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.
“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.
Canada's Parliament has just declared criticism of Islam off-limits. The anti-Islamophobia motion, M-103, passed by a margin of 201 to 91.
— Andrew Lawton (@AndrewLawton) March 23, 2017
Proud to have voted for M-103 against Islamophobia. We must work w/ Muslim Cdns to achieve racial and economic justice through action.
— Niki Ashton (@nikiashton) March 23, 2017
M103 is a motion not a bill. It calls on the govt to more diligently gather hate speech info in the wake of, yknow,that mosque being shot up
— Marky poo (@markmarklittle) March 23, 2017
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.