Calgary Muslim Heritage Day festival sees alleged anti-Muslim display

At a Calgary festival celebrating Muslim heritage, a man in a Knight’s Templar costume arrived - the outfit inspired by the Crusades - a military campaign fought between Christians and Muslims. Jillian Code reports.

Amid celebrations at Calgary’s Muslim Heritage Day festival on Saturday, a man dressed in an outfit in the style of the Knights Templar gatecrashed the event.

The man wearing the getup was spotted in Olympic Plaza, and it’s alleged he walked around the festival grounds.

The outfit is inspired by what the Catholic Knights Templar wore during the crusades — religious wars instigated by the Catholic Church and fought between Christians and Muslims between 1095 and 1291.

University of Calgary associate professor Tinu Ruparell says the person wearing the outfit was sending a clear message.

“This is a pretty conscious effort to isolate one community — Muslims in Calgary — for hatred and bigotry,” Ruparell said. “I think it’s appalling.”

Calgary’s Olympic Plaza hosts a plethora of events from Culture Days to protests and celebrations. Saturday’s gathering was meant to honor Muslim heritage and celebrate food, art, and history.

“To use this kind of iconography is a conscious way to bring up these kinds of ideas that suggest that people who aren’t Christian, people who aren’t western, people who aren’t whatever — in this case, Muslims — need to be exterminated and driven from a particular land,” Ruparell explained.

He adds divisiveness appears to be more common in Alberta nowadays. He stresses that when Islamophobia or any messages of hate are displayed, people shouldn’t ignore the issue.

“It shows, I think, that Albertans need to really understand the depth of religious bigotry that’s still under the surface in Alberta.”

Ruparell says people should take steps to learn how to be better allies to the community around them.

“I think most of us want to dismiss them, ignore them, but I think we do so at our peril, we have to take them seriously,” Ruparell said. “Learn more about other traditions, other religious traditions. One of the easiest ways to do that, I think is to humbly and honestly ask our Muslim friends, our colleagues.”

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