Canada passes M-103 motion against Islamophobia

Non-binding motion tasks Canadian government with study to develop ways to address racism and discrimination.

    Critics of M-103 are worried that it would curtail freedom of speech [Chris Helgren/Reuters]
    Critics of M-103 are worried that it would curtail freedom of speech [Chris Helgren/Reuters]

    Canadian politicians have passed a motion that condemns Islamophobia and requests that the government recognise the need to "quell the public climate of fear and hate". 

    The non-binding motion, which condemns "Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination", passed on Thursday among a divided parliament.

    It asks a parliamentary committee to launch a study on how the government could address the issue, with recommendations due in mid-November.   

    The study should look at how to "develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia," the motion says.  

    Liberal MP, Iqra Khalid introduced the motion, also referred to as M-103, last December, but it gained significance after the January attack on a Quebec mosque that left six Muslim men dead.

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    "I think that we need to continue to build those bridges amongst Canadians, and this is just one way that we can do this," Khalid said after the vote in parliament. 

    The motion garnered an online backlash, petitions against it and nationwide protests. According to local media, Khalid has also received death threats after introducing M-103.

    Critics worried that condemning Islamophobia barred them from criticising Islam, which could curtail the right to free speech.

    A poll from the Angus Reid Institute, published on Thursday, showed that 42 percent of respondents would have voted against the measure and only 29 percent would have approved it.

    Following the Quebec mosque attack, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has come under pressure to denounce all forms of religious discrimination.

    In recent months, several mosques and synagogues have been vandalised in towns across Canada.

    SOURCE: News agencies


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