By: Amanda Jewer, Age 14, Oakville, ON
The events of September 11, 2001 have brought fear and anger to all of us. Emotions are running very high. Our lives as Canadians and global citizens may never be the same. However, we must remember that we need to fight the act of terrorism not people of a specific community, race or faith.
Media reports show Canadian students of the Muslin faith being victims of verbal abuse, physical attacks and harrassment. Most, if not all, are second, third and fourth generation Canadians. Unfortunately, I have seen it first hand. I have several friends who are of Muslim faith. They are bright, fun kids to hang out with. Last week I saw some other classmates throw rocks at them, saying ‘Get out of our country’. I was devastated, appalled and shaken up. Some friends and I ran out of tell the kids to stop. Luckily, one of the teachers saw what had happened and put a stop to it. He brought both groups into the school and the counsellor sat down and talked extensively about the situation and what had happened in the U.S.
This has not only happened here in Canada. In Australia a school bus carrying Muslim children was the target of stone-throwers in Brisbane.
Attacks against Muslims and Arabs have been reported across North America and the world. These and other acts of racial intolerance have brought calls for calm from leaders across North America.
On Wednesday, September 12th Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appealed for calm and asked people to stop singling out members of Canada's Muslim community. He stated, "I want to emphasize we are in a struggle with terrorism, not against any one community or faith".
U.S. president George W. Bush urged people all over the globe to exercise tolerance and calm in the face of increasing anger. "Our fight is against terrorism, not Americans who are of the Muslim faith," he said.
In Calgary, Premier Ralph Klein reiterated the words of Prime Minister Chretien and asked everyone to remember that these are Canadian citizens, Canadian children. He went on to say that what happened in New York and Washington was the act of terrorism, not of a specific community.
So everyone, please....I beg you to practice tolerance and understanding. Remember people of all backgrounds lost their lives in this tragedy.