On Thursday, backed by Justin Trudeau's Liberal government, Canada's Parliament passed M-103, a bill focused on condemning “Islamophobia.”
The bill reads:
The government should: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it; and (c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could (i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada …
The Canadian Left, in the form of Liberals and New Democrats, supported the bill; the majority of Conservatives opposed it.
Note that “Islamophobia is not defined in the bill, as Lifesite News points out.
An Angus Reid poll showed 42 percent of Canadians would vote against the bill; 29 percent would vote for it.
The Conservatives had offered an alternative bill that condemned racism and discrimination against Muslims, Jews, Christians, and other religious groups, but did not include the word “Islamophobia.” That bill was defeated by the Liberals in February. They claimed the bill was an attempt to “water down” M-103.
Conservative Brad Trost said he would not vote for the bill because it “will only serve to strengthen extremist elements within the Muslim community itself that seek to preserve and promote their own form of hate and intolerance.” He added that any “serious plan to combat religious discrimination in Canada should include all faith groups, including Christians and Jews.”
Conservative Pierre Lemieux, who successfully led the attempt to force a recorded vote on the bill, added his concern about the bill: “Do you have a valid concern about Islam? Do you disagree with Sharia Law? Uneasy about radical Islamic terrorism? The Liberals may very well classify you as Islamophobic.” He called the recorded vote, a “great day for accountability and for freedom of speech in Canada” when more than twenty MPs demanded the recorded vote.
As columnist Lorne Gunter wrote in the Edmonton Sun: “While purporting to oppose all forms of religious discrimination, the only form specifically mentioned is Islamophobia. And no definition of Islamophobia is given, leaving the door wide open to the broadest possible interpretations – including public statements condemning radical Islamic terrorism and even academic papers questioning whether Islam truly is a religion of peace.”
Montreal physician Sherif Emil opined in the Montreal Gazette:
Canadians, regardless of their political affiliation, should stand firmly against the motion. We are living in an age where depraved terrorist armies, who cite a unifying explanation for their actions in Islamic texts and doctrine, occupy large swaths of entire nations. Even if we dismiss these hundreds of thousands of extremists, and instead examine mainstream Islamic societies, what do we find? We find nation after nation where apostasy is a crime punishable by death, indigenous minorities are robbed of equal citizenship and religious dissent is considered treason. A charge of Islamophobia is used to silence, marginalize and imprison the few liberal Muslim thinkers who are attempting to reform Islam from within. Fear of these existing realities and open discussion of their roots and implications is not irrational. If Canada joins this Islamophobia witch hunt, it will be complicit in the crimes committed in the name of preventing Islamophobia.
Lifesite News adds:
A petition on CitizenGo asking MPs to stop the “restrictive ‘anti-blasphemy’” motion has been signed by 79,500 people. “This motion will encourage legislation that would criminalize speech deemed ‘islamophobic’ and lay the groundwork for imposing what is essentially a Sharia anti-blasphemy law on all of Canada,” the petition states. “If that happens, criticism of Islam would constitute a speech crime in Canada,” it states, adding that this “kind of content-based, viewpoint-discriminatory censorship is unacceptable in a Western liberal democracy.”