Trudeau: We have a problem with Islamophobia in Canada
Published Wednesday, March 8, 2017 2:31PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, March 8, 2017 8:39PM EST
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians have a right to know if a Parliamentary motion to condemn Islamophobia makes politicians and fellow citizens “uncomfortable,” so that “we can deal with it as a society.”
Trudeau, speaking in the House of Commons Wednesday during the “Daughters of the Vote” event in support of International Women’s Day, was responding to a Muslim delegate who encouraged Canadian leaders to condemn Islamophobia.
In relation to M-103, Trudeau said sometimes, it’s “useful” for some people to disagree. “To point out to the rest of us that there’s still a lot of work to do.
“If everyone just agreed and we’d moved on, maybe we wouldn’t be addressing the very scary and real spike in hate speech,” Trudeau said, adding maybe politicians wouldn’t be challenging each other.
“If M-103, condemning Islamophobia, actually gets people to notice that there are people (who are) uncomfortable with that idea, that there are people who still have problems with the idea that we would condemn discrimination against Muslims, then we have to know, we have to expose that and we have to deal with it as a society."
Trudeau later added that Canada has a problem with hatred and discrimination.
“Do we have a problem with Islamophobia in this country? Yes we do,” Trudeau said. “Do we have a problem with anti-Semitism in this country? Yes we do.”
Delegate Srosh Hassana struck a chord on the issue of Islamophobia in Canada when she rose to speak in the House on Wednesday.
She became overwhelmed with emotion while describing the challenges facing Muslim women, including fears of being profiled and frustration with those who seek to use her heritage as a “political platform.”
Her remarks received a total of seven applause breaks and several standing ovations from her fellow “Daughters of the Vote.”
“Madam Speaker, Islamophobia is a heavy word in today’s discourse, but it is heaviest for those that are on the receiving end of it. As a Muslim woman of colour, in a time of overwhelming stigma, I fear being ‘othered,’ profiled, and killed in a country I call my own.
“My identity is challenged and my actions are heavily scrutinized. I am simultaneously silenced into shame while being expected to apologize for the actions of a small group that do not represent me or any Canadian.
“We are all shaken from acts of terrorism, but they affect our communities most because they divide us from within as well as from other Canadians.”
“Whether we have been contributing for generations or whether we are new Canadians seeking refuge or opportunities, we are Canadians.
“We all have responsibility to challenge a growing culture of ignorance, rather than justifying xenophobia and prejudice under the veil of free speech.
“My heritage is not a political platform to campaign on, unless cherished as complex and as rich as its people.
“This is my Canada, and there is not seat for hate here.”