Last week, Peter Mackay decided to rescind an invitation to Zijad Delic -- the Executive Director of the Canadian Islamic Congress -- from a defence department event marking Islamic History Month. His reason for taking back the invitation was that Delic's predecessor, Mohamed Elmasry, had proclaimed publicly that Israeli soldiers of 18 were fair targets for suicide bombers because they were "not innocent." When Zelic assumed the leadership of the CIC, he pointedly disavowed those comments.
James Travers noted in Tuesday's Toronto Star that:
Elmasry's comments pushed a couple of closely connected political hot buttons. Stephen Harper's Middle East policy skews hard to Israel and a Christian fringe firmly in the Conservative camp believes there's a connection between the restoration of Israel's biblical borders and the rapturous return of Christ.
These are the same people who firmly believe that Bishop James Usher correctly determined that the Almighty began creation on "the night preceding Sunday 23 October, 4004 B.C." Modern science has turned Bishop Usher into a laughing stock. MacKay's decision should have turned him into a laughing stock. Instead, it sowed more seeds of division and stoked the anger of Canadian Muslims, not to mention Muslims around the world.
One would think that public reaction to the prorogation of Parliament -- and the universal condemnation the government faced when it decided to deep six the long census form -- would cause the Harper Party to think twice about such obviously volatile decisions. But they have had no such epiphany.
These folks must believe that God is on their side -- or perhaps they are simply stupid. But, as Lawrence Martin's recently released book Harperland makes clear, these decisions can be traced back directly to the Prime Minister himself. As Don Martin wrote in his review of the book, "There's no absence of malice in this prime minister's political conduct. At times, malice is all there is . . ."
Malice is the handmaid of Ignorance. Any nation which chooses to put Ignorance in the driver's seat is in deep trouble.