Islamophobia conference educates
- Islamophobia conference educates
Written by Zac Smith - Staff Writer
Wednesday, 23 March 2005
Last Wednesday, the Muslim Coalition, a coalition of
six campus-based Muslim organizations, and the York
Federation of Students teamed up to present "Islam is
NOT a Bomb and 8 Wives," an event that focused on
Islamophobia in society and politics, particularly in
the wake of the US-led war on terror.
"We're really hoping this becomes an annual awareness
concert," says Rabia Siddiqui, event organizer and
outgoing vice-president finance of the YFS.
"The only images that we see [representing Islam] are
the most militant ones, those of tyrannical regimes
and terrorism. We feel that a campaign in an academic
institution is an excellent way to challenge these
ideas," she says.
The well-attended event featured poetry, speakers, a
cultural exhibit and a performance by Iraqi rapper
Diana Ralph, a professor at Carleton University and
coordinator of the campaign Stop Secret Trials in
Canada, was the first to speak.
"Islamophobia is the key [type of] racism this
generation must address," she said.
She alleged that this new form of racism was being
used to hold Muslim men in custody without charge,
violate fundamental human rights and help advance
politically motivated agendas.
"The war on terrorism has nothing to do with making
the world safer," she asserted. "As policy analysts
have already noted, the anti-terrorist' operations in
Iraq and Afghanistan have increased the threat of
Faisal Kutty, a lawyer for the Canadian Muslim
Liberties Association and member of the Council on
American Islamic Relations, was also concerned with
what he says is the proliferation of intelligence
operations directed against Muslims.
"Since September 11th , Canadian intelligence
programs have led to the infiltration and monitoring
of people and mosques have led to the arrests and
detentions many of whom are as yet uncharged," he
Kutty was referring to alleged Canadian Security and
Intelligence Service operations against Muslims and to
the five Canadians allegedly being held under Canada's
post-9/11 anti-terrorist' legislation.
"Media has a lot to do with the perpetuation of
Islamophobia," he contended.
"By virtue of what they pick to choose as representing
a Muslim, they have the power to either exacerbate
existing perceptions, or rectify them," he concluded.
Both speakers complemented each other's positions,
condemning American and Canadian governments response
to terror, and voicing concern of the erosion of civil
liberties here at home.
"It is the responsibility of all of us to condemn
Islamophobia and a duty to stand by those who are
unjustly targeted and persecuted," said Ralph.
Attacks on Jews and Muslims soar in France
Jon Henley in Paris
Tuesday March 22, 2005
The number of racist, anti-semitic and xenophobic
attacks in France soared by nearly 90% last year,
according to a report presented to the government
yesterday, reaching the highest level so far recorded.
The National Consultative Commission on Human Rights
said in its annual study that 1,565 threats and acts
of violence against mainly Jewish and Muslim victims
were registered in 2004, compared with 833 the
"Manifestations of racism and anti-semitism are
multiplying dangerously in France and last year
reached an exceptional and disturbing peak ... not
seen since [the first national statistics] in 1990,"
the commission said.
The report said anti-semitic acts represented more
than 60% of all the incidents recorded: 970 compared
with 601 in 2003, mostly committed by people "of
Arab-Muslim origin". But threats and attacks against
Muslims, mostly committed by far-right supporters,
also more than doubled to 595 last year, compared with
232 in 2003.
The report also noted that the incidents appeared to
be getting increasingly violent: 369 "major acts" -
causing actual physical harm to people or property -
were reported, an 83% increase on 2003. The number of
attacks on Jewish and Muslim cemeteries and places of
worship rose from 46 to 65, and racist and
anti-semitic violence in schools rose by 20%.
The study prompted immediate reactions from
politicians, Jews and anti-racist groups. Dominique de
Villepin, the interior minister, said France would
"never give up" combating racism and punishing those
responsible, while the Jewish umbrella group CRIF said
anti-semitism was no longer a temporary phenomenon.
France's Jewish and Muslim communities are the largest
in western Europe and tensions between the two have
risen steadily during the past five years, in line
with increasing Israeli-Palestinian violence.
But the NCCHR said it now seemed that anti-semitism in
France was no longer so closely related to events
outside the country, but was "becoming established at
a high level, in a continuous and lasting manner". The
authors said an apparent resurgence of the far-right
might stem from France's increasingly heated debate on
immigration and integration, as well as from broader
concerns, such as the eventual admission of Turkey to
the EU or the fear of terrorism.
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