Suggesting that last month’s Quebec City mosque shooting indicates wide-spread “Islamophobia” throughout Canada, Muslim leaders are insisting that all level of government fund programs to combat alleged discrimination against Muslims.
They presented a list of demands to the federal government on Wednesday afternoon that includes:
- more training for police forces to investigate hate crimes and to better track data documenting the success rate of hate crimes convictions;
- increased sensitivity training for police to prevent “stereotyping and misperceptions” about Muslims;
- funding of school courses to teach children about racism, Islamophobia and other forms of xenophobia;
- recognition of Jan. 29 as a national day of remembrance for the Quebec City massacre that killed six people;
“What happened in Quebec City is a wake-up call for the entire nation that leaving hatred to fester in our communities can lead to loss of life,” said Amira Elghawaby of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
The Trudeau government has quietly introduced legislation in the House of Commons that could more than accommodate all of the Muslim demands. A motion on “Islamophobia” that was first tabled in Parliament in December and which will be reintroduced this month, would make any form of “Islamophobia” — undefined and undocumented in the document — subject to existing hate crime laws. Motion M-103 could be up for debate within days and foes of the legislation say it is a brazen attempt at censorship that will prevent legitimate criticism of radical Islamic extremism.
The Quebec provincial government is apparently on-side too. Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil says she is ready to unveil a “public awareness campaign” aimed at social media.
“Yes, they feel it’s more urgent and I think it’s really important to listen to how they feel about it, but we saw that the Jewish community was recently also threatened so it is an issue,” she said. “The social media is aggravating these forms of hate crimes, people feel vulnerable.”
However, the Quebec provincial government remains committed to approving a law — hugely popular in the province — that would require civil servants to provide services with their faces uncovered and those receiving those services to do the same. The potential law is aimed at banning the burka and niqab in those circumstances.
Quebec’s opposition parties would go even further. They say people in positions of authority, such as judges and police officers, should not be wearing religious garb.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has said he is satisfied with the current legislation for now.