"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Little Aliyah is not a terrorist, but the racist who called her that definitely is Featured

Gurpreet Singh  


The recent incident of a hate crime at a grocery store in Surrey, involving a nine-year-old Muslim girl, has devastated everyone.  

An unidentified man wearing “Make America Great Again” called the child a “terrorist”. 

What was more heartbreaking was that the girl was out there doing shopping for an auspicious occasion of Ramadan with her family.  

While Canadian politicians were making statements to congratulate Muslims gearing up for Ramadan, a man wearing a hat inspired by the slogan of former US President Donald Trump, who gave legitimacy to anti-Muslim and anti-Asian hatred, left Aliyah and her family shocked.  

This incident coincides with growing hate against people of Asian heritage in Greater Vancouver, in the wake of COVID 19 that first broke out in China and eventually spread to other parts of the world.  

Trump, who was elected in November 2016, ran a nasty campaign by stirring up hatred against Muslims and immigrants. While in office, he constantly spewed venom against China and polarized already divided US society on racial lines, taking advantage of the pandemic and its after effects on the economy.  

However, Trump was just a symptom, and not the cause of the systemic racism that is deeply entrenched in society across North America. He was just stoking the basest emotions of fear and anger to sustain power otherwise, why  have racist incidents like these been occurring in the more open and liberal political environment of Canada?  

Why would racists in our country be following him? This incident should open our minds and eyes to the reality of racism being prevalent in our neighbourhood, and not just across the border. After all, Canada has a long history of racism against people of colour, including the indigenous peoples, whose lands were stolen to build the Canadian nation state, the Blacks, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Sikhs, the Hindus and the Muslims, besides  the Jewish community.    

The person who called Aliyah “terrorist” must be charged for this hate crime. How can he be allowed to get away with making such a statement? How can one particular religion be associated with terrorism, since terrorists are in all the communities, including the white Christian society in US and Canada.  

The suspect and his mentor Donald Trump represent the face of white supremacy, which too is responsible for violence and murders. If anyone was a terrorist at that moment, it was not her, but the individual who called Aliyah that word, because his action was aimed at creating fear in the mind of the little soul and her community. 

The root of the problem is majoritarianism. Why do only the minorities suffer in an event of a terror attack or a crisis? Why are they conveniently painted with one brush and scapegoated for the actions of a few? Why isn't the white majority seen that way if anyone from the dominant society does something terrible? Why is an entire group of people punished when it comes to any minority community? That is the question the privileged groups should be forced to ask themselves to fix this.  

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Gurpreet Singh

Cofounder and Director of Radical Desi


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