By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Ont. (AA): The province of Ontario passed an anti-Islamophobia motion Thursday as a similar motion has run into opposition at the federal government level.
Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) from all three parties unanimously supported a motion denouncing Islamophobia.
“In 2017, it is my heartfelt wish that we did not have to pass a motion of this nature,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said in the legislature Thursday afternoon before the vote.
“… It enrages me that we still have to have this conversation globally.”
The motion put forth by Liberal Member of the Provincial Parliament Nathalie Des Rosiers sets the standard to “stand against all forms of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance” and censures “a growing tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric and sentiments”.
It also condemns all forms of Islamophobia, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported.
The passage of the motion is important because more than one-third of Canada’s population of 35 million lives in Ontario, which also has the largest number of Muslim-Canadians (146,000] and includes Toronto, the province’s capital and the country’s largest city. Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is also in Ontario.
Des Rosiers put forth the motion in December after a number of anti-Islamphobia incidents occurred in the Ottawa-Vanier area she represents in parliament.
They included anti-Muslim graffiti and women spit on for wearing their hijabs — the traditional head covering for women.
Six men were shot to death inside a Quebec City mosque Jan. 29.
Ontario’s Muslim Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said that following the killings, his office received a telephone call from a Muslim man who asked if it were safe to send his son to school, the Toronto Star newspaper reported.
He said Muslims throughout Canada were disconsolate concerning the shootings.
“That’s not the society we live in. That’s not the society we’re building,” he said, according to the Star.
All three Ontario political parties – the governing Liberals, Conservatives and the New Democrat Party – unanimously supported the motion.
“Islamophobia is real, and we have to condemn it unreservedly,” said Ontario Conservative Party leader Patrick Brown.
Meanwhile, the federal Conservative Party has opposed an anti-Islamophobia motion because it said it does not define Islamophobia and could hinder freedom of speech.
Naqvi said he is “disturbed” by the opposition the motion has run up against in Ottawa, the CBC reported.
Additional reporting by The Muslim News
[Photo: Quebecers pay respect to victims of terror attack on Quebec mosque in Quebec city on 30 January 2017. Photgrapher: Amru Salahuddien/AA]