If you have turned on your television, popped onto Facebook, follow any reporting agencies on Instagram, opened up a Twitter feed, and/or talked to someone in the last few weeks, you will know the happenings with the new President in the United States. Things are not as loud as they were a short two weeks ago, but things are still occurring.
Today, in Canada, there is a formal introduction of a Anti-Islamophobia Motion Debate. It just so happened that as I turned on my television to catch a little bit of the noon-hour CBC news; the motion was what was being talked about. The idea, beyond Islamophobia as presented by MP Khalid, is that the non-binding motion condemns systemic racism and religious discrimination. MP Khalid has requested that the House committee study how the government can reduce systemic racism through research, a deeper understanding of what is causing fear and hate against Muslims and other marginalized communities.
MP Khalid’s motion is perhaps more critical today than when it was first introduced in December 2016. It also reminds me of the many gatherings of solidarity that occurred across Canada a couple weeks ago.
And while I want to fully back MP Khalid’s goals, well, I am fully behind MP Khalid, I do question the sufficiency of Canada’s current hate crimes legislation and that no one religion should be singled out. Did I just partially side with Conservative leadership? Even if I did, I do think that in today’s world, while Muslims are largely targeted, there are many others who have been and still are being targeted via hate crimes. These communities extend beyond religious communities and include those who identify as LGBTQ, those who collaborate to combat mental health challenges, people who reside on city streets, being female in a largely male dominated society, and so forth.
At the end of the day, I think we need to stop and understand how systems are contributing to fear and hate. How the media and those in leadership contribute to fear and hate by initiating certain motions and debates? Further, how quickly these topics flow in and out of media, what the purpose of introducing concepts that are settling is, and how this impacts the way we engage with one another.
Neither negative nor positive, today’s motion debate is sure to be one to keep an eye on and to ponder how the government is actually able to condemn freedom of speech, to reduce fear and hate, and how as a country we move forward to appreciate the uniqueness of each person that makes up our “home”!