In the end the motion passed, but not without controversy. Private member’s motion M-103, which condemns Islamophobia, passed
in the House of Commons on March
23, 2017. The motion also calls the
Heritage Committee to study how
to reduce or eliminate systemic racism and religious discrimination in
Canada. But it was that term, Islamophobia – which was not clearly
defined and many felt unnecessarily
singled out one religion for protection – that provoked the strongest
reactions against the motion.
When asked to more clearly define Islamophobia, Liberal MP Iqra
Khalid, who tabled the motion,
provided this definition: “What is
Islamophobia? The most commonly used definition, and the one I
ascribe to, is that Islamophobia is
the irrational hatred of Muslims
that leads to discrimination,” she
said. However, the motion does not
include this definition.
The Evangelical Fellowship of
Canada (EFC) supports a study on
religious discrimination, but could
not support the motion due to the
concerns shared with many Canadians that the term Islamophobia
was problematic. It could be understood to mean not just hatred or
bigotry toward people of Muslim
faith, but also criticism of Islam or
Islamic beliefs – criticism which
must be strongly
denounced, but it
must be done in a
way that does not
or challenge of
–BRUCE J. CLEMENGER, President
of the EFC
Canada is talking about Islamophobia.
Why this discussion matters.
What you can do . . .
Pray for the well-being of our nation and for wisdom for your MP and those on the committee.
Express your concerns to your MP and the Heritage Committee. You may ask for assurance that
freedom of speech will be upheld and respected, and that the term Islamophobia be clearly
defined by the committee. Find out the latest on this issue and more at www.TheEFC.ca.
THE FIRS T RECORDED
ARRIVES IN UPPER
SURVEY OF MUSLIMS
What happens next?
IN CANADA 2016, W W W.
Please pray for the public policy work of
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. You
can also support it financially at www.TheEFC.ca/
Donate or toll-free 1-866-302-3362. Read more of
these columns at www.Faith Today.ca/AtIssue.
must be allowed in a country with
“The horrific shooting of Muslims
in Quebec City and increasing acts
of vandalism demonstrate that Mus-
lims are facing hatred and violence
in Canada,” says Bruce J. Clemenger,
President of the EFC. “There has also
been a surge in anti-Semitic inci-
dents across the country. It is a sad
reality that discrimination against
those of religious faith seems to be
increasing in Canada. The EFC has
denounced these acts and worked to
foster collaboration and understand-
ing of religious differences.”
M-103 gives the committee a
mandate to study religious dis-
crimination, including Islamophob-
ia. The EFC will ask the committee
to use a clearer, more accurate term,
such as anti-Muslim hatred. A clear
and careful definition of the term
Islamophobia should be provided in
their study – what it includes and
what it does not.
• The study could focus on all forms
of racism and religious discrimination, or on Islamophobia alone.
• The committee could make recommendations for further research, for programs and funding
or for legislation. The committee
will not pass or craft a law, but
may recommend one. /FT