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Council of Canadians supports M-103, a House of Commons motion that rejects Islamophobia

The House of Commons is expected to debate a motion condemning Islamophobia tomorrow (February 15) starting at 5:30 pm ET.

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid has put forward Motion 103, a non-binding motion that asks the government to:

  • recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear,

  • request the heritage committee study how the government could develop a government-wide approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia, and

  • collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities and present findings within 240 calendar days.

Khalid has stated, “I am a young, brown, Muslim, Canadian woman. When I moved to Canada in the 1990s — a young girl trying to make this nation my home — some kids in school would yell as they pushed me, ‘Go home, you Muslim,’ but I was home. I am among thousands of Muslims who have been victimized because of hate and fear.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken in favour of the motion. NDP MPs will also vote in favour of the motion. New Democrat Alexandre Boulerice, a Montreal-area MP, says, “We’ll always be with everybody who supports a motion or a bill that condemns Islamophobia or any kind of racism or discrimination.”

But Conservative leadership candidates Kellie Leitch and Maxime Bernier have stated they will vote against M-103. This evening, CBC reports, “Conservatives will discuss M-103 during a caucus meeting Wednesday. A spokesman for interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said she will not support the motion unless there is an amendment, but would not specify what amendment might change her position.”

Seventy-four Muslim organizations in Canada have signed a letter of support for M-103. Their letter says, “Now is the time to take meaningful steps forward in order to combat Islamophobia collectively. In so doing, we honour not only the memory of those whose lives were lost and their families, friends and communities, we also honour and uphold the values of multiculturalism, respect and diversity enshrined in our cherished Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

National Council of Canadian Muslims Amira Elghawaby says, “What happened in Quebec City was a wake-up call for the entire nation, that leaving hatred to fester in our communities can lead to the loss of life and the destruction of peoples’ communities, and also the shooter himself succumbed to his hatred and acted out on the ignorance, the misinformation and the fear that he had.”

Please take a moment to call or e-mail your MP to say you support M-103.

The organizers of a recent anti-Islamophobia march that drew more than 2,000 people in Charlottetown have also commented, “There is a need for Canada to step up and rescind many of its immigration policies. Some of our legislation creates hardship for refugee claimants. Now with the actions of the new US President, Canada’s policies create extremely dangerous situations for refugees. For example the Safe Third Country Agreement bars many refugees from entering Canada from the US over land to claim asylum in Canada. Many Canadians are unaware that the anti-terrorism legislation as found in Bill C-51 creates an anti-Muslim environment.”

The Council of Canadians also calls on the Trudeau government to speak against the executive order by US President Donald Trump that bans people from seven-Muslim majority countries from entering the United States.

Council of Canadians chapters have recently taken part in marches against Islamophobia, vigils to remember the six Muslims killed at a Quebec City mosque on January 29, and in community gatherings promoting diversity and inclusion.