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Islamophobia in Canada: Canadian Muslims 'Deeply Troubled' By Border Security Deal

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  • Zafar Khan
    Canadian Race Relations Foundation urge police to treat anti-Muslim attacks in Gatineau as hate crime Canada NewsWire TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2012
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2012
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      Canadian Race Relations Foundation urge police to treat anti-Muslim attacks in Gatineau as hate crime
      Canada NewsWire
      TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2012


      TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is deeply concerned about the increase in racial incidents in the National Capital Region. The most recent incident took place early Friday when staff at the Outaouais Islamic Centre in Gatineau discovered spray-painted obscene references to Islam and Arabs on the outside walls and doors of the mosque.

      At a time when the CRRF is working with a large number of inter-faith organizations to promote harmony, belonging and better understanding of all communities in Canada, the recent incident demonstrates the need to stand together against Islamophobia and all other forms and manifestations of hatred.

      "We urge the Gatineau Police to treat the latest act of vandalism as hate crime. There is no room for hate in our society," said Ayman Al-Yassini, Executive Director of the CRRF.

      Canadian Muslims 'Deeply Troubled' By Border Security Deal
      Wednesday, December 07, 2011 2:46 pm


      - For Immediate Release -

      Canadian Muslims 'Deeply Troubled' By Border Security Deal

      (Ottawa, Canada – December 07, 2011) A national Muslim civil rights organization said today that the new border security deal between Canada and the United States indicates that the federal government has not learned lessons from its past mistakes of "dangerous" information sharing practices.

      The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) said it was deeply troubled by the deal's apparent failure to adequately protect the civil liberties and privacy rights of Canadians by allowing for unfettered information sharing between security agencies of both countries.

      "In 2006, the Hon. Justice Dennis O'Connor of the Arar Public Inquiry presented a series of urgent recommendations which included a focus on the need to develop comprehensive and robust oversight and redress mechanisms regarding Canada's information sharing practices with foreign countries. The Hon. Justice Frank Iacobucci, who headed another inquiry into the detention and torture of three other Canadians abroad, echoed those concerns for what he found to be 'deficient' practices by security agencies. Regrettably today, we find that those recommendations seem to have not been properly heeded by the government," said CAIR-CAN Acting Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

      CAIR-CAN was an Intervener in the Arar Inquiry which concluded that Canadian officials provided inaccurate information to U.S. authorities who then deported Maher Arar to Syria where he was detained and tortured.

      "Canada has no control over what U.S. officials may do with information Canadian agencies provide to them, including its sharing with foreign governments. We call upon the federal government to let Canadians know exactly what information will be shared with US security agencies and what, if any, assurances and caveats on the use of that information have been or will be obtained.

      "Without such assurances and adequate safeguards, there are no protections accorded to Canadians who may become the victims of false and inaccurate information and it seems to be only a matter of time before we will see a replay of the tragic cases of Maher Arar and other citizens who have been victimized," Gardee said.

      CAIR-CAN is a national, non-profit, grassroots organization striving to be a leading voice that enriches Canadian society through Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights

      OIC raps Canadian PM's anti-Islam tirade
      Published: Sep 13, 2011 23:35 Updated: Sep 15, 2011 16:38


      JEDDAH: The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has denounced a recent statement made by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a high-profile non-Jewish supporter of Israel, that he considered “Islamic terrorism” as the biggest threat to world peace.

      “Harper’s statement will only exacerbate the misunderstanding and suspicion between the West and the Islamic world and obstruct global efforts to confront bigotry and hatred between religions and cultures,” said OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

      In an interview with CBC News, Harper said the biggest security threat to Canada a decade after 9/11 was “Islamic terrorism.”

      He continued: “When people think of Islamic terrorism, they think of Afghanistan, or maybe they think of some place in the Middle East, but the truth is that threat exists all over the world.”

      An article written by Dovid Efune in The Huffington Post rated Harper as the No. 1 non-Jew having a positive influence in shaping the Jewish future.

      “Harper has been a great friend to Canada’s Jewish community as well as an outspoken supporter of Israeli positions in the international political arena… saying last year, ‘When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.’”

      Efune, who is director of Algemeiner Journal, commended Harper’s efforts in blocking a G8 resolution in support of US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy speech that would mention the call for a Palestinian State based on the 1967 lines, while not incorporating other elements of the speech.

      This stand “earns him the top spot this year,” Efune wrote in the daily.

      Effune said his top 10 list of non-Jewish supporters of Israel includes politicians, activists and business giants. Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Spanish Premier Jose Maria Aznar occupy the remaining top five spots.

      According to columnist Dr. Debra Chin, Harper is apparently using Canadian governmental authority to advance ultra right-wing ideological goals.

      She said Harper was a member of the ultra-right wing Northern Foundation in 1989, quoting a book authored by Trevor Harrison entitled “Of Passionate Intensity.”

      In his book, Harrison documents that the foundation comprised neo-Nazi social Darwinist intellectuals, Chin wrote in The Canadian newspaper.

      In his comments, the OIC chief said such misleading statements from the prime minister of a sovereign country would create chaos. “The usage of Islamic terrorism is wrong like the usage of Christian terrorism or Jewish terrorism,” he pointed out.

      “Islam is a religion of peace and mercy,” the secretary-general said and reiterated his organization’s commitment to combat terrorism and extremism in all its forms. “Our stand is based on Islamic teachings that reject terrorism and violence,” he added.

      Ihsanoglu said OIC countries were the main victims of terrorism, suffering heavy human and material losses.

      Saudi Arabia, which hosts the OIC headquarters, suffered a series of bombings and attacks since May 2003 that claimed the lives of 350 people.

      Hassan Al-Ahdal, director-general for media and public relations at the Makkah-based Muslim World League, expressed his dismay at Harper’s remarks.

      “Such irresponsible remarks should not have come from a prime minister. It will give fuel to extremists to carry out terrorist attacks and deepen the division between Islamic and Western cultures. It will also encourage Islamophobes to carry out more attacks against Muslim minorities.”

      Al-Ahdal hoped that the Western thinkers would condemn Harper’s remarks in order to strengthen good relations between Muslims and the West.

      He said Harper’s remarks would encourage Muslim countries and parents not to send their students to Canada, fearing they would face bad treatment.

      “It is quite unfortunate to see that Islamophobia is spreading in the West. Earlier, we have seen such attitudes from the right-wing extremists. Now it has been taken over by leaders like Harper, Sarkozy and Merkel,” he said.

      Al-Ahdal urged Muslim countries to take a firm stand against such Islamophobic remarks.

      “I hope all Muslim countries will call their Canadian ambassadors to express their strong protest against Harper’s remarks and inform them such incidents would affect Canada’s relationship with Muslims,” he said.

      Al-Ahdal underscored the interfaith dialogue initiative launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to promote world peace and stability by enhancing cooperation and understanding between the followers of different faiths.

      “The initiative will help bridge the gap between the East and West,” he said and called for strengthening the initiative by holding more meetings between leaders of various faiths.

      Canadians less tolerant after 9/11, says poll
      People making effort to learn about Islam
      By Amy Chung, Postmedia News September 8, 2011


      A majority of Canadians say society has become less tolerant of various ethnicities and faiths since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a new study shows.

      Over half of Canadians surveyed in an Ipsos Reid poll for Postmedia News and Global TV said that Muslims are discriminated against more now than they were 10 years ago. However, Canadian Muslim groups say the impact of 9/11 was both good and bad on the Muslim community.

      "On the good side, there has been the ability for Canadians to access their fellow citizens with Muslim backgrounds, to get to know them more, and essentially have the ability to get accurate information about Islam in the Muslim community which has been a great thing for those who want to have that information," said Kashif Ahmed, a national board member with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.

      Ahmed said that when Canadians have access to information about Islam or know a Muslim person, whether it be a colleague or friend, they tend to view Muslims and those of the Islamic faith more favourably because they are more informed.

      Conversely, more research into the faith can also have an opposite effect leading to more prejudiced opinions.

      "I wouldn't say there is a huge discrimination problem against Muslims, however, there are civil rights concerns that have increased since 9/11," said Ahmed.

      For instance, some ordinary Muslim-Canadian families are afraid to donate to Muslim charities fearful their name would end up on a watch list, explained Ahmed.

      Other complaints the group has seen surround workplace discrimination, but Ahmed said it's mainly rooted in misunderstanding or a lack of information about the faith.

      "Once (organizations) know about the faith practices, they are more open to make reasonable accommodations or resolve issues without any further problems," said Ahmed.

      With regards to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent comments on CBC, saying "the major threat is still Islamicism" in a post-9/11 world, Ahmed cites the Norway massacre as the perfect example that terrorism isn't just coming from one community.

      "The common misconception people have about Islam is that it promotes terrorism and that the Muslim community doesn't condemn terrorism, or women are chattel of Muslim men," said Ahmed.

      "Most often, these are cultural practices that don't reflect Islam," he explains.

      "(Canada) needs to concentrate on investigating crimes and criminal behaviour, not communities."

      Here are some highlights from the Ipsos Reid poll:

      ? ? 74 per cent of Canadians agree that "our society has become less tolerant of others since the 9/11 terrorist attacks"

      ? ? 60 per cent think that Mus-lims in Canada are discriminated against more than before the attacks

      ? ? 59 per cent say the 9/11 at-tacks have given them a negative impression of certain ethnicities and religious faiths

      ??81 per cent say Muslims liv-ing in Canada should receive the same treatment as any other Canadian; however, 31 per cent of Albertans and 21 per cent of Quebecers believe that Muslims should be treated differently. The national average who feel this way is 15 per cent.

      "(This poll) shows that there has been discrimination and that the country is less tolerant," said John Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos Reid.

      "The majority of Canadians are saying we are a less tolerant society, but the people who were surveyed said they are open and tolerant," he said.

      For this survey, a national sample of 1,012 adults were interviewed online between Aug. 26 and Aug. 30. There is an estimated margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 out of 20.
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