Freedom of speech activists plan to hold a protest against Motion – 103, also known as the anti-Islamophobia motion. The protest will take place at Nathan Philips Square on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 12 pm .
Motion 103 “Systemic racism and religious discrimination” demands that “the government should recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear… condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it” and “develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada.” Petition e-411 implicitly suggests that attribution terrorism to Islam constitutes Islamophobia.
Opponents of this motion claim that the motion may lead to a federal policy that will criminalize any criticism of Islam and suppress the freedom of speech. A motion tabled by the Conservatives that used the same text of M-103 without the word Islamophobia was voted down by the Liberal majority in Parliament. The Liberal government also rejected a suggestion by former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler to replace the term Islamophobia with anti-Muslim bigotry.
On Saturday, March 4, 2017 opposing protests took place at Toronto’s Nathan Philips Square; one against white supremacy and Islamophobia and the second in support of free speech.
The Organizing Committee Against Islamophobia (OCAI) published a list of demands from the federal government including: condemning “racists and fascists”, repealing the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, Anti-Terrorism Act and the Safe Third Country Agreement, opening Canada’s borders to immigrants and giving permanent residency status to undocumented workers.
The Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCCC) named its protest the “March For Freedom, Liberty & Justice against M-103” (anti Islamophobia motion) and called Canadians to stand against Sharia Law & Globalization.
Police arrested several people who physically attacked participants at CCCC’s protest, including a woman who was holding a sign of the Suffra Jette movement.