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MIDWEEK EXCLUSIVE – MP IQRA KHALID DEFENDS ANTIISLAMOPHOBIA MOTION M103 

Iqra Khalid-Mississauga Erin Mills

BRAMPTON – We are a proud country so to ensure that we build on our strength that is diversity, build bridges between communities, the concept of Motion 103 was presented. About 70,000 people have signed a petition asking the government to deal with issues like Islamophia. This was stated by MP Iqra Khalid during an exclusive interview on Channel Y. Iqra said: “When I drafted M103, which is very broad in scope, it is calling for a study by the Canadian heritage committee in the parliament that comprises four liberals, three conservatives and one NDP member to study a systemic racism and discrimination including Islamophia in Canada and to come up with a holistic government approach as to how we can tackle these issues, and star t contextualizing the hate crimes reported It is essential so that we better understand the problem. Now when I tabled M103 that was back in December 2016, not even in my wildest dream would I have thought that the Quebec mosque attacks will happen which has made this study even more relevant.” Iqra added: “The whole idea behind M103 is to strengthen our diversity, to build bridges between communities and to tackle issues like systematic racism and religious discrimination.” When asked why she is condensing it to Islamophia, Iqra stated:”I’m not condensing it. The text of the motion says to study all forms of systematic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophia. Let me give you a background.” She gave details saying member brings a motion that highlights a certain issue, for example some MPs brought a motion to recognize the contribution of the Tamil community in Canada that was passed unanimously in the house. Another member of parliament brought a resolution highlighting the German community’s contribution, another MP heighted the Italian community’s contribution, a motion in 2015 condemned anti-semitism for example. Iqra stated: “When I specifically identified Islamophia, it doesn’t mean that it is the only issue. It only tries to put it in the context of all form of systematic racism and religious discrimination. Another example is the Sikh community is targeted because they re mistakenly taken as Muslims. The Arab Christian community also gets targeted, the black community gets targeted. So no one community is immune and so this systematic racism and religious discrimination is interconnected, and that is why the study that I am calling for is very important. It is very broad in scope, but it recognizes Islamophia as an issue today.” She continued by saying: “For example when we have the winter season, we advertise everybody to get a flu shot. It doesn’t mean that other vaccines or other diseases are not there. It just highlights that this is the issue today and is talked in context of the well being of the Canadian society. The general public understands Islamophia is a genuine issue here in Canada, and I will be the first person to stand with any minority community who is targeted for systematic racism and religious discrimination in Canada. Islamophia generally means in an irrational sphere or hatred towards Muslims that leads to discrimination, but it is bigger than discrimination and I would like to use Homophobia as an example. Iqra maintained: “There could be anti-gay discrimination but it’s not called that. By the same token, it is called anti-semetism but not antijewish discrimination. It’s a bigger issue and a thought process that involves a broader community to be studied in the House of Commons. It will not lead to Sharia law or restricting freedom of speech. It’s quite the contrary. I highly value our multicultural and secular society here in Canada and I will be the first person to oppose anything that hurts that. So this motion is in the contrary and will help bring all the communities to the table to study all the issues related to systematic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophia here in Canada.” Iqra clarified: “Once the motion passes in the house, then it goes to the committee, and the committee will study the root causes of systematic racism and religious discrimination in Canada and put forward recommendations so as to how we can raise the awareness, how we can strengthen bridges among communities to strengthen our diversity here in Canada.” She said if interpreted in another way, it will be a misconception. She said: “It is unfortunate that misconceptions have risen due to the divisive policies of Kelly Leich during a fund raising. Read the text which is very broad based more and understandwhat is written there.” She said she is being criticized for using word Islamophia but “ironically Stats Canada has reported that hate crimes against Muslims community have doubled. For others either they have decreased or remained the same. But that is not the only issue. Together we can make society stronger against hatred. But it is still not the law, just a motion, but requires study for finding its root cause. When asked that the Conservative party brought the motion for all minorities why has she brought a motion specifically for Muslims, Iqra said: ”This is not a popularity contest but a genuine issue. I have talked to general Canadians, talked to minorities, held consultations with the Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Tamils and Muslims. They have given me endorsement letters and shared their stories. So not just one community is affected by hatred but everyone is. Last year Globe and Mail did a research with Nanos and found that one in five Canadian faces discrimination. So highlighting the issue is the first step, highlighting the problem another. The committee will study it and give its solution to bring peace in various communities. So let the committee discuss and come up with its recommendations.

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