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Is Canada Facing Step-Up in Security and Rising Islamophobia?

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Canadians are shocked in the aftermath of yesterday’s shooting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa that left one member of the Canadian Forces dead and resulted in a temporary lockdown of the entire city center area; such terrorist acts are not common on Canadian soil and many have been left guessing about further steps the government should take amid a growing fears of terrorism in Canada.

MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – Canadians are shocked in the aftermath of yesterday’s shooting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa that left one member of the Canadian Forces dead and resulted in a temporary lockdown of the entire city center area; such terrorist acts are not common on Canadian soil and many have been left guessing about further steps the government should take amid growing fears of terrorism in Canada.

The shooter, now dead, has been identified as Canadian born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Zehaf-Bibeau was a Muslim convert, Reuters said.

In response to the shootings, leaders of all three major Canadian political parties, including the current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, delivered speeches Wednesday evening.

Stephen Harper, the current Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Conservative Party, said Canada would redouble its efforts to combat global terrorism.

“Canada will never be intimidated. In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home… They [the terrorists] will have no safe haven,” Harper said during his speech in the parliament, as quoted by Canadian CBC News.

Some were quick to support the Prime Minister and his promise to jack up the security agencies. “Canada is at war and the battlefield is not just in Iraq – but here”, Calgary Sun Newspaper reported. “The rules have certainly changed and no longer will the pressure to be politically-correct prompt to turn a blind eye to see what was clearly in front of them. Canada no longer has the luxury.”

Widely popular young leader of the Liberal Party Justin Trudeau was quick to embrace his party’s multicultural stance.

“Mutual respect and admiration will help to prevent the influence of distorted ideological propaganda posing as religion. We will walk forward together, not apart,” Trudeau said during his speech, as quoted by CBC News.

Trudeau’s statement found support among those who embrace multiculturalism, freedom and democratic values.

“This tragedy should not be treated as an opportunity to point fingers, blame others, or resort to xenophobia and fear. Instead, it should remind us that despite tragic events, we have built a country with strong and just values that we continue to live by every day”, Huffington Post Canada said, in support of Trudeau’s words.

The Ottawa shooting happened only a couple of days after another terrorist act in Quebec, during which Martin Couture-Rouleau, another Muslim convert, killed a Canadian soldier and injured another, CBC reported.

Harper and Trudeau epitomize the two opposing views among the Canadian public amid the recent terrorist attacks. Some want Canada to find itself irreversibly at war with global terrorism. The attacks come amid rising anti-Islamic tendencies. Only 46 percent of Canadians held an unfavorable view of Islam in 2009, however that number rose to 54 percent in 2013 (69 percent in the province of Quebec), Maclean’s Magazine reported.

Canadian values of freedom, inclusiveness and multiculturalism are about to be tested. Will the World see a new Canada, in which one community will be cast into villainy and its religion reduced to the notion of violence and hate, or will the Canadians keep their ideals of inclusion, equality and peace?

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