MPP introduces bill to mark Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia

Mar 22 2019, 3:26 pm

This week, a private member’s bill was introduced proposing for every January 29 to be the Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia, in Toronto.

Rima Berns-McGown, MPP for Beaches-East York, proposed the bill, with the date aligning with the day a gunman opened fire on peaceful worshippers at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City in 2017.

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The importance of Proclaiming a Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia has been highlighted again after last week’s terrorist attack in New Zealand, which similarly targeted mosques.

“To invade sacred spaces where people are observing their faith makes these hate-fuelled attacks especially egregious,” said Berns-McGown, in a press release.

“As the world mourns once again, this latest act of violence is a painful reminder of why Ontarians of all race, creed and faith must come together in solidarity with Muslims, to name Islamophobia when we see it, to name hate crimes when they’re committed, and to name terrorism when it’s perpetrated,” she said.

“We remember Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane and Azzedine Soufiane, whose lives were cut short in the Quebec attack. And as we remember, we recommit ourselves to take action to stamp out hate, racism and Islamophobia.”

The Quebec attack prompted the Ontario Human Rights Commission to point out that governments have a role to play in ending Islamophobia.

And across Canada after last week’s attack, mosques under the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada have started a ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign in an effort to fight Islamophobia.

“Ending Islamophobic hate is a non-partisan issue, and I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will come together to support this important legislation,” Berns-McGown said.

The Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia Act carried on first reading on March 19.

If the act becomes law, Ontario would join Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham and Hamilton in recognizing this day every January 29.