Here’s something that has recently occurred on a Canadian campus. Ryerson University, a Toronto community college, has seen a series of threatening anti-Muslim posters go up on campus, purportedly by an extremist Jewish group. The Canadian Jewish Congress and the Canadian Arab Federation have both met with the university’s administration to work out a common strategy toward this kind of thing. Below is my own letter to the editor in which I indicate that there is something suspicious about the posters that have appeared on campus. They look like they were put there more to discredit the Jewish students than anything else. I know this is more of a student matter than a faculty one, but I thought you might find it interesting. -Ed Morgan
Toronto –Re Letter Threatens Leader Of Ryerson’s Muslim Group (Aug. 12): Lest the nuances of the otherwise ugly and unsubtle posters that have appeared recently at Ryerson University be lost on readers and on the Ryerson staff investigating the incidents, one or two points should be emphasized.
The posters, which expressly threatened Muslims on campus and which purported to be from a Jewish group, referred to non-believers as “infidels” –a term not found in the Jewish lexicon. Moreover, the posters were signed off with the slogan “God is Great” –a distinctly non-Jewish phrase. They were written in ungrammatical language suggesting a non-English speaker who is possibly unfamiliar with the discourse and phrases used by groups to which he or she does not belong. One need not be an experienced detective to think that something is awfully fishy here.
The president of Ryerson’s Muslim Students Association, Ahmed Arshi, deserves much praise for his bold assessment that the threatening letters and posters are “the work of someone on campus who doesn’t like the way Muslims and Jewish groups have worked together.”
A co-operative relationship between Muslims and Jews on campus is the hallmark of Canadian-style freedom, and students and administration alike must be vigilant that provocateurs and impostors not be allowed to upset that positive relationship.