This article was originally published on March 27, 2018 on Huffington Post Canada.
This article was originally published on March 24, 2018 on Rabble Canada.
It’s hard not to feel disappointed that the government’s response to last month’s M-103 report is, ironically, more consultations. The M-103 report itself was the result of hearings with 77 witnesses. And despite being mandated to finish within six months, the M-103 report took almost a year to complete. For the religious communities involved, it’s fair to question whether the government really cares to concretely address the problem of Islamophobia and religious discrimination in Canada.
Lest we forget, Parliament’s recent report on religious discrimination was launched as a result of motion M-103, debated one year ago in Parliament. M-103 itself was motivated largely by an attack on a Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29, 2017 which left six Muslim Canadians dead. Motion M-103 and its resulting report were not some sort of “academic exercise” to assess a hypothetical problem. Rather, Islamophobia and religious discrimination were real problems which clearly were resulting in death, lost job opportunities, exclusion and division in Canadian society.Read more
This article was originally published on March 04, 2018 on Rabble Canada.
This article was originally published on March 05, 2018 on Huffington Post Canada.
Given the brouhaha last year around Parliament’s Islamophobia motion M-103, the quasi indifference to its resulting report seems perplexing. The motion itself repeatedly topped the news last year after initial Parliamentary debates in mid-February. Yet when the motion’s summary report was issued last month – almost a year later – the most striking upshot was the general apathy.
The media and public ignored the fact that the report recommended that January 29th – the anniversary of the horrific 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting – be designated as a national day of remembrance and action on islamophobia. This, just weeks after Liberal Quebec premier Philippe Couillard made headlines after siding with Quebec’s sovereigntist and conservative parties in opposing such a move.Read more
This article was originally published on February 07, 2018 on Huffington Post Canada.
Since 2012, Canada has witnessed a surge in anti-Muslim attitudes and incidents, culminating in the Quebec City mosque attack on Jan. 29, 2017, that left six Muslims dead, and 19 injured. Following the attack, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to support Muslims in Canada and asserted, "We will defend you ... and we will stand up for you."
M-103, a motion introduced last February by Liberal Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid, charged the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to conduct a study on how to reduce or eliminate systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia, in Canada. On February 1, nearly two years after almost 70,000 Canadians called on the government to condemn Islamophobia in parliamentary ePetition e-411, the M-103 report and recommendations were finally released to the public.Read more
This article was originally published on February 9, 2017 on Rabble.
In the aftermath of the Quebec City mosque attack we have heard and read all kinds of language to describe the event. “Hate crime,” “mass murder” and “terrorist attack” were all used and they all, to some extent, do define what has happened. However, one confused TVA anchor said on air that this was a case of “reverse” terrorism. As if terrorism had only one form: Muslim against others.
The TVA anchor has since apologized for his words, but his statement is reflective of a much larger problem: many people seem confused about when to properly use the term “terrorism.” This is no surprise considering the fact that even pundits and governments are unable to agree on when to apply the term.Read more
This article was originally published on Feb. 2, 2017 in Rabble.
When radicalization is publicly discussed in Canada, it is almost always with a reference to Islamic extremism or terrorism. It’s as if this phenomenon is strictly confined to individuals who have adopted extremist Islamist ideas like those of ISIS. Yet, this narrow conception of radicalization has, without a doubt, allowed for the atrocities in the Quebec City Mosque to take place. By failing to acknowledge the threat coming from the radicalization of individuals and the presence of more than 100 right-wing groups throughout Canada, we have blinded ourselves to the possibility of something like this ever happening.
There is no question that Islamic radicalization and violence is a threat that must be addressed in Canada. Governments at all levels have mobilized to address the risk posed by international Islamic extremist groups, and the academic study of the phenomenon has exploded.Read more
This article was originally published on Jan. 30, 2017 on the Huffington Post.
While details are still unfolding on the Quebec City mosque attack Sunday night, there is little question that the shooters were motivated by hate for Muslims. As such, Quebec and Canadian political leaders should take a long hard look at how their statements and actions may exacerbate such hate.
Quebec Muslims rightly see the Quebec City mosque killings as just the latest escalation in a trend of growing harassment against Canada’s Muslims. “The Muslim community in Quebec is suffering from a flood of hate attacks, […] and now the attacks are escalating and bringing […] the death of innocent people,” lamented Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum.Read more
For decades, Canada’s will to assist refugees and offer safe haven to people in need of refugee protection from all over the world enhanced the country’s image as a humanitarian leader. In 1986, the UN Nansen Refugee Award went to the people of Canada,[i] the only country to have received the award as a nation. Thirty years later, Canada can only dream of such an honour once again. Long gone are the days when “Canada” went hand in hand with “humanitarian,” “diplomatic,” “non-interventionist” and “environmentalist.” Canadians need a reality check.
According to Geraldine Sadoway and Andrew Brouwer, two refugee lawyers in Toronto, “Canada has been closing every possible avenue of access for refugees,”[ii] often in concert with other wealthy OECD countries. Canada’s actions have been both quiet and systematic, they explain, driving asylum seekers “into the hands of smugglers who are reaping profits at the expense of the lives of desperate people.”[iii]Read more