Standing in Solidarity with the Muslim Community
Published on June 10, 2021
The Montreal Council of Women grieves along side of the Muslim Community, and all whose lives are impacted by the brutal tragedy and heinous crime that has left a young child injured and alone, his grandmother, parents and sister murdered.
Canadians value this country’s diverse racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and religious identities. We also reject any expression that promotes hate, violence, terror, or discrimination against one’s identity. Islamophobia, (systematic acts against Muslims), is one of the most serious offences committed against Muslims. Racialized communities and Canadians of all faiths deserve to feel safe. No one deserves to be victimized, assaulted, traumatized, or murdered. No one individual or community deserves to live their lives facing intimidation and shaming designed to instill fear.
We mourn the loss of life of the Afzaal family, and how Fayez’s life has been so violently uprooted.
Our recent history is replete with examples of Islamophobia and the violence and hate that continues to be perpetrated against Muslims in every region of Canada.
It is absolutely imperative that all levels of government engage immediately in eliminating Islamophobia. While some of the 30 recommendations put forward in the 2018 House of Common’s Heritage Committee’s Report “Taking action against systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia” have been implemented, many actions have not been completed. To this end, the following minimal demands need to be adopted:
- Facilitate, support, and fund efforts across Canada to initiate interfaith and intercultural dialogue to promote better understanding between different communities.
- Elimination of hate speech, and disinformation on social media sites.
- Identification and Elimination of white supremacist and hate groups in Canada.
- Disaggregated data on all incidents of Islamophobia from police agencies stopping citizens.
- Trained Anti-hate units in all municipal police agencies across Canada to monitor, report on hate crimes.
- Repeal of Bill 21 in Quebec.
- Mandates from provincial authorities to provide educational resources to schools in the form of a curriculum based on the history of discrimination, racism and their impact on victimized communities.
This is a call to action that cannot be limited to government bodies alone. While tackling and working to eradicate Islamophobia and systemic racism driven by hate does require robust legislative responses and directives, it will also require the media to act responsibly in their reporting. Citizens also share in what needs to be a collective commitment of all of us if Canada is truly to be an inclusive and safe society for all families and all people.
The MCW stands in solidarity with the Muslim Community.
Maria Peluso and Penny Rankin