Weeks after the deadly London bombing, Ottawa today hosts a national summit on Islamophobia
The federal government is preparing to host a national summit on Islamophobia today, a day after hosting a similar summit on anti-Semitism.
MPs voted unanimously in favor of a motion calling for a national summit on Islamophobia in June, following the attack in London, Ont, which killed four members of a then Muslim family that they went for a walk in the evening.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the outbreaks of Islamophobia in Canada, including a more recent incident in Hamilton, Ontario.
Trudeau spoke about today’s summit, but said it was up to all Canadians to fight “intolerance.”
“It is not only for Muslim Canadians to fight Islamophobia, but it is for all of us to fight against Islamophobia, hatred, intolerance in all its forms,” he said.
National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) CEO Mustafa Farooq said he wanted all levels of government to follow up on today’s summit with a concrete action plan.
“The reality is we can’t just keep adding to a list of horrible things that have happened,” he said, citing the recent increase in hate crimes.
Earlier this week, Farooq and the NCCM released 60 policy recommendations to tackle hate and racism across the country.
Recommendations include changes to the Criminal Code to better tackle hate crimes, a review of school curricula and a national fund for victims of Islamophobia.
” It’s a question of survival “
Farooq said he hoped the government would commit to the recommendations and meet the deadlines to achieve them.
“This is not about politics or elections,” he said. “For our community, it’s about survival.”
Today’s summit will be held virtually. The government has said it will include leaders from Muslim communities, but has not released the full list of participants.
The event will be mainly closed to the public – a move to ensure the safety of attendees, the government said. The opening speech at noon will be open to the media and the public.
NDP says government should have acted sooner
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on Wednesday that while the summit was a good idea, the Liberals were slow to act against rising Islamophobia and other racist ideologies.
“There are a number of solutions that we have known about for years and unfortunately Mr. Trudeau has not responded, has not taken action,” he said.
Singh said liberals should do more to tackle hate online and give police and security agencies more resources to dismantle white supremacist groups.
In February, a month after the attack on the United States Capitol, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced that a number of “ideologically motivated violent extremist groups,” including the Proud Boys, were being added. to the list of terrorist organizations in Canada.
But a recent report suggests that these efforts haven’t stopped groups like the Proud Boys from operating openly online.
Controversy kicks off summit on anti-Semitism
On the same day MPs voted to hold a summit on Islamophobia, the government announced it would also host a summit on anti-Semitism, which was held on Wednesday.
In a media statement earlier this month, Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Minister Bardish Chagger said she had invited various ministers and MPs to join the discussion on anti-Semitism.
But opposition leaders said they only received invitations to the anti-Semitism summit at the very last minute.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul tweeted Tuesday evening that she had not received an invitation despite being the only Jewish federal leader.
Paul then tweeted early Wednesday afternoon that she had received an invitation to observe the summit just hours before the event began. She said she wanted to address the summit.
The government just posted a link for today’s Anti-Semitism Summit. I can observe, but I cannot speak. Reason: “to ensure that the summit remains a space where community members can express their opinions and ideas”.
I am Jewish. This is my community. #cdnpoli
Tory leader Erin O’Toole’s office said he was not originally invited to Wednesday’s summit, nor to the one held today on Islamophobia, although he asked the government to take the speech.
O’Toole’s office said a late invitation to the anti-Semitism summit arrived on Tuesday evening.
“Mr. O’Toole received an invitation at 7:15 pm last night to attend the summit, but despite repeated requests from speakers and our office, we are not part of the event,” the spokesperson said. Josie Sabatino.
A member of O’Toole’s office told CBC in the background that the party’s spokesperson for diversity and inclusion will attend the entire anti-Semitism summit.
WATCH | NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his spokesperson was invited to the anti-Semitism summit
The NDP sent its spokesperson, Lindsay Mathyssen, to attend the summit on anti-Semitism. At his press conference on Wednesday, Singh said he looked forward to Mathyssen’s comments.
“We know that hate is a lot like a fire… it is not isolated, it will spread, it will consume everyone. So we all have a collective responsibility to listen to those affected,” Singh said during a press conference on Wednesday.
Opposition leaders have been invited to the Islamophobia summit, Chagger’s office said.
Wednesday’s summit coincided with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s announcement that the government will spend more than $ 6 million on 150 projects to support communities at risk of hate crime.
the security infrastructure program allows community centers, educational institutions and places of worship to apply for funding to cover doors, windows, cameras, alarm systems, fences, lighting, minor renovations to improve safety and basic training of staff to respond to hate crimes.
The next call for applications will be launched on July 28.