Say "NO" to Islamophobia both by words and actions

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The growth of Islamophobia, or anti-Muslim racism, has been on a steady rise throughout North America in recent years. There have been increased attacks on Muslims, on their mosques and community centres, and a series of laws targeting Muslims have been passed.

Now imagine stepping out of your house of worship and seeing a group of screaming, belligerent hecklers ripping apart your holy book – spitting on and stomping on the pages. Imagine being shouted down, and told your faith is a lie by a group of people flashing gaudy, hate-filled signs and matching T-shirts. Imagine that your children are being taunted and bullied at school and that women are afraid to dress according to their beliefs, that qualified men are denied employment opportunities because of their names or their appearance. This has become the reality for Muslims across North America.

Recently, when news broke of a shooting in a Quebec mosque in which six worshippers were shot and killed, nineteen others were injured, Canada was shaken. The direct effects of this senseless attack:

                    1. Seventeen children in six families have been orphaned
                    2. Eleven families are nursing someone who has been injured
                    3. Most of the victims were the sole breadwinners for the family

If no actions are taken, the situation will deteriorate, and more islamophobic attacks will ensue. As Martin Luther King Jr. puts it: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly".

As such, we, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon everyone in Canada who has a sense of justice to speak out and take actions against this injustice committed against Muslim communities. In particular, we urgently request the Government of Canada to:

1. recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear resulting from Islamophobia.

2. set out a clear definition of Islamophobia and establish a protocol to combat Islamophobia which should make it unequivocally clear that freedom of speech should not be abused to provide a cover for Islamophobia.

3. design and implement action plan for supporting initiatives that combat Islamophobia and provide a legal framework to declare that hatred of this nature will not be tolerated in this country.

4. condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.

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