Officers would risk disciplinary action if their discretionary stops demonstrated “€œbias”€ or “€œracial profiling.”€ So here was Detective Richey, conducting the very definition of a discretionary stop on a man who claimed it would violate his religion to lift his companion’s niqab. Knowing that any complaint against him would be put into the HB 101 database, Detective Richey chose to walk away (side note: Utah Republicans made sure HB 101 was not renewed when it expired in 2007).

Although Mitchell is not Muslim (he isn”€™t anything, technically, beyond a violent narcissist with a messiah complex), he did, in fact, exploit state-enforced “€œsensitivity”€ toward Muslims. This is something that no media outlet other than The Salt Lake Tribune ever made public. In her closing argument to the jury, Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Hagen blasted Mitchell: “€œIn the Salt Lake City Library, he played the Muslim card for all that it was worth.”€ It’s a damning quote, and the media ignored it completely.

Mitchell did indeed play the “€œMuslim card,”€ but the truth is, it was the state that gave him a Muslim card to play in the first place. Mitchell was enabled by legislators mandating “€œsensitivity,”€ a police department enforcing the mandate, and a random cop so obsessed with not offending a (perceived) Muslim that years later he still stands by his decision, even knowing the cruel, barbaric cost, physically and psychologically, to that young girl.

My message to Canada is, the more you normalize the niqab, the more you put sensitivity before common sense, the more likely you”€™ll be to see travesties like the Smart case. Simply put: The more you deal the “€œMuslim card,”€ the more it will be played. I could have done an entire piece on examples of other types of crimes in which burqas or niqabs were factors, but I preferred to focus solely on the Smart case, because sometimes it helps to put a human face on the terrible toll of ill-considered government “€œdiversity”€ and “€œsensitivity”€ policies.

At the very least, my Canadian neighbors, however you vote on Oct. 19, reflect for just a moment about Elizabeth Smart. See her face in your mind, and think about that frightened little girl from 2002. Think of the brutal rapist who played the “€œMuslim card,”€ the cop who let him, and the lawmakers who engineered the situation. And ask yourself this question: If your vote sends a message that normalizing the niqab and enforcing “€œsensitivity”€ toward it is a worthy goal, and if you get your own version of the Elizabeth Smart case as a result, will you be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say, as Detective Richey did, “€œThere’s nothing I would have done differently”€?


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