Published June 2, 2017
Bjartmar O.Þ. Alexandersson wonders about the Canadian paradox when it comes to a Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
On the 11th of May, Robert Spencer and Christine Williams came to Iceland to speak at a conference on Islam and the future of European culture. I went to that lecture and was astonished, not only because of the obvious fear-based sales pitch they were making, but because I wondered, why would a woman who is among the Directors of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, an appointee of the government’s Minister of Canadian Heritage, be speaking with Robert Spencer about this issue in this way? She was advertised by the group that organized the lectures as a “fighter for human rights,” and they used the CRRF’s name repeatedly in their materials.
Did anybody say surveillance?
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation, per its official description, “is Canada’s leading agency dedicated to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society.” As Williams is a board member of foundation with this core value, then why did she say, in an interview on Iceland’s conservative talk radio station Útvarp Saga, “I think that time has come that we need to run surveillance in mosques.
Williams also wrote an article for Spencer’s website Jihadwatch.com, known for Islamophobic articles and for sharing fake news, entitled “My personal warning to Icelanders.” She wrote: “I indicated that if I belonged to a group that gave others reason to be suspicious, I would quickly allay such suspicions by offering to answer questions in meaningful discussions. I would also allow the host society to surveil my mosque, since I have nothing to hide.”
They have nothing to hide, right?
Here Williams shows a lack of knowledge of the human rights protected by the laws of most Western countries. This is basically her recipe: Sell fear to people, turn that fear into suspicion, and then finally surveil the newly suspect people. That surveillance is okay since the innocent have nothing to hide, right? Being one-quarter German, I can tell you that this recipe has already been tried before, and the end result was not really good.
How about some answers, Canada?
I started to ask myself, why is an individual connected to the Canadian government saying that we should discriminate against people based on their race or religion, and put them under surveillance?
There were too many questions on my mind regarding Williams’s statements in Iceland. Why was this individual saying these things and working with the government at the same time? I decided to get some answers.
I contacted the Canadian Race Relations Foundation about the comments Williams made here in Iceland. I left messages for three days, with no answer. Finally I got in contact with them, and their answer was: “No comment.”
I contacted The Department of Canadian Heritage to get also some reactions to her comments, and to see if we could get an interview with the minister, Mélanie Joly. After four days of phone calls and emails I finally got a response from Pierre-Olivier Herbert, the minister’s press secretary statement was:
“Our Prime Minister has said it many times, Canada is strong because of our differences, not in spite of them. We are currently looking into this matter”.
All my questions have not been answered, so I will continue my search for answers.