The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) has published a list of policy recommendations for federal, provincial and municipal governments in Canada to address violent and systemic forms of Islamophobia.
Among the 60 policy recommendations are calls for the federal government to create an anti-Islamophobia strategy by the end of the year, for provincial ministries of education to develop localized strategies to combat anti-Islam sentiment. Muslim, and municipalities to invest in alternative forms of policing to address the growing harassment and violence against Muslims.
The CNMC also calls on governments to expand legislation to dismantle white supremacist groups in Canada, challenge Bill 21 in Quebec, and provide resources to enable Muslim Canadians to tell their own stories.
The 60 calls to action will be presented at the National Summit on Islamophobia, which will be hosted by the federal government on July 22. A National Summit on Anti-Semitism will be held on July 21.
“These summits will bring together a diverse group of community and political leaders, academics, activists and members with intersectional identities within these communities,” according to a statement from Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and of the Youth of Canada.
On its website, the NCCM says it is an independent, non-partisan organization “that protects human rights and civil liberties in Canada, challenges discrimination and Islamophobia, promotes mutual understanding and defends the public concerns of Canadian Muslims â.
For Mustafa Farooq, CEO of NCCM, the only way to measure the success of the next summit will be whether action is taken or commitments are made regarding the 60 calls to action and recommendations from other groups. Farooq says the NCCM will issue an updated post-summit document to record all government commitments and follow agreed timelines.
“It’s not about getting together to talk about best practices,” he told The Star. “It’s about committing to action.”
Thursday’s summit comes in the wake of the deadly June attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., As well as a sharp rise in targeted hate crimes against Muslims across the country. According to the NCCM, more Muslims have been killed in targeted hate attacks in Canada than in any other G-7 country in the past five years due to Islamophobia. In Alberta alone, at least nine attacks have been reported against Muslim women, mostly black and wearing hijabs, since December.
On June 11, following appeals from the Muslim community and a petition from the CNMC, the House of Commons gave unanimous consent to an NDP motion to call an emergency summit on Islamophobia. The motion also called on leaders at all levels of government to “urgently change their policies to prevent another attack on Canadian Muslims.”
Following the motion, the CNMC launched consultations with Canadian Muslims from coast to coast to coast, seeking tangible political solutions.
âCanada does not have the right infrastructure to fight Islamophobia,â Farooq told The Star. âThere is not a single governing body in this country dedicated to the fight against Islamophobia. This despite the fact that the impacts of Islamophobia resulted in the worst attack on a religious institution in modern Canadian history.
Thus, a dominant theme of the NCCM’s calls to action is the need to institutionalize the fight against anti-Muslim sentiment. This includes the creation of an Office of the Special Envoy on Islamophobia.
“This position is to work with various government departments to inform policies, programs and funding efforts that impact Canadian Muslims,” ââthe document read. âThe envoy should have the powers of a commissioner to investigate various issues relating to Islamophobia in Canada and to conduct third party reviews in all areas of the federal government regarding concerns relating to Islamophobia. “
Another theme that can be found in the CNMC recommendations is the need to address how education in Canada deals with Islamophobia.. More specifically, the organization recommends that provincial ministries of education develop anti-Islamophobia strategies adapted to local contexts. This includes changes in study programs related to Islam, improved religious accommodations for Muslim students and staff, anti-Islamophobia training.
“The reality is that (Quebec mosque striker) Alexandre Bissonette and (alleged London striker) Nathaniel Veltman were young men,” Farooq told The Star. âWe need to see a different approach to education and the way young people get to know Canadian Muslims. A large percentage of Canadians have suspicion of their Canadian Muslim siblings, and we believe anti-Islamophobia education and awareness is key.
The NCCM document is broader than the 30 Calls to Action to Combat Systemic Racism and Hate that were released by a federal heritage committee in 2017. However, Farooq believes now is the time to take action. daring.
“Words are not enough anymore,” he told The Star. âThe reality is that at this point every federal political party, the vast majority of provinces, dozens of municipalities have all expressed their concerns about Islamophobia and Islamophobic violence. Religious communities are united on this, people in civil society are united – Canadians are united that things must change. We just need to translate that into real political will to get things done. “
Here are some of the recommendations from CNMC’s 60 Calls to Action.
The NCCM is calling for the publication of a federal strategy to combat Islamophobia by the end of the year. The NCCM recommends that the strategy include a clear definition of Islamophobia to be adopted across government, as well as funding and resources for research, programs and education campaigns to combat Islamophobia.
The CNMC wants the federal government to act against Quebec’s Bill 21, which prohibits civil servants from wearing religious symbols. Specifically, he wants the Attorney General to commit to being an official stakeholder in legal battles over legislation. The document qualifies Bill 21 as a âfundamentally discriminatory lawâ which perpetuates the idea âthat Islam, Muslims and open religious expression in general have no place in Quebecâ. The NCCM also calls for the creation of a fund to provide financial assistance to those affected by the legislation.
- Citing the growing wave of hate and Islamophobia online on social media, the NCJC calls on the federal government to conduct a legislative review of the Canadian Human Rights Act, to ensure Canada is equipped to deal with modern forms of Islamophobia and hatred. .
- CNMC calls on the federal government to invest in a national support fund for survivors of hate-motivated incidents or attacks. The NCCM also recommends changes to the country’s security infrastructure program, to fund security upgrades for mosques and community organizations under threat.
- Several calls to action are devoted to reforming national security and dismantling white supremacist groups. This includes creating legislation “to implement provisions that place any entity that funds, facilitates or participates in violent activities of white supremacists and / or neo-Nazis on a list of violent white supremacist groups, which is separate and separate from the terrorist list provisions. “The NCCM is also calling on provincial governments to introduce a law prohibiting white supremacist groups from incorporating.
- The CNMC wants the Criminal Code to be amended to better deal with what is often called a âhate crimeâ. Specifically, the group is calling for amendments that âreinvigorate the way we approach hate crimes, and that reinforce a prosecution approach that lacks consistency, clarity and resources across the country,â according to Farooq.
- The document includes several policy changes to address systemic Islamophobia at the federal level, including changes to Canada Border Services, the Canada Revenue Agency, and Canada’s approach to security and combating. terrorism. For example, the CNMC calls for the creation of a watchdog body specifically for the Canada Border Services Agency, citing allegations that the agency engages in racial profiling that disproportionately targets Muslims.
- The CNMC recommends changes to police services at the municipal and provincial levels. This includes investing in alternative forms of policing for municipalities and introducing street harassment bylaws that protect Canadians from hateful verbal assaults. The CNMC also recommends that all provinces adopt the recommendations of Ontario’s 2017 Tulloch Report, which calls for a major overhaul of police oversight.
- The document also includes several calls for governments to invest and collaborate with storytellers, artists and filmmakers to help Muslim Canadians tell their stories and challenge the narratives that contribute to all forms of Islamophobia. This includes funding for local initiatives to celebrate the long history and contributions of Muslim Canadians.