Anti-Islamophobia Bill Passes in Canada

The M-103 bill to condemn religious discrimination passed 201 to 91 on Thursday.

Canada's House of Commons easily passed M-103, a non-binding motion which condemns any form of religious discrimination, including Islamophobia. The motion was tabled by Iqra Khalid, a Liberal backbencher and was passed with 201 yes votes and 91 votes against. The motion asked to conduct a definitive study on how to fight such discrimination.

Anti-Islamophobia Bill Passes in Canada[/tweetthis]

M-103 asks the heritage committee of the Commons to examine ways so that religious discrimination can be reduced. It is also a call against systemic racism.

The M-103 motion, although mostly symbolic, has been proven to create and widen schisms in Canadian politics. It has acquired significance in the leadership race among conservatives. Among the members of the Tory leadership, only Michael Chong voted in favor. This motion was brought into the table after a large number of Canadians signed a particular petition which underlined a spurt of anti-Muslim feelings within the country. Figures provided by Statistics Canada showed hate crime targeting Muslims have doubled during 2012-2014. This motion became more urgent as a solitary gunman went inside a Quebec mosque and began firing shots. Six worshipers were killed, and many were injured.

A number of prominent conservatives voted against M-103. The more prominent ones among them include Maxime Bernier, Steven Blaney, Erin O'Toole, Andrew Scheer, Brad Trost and Kellie Leitch. Two known faces, Deepak Obhrai and Lisa Raitt were absent in House to submit their votes. The motion was also opposed by the bloc Quebecois MPs. The New Democrats, however, supported M-103.

The Conservative Party pushed an alternative motion which condemned discrimination against Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Sikhs and another kind of religious group was roundly rejected by Liberals in February. The motion launched by the Tories was not inclusive of the “Islamophobia” word. Liberals alleged that the conservatives are trying to dilute the aim of this motion.

Leitch, post vote, took to social media to proclaim that she will oppose liberals as the latter tries to make the M-103 motion into legislation. Quite a few critics made the false claim that the M-103 will result in anti-blasphemy laws. This will make it illegal to make critical statements about Islam in Canada. Khalid, for her part, addressed the backlash, saying that such a motion cannot be legally binding. She went further on to say that M-103 will empower Canadians to speak against discrimination. She clearly stated that M-103 should not be construed as an attempt to bring in Sharia law. 


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