What is Stronger – Religion or Patriotism? | Wishful World

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What is Stronger – Religion or Patriotism?

Introduction (the tragedy):

Recently in Ontario, 19-year old Yosif Al-Hasnawi was shot while trying to break up an altercation involving three others. When the paramedics arrived, he advised them he could not breathe. Minutes later, he passed away. A tragic outcome for an innocent young man attempting to act the part of the Good Samaritan. It is sad to witness the acts of coward and barbaric men who kill an unarmed peacemaker with no apparent concern. Yosif was an exemplary young man.

  1. It is sad we have cowardly and uncivilized men who kill an unarmed peacemaker.
  2. It is very tragic that Yosif did not receive immediate professional paramedic attention at the level and speed he should have.


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The Eye Opener (the twist):

Now, let’s study this tragic story a bit further and with utmost respect let us put aside for a moment this misfortune. Peter Ackerman of CTV News reported that the victim’s father, Majed Al-Hasnawi, was sending his son’s body to the Iraqi holy city of An Najaf for burial. This fact compelled me to write this post.

Comments and Thoughts:

In Canada, our laws and ideals of social justice allow for religious freedom. But I have to question why Mr. Majed Al-Hasnawi felt obliged to send his son’s body halfway across the world, to their country of origin, for burial. Yes, I am aware of their religion and traditions, but I still want to make a point on what the great majority of Canadians tend to oversee. Would it not make more sense to bury him close to their new Canadian home where they could easily visit his memorial?

It may be that I simply find some beliefs and practices of particular immigrant groups incomprehensible, regardless of the fact that I should accept and respect. What do you think?


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So I ask:

  1. Do many immigrants who come to Canada hope to someday return to their home country to live, or to be buried?
  2. Do their religious beliefs trump patriotism to Canada? Is it that their love of their homeland exceeds their love of Canada?
  3. Is it fair to say that first (and likely second) generation immigrants will generally subordinate their love for Canada in favour of their love for their homeland?
  4. When do immigrants fully adapt to Canadian values and ways, feeling pride for their new home country and confidence in their good fortune to live here? Enough so that they would naturally desire to bury their loved ones in Canadian soil?

I remember my native Mexico with true pride and a combination of sadness and deep love. However, when I die, I want to be buried here in Canada, my adopted country where my family resides. In the country whose people opened their arms to greet me and trusted me. I regard being buried in Canadian soil to be an honour.

Perhaps the difference is that I did adapt, integrated fully, and learned to respect and love this country. I developed a sense of patriotism above and beyond my ties to my old country and its traditions. But hey, that is just me and to each their own. I still believe respect for other cultural traditions should always remain in place, with hopes that one-day future generations adopt our values and traditions, or wouldn’t they be better off going back to their old country?

This story highlights the real challenges involved with integration and adaptation that requires a lot more attention, support, and guidance by our government and the different communities. In my mind, this is a clear example of completely different values across countries.

Is this an example that our differences make us … stronger? Or weaker?


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