Lib­er­als strongly back anti-Is­lam­o­pho­bia bill

Mo­tion calls for ac­tion against ‘cli­mate of hate and fear’

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - CANADA -

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is com­ing out strongly in favour of a mo­tion to con­demn Is­lam­o­pho­bia and all other forms of racism and re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Her­itage Min­is­ter Me­lanie Joly said pass­ing the non­bind­ing mo­tion would send a strong mes­sage about dis­crim­i­na­tion against the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly in light of the re­cent deadly at­tack on a mosque in Quebec City.

“We over­whelm­ingly re­ject the pol­i­tics of racism and ex­clu­sion,” Joly said Wed­nes­day out­side the House of Com­mons.

She was sur­rounded by Lib­eral MPs — in­clud­ing sev­eral cabi­net min­is­ters — as a strong show of sup­port, and a sig­nal of her con­fi­dence that de­spite this be­ing a free vote, there would not be any­one in the Lib­eral cau­cus who is ex­pected to stand against it.

“Our gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to build­ing a di­verse, in­clu­sive and wel­com­ing so­ci­ety that pro­motes re­spect for all, re­gard­less of faith, race or eth­nic­ity.”

The pri­vate mem­ber’s mo­tion, put for­ward by Lib­eral MP Iqra Khalid, 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.”

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

A num­ber of Con­ser­va­tive MPs have called for the mo­tion to be more in­clu­sive, warn­ing it risks sti­fling free­dom of ex­pres­sion by pre­vent­ing crit­i­cism of el­e­ments of Is­lam or Mus­lim cul­ture, such as the face-cov­er­ing veil known as the niqab.

Both Joly and Khalid in­sisted the mo­tion would not touch on free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

Khalid, a Mus­lim, said her own ex­pe­ri­ence with Is­lam­o­pho­bia over the past few weeks has con­vinced her to press ahead.

I along with some of my col­leagues, have been the re­cip­i­ents of hate­ful com­ments. This strength­ens my re­solve to con­tinue to com­bat this is­sue. MP Iqra Khalid

PATRICK DOYLE THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Iqra Khalid is con­grat­u­lated by col­leagues as she makes an an­nounce­ment about an anti-Is­lam­o­pho­bia mo­tion on Par­lia­ment Hill on Wed­nes­day.

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