Extremist views can be found in almost all matters related to any religion, race, sex and political ideology but do these extremists really define all those who might support any particular point of view?
Throughout history, there have always been extremist views on most everything and unfortunately, violent extremists have made news headlines but mostly they are a fringe element not supported by the population groups that may have a desire to obtain similar goals but are opposed to the use of any violence to achieve them.
Quebec in 1970 saw the rise of Quebec separatism but those who were in favour of a separate Quebec were not all FLQ members that acted out with violence. The abortion debate in Canada has also had its violent extreme positions with violence against abortion clinics but again, that does not paint all pro-life advocates who do not support this violence with the same brush. Even in Alberta in the 1990’s, there were hundreds of acts of vandalism against the natural gas industry and while many environmentalists might hold strong views on pipelines, they were opposed to the vandalism. Women’s rights, racial inequality and various political ideologies have all had their violent extremists but that is not to say that similar views held by people support in any way the violent extremes.
Religious extremism has also been with us throughout history. Holy wars, WWI and II and most conflicts in the world since have had their roots firmly in a religious belief. Today, Islamic extremists make news headlines and reach even more prominence in this age of social media but the vast majority of Muslims would not support this terrorism and just like other issues or ideologies, the majority can’t be defined by the actions of those creating the violence.
Canada is a diverse, multicultural country that encourages all points of view and embraces freedom including freedom of religion. We cannot allow any act of violence to define who we are or who our neighbours are.