Send a letter to the Provincial Government
On November 22nd, a delegation from London joined our dear Brothers and Sisters at NCCM in Toronto for a Provincial Advocacy Day. Our goal – get the provincial government to pass the Our London Family Act – improving the education system and beefing up anti-hate capacity (for details, see: https://www.nccm.ca/ourlondonfamilyact/).
The day was successful – the NDP and Liberals committed to passing the legislation! Now we are waiting for the provincial Conservative Government to come through. Therefore, we are asking you to send the below letter to Jeff Yurek, MPP for Elgin Middlesex London, Minister Parm Gill (Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism) and Premier Doug Ford.
Over six months ago, a heinous terror attack took place in London, Ontario targeting the Muslim community; Canadians stood together to grieve the loss of four members of the Afzaal family. Shortly after the senseless attack, we heard countless political speeches that vowed to address Islamophobia in Canada through all levels of governance; we continued to hear the message “never again.” Six months after those vows were made by all major political parties at the provincial and federal levels, we continue to see a sharp rise in Islamophobia.
Throughout the country, we continue to hear news of hate-driven acts that affect Muslims in the most troublesome of ways. These incidents remind us that the root causes of Islamophobia, and all other forms of structural violence and hate speech, are yet to be properly addressed through concrete actions. Across the country, Muslims are told to go back to their country and women wearing the hijab are assaulted and harassed. By not taking the right steps to properly address the root causes of such incidents, Canadian Muslims are left to simply wonder “who’s next”.
Thus, I am compelled to write to you today and ask you to take concrete steps in addressing Islamophobia, in all its forms, in the most impactful of ways that a politician can address issues of this nature: adopting impactful policies and implementing them accordingly. Policies that take into account the lived experiences of Muslims. Policies that are formulated through direct consultations with Muslim communities, leaders, and organizations – like Hikma in London and National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) nationally.
To this end, the (NCCM) has put forward draft legislation titled the Our London Family Act. I would like to voice my support for this proposal and ask you to show support for the Government’s adoption and implementation of this policy proposal.
The Our London Family Act presents a number of actionable recommendations that tackle six key areas which are directly related to the root causes of Islamophobia in Ontario and can have positive and important ripple effects across Canada. The policy proposal addresses shortcomings and gaps in a number of areas, including education, religious liberty, accountability, public service, and human rights. NCCM highlights that the Our London Family Act would address the key areas through:
- Changes to our education system based on the calls we heard across the province to make sure young people are growing up with educational resources that help them understand Islamophobia;
- Dismantling of white supremacist groups in the province by preventing them from registering as societies, preventing acts of intimidation on provincial property, as well as prevent intimidation tactics targeting worshippers at synagogues, mosques, or gurdwaras;
- Enshrine a provincial hate crimes accountability unit that provides best practices, and investigates potential failures in combatting hate incidents;
- Bolster the scope and strategy of the Anti-Racism Directorate to include changes from conducting regular polls to understand where the pain points of Islamophobia lie to investing in public service announcements about Islamophobia;
- More minorities in the provincial public service;
- Increase the limitation period for those seeking to file human rights claims in Ontario.
Addressing Islamophobia through the concrete steps proposed not only positively impacts the lives of Canadian Muslims; such policies will facilitate better social cohesion throughout Ontario, and hopefully Canada, and would allow minority groups to feel safer wherever they may be in Canada.
I, once again, ask you to support the Our London Family Act draft policy proposal (https://www.nccm.ca/ourlondonfamilyact/) in the Legislature and hope that you, as an elected Member of Provincial Parliament, will help create a better reality for your constituents without politicizing the right of any religious group to feel safe in their own country, as enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is high time for our government to take the necessary steps to properly and effectively address the continued rise in Islamophobia.
We have heard the speeches on this issue, it is now time to see concrete action.