The Voice of Canadians Forum, a self proclaimed “Ontario base community discussion forum”, held on Sunday, April 9, 2017, a panel discussion entitled “Building Bridges to Strengthen All Communities.”
Politicians and faith leaders took part in the event, including Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Mills), Liberal MPPs Bob Delaney (Mississauga-Streetsville) and Nathalie Des Rosiers (Ottawa—Vanier), Dr. Aliya Khan a Professor of Clinical Medicine, Divisions of Endocrinology and Metabolism at McMaster University, Rabbi Rabbi Stephen Wise from Shaarei-Beth El Congregation and Pastors.
The following is Iqra Khalid‘s speech at the event till the point she was interrupted by protesters:
I want to take this opportunity to speak a little bit about Motion 103 and what has happened in the country after I tabled it… I began drafting it in late October early November  and we consulted a number of different community organizations in putting together the wording etc. One of the big inspiration, I would say, for the motion was a call to action by e-Petition 411,which was an e-Petition signed by about 70,000 Canadians calling on the government to condemn Islamophobia and to recognize that Muslims do not represent terrorist actions that are occurring in different parts of the world. It seems pretty straightforward. I took that e-Petition as a call actually for myself, and I thought I would do something about this, because it is not just the Muslim community that is impacted by systemic racism or religious discrimination, this [affects] all communities. Unfortunately, hate does not discriminate. You know, hate crime statistics show that the Jewish community is in fact the most discriminated against community here in Canada. Statistics also show that hate crimes against the Muslim community have doubled in the past number of years. I took those statistics and I thought: We need to be proactive. Race is an issue in Canada. When we talk about our values as Canadians to be that of acceptance, of generosity to be diverse and to embrace our diversity, to be multicultural and use our diversity as our strength here in Canada. And we need to continue to build upon those strengths. We need to continue to ensure that we as Canadians are working together and are making sure that we are progressing together. We all have lessons to learn from one other and with that intention I tabled this motion. The motion called on our federal government to recognize that yes there is a niche to quell, hatred and fear, here in Canada, that there is a rising climate [of hatred] in our media and our statistics do show [it]. The motion also calls upon the government to condemn all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia. And then it also… calls on the government to begin a study, to collect evidence, to understand what our race and discrimination problem is here in Canada. To understand is our problem, because we don’t have, I would say, sufficient statistics or data. I’m a big believer in an evidence-based policy making. I think that this motion is an opportunity to collect, to really understand how we can continue to build bridges amongst Canadians and how to use our diversity as our strength. So the motion passed on March 23, 2017 and passed by a vast majority. 201 members of parliament from all across party aisles voted for this motion. And now the committee is beginning its work. Getting from the tabling of the motion to the passing of the motion was a quite a journey for myself, but also a quite a journey for Canadians. Because what happens in Canada was something that I could not even imagine in my wildest dreams. When I tabled this motion I was expecting a kumbaya moment where all of the House would come together and recognize this issue and that we together stand and work towards continuing to build bridges amongst Canadians. What happened was unfortunately quite the opposite. We had for the first time in Canada that I recalls an attack on innocent Canadians in their place of worship. I don’t think it happened before in Canada where somebody has been murdered just for being in a place of worship and praying, praying to their God. What also happened was I became the victim of a lot of hatred from across the country, where I received personal death threats for this motion, where I was accused of trying to bring Sharia [Islamic] Law into Canada. I was confused initially. I didn’t understand why it was happening when to me in my mind I felt that it is quite simple, you know, we have seen the statistics, we’ve seen there is an issue, 70,000 Canadians have spoken up and said that we need to do something about this… push back. I realized, Oh my Goodness, I’m now faced with the exact same thing that I’m trying to combat and that is systemic racism and religious discrimination.
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, which was unanimously endorsed by the Parliament, suggests that attributing terrorism to Islam is Islamophobia.
Initiated by Samer Majzoub, President of the Canadian Muslim Forum (المنتدى الاسلمي الكندي) and sponsored by Liberal MP Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Quebec), Petition e-411 reads among other things the following:
Recently an infinitesimally small number of extremist individuals have conducted terrorist activities while claiming to speak for the religion of Islam. Their actions have been used as a pretext for a notable rise of anti-Muslim sentiments in Canada; and these violent individuals do not reflect in any way the values or the teachings of the religion of Islam. In fact, they misrepresent the religion. We categorically reject all their activities. They in no way represent the religion, the beliefs and the desire of Muslims to co-exist in peace with all peoples of the world. We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to join us in recognizing that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and in condemning all forms of Islamophobia.
- Panel discussion with MP Iqra Khalid was interrupted by protesters (click HERE)
- MP Iqra Khalid vows to oppose any motion or law promoting Sharia Law (click HERE)
- Iqra Khalid on ISIS attacks on Christians:: “Terror knows no religion and terrorists know no God” (click HERE)
- Iqra Khalid says more than million Canadian Muslims “are victimized on a daily basis” (click HERE)