متى سيَنْعَمُ الكنديونَ بتدابيرِ مكافحةِ رهابِ الإسلامِ؟

متى سيَنْعَمُ الكنديونَ بتدابيرِ مكافحةِ رهابِ الإسلامِ؟

بقلمِ ميراندا غالُّو وسامر المجذوب

(نشرت باللغة الانكليزية في صحيفة هافنغتن بوست)

لن تواجه الحكومة الفدرالية صعوبةً لو قررت تفعيل توصياتِ التقرير المتعلق بالمذكرة المئة والثلاثة (M-103) مع تزايد الدعم الشعبي لهذه الخطوة. 
فمنذ عام 2012 تسهد كندا ارتفاعاً مُطَّرداً في المواقف والحوادث العدائية التي يتعرض لها المسلمون، التي بلغت ذروتَها في الاعتداء الذي استهدف مسجداً من مساجد مدينة كيبك في التاسع والعشرين من كانون الثاني عام 2017، فأودى بحياة ستة وجرحَ تسعة عشر من المسلمين. وقد وعد رئيس الحكومة عقِبَ الاعتداء بدعم المسلمين، مؤكداً النية في “الدفاع عنهم ومناصرتهم”.
وبناءً على المذكرة المئة والثلاثة التي قدَّمتها النائب اللبرالية إقرأ خالد، كُلِّفَت اللجنة الموكلة بالتراث الكندي بإجراء دراسةٍ بشأن كيفية محاصرة العنصرية الممنهجة والتمييز بسبب الدين أو القضاء عليهما، ومن ضمن ذلك مكافحة رهاب الإسلام في كندا. وأخيراً في الأول من شباط، أي بعد عامين تقريباً من دعوة قرابة 70,000 كنديٍّ الحكومةَ لإدانة رهاب الإسلام في العريضة الشبكية (الالكترونية) “إي 411” التي وجهوها إليها، أُصدِرَ التقرير والتوصيات بشأن المذكرة المئة والثلاثة إلى العامة. 
تُظهِرُ بيانات دراسة إحصائية حديثة أجراها “شركاء إيكوس للبحوث” بِاسم “المنتدى الاسلامي الكندي” (CMF) و”الكنديين العاملين للعدالة والسلام في الشرق الأوسط” (CJPME) أنَّ كُثُراً متخوفون بسبب ارتفاع مستوى رهاب الاسلام في كندا، وأنهم يريدون أن تعمل الحكومة لحماية التقاليد الثقافية على تنوعها. 
كذلك أظهرت الدراسة أن الكنديين يُقرُّون بِكَونِ رهاب الاسلام مشكلةً قائمةً، يرفضونها بشدة، ويتوقعون من الحكومة أن تتحرك لمعالجتها. والحقيقة أنَّ نسبة ضخمة- 81%- من الكنديين تقرُّ بوجود رهاب الاسلام في كندا. 
وتشير الدراسة المشتركة التي أسس لها “المنتدى الاسلامي الكندي” و”الكنديون العاملون لأجل العدالة والسلام في الشرق الأوسط” أنَّ غالبية الكنديين تدعم التوصيات الفاعلة لهذا الوقت التي أُصدِرَت بناءً على مذكرة “أم 103″، منها التوصية الثانية والعشرين من التقرير، التي تؤكد أنَّ “على الحكومة الكندية الاضطلاع بدور قياديٍّ كبيرٍ كَي تدين بقوةٍ العنصرية الممنهجة والتمييز بسبب الدين، ومن ضمن ذلك رهاب الاسلام”. وفعلاً أظهرت نتائج الدراسة أنَّ 77% من مناصِري حزب الأحرار (اللبرال) و60% من الكنديين بشكل عام يتفقون على أنَّ عَلى الحكومة التحرك لمجابهة رهاب الاسلام في كندا. 
فلَدى سؤالهم عن “الطريقة الفضلى التي على الحكومة انتهاجها للتعامل مع التحديات التي يأتي بها التنوع الثقافي اليوم”، أبدى الكنديون الذين شملتهم الدراسة دعمهم لكل مسارات التحرك الذي أوصَت به اللجنة. التوصية التاسعة والعشرون من المذكرة “أم 103″، مثلاً، تدعو الحكومة إلى ضمانِ قيامِ المؤسسات القانونية المعنية “برصدِ الخطاب الحاقد على شبكة الانترنت وتفعيل القوانين القائمة” بشكلٍ أفضلَ. 
وكان أكثر مسارات التحرك أهمية بنظر الكنديين المشاركين في الدراسة “إِعمالُ القوانين القائمة بشكلِ أفضل لحماية الأقليات من التمييز العنصري والجرائم الحاقدة”. وقد أيَّد هذه المقاربةَ 48% من المشاركين، ما يشير إلى ثقة الكنديين بالآليات القائمة لدعم التنوع الثقافي. وفي السياق نفسه، يعتقد 42% من الكنديين أنَّ على الحكومة “تدريب موظفيها كي يُداروا الناس على اختلاف ثقافاتهم”، وهذا أمرٌ مذكورٍ في عددٍ من التوصيات في تقرير اللجنة. 
لكن من المُحزِن أنَّ اللجنة لم تستطِع، بعد عامٍ من تلقي الإفادات والدراسة، أنْ تضع تعريفاً ملائماً لمعالجة رهاب الإسلام. فمِن الظاهر أنَّ الجزءَ الأكبر من المعارضة التي وُوجِهَت بها المذكرة كان بسبب “اللبْس” في تعريف رهاب الاسلام، وقد أخفقت اللجنة في معالجة المسألة والإتيان بإجماعٍ بُغيةَ التقدم في حلِّها.
وجاءَت المواجهة الكبيرة في طريق المذكرة بسبب الأصوات التي تؤيد الجهات اليمينية، التي ادَّعَت أنَّ مصطلح “رهاب الاسلام” فيه لبْسَ، في حين أنَّ نتائج الدراسة تُظهِرُ أنَّ 70% من الكنديين قد اتّضح معنى رهاب الاسلام فعلاً بالنسبة لهم. وعليه، إن اتّضحَ التعريف بالنسبة للكنديين، فبالتأكيد تستطيع اللجنة الموكَّلة بمعالجة رهاب الاسلام التوصل إلى صيغة واضحة بشأنه.
يُقال إنَّ الأعمال أشدُّ وقْعاً من الكلمات، وهو كذلك. إذاً حتماً لا بد للحكومة الفدرالية من التحرك الآن وقد بات المسلمون يواجَهون بالتمييز العنصري في كل أنحاء كندا.
لقد انتظر كنديون كُثُر المجلسَ النيابيَّسنواتٍ ريثما يُقرُّ بحقيقة رهاب الاسلام في كندا. لن تواجه الحكومة الفدرالية صعوبةً لو قررت تفعيل توصياتِ التقرير المتعلق بالمذكرة المئة والثلاثة (M-103) مع تزايد الدعم الشعبي لهذه الخطوة، وعليها أن تتحرك لمساندة المسلمين.
(نشرت باللغة الانكليزية في صحيفة هافنغتن بوست)

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Article: Justice Has Yet To Be Served For Indigenous Women

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/samer-majzoub/justice-has-yet-to-be-served-for-indigenous-women_a_23330387/

For years, calls have been made to society’s stakeholders, particularly various governments, to establish some sort of proper procedure to determine why Indigenous women have been the subjects of extreme violence and mostly unsolved disappearances for so long. 

At one point, Patricia Hajdu, the ex-minister for the status of women, had said that research emerging from the Native Women’s Association of Canada has shown that the number of victims was much higher than the 1,200 noted in a 2014 report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). She suggested that as many as 4,000 indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered over the past three decades. 

Broken families of the missing and murdered women have come forward many times to publicly share the pain and misery they have felt over their losses, and sometimes the unimaginable anguish that comes with not knowing the actual fates of those who go missing nor what kind of circumstances the women and girls are going through. 

Violence against Indigenous women has been prominent for a long time now. The devastation such violence leaves behind as well as the long-term damages should have led to an earlier awareness and, as a result, firmer decisions by policymakers in order to tackle the issue. But for too long, there were delays to put into place concrete actions to shed the light on the situation. It was not until 2016 that the federal government decided to officially hear from the victims’ relatives and other relevant details throughout an exceptional commission it launched as a special National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

 The commission is supposed to be probing the systemic roots of the violence against aboriginal women. Moreover, other factors are to be examined by the commission such as wealth, health, sexism, racism, etc.
The commission serves as a platform to hear testimonies from families of lost loved ones and survivors of violence at community hearings across the country. Whether the commission will be a successful starting point towards real positive changes to the well-being of Indigenous women and girls remains to be seen.

Safeguarding a non-violent environment for aboriginal women to have adequate education, good health care and job opportunities, among other elements, is essential to alleviate an uncertainty that the community has been dealing with for so long.

Nations that wave the flag for women’s rights and protection should be spearheading any policies and safety measures which guarantee that vulnerable women are not subjected to hardship and suffering as a result of their circumstances. In this respect, the dilemma of Indigenous women in Canada should be approached at different angles with different methods in order to give hope to their various communities that attempt to resolve their issues will be taken seriously.

The championing of human and civil rights for all women, men and children will involve using any and all resources in order to achieve proper fairness and equality, making sure that no human being will ever be discriminated against, targeted, ignored and/or overlooked due to their race, origin, belief, etc.

*Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF)

https://samermajzoub.com/

Bigotry is not an opinion but a crime, just as hate speech is not freedom of expression but evil.

Racism directed against someone of a different race, based on the belief that one’s own race is superior, has throughout history led to miseries, exploitations, and violence. Our Western societies have been facing this troubling social disease, which exposes itself in different forms—and sometimes aggressively.

One of the main manifestation of racism is racial profiling, an exercise which has been witnessed often on the streets of our cities and that civic organizations have expressed strong objections to. Many victims or their families have come forward to raise official complaints to authorities in order to illustrate prejudices and stereotyping in the hopes that justice will be served.

Recently, there has been a sharp escalation of hate speech directed against certain citizens based on their religious and cultural backgrounds. Hate speech has become the platform of many of the political parties and some elected officials prior to and during general elections. The unfortunate reality is that the scapegoat of this bigotry has always been the same citizens that continue to experience moral onslaughts that turn increasingly vicious.

Bigotry is not an opinion but a crime, just as hate speech is not freedom of expression but evil.

Samer Majzoub

As a matter of fact, hate speech, which tends to be practiced by the right and far right groups and individuals, is not limited to this crowd only. We have heard statements by many politicians and officials, who appear to represent moderate mainstream political and social spectrums, compete with their peers by using forms of hate speech against a segment of their citizens based on their culture and faith. Hate speech has become an election tool.

The ultimate concern is that as time goes on, the general societal conscious becomes more tolerant to racial intolerance. This will lead to social tension and the absence of security and harmony within the population.

It is clear that there is a lack of political will to deeply address and tackle xenophobia at its root cause.

Samer Majzoub

It is clear that there is a lack of political will to deeply address and tackle xenophobia at its root cause. There is a very real need for elected officials, governmental agencies and the civic society to work hand in hand and come up with a clear vision, objectives and an action plan to confront this destructive philosophy. The necessity, for all democratic constitutions, is to place restraints and illuminate the danger of the misuse of freedom of speech, behind which xenophobes practice their animosity.

Hate speech should not be allowed to incite moral or physical violence against other people based on their ideological, political, religious, racial and sexual orientation backgrounds. Bigotry is not an opinion but a crime, just as hate speech is not freedom of expression but evil.

A world “on the loose”.

mess

We are witnessing a world “on the loose”; a world that is losing order; a world that is losing its humanity and dignity.

One does not need to go far back in time to observe the collapse of the world’s structure after World War II. Following millions of casualties and the total destruction of cities and towns during the massive conflict, the victors at that time came together with a new social concept called “human rights”, trying to convince everyone that this concept is the most important.

What we are seeing now is that the prevailing languages amongst the “super powers”, the “civilized” nations, and the developing nations are violence and viciousness!

What is more alarming is the general acceptance by the majority of the world population that hostilities and conflicts ending in bloody consequences are normal courses of action. The moral standard of the human species seems to be declining as time passes. The selfish concept of “us versus them” creates this double “measurement” standard. As long “harm and misery” are being inflicted on “the others”—who may be from a different culture, religions or race—then it becomes tolerated, sometimes with carelessness and negligence.

For example, Syria’s human tragedy has been overlooked for years. Here in the West, we count the number of refugees trying to reach our land and all we do is condemn and denounce. The bloodshed knows no boundaries. The Middle East is in hot water with instability from one location to next. Regional and international powers fight through proxies. No one seems to care about the despair, loss of loved ones, devastation, poverty and frustration being inflicted. What do we expect after all these miseries?

Adding insult to injury, we rush, within what we believe to be the free world, to elect bigots into office. From North America to Europe, all that we see are people competing on clearly bigoted platforms to be legislators and rulers of these nations. This trend is becoming clearer by the day. Discrimination, stereotyping, bullying, and harassment is the content seen in many public speeches of potential office winners, openly applauded by so many. Slogans of human rights, civil liberties, women equality, justice, and fairness are all ignored in the face of this new political tendency.

It’s scary how things could turn. It’s time for people with ethics, intellect, principles, faiths, and universal values to unite as one voice and join the efforts to stand up for peace, unity, humanity against the violence of all sorts, and discrimination of all forms. It’s said that tyrants do not only rule due to the support and backing of a number of powerful interest groups but also due to the silence, inaction and passiveness of the equally powerful majority.

*Samer Majzoub, Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF) president.

Canada’s Anti-Islamophobia Motion A Shining Example To The World.

Parliament Hill, Peace Tower, Ottawa,

Parliament Hill, Peace Tower, Ottawa,

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/samer-majzoub/anti-islamophobia-canada_b_12881610.html

On Oct. 26 2016, the House of Commons, Canada’s Parliament, adopted unanimously a motion to condemn all forms of Islamophobia in the country.

The fact that the motion received no objection from any of the federal parties shows that the Liberal, NDP, Conservative and Bloc Quebecois members have a clear understanding that Islamophobia is a severe form of bigotry and is not a simple subject that can be ignored anymore. It has become a critical illness that raises concerns and requires a forceful push back from the federal legislators that represent all Canadians to denounce Islamophobia.

Canada, united in standing up for human values, will be on record as the first country in the Western world to adopt a motion that contains clear wordings expressing denunciation of any sort of bigotry towards citizens based on their religious and cultural background. This move has sent a strong message to xenophobes that their acts of violence, whether verbal, moral or physical, have been rejected, and that their beliefs stand against everything that Canada prides itself on: inclusion, equality and peace. Moreover, Canada can now be provided as an actual example to the world that nations are stronger through the diversity of their population.

This move has sent a strong message to xenophobes that their acts of violence, whether verbal, moral or physical, have been rejected.

It’s rational to say that the notion of inclusion of all people that share a common land within an identified border is the most effective tool and approach to secure peace, harmony, equality and fairness.

Democratic states have carried titles of freedom, liberty and human rights slogans for a long period of time. We have been witnessing for the last two decades or so that some governments try or adapt official policies that lead to social friction amongst cultural, religious or ethnic lines. These strategies, despite appearing to be pay off through some political gains for a very limited period of time, certainly will end in devastating consequences that lead to social tensions that can be easily avoided.

By the same token, exclusion of groups of citizens because of their social, spiritual or intellectual convictions, skin colour or political views may lead to feelings of isolation and negligence, especially in the youth segment of society. This may lead some of youth to turn to inappropriate actions, creating a generation that is looked at and dealt with as second-class citizens and under siege at all times.

Canada has proudly taken a step in enhancing human values.

Anti-Semitism, racial profiling, islamophobia, bashing of any culture or race are all characteristics of bigots and portraits of racists. They are the individuals who rush to express their hatred and hostility toward any inclusive move and mind-opening exchange toward citizens of all faith, beliefs and views. Societies across the universe have suffered at the hands of these extremists elements that target all those who do not belong to their line of philosophy.

Canada has proudly taken a step in enhancing human values by condemning Islamophobia. The concepts of hate speech, bigotry and stereotyping have received a blow from the moral gesture taken by the House of Commons, the house that represents citizens from coast to coast, in unanimous consent without the opposition of any of the legislators on the floor.

The next step is for the federal government to set up policies and orientations to address and deal profoundly at all levels, social, economical and political, with Islamophobia symptoms that present themselves strongly in our society. Canada is exceptional in its values and human standards, and can remain the multicultural icon of the world with the continued condemning of bigotry.

Samer Majzoub is the president of the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF).

Islamophobia Is Now A Canadian Concern

islamophobia-is-now-a-canadian

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/samer-majzoub/islamophobia-canadian-concern_b_12533736.html

*By Samer Majzoub

The notion of discrimination has been the plague of humanity since forever. People have been targeted and persecuted for their skin colour, religious affiliation, race, nationality and others attributes. History is full of bloody periods where men, women and children have been exposed to violent hostility and deadly means for no reason besides their unique identities which their aggressors have used as pretext for crimes and atrocities inflicted upon them.

In the present days, at the time where the human civilization declares its superiority, new forms of hatred and bigotry have come to light. Modern stereotyping and what is considered to be the old fanatic stereotyping share many parallels, one of which is that both are discriminatory towards groups of people due to attributes of their identity, race, convictions and cultural background. The “new concept” of discrimination has been demonstrated under various titles, such as racial profiling, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

In 2010, the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF) had led a community delegation to the House of Commons in Ottawa Hill. The objective of that parliamentary day was to create awareness and shed more light to the legislators over the notion of Islamophobia and the very troubling sharp increase in reported incidents that were related to this issue. Statistics and points of discussions were presented. Concerns over the moral and physical violent incidents against Canadians because of their visible religious identity had been some of the focus points brought up during the trip to Parliament that day.

As the years have passed, the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF), community organizations, activists, human rights groups, some public figures, intellectuals, elected officials and others have kept their worries very well exposed over the intensification of Islamophobia in the country.

Media statements, seminars and lectures, raising the subject matter to elected officials and creating awareness amongst the communities and the general public have all been means used to demonstrate the danger of letting hatred and intolerance prevail, which would lead to a toxic environment by bringing up friction within the society and creating fear in the hearts and minds of young Canadians who have been victims of verbal and physical aggressions by bigots and hatemongers.

In early 2015, the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF), in a press conference held in Montreal, voiced citizens’ frustrations and denunciations over using the Muslim community as a political football by certain politicians in hopes of gaining more votes during election periods. Furthermore, there were notes over the role of a few media outlets in inflaming Islamophobia during these times.

As hate speech moves from being a phenomenon to a social disease, some politicians, public figures and other media outlets joined in on the warnings expressed previously that Islamophobia has to be stopped, rejected and deplored. On Oct 1, 2015, Quebec’s National Assembly came together to condemn Islamophobia. Furthermore, more declarations started to be heard from various sides, whether from the governmental ruling side or the opposition side, all joining together to warn against the looming upsurge of hate speech.

The tackling of Islamophobia as a Canadian issue took another step ahead on the ladder of interest in the country. On June 8, 2016, a petition had been initiated by myself and sponsored by Frank Baylis, federal Liberal MP of Pierrefonds-DDO, calling on the House of Commons to condemn all forms of Islamophobia in Canada. The petition known by e-411 collected close to 70,000 signatures, making it the most signed online petition in the history of the House of Commons. Canadians from coast to coast showed their support for the request that the petition carried to denounce discrimination against Muslim citizens.

Based on the solid support that the petition e-411 got from Canadians, a motion to condemn all forms of Islamophobia was submitted, on Oct 5, 2016, to the House of Commons for unanimous approval by all MPs. Although the unanimous motion didn’t pass through due to the refusal of a small group of Conservative representatives out of the 338 members in the House of Commons, the fact that it earned the consent of the vast majority of other legislators proves that the Islamophobia is becoming a true Canadian concern.

Surely, the trip to recognize and to condemn discrimination, as it is a total contradiction to Canadian values, has not come to an end yet. Canadians from all stripes of social, political, racial and religious backgrounds are coming together at a much faster pace to stand united up to hate and smear campaigns against their fellow citizens.

Samer Majzoub, E-411 petition initiator

Condemning Islamophobia Promotes Human Values!

Yesmeena Buzeriba (C) chants along with other students at a rally against Islamophobia at San Diego State University in San Diego, California, November 23, 2015.  REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/samer-majzoub/condemning-islamophobia-canada_b_11150012.html

The initiation of the online petition e-411, sponsored by Frank Baylis, the Federal Liberal MP of Peirrefonds-Dollard, comes at a time when extremists from every side are attempting to hijack civic peaceful societies and cause friction amongst groups of people through destructions and devastation.

The world has witnessed many dangerous events: violent “lone wolf” individuals, who are ready to commit bloody criminal attacks on civilians in the name of a religion, extremist groups, politicians; and persons who engage in hate and discriminatory smear campaigns, and people who attack citizens on the streets based on their faith and visible dress codes.

As if this miserable view is not enough, North America is observing a surge in racial tensions, with law enforcement forces being accused of discriminatory use of deadly force against men based on their skin colour. On the other hand, police officers are being ambushed and shot dead by angry individuals.

Canada is witnessing a sharp increase in Islamophobia, which has even been described as an “epidemic” in certain large areas of the country. Citizens are aggressively and physically attacked on the streets, shopping malls, and community centres. Moreover, places of worship are being firebombed and vandalized. Islamophobic political campaigns have become very troubling, mainly during theelection periods. Furthermore, some media outlets add salt to the wound by becoming venues for anti-Muslim rhetoric under the justification of “freedom of speech,” which seems to be without boundaries and irresponsible when it comes to bashing Islam and Muslim citizens.

All human beings deserve to live in peace and safety.

Under this gloomy climate, citizens from all aspects of society, responsible media, and honest, elected decision makers have the civil duty and moral obligation to stand up united to denounce all sorts of discrimination and prejudice. To come together with initiatives that clearly condemn and refuse any act, talk and policies that lead to hatred, hostility and lack of harmony within society.

On June 2nd 2010, The Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF) led delegations consisting of representatives, young professionals, activists, women advocates and others on Parliamentary Day at the Hill. The main objective of meeting the Federal parties’ caucuses on that day was to introduce and express concerns about Islamophobia, and its impact on Arab and Muslim citizens. From that day, the most noticeable remark was that most of the policy makers were not fully aware of the dangers of Islamophobia, and its implications on Canadian society.

After a long and, at times, very hard journey, Islamophobia is currently recognized as a harsh reality that needs a strong political will and social awareness to undertake, engage in, deal with and find concrete solutions and remedies to cure such an “epidemic” phenomenon and terminate its harmful symptoms from the society at large.

All human beings deserve to live in peace and safety. Attacking women because of their visible faith as they stroll around a shopping mall or take the metro to school or work, denying jobs because of a candidate’s name and background, and vandalizing community and religious properties should stop once and for all. Such aggressions are against woman’s rights, human dignity and the integrity of Canadian society.

Mr. Frank Baylis, federal MP, Pierrefonds-Dollard, recently said on Le Huffingtonpost, “I am against all forms of discrimination. That’s why I am supporting this petition (e-411). It’s not a petition for Muslims; it’s a petition against discrimination.”

Violent extremism represents itself. The perpetrators of acts of devastation have not been voted for to speak on behalf of any religion, cultural or human groups.

Civilized people stand up against all kinds of prejudice, hate-speech, unfairness and intolerance that are expressed in various forms of bigotry, such as anti-Semitism, racial profiling, bias based on personal orientation and Islamophobia. Such a noble stance promotes human values, civil rights and enhances equality amongst all.

Samer Majzoub, initiated of petition e-411