OTTAWA — The federal government is hosting a summit on Islamophobia today after a series of violent, targeted attacks that killed or injured Muslim Canadians and shocked communities across the country.
Diversity Minister Bardish Chagar says the summit will be an opportunity for Muslim Canadians to express their views and insights into how Ottawa can prevent these attacks and implement policies that protect their communities.
She says more work needs to be done to protect Muslim communities from hatred and discrimination inspired by Islamophobia and that the government has worked with national Muslim-led organizations to organize the summit.
Days after a vehicle attack against a Muslim family in London, Ont., members of parliament unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the government to convene an emergency summit on Islamophobia on June 11, leaving four dead and a nine-year-old boy dead. happened. severely injured.
In recent months, several hijab-wearing Muslim women in Alberta have been targeted by hate-motivated attacks. Last September, a Muslim man was voluntarily stabbed to death at a Toronto mosque.
Nusaiba Al-Azeem, vice president of the London Muslim Mosque, says Muslim communities expect concrete changes from all levels of government to address growing anti-Muslim hatred.
She told reporters in London on Monday that she felt particularly strongly about Quebec’s secularism law, called Bill 21, which allows certain public sector workers, including teachers, police officers and judges, to be religious at work. Prevents the wearing of symbols.
Al-Azeem says that if she moves to Quebec and works for the Office of the Crown, she will be forced to choose between her faith or her profession, as a Muslim female lawyer.
She says the federal justice minister must engage in all legal challenges to Bill 21, which she describes as a “discriminatory law” that disproportionately targets religious minorities, including our Jewish and Sikh brothers and sisters.
The National Council of Muslims of Canada issued 61 recommendations to fight anti-Muslim hatred across Canada ahead of the Islamophobia summit.
NCCM chief executive Mustafa Farooq says the federal government currently does not have any specific resources or strategies to fight Islamophobia.
He says his organization’s call for action includes urging the federal government to create the office of a special envoy on Islamophobia and invest in a specific Islamophobia strategy.
Simultaneously, the federal government must be committed to fighting Islamophobia at a systemic level within government, given the profiling of Muslim-led charities at the CRA, or how national security agencies continue to profile Canadian Muslims and other racial minorities. kept,” he says.
He says provinces should commit to anti-Islamophobia strategies in education and create provincial hate-crime accountability units.
“We need to see the action. And we need to see it now,” he says. “Governments attending the summit should know that we want more than their presence. We want to see their commitment to the deadline.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 22, 2021.
This story was produced with financial support from Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.