As some politicians, such as presidential hopeful Donald Trump and French mayor Marc Etienne, ride the wave of Islamophobic rhetoric sweeping across Europe and North America, one Canadian Member of Parliament is doing his part to challenge it.
Frank Baylis, the representative of the Pierrefonds-Dollard riding in Quebec, recently sponsored a petition condemning Islamophobia and blanket generalizations of Muslims as violent extremists.
The petition was initiated on June 8, 2016 by Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF), with the expressed hope of countering harmful depictions of Muslims as terrorists, and taking a stand against the surge of Islamophobic attacks in Canadian cities.
“I am against all forms of discrimination. That’s why I am supporting this petition (e-411). It’s not a petition for Muslims; it’s a petition against discrimination,” Baylis told HuffingtonPost.
It is hard to ignore the steady rise in discriminatory measures issued against Muslims, from the infamous and equally ludicrous “burkini ban” in France, to the highly controversial Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, also known as Bill C-51, introduced and passed by former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and supported by current PM Justin Trudeau.
In addition, in Canada there has been a spike in hate-fueled attacks against Muslims since the November 2015 Paris attacks that killed over one hundred people. Muslims, as a result, have faced the collective wrath of: opportunistic politicians, keen on exploiting people’s fear to impose discriminatory policies; racists and bigots, who verbally and physically abuse Muslims, vandalize Muslim property, and burn mosques; and the fear-baiting tactics of irresponsible media outlets who conflate Islam with Daesh, despite the fact that Muslims make up the terrorist organization’s largest death toll.
It is hard to ignore the steady rise in discriminatory measures issued against Muslims, from the infamous and equally ludicrous ‘burkini ban’ in France, to the highly controversial Anti-Terrorism Act, also known as Bill C-51.
In Canada, where diversity is the very fabric holding society together, embracing a culture of not only tolerance but also acceptance and inclusion is imperative. The e-petition represents that desire to live in a society that doesn’t discriminate, demonize, or alienate its citizens based on things like race or religion. And as Baylis says in a press release, it is a call all of us must respond to.
“This issue is very close to my heart. I hope to pay it forward and to ensure that we stand together for generations to come. In the history of our nation, newcomers have at times been subject to discrimination. Among others, The Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Black, Sikh, and now Muslim Canadians, have all faced it. Each of these groups is regarded today as an integral part of the Canadian story. All the more reason for everyone to stand up to discrimination in whatever form it takes today.”
The petition will be open until Oct. 6, 2016. Please sign and share widely.