M-103 Report is Good Start, but Challenges Remain

m103_pr.pngMontreal, February 2, 2018  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF) welcome the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s report responding to parliamentary motion M-103, “Systemic racism and religious discrimination.”  Both organizations are pleased to see how the report advances the discussion on religious discrimination in Canada in several keys ways.  However, both organizations are anxious to see how the recommendations will be implemented, and would like to see a clear action plan.

CJPME and the CMF were happy to see several strong recommendations on religious discrimination in the report.  For example, the report recommends better 1) long-term coordination, 2) data collection, and 3) reporting and planning, among different branches and levels of government.  CJPME and CMF were also pleased to see recommendations calling the government to more actively educate and sensitize average Canadians – and especially law enforcement – to the problem of systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia.

“Canada’s Muslims are facing their greatest challenge in decades,” asserted Samer Majzoub, President of the CMF, “And we are looking forward to the government adopting the report’s recommendations, and addressing the core problems and challenges Muslim-Canadians face.” 

CJPME and the CMF point out that motion M-103 was inspired by the Quebec City mosque attack and the anti-Islamophobia petition e-411 – which garnered almost 70,000 signatures.  Yet Islamophobia is specifically mentioned in only two of the report’s 30 recommendations.  Beyond the Quebec City attack, the Canada’s Muslim community is reeling from a surge of Islamophobic attitudes: from acts of racism faced day-to-day by Canada’s Muslims, to offensive comments by some politicians, to racist attitudes promulgated in electronic media. “Given current trends, we expect the government to provide focused action specifically on anti-Muslim bigotry,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME.