and mock it’s quasi-passiveness on the world stage as Americans tend to do, but it’s had bigger fish to fry.

  • The National Post is not exactly a democratic media source, so I’m not entirely clear on how the article ought to be a glorified act of free-speech in the name of Canadians worldwide. What an irony –and you don’t need Morisette to point it out. I believe it is time for the media to make its references to Islam more specific. Think of it like categorising music. Rock isn’t just rock, it’s Easy Rock, Kazz Rock, Hard Rock… how about Terrorist Islam, Sunni Islam… because, although we may not like the harsh sound of Terrorist-Hard-Rock-Islam, we may not necessarily dismiss the other “categories”. And if the National Post, or for that matter any other hypocrite of a newspaper belonging to the Canadian press, wants to throw a stone of questioning, it certainly won’t be the first, nor does it take guts to throw stones. Canadians have had American thought-goo creeping into their brains these last few years that all they can say is, “Yah! Someone had the guts to say something!” Give me a break. What you’re saying is, “I’m so glad that someone else did my thinking for me, so that I don’t have to truly reflect on the people who ARE NOT terrorists, or the fact that both past and present teaches us that there are more non-terrorist Muslims in this world.” Democracy requires diplomacy, and when the Muslim world turns to the Democratic Gods of the West for answers, the examples of Democracy in Canada are few and far between. Sorry, allow me to rephrase, as there are also categories of Democracy: I-choose-my-race-only-Democracy, To-hell-with-real-thinking-just-tell-me-what-will-hurt-me-less-Democracy… For shame.

Your Two Piasters: