ONTARIO’S ISLAMOPHOBIA BILL SET TO GO
Doris Strub Epstein
Bill 83, a private members bill is designated to proclaim a “Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia every year on January 29. It has already passed two readings in the Ontario Legislature and is before the Standing Committee on Social Policy right now.
The Bill is the brainchild of NDP MPP Rime Berns-McGown and calls on each and every citizen of Ontario to “eliminate Islamophobia.”
This bill is only concerned with one group in Ontario for special recognition. The Muslims. It ignores other groups which are targeted by hate, persecution and malice, such as people of colour, the Yazidis, the Jewish community, LGBTQ and the indigenous peoples.
In fact. Statistics Canada has recorded decreasing levels of hate crimes against Muslims, while over the past several years ,the Jewish community in Canada has been and is today, the most targeted group for hate crimes.
Islamophobia is not sufficiently defined. It attempts to protect Islam and Sharia from criticism, and it means fear of Islam. Not hatred for Muslims. It is not at all like anti Semitism, which means hatred of Jews.
There is already a criminal legislation against hate that protects all Canadians.
At the Federal level, the government refrained from passing a similar bill because they saw that Canadians were strongly against it.
Many have suggested, instead of singling out only the Muslims for “special recognition”, reword the Bill to call for A Day of Remembrance and Action Against Racism and Religious Discrimination.