Canada Reads·Highlight

Chuck Comeau on the portrayal of Muslims in western pop culture

The musician and Canada Reads panellist on Muslim stereotyping.
Chuck Comeau says it's about time the world was exposed to stories like Homes that portray Muslim people in a positive light and underscores the fundamental qualities that all humans share. 0:55

Day Three on Canada Reads 2019 marked another round of emotional debates.

Moderated by host Ali Hassan, the remaining advocates passionately vied for the ultimate prize — to convince others that their book is the one all Canadians should read.

Musician and father Chuck Comeau spoke about the pressing need to address the misrepresentation of Muslims in western pop culture. He also underlined how books like Homesa memoir by teenage refugee Abu Bakr al Rabeeah who is originally from Syria and Iraq, have the power to change the narrative and to change minds.

"Whenever you watch TV, watch movies in pop culture, especially in the western world, every Muslim character is a terrorist, is a bad guy, he's out to get us. He wants to destroy our world. Isn't it time — there's 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, 1 million in Canada — isn't it time that we have positive role models and characters that we understand that they dream the same dreams that we do, they want the same things for their families? They're just the same as us. We have so much in common," said Comeau.

"Isn't it time that we read a story where we feel that for real, in a visceral way, to see the dad loves his son so much, just like I love my son? I think that's important especially with New Zealand, the Quebec mosque — because it's not just in New Zealand. It's here. It happened in my province in Quebec. It blows my mind and it's time that we get people to read, to know about this."

Homes is a memoir about al Rabeeah's life, growing up in the middle of civil war, as told to and written by Winnie Yeung.