All-party back­ing for anti-Is­lam­o­pho­bia mo­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - AL­LI­SON JONES

TORONTO — A Lib­eral back­bencher who in­tro­duced an anti-Is­lam­o­pho­bia mo­tion that unan­i­mously passed the On­tario leg­is­la­ture Thurs­day says, de­spite all-party sup­port, she has re­ceived racist back­lash.

The mo­tion from Nathalie Des Rosiers called on the leg­is­la­ture to “stand against all forms of ha­tred, hos­til­ity, prej­u­dice, racism and in­tol­er­ance,” re­buke a “grow­ing tide of anti-Mus­lim rhetoric and sen­ti­ments” and con­demn all forms of Is­lam­o­pho­bia.

It passed as the fed­eral gov­ern­ment weighs a sim­i­lar mo­tion that has sparked con­tro­versy in the House of Com­mons and beyond.

Des Rosiers in­tro­duced the pro­vin­cial mo­tion Dec. 1 in re­sponse to in­ci­dents in her Ot­tawa-Vanier rid­ing such as anti-Mus­lim graf­fiti, and young women wear­ing hi­jabs who were spat on, she said. It took on ex­tra ur­gency af­ter six men were shot to death at a mosque in Que­bec, she said.

“You don’t want dis­crim­i­na­tion to be­come in­ter­nal­ized, for peo­ple to stop see­ing them­selves as full cit­i­zens, as hav­ing the abil­ity to con­trib­ute fully in a so­ci­ety, and that’s the rea­son you need to de­nounce ha­tred and dis­crim­i­na­tion,” Des Rosiers said.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Yasir Naqvi, who is Mus­lim, said Mus­lims and Cana­di­ans across the coun­try were shaken by the vi­o­lence at the mosque.

“The day af­ter the shoot­ing in Que­bec a fa­ther called my com­mu­nity of­fice ask­ing in the morn­ing is it safe for him to send his son to school,” he said. “That’s not the so­ci­ety we live in. That’s not the so­ci­ety we’re build­ing. Par­ents should not be fear­ful for a nanosec­ond whether they should send their chil­dren to school be­cause of their faith. It’s real.”

Premier Kath­leen Wynne said, as a les­bian, some peo­ple had tried to dis­cour­age her from run­ning in a rid­ing with a large Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion. She dis­agreed and said when she spoke to com­mu­nity mem­bers they dis­cussed their dif­fer­ences but also what binds them to­gether, such as val­ues about health, ed­u­ca­tion and fam­ily.

“It’s those com­mon­al­i­ties that make it pos­si­ble for us to cre­ate this coun­try, to cre­ate this prov­ince, and that’s why it en­rages me — it en­rages me that we still have to have this con­ver­sa­tion glob­ally,” she said.

AN­DREW FRAN­CIS WAL­LACE, TORONTO STAR

On­tario Premier Kath­leen Wynne: “com­mon­al­i­ties”

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