Drop word ‘Is­lam­o­pho­bia’ from mo­tion, says former min­is­ter

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

A Lib­eral-backed mo­tion aimed at com­bat­ing racism would have broader sup­port if it didn’t con­tain the word “Is­lam­o­pho­bia,” former jus­tice min­is­ter Ir­win Cotler ar­gued Thurs­day as the Lib­er­als and Con­ser­va­tives butted heads over com­pet­ing propo­si­tions.

But the Lib­er­als stood firm in their sup­port of the con­tro­ver­sial mo­tion, ar­gu­ing pub­licly that re­mov­ing that one word would wa­ter down the mea­sure and di­min­ish the fight against ha­tred and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

The mo­tion, known as M-103, was de­bated Wed­nes­day in the House of Com­mons amid con­tro­versy about fears ex­pressed by a num­ber of Con­ser­va­tive MPs, who say it could sti­fle le­git­i­mate de­bate about is­sues like sharia law and the niqab.

Mis­sis­sauga Lib­eral MP Iqra Khalid, who in­tro­duced the mo­tion, was adamant that it point a fin­ger di­rectly at Is­lam­o­pho­bia, telling the Com­mons that “words have im­pact.”

Dur­ing de­bate later Wed­nes­day, Khalid — say­ing Cotler had since pledged his full sup­port for her mo­tion — rose in the House to read off a pro­fan­ity-laced litany of abuse she has re­ceived on­line since the con­tro­versy erupted.

“Al­though the hate was over­whelm­ing, the mes­sages of sup­port were in the thou­sands,” she said.

Khalid’s mo­tion calls on the gov­ern­ment to “rec­og­nize the need to quell the in­creas­ing pub­lic cli­mate of hate and fear” and con­demn Is­lam­o­pho­bia, as well as all other kinds of “sys­temic racism and re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion.”

If ap­proved, the Com­mons her­itage com­mit­tee would also be asked to study the is­sue and de­velop a strat­egy to tackle it.

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