Mississauga, Ont., Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, who led debate in the House of Commons on M-103, that touched off a divisive debate over religious protection and free speech has said that she wouldn’t remove the reference to Islamophobia from the text. She said, “The common definition of Islamophobia is “the irrational hate of Muslims that leads to discrimination,” and that her motion must not remove the word. I will not do so, any more than I would speak to the Holocaust and not mention that the overwhelming majority of victims were six million followers of the Jewish faith and that anti-Semitism was the root cause of the Holocaust,” she said. “We cannot address a problem if we fail to call it by its true name.”
Those opposing the motion have raised concerns the motion will infringe on free speech and could lead to Shariah law in Canada, but Khalid insisted there is nothing in it that would affect Canadians’ charter right to free speech.
Saskatchewan Conservative MP David Anderson has tabled a motion to counter M-103 that removes the reference to Islamophobia and instead calls on government to “condemn all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance and discrimination of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and other religious communities.”
During tonight’s debate, he argued the word “Islamophobia” is undefined in M-103, and that there is no consensus on what it means. Including the word has led to widespread confusion and fears about freedom of speech, he said.
Anderson said Conservatives proposed replacing the word with the more precise phrase “hatred against Muslims” in order to reach consensus in the House, but that suggestion was rejected.
“We’re stuck with a divisive term that means nothing, or everything, which is not clearly defined,” he said. “And it is of little value about the role of Islam in Canada.”