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MP-Report

Stand against Islamophobia

After the murders of six men at a Quebec mosque last month, Canadians quickly rallied around our Muslim neighbours.

The voices that spoke publicly, both Muslim and non-Muslim, were measured and rational, emphasizing our values of inclusiveness and diversity.

How quickly we have forgotten what is important.

In the last few days, my colleague Iqra Khalid—the Liberal MP for Mississauga-Erin Mills—has been subjected to a flurry of baseless accusations, hateful spoken attacks and death threats because her motion 103 calls on the House of Commons to “quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; and condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.”

Several constituents have expressed their fear and outrage that Parliament would even consider supporting such a motion, seeing it as an affront to their right to speak out about radical Islam and, in their view, paving the way to a permanent curtailment of their rights.

Much of their fear has been fuelled by misinformation and a misunderstanding of parliamentary process.

The fact is that while reported hate crimes across the country are decreasing, the incidents of reported hate crimes against Canadian Muslims have doubled.

Khalid is a Canadian Muslim woman concerned about growing racism and discrimination in our society, especially against Canadian Muslims. 

Yet, in exercising her right to express her concerns, she has been accused of elevating one religion above all others and trying to undermine every Canadian’s right to freedom of speech.

Khalid’s motion does none of that. 

The motion is neither binding on the government nor can it change our laws or take away our rights and freedoms.

Freedom to speak out against rising discrimination is what makes Canada egalitarian.  

Over the 150 years of our history, parliamentarians have tabled motions against racism, anti-Semitism, gender bias and homophobia.  

And each time we have identified the discrimination, we have created a more cohesive and diverse society, not a more divided one.

Words do indeed have power and effect, and debate will continue about the use of the word Islamophobia in motion 103. 

While I have expressed my preference to remove it, I agree with the spirit of the motion, which is that we have a responsibility to address all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination, including anti-Muslim sentiment, in Canada.

By rejecting racism and discrimination, we are bringing this issue to the surface and acknowledging the difficulties some of our communities face. 

If we can make it work here, we will continue to be a beacon for the rest of the world.



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About the Author

Stephen Fuhr was born in Edmonton, AB and grew up in Kamloops, BC. He is a former CF-18 fighter pilot with the Canadian Air Force.

After serving with distinction for 20 years, Stephen retired from the Canadian Forces in 2009 with the rank of Major. He joined his family’s Kelowna-based company, SkyTrac Systems, which develops aviation communication and tracking equipment. As CEO and Director of Business Development, he led the company to financial success in a challenging economic climate.

In 2012, Stephen left the company to pursue his first love of flying.

With growing interest in politics and a desire to serve his country again, Stephen ran for office in the 2015 election.

Today, he proudly serves as the Member of Parliament for the Kelowna-Lake Country riding. 



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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