Respect for Canadian Laws (RCL) is a group of Canadians – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – who have come together to oppose Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid’s Motion M-103, which calls on the government to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination”.
The motion has generated a backlash of opposition, questioning the need to single out Islamophobia, arguing that there are more hate crimes against Jews than Muslims in Canada. There are concerns that the proposed bill has special protection for a single religious group and that it would have potential impact on freedom of expression.
In an interview with CBC, National Post columnist Barbara Kay said, “There are a lot of countries in Europe where criticism of Islam, even if not entrenched in law as a hate crime, are being interpreted (as a hate crime) by police and law enforcement, social workers – the whole spectrum of the state apparatus. They have been internalized by those within the public service as wrong and if not criminal, then absolutely morally wrong and therefore Muslims are a group that must be protected from this very offensive speech.” She said it could have a chilling effect on free speech. “I’m worried”, she wrote. “All Canadians should be worried.”
RCL fears that if passed the motion would “wrongly equate Islamopobia with anti Muslim, anti Jewish or anti LGBT hate speech.” In a statement, they call the motion ” alarming, in that it is part of a well funded Muslim Brotherhood public relations campaign to deflect legitimately founded criticism of Islamic extremists who seek to replace Canadian Law with sharia law, strike fear into the majority of Muslim leaders and clergy in Canada and put a chill on legitimate criticism of political Islam.”
David Nitkin who with Etta Kaner initiated RCL, which includes many human rights activists, calls M 103 “dangerous”. RCL wants a motion that expresses opposition to hatred of any religion. “Using the term Islamophobia, which is alternatively ill defined and defined by the Muslim Brotherhood, raises many more questions than it answers.”
Meanwhile, a petition initiated by Derrick James from Winnipeg, Manitoba on March 7, 2017 calls upon the Government of Canada to block any future attempt to implement the Islamic Law (Sharia). Sponsored by Conservative MP James Bezan Petition e-909 is open for signature until July 5, 2017. If a petition receives 100,000 signatures the Parliament is required to have an hour long debate on it. The following is the text of the petition (click HERE):
Petition to the Government of Canada
Differential justice based on an individual’s religion is prejudicial and preferential, therefore, an amendment to the Constitution Act of 1982 would ease the minds of all Canadians and ensure equal treatment for everyone under the Criminal Code of Canada.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to propose an amendment to the Constitution Act of 1982, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, stating that Sharia Law or separate Sharia family courts will never have a place in the Canadian Justice System.
Doris is a multimedia journalist with many years of experience. She has worked in radio, television and print journalism and writes on a variety of topics, especially the crucial issues in Canadian and Jewish life.