Ontario Passes Anti-Islamophobia Law


In an 81-0 vote, Ontario, Canada, has passed an Anti-Islamophobia motion.

In the words of Nathalie Des Rosiers, the legislature should “stand against all forms of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism, and intolerance” and “rebuke a growing tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric and sentiments,” thereby condemning Islamophobia.

Des Rosiers introduced the motion in December after seeing incidents of anti-Muslim graffiti and incidents of women wearing hijabs being spat on by people.

Des Rosiers said she really pushed the issue after the Mosque shooting in Quebec in which six men were killed.

Premier Kathleen Wynne, a lesbian, said people tried to tell her not to run “in a riding” with a large Muslim population but she didn’t agree with that. Instead, she described that when speaking with many diverse community members, they discussed their differences but also spoke about things they had in common, such as their views on health, education, and family.

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Wynne said, “It’s those commonalities that make it possible for us to create this country, to create this province, and that’s why it enrages me. … It enrages me that we still have to have this conversation, globally.”

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, who is Muslim, said all Canadians and Muslims were affected by the violence at the mosque:

“The day after the shooting in Quebec a father called my community office asking in the morning is it safe for him to send his son to school. That’s not the society we live in. That’s not the society we’re building. Parents should not be fearful for a nanosecond whether they should send their children to school because of their faith. It’s real.

“No matter the colour of your skin, which part of the world you come from, what language you speak, whether you attend a mosque on Friday, a synagogue on a Saturday or church on a Sunday, every distinct element of who we are as a people comes together to form this beautiful mosaic that is Canada.”

Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown said Ontario’s legislature “unequivocally opposes Islamophobia,” and that “Islamophobia is real and we have to condemn it unreservedly.

There are some federal Conservatives who have said the Ottawa motion singles out one religious group over others and may impede freedom of speech without the term Islamophobia being specifically defined.


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