This guest post was written by Saad Khan, who is a student at the University of Waterloo and spent some time recently doing some work with PiE.
Living in a world where we must constantly watch ourselves against the slightest implications of our words or actions may have on another person, the phrase ‘political correctness’ is often said with a rather distasteful tone.
Recent events, internationally and domestically, highlight rising tensions between different groups, whether their distinction originates from religion, race, ethnicity, culture, social-class, or even language.
The overall scenario has led to the creation of ‘safe-spaces’, areas in which each group can be at peace with themselves without judgement from others. As an individual, I agree with the notion of respect and conscious of others opinions, but in the name of diversity and acceptance, we have become intolerant of those who we seek to help with our intervention.
The mask of goodwill hides the prejudice and narrow-mindedness we claim to have overcome.
The rules and laws of our homes will become little more than testaments to the fashion of the time that we live in.
Any group who has been of the less desirable category can relate to this, and a study of history shows how quickly times change.
Mennonite communities protesting against conscription and advocating for non-violence are a part of Canada’s history and readers here will know more of their lives and stories than I.
The transformation of public opinion on conscientious objection is a drastic one. Disregarded and dehumanized, so-called “Yellow-Bellies” experienced their share of troubles during difficult times.
Today, working for peace is a noble and genteel ideology, something for politicians to utter as elections approach.
Its only contestant on that stage is the clamouring for ‘security’.
In this, I believe we can find some common ground.
As a member of the Canadian Muslim community, it is irritating, to speak kindly, of the treatment and biases I see some of my neighbours exposed to.
Words are cheap, but stories of physical violations against my brothers and sisters are not uncommon and over-arching narratives of fear will instigate even more of these events.
There were times in history when the reputation of my faith was not so beastly, but those times are not now.
I seek to remain steadfast on my principles and beliefs, as I hope to establish myself in good deeds and character, live with little, show kindness, and better myself and those around me.
I hope the other communities will do the same, as there is a role for every voice and character in society.
There are those who fear-monger and cry for war at seemingly every hour of the day, as there has almost always been, and to balance this we need individuals who chose peace and diplomacy instead, especially when dealing with our neighbours at home who we may not quite so familiar with as we should be.
On behalf of those whom I know, and those who I perhaps don’t have the knowledge to speak for, I would like to extend a word of admiration for the Mennonite communities in the past for their struggles and strength, and a word of gratitude to those present for their important contribution to our lives in the big ways and the smaller ones.