National Council of Canadian Muslims reveals anti-Islamophobia recommendations


In the wake of multiple, lethal attacks on Canadian Muslims in recent years, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) has released 60 policy recommendations to combat hate and racism across the country.

The recommendations, which include Criminal Code amendments to better deal with hate crimes, a curriculum review and a national fund for victims of Islamophobia, come in advance of a national summit on Islamophobia this week.

“We cannot stand by and see any more lives lost,” the council said in a statement released Monday.

“Islamophobia is lethal and we need to see action now.”

News conferences are being held on Monday in Toronto, London, Ont., Quebec City and Edmonton to announce the recommendations.

Anti-Muslim hate attacks in those cities in recent years include the June 6 hit-and-run on the Afzaal family in London, Ont., the fatal stabbing of volunteer caretaker Mohamed-Aslim Zafis outside a Toronto mosque last September, the January 2017 attack on a mosque in Quebec City where six men were killed and dozens of others were seriously wounded and at least six hate-motivated attacks on Black and racialized Muslim women in Edmonton in recent months.

WATCH | Calling for action to fight Islamophobia: 

Ahead of the National Summit on Islamophobia, National Council of Canadian Muslims CEO Mustafa Farooq outlined what he wants each level of government to do to help fight Islamophobia. 2:52

The policy recommendations released Monday are broken down by federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. Some of them include:

  • Funding for a proposed National Support Fund for Survivors of Hate-Motivated Crimes.

  • An investigation into national security agencies and how they deal with white supremacist groups, and whether they have infiltrated those agencies.

  • New provisions in the Criminal Code around hate-motivated assault, murder, threats and mischief that include specific penalties corresponding to each infraction.

  • A federal anti-Islamophobia strategy by the end of 2021.

  • Funding for Muslim storytelling.

  • Provincial legislation that bars white supremacist groups from rallying on provincial property. 

  • A review of school curriculum with an anti-Islamophobic lens and resources for Muslim students. 

  • Municipal street harassment bylaws that address verbal assault. 

  • Local community-based anti-Islamophobic initiatives and anti-Islamophobia advisory councils. 

The recommendations can be read in their entirety at the bottom of this story.

Bebe Zafis, second from left, and family members react at her father’s casket during the funeral of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis in Toronto on Sept. 16, 2020. Police say Zafis was fatally stabbed while he sat outside a mosque to control entry to the building in order to comply with public health protocols. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

MPs voted unanimously in favour of a motion calling for a national summit on Islamophobia in June, following the attack in London, Ont. It will be held on Thursday as part of Canada’s anti-racism strategy.

The same day that motion passed, the federal government also announced it would hold an additional summit on antisemitism. It will be held on Wednesday.

“There are many Canadians of all backgrounds who have been abiding allies of Canadian Muslim communities and diverse communities in general,” the NCCM said.

“This is clear in the outpouring of support after Islamophobic incidents through messages of condolences and hope, human shields around mosques at prayer times, lawn signs to provide comfort as families go for walks and solidarity in demanding change. Thus, while there is no doubt that we have a problem with Islamophobia in Canada, there is also no doubt that we as Canadians also have the collective will to do something about it.”

Read more at CBC.ca