by Jeewan Chanicka
Originally published: April 3, 2017
As a wave of Islamophobia continues to move across the country, there is a lot we can learn from our history as a country and our treatment of various groups of people.
Muslims have been on this part of Turtle Island prior to it being called Canada. The first Muslim on record born here, in 1854, was James Love whose mother, Agnes Love, was from Scotland. This country was built in part by the sacrifices and contributions of Muslims who have always been a part of it's landscape. The earliest Muslims who settled here came from Syria, Lebanon, former Yugoslavia, Turkey and Albania.
While there is much for us to be proud of in our growth and 150-year journey as a nation, we cannot romanticize history and erase the truth on which we were built. An accurate reading of history would uncover that this country, apart from the ongoing injustices meted out to indigenous peoples, has continually undergone struggles where entire groups of people had been vilified and ill treated, and identity politics used to stoke fear and hatred.