Muslims in Quebec had an opportunity to specific their fears and considerations about Islamophobia to the Senate of Canada this week.
The Senate’s standing committee on human rights held a public session in Quebec Metropolis on Tuesday, as a part of a national examine of hate and discrimination in opposition to Muslims dwelling in Canada.
“We’re simply attempting to listen to from a variety of Muslims,” defined Senator Salma Ataullahjan, the chair of the committee.
Ataullahjan stated the aim of the consultations is to know the challenges confronted by Muslims of various ethnicities and sexes in Canada.
The senator proposed the investigation after studying that Canada is the nation with the very best variety of killings of Muslims among the many G7
“I used to be shocked,” stated Ataullahjan, who’s a practising Muslim herself. “I assumed … this must be checked out.”
Systemic racism, violence in opposition to ladies
A lot of the dialogue through the Quebec Metropolis listening to was centered on Invoice 21, the Quebec legislation that bans sure public sector workers from carrying non secular symbols.
The committee heard testimony about how the invoice has affected Muslim ladies who put on the hijab and what number of of them have felt like targets because it got here into power.
Laïla Aitoumasste, a Muslim lady who lives in Quebec Metropolis, stated the session was a chance for her to share her perspective.
“It is an issue that touches me, that touches my group,” she stated.
Aitoumasste stated she spoke a couple of undertaking she labored on to assist Muslim ladies who’ve skilled heinous acts.
She stated typically these ladies really feel like their complaints usually are not taken severely, and they do not know the place to go to get assist.
“They really feel very uncared for, discouraged, unmotivated, they usually’ll merely hand over,” she stated.
“It actually saddens me as a result of these are ladies who’ve lots of abilities. Typically it is ladies who’ve a diploma however who did not have the chance to work just because they put on the hijab,” she stated.
Saïd Akjour, who was injured within the Quebec Metropolis mosque taking pictures in 2017, was additionally eager to share his ideas in regards to the realities confronted by Muslims in Quebec Metropolis.
“We’re attempting to move the message that we’re good in Quebec Metropolis and we’re flourishing, however there are issues that we try to unravel.”
He stated that whereas most individuals are type and welcoming towards Muslims, there are nonetheless lots of obstacles to integrating society.
“Discrimination within the workforce, diplomas that aren’t acknowledged,” he stated. “How [women wearing the hijab] are seen in public areas, all of the insults, the issues that occur on social media — it is nonetheless horrible,” he stated.
Poignant cease at Quebec Metropolis mosque
The go to included a cease on the Islamic Cultural Centre the place the mass taking pictures befell, a second Ataullahjan described as “very, very emotional.”
She stated seeing the mosque and the exact spot the place individuals have been killed whereas they prayed was very troubling for her and her colleagues.
“If you sit throughout the desk and also you meet individuals who inform you, , nose to nose about what they’ve skilled, it is so highly effective.”
Listening to so many troublesome tales from individuals who share her religion has been very taxing, the senator stated.
“On the finish of every day, as we hear the testimony, I’ve to simply actually form of de-stress. It takes me a few hours,” she stated.
Federal authorities to obtain suggestions
The Senate additionally gathered testimony from Muslims in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto.
Ataullahjan stated widespread themes got here out of the hearings, similar to Muslims feeling unsafe of their group or ladies who put on the hijab bearing the brunt of the violence, particularly if they’re Black.
The committee is now again in Ottawa and will begin drafting suggestions for the federal authorities. Ataullahjan stated a remaining report shall be completed within the spring.
Akjour stated he hopes the Senate will consider the options prompt through the Quebec Metropolis listening to.
These included stricter social media oversight to take away divisive or hate messages, controlling right-wing extremism and implementing harder gun management legal guidelines.