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OPINION: Why are Muslims singled out?

As a symbol of unity, more than 150 people gathered at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus on Tuesday for a vigil to remember and pay respects to the victims of a deadly attack at a Quebec City mosque on Sunday. The event included short speeches, prayers, conversation and lighting of candles. Six men were killed during evening prayer at the mosque. A 27-year-old Quebec university student has been charged in the shooting.
As a symbol of unity, more than 150 people gathered at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Truro for a vigil to remember and pay respects to the victims of a deadly attack at a Quebec City mosque. The event included short speeches, prayers, conversation and lighting of candles. Six men were killed during evening prayer at the mosque. A 27-year-old Quebec university student has been charged in the shooting. - Lynn Curwin

Why are Muslims expected to have higher standard of morality or ethics than Christians and Jews?

BY RICHARD DEATON

GUEST OPINION

In their letter, the Sallis' are "dismayed . . . that Muslims the world over are failing to respond to acts of terrorism where God is used as justification." (Guardian, 2 June 2018) This is at best an ahistorical, misleading, and inaccurate observation.

why are Muslims singled out as having a special responsibility or obligation to repudiate or condemn religion-inspired violence? And why are Muslims expected to have a higher standard of morality or ethics than Christians and Jews? Why is there a double standard? Given the history of Christianity and religious warfare in Western Europe over the centuries this is at best hypocritical.

RELATED: LETTER: Muslims fail to speak up

A large number of Islamic organizations and clergyman have, in fact, issued strong statements condemning terrorist acts since 9/11. Over 80 North American Islamic organizations have denounced terrorist violence, including the Canadian Society of Muslims. Muslim organizations around the world have similarly condemned terrorism, including the influential Imam of the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt and the chief mufti of Saudi Arabia.

To imply that most Muslims condone or promote terrorist violence in the name of God or Islam is misleading and inaccurate. Furthermore, it is necessary to differentiate between a religion's teachings and its interpretation by individuals. Every religion has its sects and zealots, including Christianity and Judaism.

The fanaticism of right -wing Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. and ultra-Orthodox Jewish settlers in Israel are good examples. Do they apologize for their extremism?

Religious wars have been central to Western European history. For example, the Israelites in the Torah (Old Testament) carried out genocide against the Canaanites, Amalekites, and Benjamites. The Crusades against Muslims in the Holy Land in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were a Christian jihad. Along the way the Crusaders killed Jews in pogroms. The endless religious wars in Europe between Catholics and Protestants between the 14th and 17th centuries were carried out in the name of God. The Catholic Church's extermination of Mexican and Latin American Indians was done to bring Christianity to the heathen. And the perpetrators of the Holocaust were Christians, not Arabs or Muslims. Today, Israeli settlers engage in the ethnic cleansing and the killing of Palestinian civilians with impunity in the name of their religion.

Given this historical track record why do Muslims have a special responsibility to condemn religion -inspired violence when compared to other Western religions? Today the real threat of terrorism comes from right-wing paramilitary groups and the fundamentalist Christian right.

Every religion thinks that they "have God on their side." Historically, however, the victims of Christianity far outnumber those who have died in recent terrorist attacks. And "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." The hypocrisy smells to heaven.

- Richard Deaton, Ph.D., LL.B. lives in Stanley Bridge

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