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We tend to fear what we don’t know, especially foreign immigrants

The Editor: I feel compelled to write this letter after hearing the many false and misleading statements currently circulating on the Internet and in the press pertaining to Muslims and their Islamic faith.

It reminds me of quotes from Bill Waisers’ book, Saskatchewan: A New History. In the 1920s many feared the immigrants as they were perceived as “dirty, ignorant, garlic smelling continentals.” Others feared “the country becoming a mongrel nation.” And still others “blamed them for an increase in crime and for spreading communism” (pages 248 - 249).

These quotes from the 1920s seem to reflect the same fears and anxieties that many are feeling today in regard to new immigrants and people of different faiths, particularly Muslims. The fears and anxieties of the ’20s led to thousands of Saskatchewan citizens taking out memberships with the Ku Klux Klan, as it supported their xenophobia toward certain ethnic and religious groups. Waiser writes, “By 1929, the Klan boasted 25,000 members” (page P251).

We need to move away from labelling and demonizing certain ethnic, political and religious groups. It is in giving in to anxiety and fear that we increase the probability of conflict.

Instead of believing falsehoods and rumours on the Internet how about stepping out of your comfort zone and visiting a local mosque or volunteering at one of the local agencies that work so hard to settle newcomers.

As Rev. Ron Rolheiser wrote in a recent column, “In the name of truth and what’s best in us as Christians and Canadians, this is the time to offer more, not less support for Muslims. We all have the same God and are part of the same family. More than ever we must offer our understanding, sympathy, support and fellowship in faith.” — Sheila Murray, Saskatoon