Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Average Parisian’s View of Muslims

Almost every morning I take the bus out to Kanata with this guy who recently moved here from France. He currently lives down the road from me so we are usually catching the same buses and transferring at the same stop. He always sort of stood out and I am convinced that it is because his clothes are way more stylish than anybody else on the bus. Its something you notice with Europeans and Montréalers.
I just happened to start talking to him one time after chasing and failing to get a bus to stop for us. We had 15 minutes to kill until the next bus came.
Over the past few months we have talked on and off and got to know each other quite well. Two weeks ago when the Lebanon vs Israel war was just starting again we started talking about muslims and our respective views on them. Personally I find the media and governments (mostly the media) paints things too black and white. For instance, on TV they are showing all the Lebanese Canadians coming back with all these horror stories of bombing raids and dieing children. They are trying to shock people into thinking the government is doing nothing while condoning Isreal’s indiscriminate killing of innocent people. On the other hand the government really isn’t in any position to do anything because they have no military and therefore no presence. Also, Israel’s goal is not to kill Lebanon but the Hezbollah government in Lebanon. And it was the Hezbollah who started this and brought it upon themselves. They broke the uneasy ceasefire in the first place. Really all the blame should be on them. But that doesn’t really give Israel the right to kill innocent civilians. It is all too complicated an issue that stretches back decades, even centuries and it can’t be solved in a little known blog entry.
But getting back to my point which was the average Parisian’s view of muslims. When he started talking about muslims I was almost shocked at his non-canadian views. He spoke with such force of his distaste of muslims that I was thinking it was racist. He said ‘That is the typical Canadian’s world view and it will be Canada’s downfall’ when I pointed it out. I told him that I have worked with very devout muslims and found them to be very good people. He said that was maybe 0.0001% of them. He went on to explain that in Paris, like the rest of Europe, muslims were slowly taking over. The attitude they exude is that they own the country and they are above the laws of the land. Ordinary rules were written for ordinary people. They are slowly pervading every part of the country because the residents originally had the attitude that Canadians have now. Nobody wants to be perceived as racist, nobody wants to not let immigrants from specific countries in.
He said that the younger generation (my generation) is finally getting sick of being pushed around. They are realizing that their freedoms are being taken away from them by immigrants who refuse to even learn their new countries language. This newfound patriotism is what led to the riots in Paris last year. The angst between the two sides is bringing out violence on both sides. Is this the future of Canada? Other immigrants (Indian, Italian, Asian) all assimilate to a degree and even if they don’t they don’t try to take over their new country. It is only muslims, pushed by their violent and aggressive religion who are told explicitly to go out and conquer the world. And it is in a totally different sense than the Christian mandate.So what are we supposed to do? Reject them? Fight them? Not let them in? I don’t know but its something I will definitely look out for when I am in Paris next spring the Lord willing.
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