Recently, four out of five members of a family in London, Ontario were murdered when a terrorist decided to run the family down while they were out on their family walk. The only survivor is a 9-year-old child who lost his sister, mother, father, and grandmother – generations wiped out due to someone’s hatred. This incident has had many Muslims actively thinking about wearing the Hijab, showcasing our faith, and even thinking twice about mundane tasks, such as taking a walk; however, this is not a new phenomenon. This is the true Canadian experience for Muslims.
In Quebec public employees cannot wear religious symbols at work under Quebec’s Laicity Act (Bill 21). This has resulted in an alarming number of hate-filled incidents against Muslim women. This horrible legislation doesn’t discriminate (the irony because the legislation is very much discriminatory) and has also caused hatred for Sikhs who also wear the turban. What’s alarming is the fact that many White supremacists perpetuating hate cannot tell the difference between a Muslim and a Sikh, thus they will attach anyone who wears a head covering and matches their idea of what a Muslim looks like.
Another motion, Motion 103 (m-103), involved the government denouncing Islamophobia, discrimination, and systemic racism of all sorts. This was in response to the Quebec Mosque shooting (January 29th, 2017) that left 6 Muslims dead. This motion was also met with opposition by Quebec’s embarrassing far-right group “La Meute” which is anti-Islam and anti-immigration. The group uses derogatory slurs, and claims “there are no more white people, and the population is being replaced by immigrants.” It is exactly this type of mentality that leads to violence against Muslims and the death of innocent people.
Other examples that showcase the treatment of Muslims involve a stabbing at an Etobicoke Mosque, in September 2020, which is another example of Islamophobia on the rise. Biases have not only influenced our social lives, but also seep into other areas, such as healthcare – everyone’s basic right. Two paramedics were found guilty in the death of a Muslim teen, Yosif Al-Hasnawi, after failing to provide this teenager proper care. Despite having a universal healthcare policy, this is very alarming and raises concerns about medical education and training.
Canada’s dark past (and present) treatment of Indigenous communities, Black Canadians, and anyone who doesn’t check off the list for Eurocentric features and lifestyle tells many of us that we aren’t welcome. Offensive phrases such as, “Go back to where you came from” and condescending questions and “jokes” about the Hijab are becoming the norm. There aren’t many positives to comment on in this article because serious reform is needed – from passing legislation to ensuring that we check biases in our education system.
If you can contribute, check out this fundraiser that is directly supporting the Salman Family who was murdered in London: https://www.gofundme.com/f/salman-family-accident-relief