Waters: Slamming the door is not the answer

Terrorism shouldn't be defined by place of birth or religion.

Alistair Waters

No one can deny new U.S. President Donald Trump has made an impact during his first week on the job.

While his pen has been flying across the pages of executive orders with his signature all week, attempting to eradicate much of what his predecessor Barak Obama put in place, the orders that caught the most of the attention—and outrage— were his decrees concerning immigration on Friday.

A temporary ban on refugees and another stopping anyone entering the U.S. who comes from one of seven listed countries—regardless of whether they were previously approved or their paper work is in order—has resulted in widespread condemnation, protests, hardship, anger and denunciations, as well as the firing of the acting U.S. attorney general for telling her staff not to defend the executive order in court because it’s unlawful.

What Trump did with the stroke of his pen was to not only slam the door on people seeking a safe haven from war-torn hot-spots of the world. He also slapped the label of suspected terrorist on others based not on any political motive, but on where they were born or what religion they happen to be.

Place of birth, religion or even political belief does make someone a terrorist. What makes them a terrorist is a willingness to kill, injure and maim.

Trump and his advisers may argue the bans are geographical in nature and not religious-based, but when they are aimed at Muslim-majority countries only—and not even at places where actual terrorists who have attacked the U.S. come from—that’s hard to buy.

In this country, as in others, the government has moved to try and help fill the role vacated by the U.S. as a home to legitimate refugees by expanding the number of people it is willing to take in.

But, as we so tragically saw Monday in Quebec City, hate in this country also exists.

The horrific murder of six Muslim Canadians, gunned down as they gathered to pray at their mosque, cannot be condemned too strongly.

In light of all that, I saw a message posted on Facebook I felt so aptly summed up the antidote to what’s happening in the world today.

I don’t often share the pseudo-psychology bumf that appears on social media, but, in this case, it was something that needed to be said.

I can’t claim the words as my own but in these days of polarizing politics, the sentiment is something that should be taken to heart:

“A Muslin, a Jew, a Christian, a pagan and an atheist walk into a coffee shop…they talk, laugh, drink coffee and become good friends. It’s not a joke. It’s what happens when you’re not an a—hole.”

Words to live by.

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News


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