Fight terrorism, don’t exploit immigrants


Dear Prime Minister,

You need to apologies to all Canadians of Greek, Portuguese and Italian origin. You compared them not to the Muslim immigrant, for which we all have respect and admiration, but to terrorists. The question you were asked in Edmonton was about the ISIS terrorists and what your government does to make sure that those criminals will not infiltrate Canada.

You decided not to answer a specific question about terrorism but preferred to go into the generic topic of immigration, something that is completely different. It is a shame that you used the latter being unable to answer the question about the former.

However, since you want to talk about Italians and discrimination in Canada, I must agree with you. They were discriminated by many political organizations, including the Liberal Party.

I remind you that during the Second World War 3,000 Canadians of Italian origin were arrested, defrauded of their property and illegally detained for three years. They were detained without a trial, marked as “enemy of Canada” by official documents without being condemned of anything. They were eventually freed without an apology and without any compensation.

They were interned by the Liberal government of MacKenzie King and, while your party has apologized to every organization or community that were discriminated in Canada during the last Century, your governments refused to do so with the Canadians of Italian origin (it was the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney that did it in the Nineties).

Probably you were referring to the Mafia and the discrimination that the entire Italian-Canadian community had to endure because of the crass syllogism according to which if every mafioso is Italian, all Italians are mafiosi.

I agree that all generalization motivated by ignorance or racism must be fought with all means at our disposal. But the political exploitation of this generalization is worse.

I hope that you will do a better job in defending the Muslim community not only fighting against those who are trying to associate them with the terrorists, but also improving the fight against the terrorists themselves. Terrorists, suffice to stress, have nothing to do with the Muslim community.

I really hope that your government will do a better job than fighting terrorism as other governments did in the past fighting Mafia.

Only a couple of years ago, as I wrote in the Toronto Star, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a United Nations organization fighting financial crimes in the World, targeted Canada as a Country that “faces an important domestic and foreign money laundering threat” from criminal organizations that launder billions of dollars in this country. And that, Prime Minister, has little to do with the Italian Canadian community and a lot to do with the Canadian governments.

So, if someone in the future asks you what your government is doing to fight Mafia, don’t answer referencing the discrimination against the Muslim immigrants.

Don’t confuse immigrants with terrorists and Mafiosi.

Angelo Persichilli

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