Once again, the headlines are proclaiming that Canada’s police and security forces are racist. A small faction of the Islamic community is apparently upset at the techniques used to interview some citizens of Arab descent at the onset of the war on terrorism.
While reactions to events like the attacks on September 11 are never handled perfectly, as time is usually of the essence under those circumstances, I think our fine Arab citizens can agree that our interrogation techniques are a few notches above those of the Arab world.
I, for one, would be gladly interrogated in some rundown cell in Ottawa than in a chamber full of, shall we say, persuader devices in Iran, or in one of Saddam’s prisons.
The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations says that about half of the respondents that were interrogated felt fear and anxiety. If I moved here from a place like Iran or Iraq where people just disappear into the night sometimes, I too would feel fear and anxiety at an interrogation. That has no bearing on our techniques, that is common sense based on experience.
To call the interrogations, which were more akin in most cases to interviewing, racism, really misses the mark. True, these people are our citizens now, but shouldn’t that encourage them to understand that sometimes, especially in a time of war, that extreme steps are needed to safeguard our country? Should they not understand the importance of rooting out extremist operatives?
As a Christian who has certain beliefs, I would do anything in my power to stop someone who was killing and murdering people in the name of Christ. They would be, after all, placing all true Christians in a bad light. Should not peace loving Arabs do the same?
It should be noted that only 8% of the Canadians of Arab descent who answered this survey were visited by security staff. That tells me that a great deal of restraint was used. If you are old enough to recall WWII, you would know that all of our citizens of Japanese descent were interned.
We have come a long way, and we should be proud, however we do need to stay vigilant, and I for one would hope that our new citizens understand that most Canadians don’t see them all as murdering extremists, but as fellow citizens. They must understand, however, that there are some among them who pose a threat to the world’s security, and they must be rooted out.
If there had of been an attack on Canadian soil, we would all be screaming for an inquiry as to why it was able to happen here. Instead, we did what was reasonable under the circumstances, and now some want an inquiry into that. Some things, although they leave a bad taste in one’s mouth, must be done to keep our nation secure, and while we must always safeguard our rights, sometimes we have to surrender them to keep them in the long run.