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Opinion Feb 8, 2019 1:10 PM EST

Cindy Ross—Seeking Forgiveness in a Multicultural Society

Admitting to one’s mistakes can be a fruitless endeavour in the face of public outcry. Knowing when to forgive and grant second chances is vital to breathing life into the often-misconstrued values of multiculturalism.

Cindy Ross—Seeking Forgiveness in a Multicultural Society
Alex Singh Dhaliwal Montreal, QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Admitting to one’s mistakes can be a fruitless endeavour in the face of public outcry. Knowing when to forgive and grant second chances is vital to breathing life into the often-misconstrued values of multiculturalism.

Amidst a growing divide along partisan lines, how we nip bigotry or its pretense in the bud is very telling of the society our children will one day inherit. Will it be punitive or rehabilitative, and to whom?

A one Irfan Sabir, NDP MLA for Calgary-McCall, argued on behalf of a more punitive approach. He states, “the views expressed by Cindy Ross are hateful, racist and don’t belong in a multicultural, pluralistic Alberta”—a reasonable statement to make, given the rise in Islamophobic hate crimes over the past decade.

In light of the Todd Beasley controversy, Cindy Ross’s comments regarding a Fort McMurray mosque could not have come at a worst possible time. “What better place to have a large mosque. Right in the middle of our greatest asset. That is a bit like jailing the bank robber in the bank vault,” followed by “This is awful news. The city approves?????”

In explaining its context, she belayed it was not an attack on Canadian Muslims. She claims it was a full-fledged critique of how a project entirely funded by a foreign national could pose a threat to national security.

Given the poor grammar and syntax of her prior comments, it’s easy to see why the said context was lost in translation. Ultimately, the remarks were unbecoming of one with political aspirations—or by anyone for that matter.

That said, it is imperative that we grant second chances to those who openly seek out forgiveness as Ross had done. Janice Harrington, an executive director for the party, states “we recognize that people are allowed to grow and change their views over time.” As a multicultural society, we must be open to forgiving those for their past transgressions, “accepting that people can evolve [which] is necessary for a tolerant province.”

Ross has since reached out and apologized for her crass remarks.

To stem the perpetuation of ignorance education is the key. It is the only solution to prevent an already polarized society from imploding on itself.

The end-goal of the meet and greet almost three months prior was to teach, to grow and to learn to forgive. To inspire others to do the same as we practice what we preach, breaking bread with one’s ‘enemy’ to bring us closer as Canadians.

As we conversed over Pakistani cuisine in Northeast Calgary—not as foes on opposing sides of the field, but as friends—initial concerns were soon replaced with a more amicable perception of Ross, a decent human-being who exercised poor judgement two years prior.

Our mistakes do not define who we are as human beings; it is largely attributed to what we do in the ensuing fallout that matters most.

Alongside the former United Conservative Nominee for Calgary-McCall, Usman Mahmood and I (i.e., his campaign manager) embarked on an enlightening experience at the Baitun Nur Mosque with Ross. Going on a tour of the mosque we learned of its significance to the Ahmadiyya community, both as a place of worship and institution that cements the need for the family unit.

My experience with Cindy Ross, former UCP Nominee for Calgary-Fish Creek, exemplified why exercising humility, compassion, and forgiveness is vital for an open dialogue between people.

In the absence of respectful discourse, rooting out ignorance becomes an impossibility.

What do you think? Join the conversation by commenting below!

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