January 29th, 2024 – Oakville, On this day we remember Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufiane, Aboubaker Thabti and all those who were injured or impacted when a terrorist gunman opened fire at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Sainte-Foy, 7 years ago.
We have heard the words of condolences from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his commitment to combat Islamophobia over the years on this occasion. However, unfortunately these words did not translate into clear policy, actions, and have not resulted in significant change in Canada. On the contrary, all that we have seen since then is a rise in Islamophobic attacks against the Muslim community, including the tragic killing of the Afzal family in London, Ontario. We have also seen continuance of systemic and structural Islamophobia across the government and its agencies. We saw documented systemic targeting of Muslim charities by the CRA. We saw systemic targeting of refugees from Muslim backgrounds by the CBSA. We also continue to see discrimination in immigration policies, as in the most recent differential treatment of Palestinians coming from Gaza.
We demand that these words turn into action, policy and reflect in the government’s budget this year. This includes: increasing budget allocation and personnel expansion of the office of Canada’s Special Representative on Combating Islamophobia, to effectively combat Islamophobia; allocating budget to enhance security measures for Muslim institutions; supporting educational initiatives aimed at countering Islamophobia, and ensuring comprehensive support for Palestinians coming from Gaza; enhancing government accountability, oversight and transparency in security measures and fighting discrimination and Islamophobia across government agencies; and allocating budget resources for collaboration with Muslim community organizations to address these issues effectively.
As the Prime Minister honored the victims of the January 29th attack in his statement, we ask him to honor his commitment to combat hate and Islamophobia by real action and systemic change against Islamophobia beginning with his government and his office. This can begin with publicly announcing his respect to the order of the International Court of Justice and taking real action to prevent the ongoing genocide in Gaza.