The federal government today held a national summit on Islamophobia, a day after holding a similar summit on anti-Semitism.
Deputies voted unanimously in favor of a motion calling for a national summit on Islamophobia in June, following the attack on London, Ont., Which killed four members of a Muslim family while they were out for an evening walk.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians must fight for a Canada “where we celebrated diversity, where we stand together.”
“This is the promise that our country must work hard to fulfill, because many times and for many people that promise has been broken,” he said, pointing to the London attack and a recent incident in Hamilton, Ont., Which without a mother and daughters threatened.
Trudeau said he met mother and daughter Hamilton earlier this week.
The Director General of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) Mustafa Farooq said he wants to see all levels of government attend today’s summit with a concrete action plan.
“The reality is that we can not continue to add to a list of horrible things that have happened,” he said, citing the recent rise in hate crimes.
Earlier this week, Farooq and the NCCM issued 60 policy recommendations to combat hatred and racism across the country.
Recommendations include changes to the Criminal Code to better deal with hate crimes, a review of school programming and a national fund for victims of Islamophobia.
‘It’s about survival’
Farooq said he hopes the government will commit to these recommendations and follow the deadlines to achieve them.
“This is not about politics or elections,” he said. “For our community, it’s about survival.”
Azeezah Kanji, a legal researcher and programming director at the Noor Cultural Center in Toronto, said she is not optimistic about today’s event.
“We will have to see what comes out of the summit, but I would not be surprised if they were just more of the same superficial and optical gestures we have seen from this government from time to time,” she said.
WATCH | Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “There is no place in Canada for Islamophobia.”
Kanji questioned the choice of speakers in the summit speech, saying key experts on systemic Islamophobia had been left out.
“The organizations, lawyers and academics who have done the most consistent work on state-sponsored Islamophobia are precisely those people who have been excluded from speaking out,” she said.
Today’s summit is being held virtually, though it is almost closed to the public a measure to ensure the safety of those attending, the government said.
The NDP says the government should have acted sooner
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said Wednesday that while the summit was a good idea, Liberals have been slow to act against riots in Islamophobia and other racist ideologies.
“There are a number of solutions we have known about for years and, unfortunately, Mr Trudeau has not responded, he has not taken any action,” he said.
Singh said Liberals should make more efforts to fight online hatred and give more resources to the police and security agency to dismantle white supremacist groups.
In February, a month after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Public Safety Secretary Bill Blair announced that a number of “ideologically motivated violent extremist groups” including the Proud Boys were being added to Canada’s list of terrorist organizations.
But a recent report suggests that those efforts have not prevented groups like Proud Boys from operating openly online.
The controversy begins the summit of anti-Semitism
The same day as lawmakers 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 press statement earlier this month, Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Minister Bardish Chagger said she invited various cabinet ministers and members of Parliament to join in the discussion on anti-Semitism.
But opposition leaders said they did not receive invitations to the anti-Semitism summit until the last minute.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul wrote on Twitter Tuesday night that she had not received an invitation despite being the only federal leader who is Jewish.
Paul later wrote on Twitter early Wednesday afternoon that she had received an invitation to observe the summit just hours before the event began. She said she wanted to go to the summit.
The government just sent a link to today’s Anti-Semitism Summit. I can observe, but I can not speak. The reason: “to ensure the summit remains a space where community members can express their thoughts and ideas.”
I am Jewish This is my community. #cdnpoli
The office of Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said he was not initially invited to Wednesday’s summit, or to what was being held today in Islamophobia, despite asking the government for an opportunity to speak.
O’Toole’s offices said a late invitation to the anti-Semitism summit on Tuesday evening.
“Mr O’Toole received an invitation at 7.15pm last night to watch the summit but despite repeated requests from stakeholders and our office, we are not part of the event,” said spokeswoman Josie Sabatino.
A member of O’Toole’s office told the CBC in the background that the party critic for diversity and inclusion would attend the entire anti-Semitism summit.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says his critic was invited to the anti-Semitism summit
NDPs its critic, Lindsay Mathyssen, to attend the anti-Semitism summit. During his press conference Wednesday, Singh said he was waiting to receive feedback from Mathyssen.
“We know that hatred 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 the people affected,” Singh said in a statement. press conference Wednesday.
Opposition leaders have been invited to the summit on Islamophobia, Chagger’s office said.
Wednesday’s meeting coincided with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announcing that the government will spend more than $ 6 million on 150 projects to support communities at risk of hate-motivated crime.
security infrastructure programallows community centers, educational institutions, and places of worship to apply for funding to cover doors, windows, cameras, alarm systems, fencing, lighting, minor renovations to increase security, and basic staff training to respond to crime motivated by the act.
The next call for applications will start on July 28th.
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