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Why Trudeau is Taking Policy Advice from a Group Advocating for Anti-Islamophobia

The National Council of Canadian Muslims offered specific recommendations to the Liberal Government. The NCCM Recommendations from the July Summit on Islamophobia outlined municipal, provincial, and federal government actions in advance of advocacy for public concerns of Canadian Muslims.

The NCCM is an independent and non-partisan/non-profit organization that works on civil and human rights and the challenges in the face of widespread Islamophobia.

At a press conference in Hamilton, Ontario, on July 20th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government would “move forward” on the group’s recommendations.

The list of 61 official recommendations includes (non-exhaustive list): developing models for young Muslim leaders in Youth Fellowship programs in Toronto, municipalities dedicating specific funding to anti-Islamophobia awareness campaigns, the commitment to consultation with Canadian Muslim storytellers, artists, filmmakers, and content creators to guide the allocation of funds, CVE reform, criminal code amendments, dedicated funding to the National Support Fund for Survivors of Hate-Motivated Crimes, and a Legislative review of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The organization sees these steps as a priority after attacks at the IMO mosque in Toronto, several violent attacks on women wearing hijabs, and the Quebec City mosque attack. The official NCCM document states: “More Muslims have been killed in targeted hate-attacks in Canada than any other G-7 country in the past five years because of Islamophobia … We cannot stand by and see any more lives lost. Islamophobia is lethal, and we need to see action now.”

Trudeau’s promises to work with the recommendations wouldn’t necessarily align with the Canadian government’s traditional and historical pattern of criticizing and erasing religious beliefs and alternative cultures. But maybe that’s a good thing.

The NCCM’s recommendations of establishing “dedicated prosecutorial units for prosecuting hate-motivated crimes” leaves room for the prosecution of anyone who hates Islam - including devoted Muslims. Thus, the policies - without proper attention to detail - can verge on protecting general ideologies rather than the individual. This fine line is where many are starting to question the ethics (often through the lens of criticizing CRT) of overarching opinion-cancelling.

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