Where the Conservatives went wrong..
Here's a link to my first article in The National Post...
Like most other Canadians, what struck me about the photograph of that little boy washed up on a Turkish beach, and the revelation in the National Post that his family had been hoping to find asylum in Canada, was the way it brought home, in a very personal and vivid way, the horrific tragedy of the Syrian refugee crisis.
But instead of turning to questions about how Canada could, and should, play a much bigger role in alleviating Syrian suffering, Conservative partisans chose to spread the vilest of lies about the Kurdi family specifically and about Syrian refugees generally. The Syrian refugees are people who desperately need our help and yet Conservative activists took the opportunity to flood social media with hysteria.
One of the most bizarre conspiracy theories was based on the falsehood that one in 50 Syrian refugees is an ISIL infiltrator. Just because so many of the asylum seekers had cell phones and were well-dressed, this was supposed to prove that they weren’t refugees at all. And the disingenuous questions: Why are so many of the refugees men? Doesn’t this prove that Europe is facing a Muslim invasion? It didn’t matter that young men were the natural choice for refugee families to send into harm’s way, or that the sky-high refugee numbers were still only one-four-hundredth of the population of Europe.
It was ugly and the Conservative party is not helping matters by using the niqab issue to energize a faction of the Conservative activist base that deliberately conflates Islam, the religion, with Islamism, an aggressive political ideology. This is causing deep divisions in Canada about Muslims and it is contributing to the alienation of Muslim Canadians from the rest of us.