MAHFOOZ A. KANWAR
Mahfooz A. Kanwar is an Emeritus professor at Mount Royal College and the author of Journey To Success. In April of 2009, he appeared on Steve Paikin's The Agenda, on TV Ontario.
I was dismayed when I learned that Mr. Erik Millett, the principal of Belleisle School in Springfield, N.B., prohibited singing our national anthem because the families of a couple of his students objected to it.
As a social scientist, I have been opposing political correctness, lack of assimilation of new immigrants to mainstream Canada, hyphenated Canadian identity, and, among other things, the lack of patriotism to our great nation.
We are restricted to do things the Canadian way lest we offend the minorities. We cannot even say Merry Christmas. It is amazing that 77% of the Canadian majority are scared of offending 23% of Canadian minorities. We have become so timid that the majority cannot assert its own freedom of expression.
We cannot publically question certain foreign social customs, traditions, and values that do not fit in the Canadian web. Rather than encouraging the new immigrants to adjust to Canada, we tolerate peculiar ways of doing things. We do not remind them that they are in Canada, not in their original homelands.
In a multicultural society such as Canada, it is the responsibility of minorities to adjust to the majority. It does not mean that minorities have to totally amalgamate with the majority. They can practise some of their cultural baggage within their confinement, their back stage behaviour. However, their front stage behaviour should resemble mainstream Canadian behaviour.
Whoever comes to Canada must learn the limits of our system. We do not kill our daughters or other female members of our families who refuse to wear hijab, niqab or burka which are not mandated by the Quran. A 16-year-old Muslim girl named Aqsa Pervez should not have been killed by her father in Toronto because she refused to don a hijab. We do not kill our daughters if they date the “wrong” men. A 17-year-old Sikh girl should not have been killed in British Columbia by her father because she was caught dating a Caucasian young man.
We do not approve of testing the sex of the fetus, and aborting it if it is female. We do not practise the dowry system in Canada, and, therefore, do not kill our brides because they did not bring enough dowry. Millions of female fetuses are aborted every year in India, and millions of female infants have been killed by their parents in India and China. Thousands of brides in India are burned to death in their kitchens because they did not bring enough dowry. Thirty thousand Sikhs living abroad took the dowries but abandoned their brides in India in 2005. This is not accepted in Canada.
In some countries thousands of women are murdered every year for family or religious honour. We should not hide behind political correctness and we should expose the cultural and religious background of these heinous crimes especially if they happens in Canada. We should also expose those who bring their cultural baggage containing the social custom of female circumcision. I was shocked when I learned about two cases of this inhumane social custom that were practised in St. Catharines, Ontario a few years ago.
I have said it on radio and television; have written in my columns in both the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun; and I have written in my latest book, Journey to Success, that I do not agree with the hyphenated identity in Canada because it divides our loyalties. My argument is that people are not forced to come to Canada and they are not forced to stay here. Therefore, those who come here on their own volition and stay here must be truly patriotic Canadians or go back.
Let me put my words where my mouth is. I am a first generation Canadian from Pakistan. I left Pakistan 45 years ago. I cannot ignore Pakistan, because it is the homeland of my folks, but my loyalty is to Canada alone. I am, therefore, a proud Canadian, no longer a Pakistani-Canadian. I am a Canadian Muslim, not a Muslim Canadian.
I do not agree with those Canadians who engage in their fight against the system in their original countries on the Canadian soil. They should go back and fight from within. For example, some of the Sikhs, Tamil Tigers, Armenians, and others have disturbed the peace in Canada because of their problems back home. Recently, a lower level leader of MQM, the Mafia of Pakistan, came to Canada as a refugee and started to organize public rallies to collect funds for their cause in Pakistan. On July 18, 2007, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that MQM is a terrorist group led by London-based Altaf Hussain, their Godfather. As a member in the coalition government of Pakistan, this terrorist group is currently collaborating with the Taliban in Pakistan. That refugee was deported back to Pakistan.
Similarly, I disagree with Canadians who bring their religious baggage here. For example, Muslims are less than 2% of the Canadian population, yet in 2004 and 2005, a fraction of them, the fundamentalists, wanted the Sharia law in Canada, a secular country. They should go where Sharia is practised.
I once supported multiculturalism in Canada because I believed then that it gave us a sense of pluralism and diversity. However, I have observed and experienced that multiculturalism has encouraged convolution of our mainstream culture. It has also been exploited by some sub-cultural and religious groups in terms of government grants.
For example, all places of worship in Canada are tax exempted costing millions of dollars. Yet, some of them are known to engage in disloyalty to Canada. I was very disturbed when I learned that 17 fundamentalist Muslim Canadians wanted to kill our prime minister and destroy our parliament building and the CN Tower. They preached hatred towards Canadians, including secular Muslims in Canada.
Here we stand on guard for Canada, not for countries we came from. Like it or not, take it or leave it, standing on guard only for Canada is our national maxim. Remember, O’ Canada is our national anthem which must not be disregarded by anybody, including the teacher in Springfield, N.B.