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National Day of Action against Islamophobia and White Supremacy, February 4

The Council of Canadians has endorsed an upcoming National Day of Action against Islamophobia and White Supremacy.

Islamophobia refers to fear, prejudice, hatred or dislike directed against Islam or Muslims. There are about 1.6 billion followers of Islam globally, that’s almost a quarter of the world’s population.

And Salon magazine explains, “White nationalism (and its ideological companion ‘white supremacy’) is an inherently racist, violent and regressive ideology that’s prefaced on a belief in the racial and cultural superiority of ‘white’ or ‘European-American’ civilization. In the United States, white nationalists circulate old stereotypes about ‘black crime’, ‘urban violence’ and ‘black poverty’, presenting black people as victims of their own ‘bad culture’ rather than institutional white racism.”

An example of this would be US President Donald Trump stating that Mexican migrants “are bringing crime” into the US, when in fact the crime rate among first-generation immigrants is lower than that of those born in the United States.

CBC columnist Neil Macdonald has also noted, “Just about every single [mass murderer] in our modern history has been a Canadian-born, Canadian citizen, and usually white and Christian, meaning extreme vetting of immigrants from places like Yemen and Iraq wouldn’t have done a thing to prevent their predations. Will Donald Trump begin banning white nationalist Christians from Canada?”

The demands of the day of action include:

1- The Canadian government must make an immediate public condemnation of the executive order by President Trump that bans Muslim visa-holders from seven countries and also bans all refugees from entering the US.

2- Canada must immediately open the Canada-USA border.

This includes revocation of the Safe Third Country agreement which bars most refugee claimants entering from the United States over land to claim asylum in Canada. The Designated Country of Origin list, which makes it almost impossible for US citizens and citizens of forty other countries to claim asylum in Canada, must be eliminated.

3- Canada must end racist, anti-refugee, anti-Black, Islamophobic exclusion of migrants and refugees within this colonial border.

This includes ending the system of indefinite immigration detention. The federal government must create a regularization program so that all undocumented residents can live here with their families rather than fear mass deportation. Migrant workers in Canada must also be given permanent status and open work permits. We want real, not symbolic, sanctuaries that guarantee access to services and refuse collaboration with Canadian and American border agents.

4- Canada must rescind all federal legislation that attacks racialized Black and Brown Muslims and refugees, including the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act as well as anti-terror legislation such as Security Certificates and Bill C51.

This statement was initiated by Black Lives Matter-Toronto, is supported by No One Is Illegal, Idle No More, Justicia for Migrant Workers, the Tamil Freedom Coalition and other groups, and has been endorsed by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, various CUPE and OPSEU locals, The Leap, and others.

Further reading
Justin Trudeau’s tweets won’t make Canada a refugee haven—but popular pressure can (Guardian UK commentary)