The Canadian Red Cross has funded a teachers’ guide depicting Canadian society as practicing a “terrorist ideology of hate” against Muslims.
The guide, written ostensibly to coach teachers on how to help Syrian refugee children adapt, suggests that “hate,” “discrimination” and “Islamophobia” amount to a terrorist ideology, and that non-Muslim Canadians are its perpetrators. The solution is Islam, the guide says.
“The core values and central tenants of Islam are immutable,” it says, “and are the best counter-narrative to the terrorist ideology of hate.”
The Red Cross is expressing vague misgivings about the publication.
“The original intention… was to provide educators with a resource to help children deal with cultural transition and possible trauma due to war and significant cultural change,” the charity’s spokesperson said in an interview. “In our view, the majority of the publication achieves its intended purpose, but there are specific areas that we don’t feel fit with its original intention.”
To produce the booklet, the Red Cross gave $3,000 from its “Syrian refugee resettlement fund” to the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), formerly CAIR-Canada. The group changed its name three years ago after its parent organization, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was repeatedly shown to have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Canada has accepted 31,000 Syrian refugees in the past year, but the guide shows less concern for refugee children than for “Canadian Muslim youth.” The word “refugees” does not even appear in the title, “A Guide for Educators: Helping Students Deal with Trauma Related to Geopolitical Violence & Islamophobia.”
The 16-page booklet portrays Muslim youth as under attack not from Islamic State terrorists or President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian forces, but from non-Muslim Canadians.
“To constantly feel under attack, to have to defend one’s faith, and to be continuously called upon to condemn the actions of criminals and terrorists is emotionally traumatic,” the booklet says.
The word “trauma” appears often, mostly referring to Muslim life in Canada. “Trauma can be related to historical events such as the history of colonization,” the guide says. And: “Being marginalized and categorized as ‘the other’… can be traumatic.”
The guide includes specific tips for teachers. One is to examine oneself for anti-Muslim bias — “recognize your own judgments and biases.” Another is to let Muslims proselytize in schools — “provide space for Muslim students to speak to their peers about their faith.”
In italics, the tip sheet says: “Care should be taken by teachers on the language and tone they take when discussing world events and the Islamic faith.”
TV commentator Ezra Levant put the last point in plainer language. “This is an instruction to anybody working in the school system to shut-up about Islam — it is a favored religion,” he said last week on his online news channel, The Rebel.
The self-described conservative channel sent the Red Cross more than $25,000 this summer to help with forest-fire relief in Fort McMurray, Alberta, but will never donate to the Red Cross again, Levant told viewers of The Ezra Levant Show.
“I think the Red Cross should withdraw its support [for the booklet] and apologize to Canadians,” he said.
Two years ago, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police abruptly cut its collaboration with the NCCM on a “United Against Terrorism” guide. The police force “could not support the adversarial tone” of the booklet, they said.
The Red Cross said its specific objections to the teachers’ booklet include three reprinted op-ed pieces. One is by the head of the Winnipeg-based Islamic Social Services Association, a partner on the booklet, comparing the circumstances of Canadian Muslims to that of Japanese-Canadians interned during World War Two.
“We are in discussions with the organization that produced the publication,” the Red Cross spokesperson said. “I’m not sure what the end result will be.”
Another collaborator on the guidebook was the Canadian Human Rights Commission, an ostensibly neutral federal government body, which “translated the booklet into French to reach a broader audience,” a spokesperson said.
Two years ago, the NCCM sued then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his press secretary for libel when the press secretary referred to NCCM as “an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas.” The case is still before the courts.
John Goddard is an independent newspaper and magazine reporter living in Toronto.