Bill-62 legitimizes Islamophobia, creates fear

It might have popped up on one of your social media feeds that women in Quebec who wear the niqab, the Muslim face covering, aren’t allowed access to any public services while wearing it. Yes, Bill 62 is a thing, and yes, people in 2017 still aren’t over the fact that women can dress however they please. Officially, the bill does not explicitly ban Muslim women who wear the niqab—that is against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms—but it bans anybody wearing any face covering altogether. However, it is obvious that the Quebec government has endured a great deal of trouble to bypass the charter to pass this bill in the name of provincial security. Despite a recent stay […]

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Islamophobic posters found at Memorial University

Posters deemed to be hate-filled and Islamophobic were found on Memorial University’s Newfoundland campus (MUN) earlier this month, according to CBC. Samantha Andrews, a marine biology PhD student at MUN, said she saw one of the posters and removed it. “I was surprised at first, these things are not common here, but it’s common in Europe because of the rhetoric about immigration and Brexit,” she said. Andrews said she was confused about whether it was free speech or hate speech. But, after reading what was written, she said she knew that it was hate speech because she encountered familiar Islamophobic language outside Canada. “I was concerned about Muslim students seeing it and facing something like that. I was also concerned […]

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Politics blog: Anti-Islamophobia motion divides the country even more

M-103, a motion asking members of the House of Commons to condemn “islamophobia” and “all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination” was passed on March 23, with 201 MPs voting in favour of the motion and 91 voting against. But what has the anti-islamophobia motion actually done for Canadians? Since it is a motion, it hasn’t really done anything concrete. Motions aren’t bills; I’ve seen a lot of remarks from people who think Islamophobia is now illegal. This is not the case. However, the message the motion sent out to Canadians was that we shouldn’t be Islamophobic. The motion is well-intended as no one deserves to be subject to discrimination. But I believe working with “antis” instead of trying […]

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Letter: “Anti-Canadian” values is just racist scapegoating

On Sept. 28, I wrote a letter arguing Kellie Leitch’s plan to screen immigrants for anti-Canadian values wouldn’t be inherently bad, so long as it was managed appropriately. I have realized since then I was wrong when I said I agreed, and wrong on a lot of things I would like to reconcile. I understood at the time Leitch is merely a typical political opportunist. But given recent terror attacks and other incidents in the past, I thought the extreme screening could be necessary. One that I remember very well was Mohammad Shafia’s honour killing, which happened right outside my hometown of Kingston, Ont. I thought Leitch’s measure might be prudent. It would be a way of keeping us safe […]

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Letter: “Anti-Canadian” values are difficult to define

Member of Parliament Kellie Leitch of Canada’s Conservative party proposed screening new immigrants for “anti-Canadian values” earlier in September through an email survey sent out by her campaign, resulting in expected attacks on what exactly Leitch means when she says “anti-Canadian.” This is typical of Leitch’s dog-whistle politics, as she attempts to appeal to “old stock” Canadians—that is, those who may harbour feelings of “concern” towards the immigrant community, otherwise known as badly-disguised Islamophobia. This is not the first time Leitch has targeted the Muslim community. During the federal election campaign in 2015, Leitch promoted a hotline to protect women from “barbaric cultural practices,” such as arranged marriages. She promptly apologized for this on national television just as she embarked on […]

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