Challenge Exclusion26 January, 2016
The terrorist attacks unleashed on Paris, in December 2015, and the fatal hostage takings in Mali and Burkina Faso, in January 2016, have placed the issue of violent extremism at the forefront of Canadian consciousness. Few have forgotten the violent attacks that shook the national capital, in 2014, when the downtown core became the stage of a gunfight, as a lone gunman, apparently inspired by extremist ideology, sought to bring the carnage of war right to Canada’s doorsteps.
In the uproar over the incidents of violent extremism, minority communities have raised the alarm, claiming that they are being blamed for actions they overwhelmingly deplore. A suspicious fire at a mosque in Kitchener, Ontario, reports of violent assaults committed against Muslim women in Toronto and Montreal, and the pepper spraying of Syrian refugees at an Islamic Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, all point to serious challenges posed by this backlash. Young Canadians, who are either of the Muslim faith or who are perceived to be so, are increasingly raising concerns about being unfairly targeted and, even excluded, from employment and housing opportunities.
To assist in preventing the rise of violent extremism in Canada while combating the proliferation of social exclusion, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation is excited to join forces with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute for Research and Education on Race Relations, and the City of Montreal, on a groundbreaking project for young people in the Greater Montreal Region. The Foundation will be working over a four year period in the region to empower young Montrealers, aged 15 to 30, from Muslim, as well as, Arab, Syrian, Maghrebi, Farsi, Kurdish and Sahelian communities. They will have a unique opportunity to use the arts to work with their communities and government, business, social service, health, law enforcement and labour leaders, to foster their full integration into the social, economic, cultural and political life of the city. Support our project.