“How safe is Canada?” An in-depth look at extremism and terror followed the News. But what stuck with me was not the secret investigation room, all flashing monitors and Mounties. It was the tear-stained face of a young Muslim girl, pleading for acceptance. A young man stood beside her with a placard: “I am a Muslim – if you trust me, please give me a hug.”
We have seen extremist atrocities on TV – and are rightly appalled at naked evil. I have also just been reading of Christian persecution of Romanian Jews. I thought back to a conversation in South Africa with Sibongile, a young black girl we were putting through college in Jo’burg.
We were having lunch together and for some reason I was telling her about the Holocaust. She looked at me, eyes round with disbelief.
“White people doing bad things to white people?”
“Oh, Sibongile, it isn’t black or white. It is bad people doing bad things to other people.” It isn’t a specific race, group or ideology, but some people drunk on hatred as they have been since the beginning of time.
Back to the TV, my heart lifted when the camera caught bystanders break rank to hug the young man, while others wrote on a placard the weeping girl held up: “I am Muslim, that make a me ……”
The words tumbled generously across her banner: “beautiful, awesome, my friend.”
CBC: The National – Are We Safe – link