Irresponsible? Catastrophist? Incendiary? We hesitate about the right adjective to describe the Islamophobia report which has just been presented by the Permanent Commission of the Senate on Human Rights (CSPDP).
The attacks on mosques in Quebec and London deeply upset Canadians. All the hate crimes mentioned in the report are unacceptable, and governments have a responsibility to combat them and must do everything possible to promote peaceful coexistence and the safety of their citizens. But unduly amplifying the threat by portraying a climate of terror for Canadian Muslims can only do more harm. THE figures from Statistics Canada also invalidate this alarmist thesis. Why remain silent, for example, that black and Jewish populations are by far the most victims of hate crimes?
This report, while suggesting a few rare sensible measures, prefers to paint a bleak and horrifying picture of the plight of Canadian Muslims. They would feel attacked, women and girls would be “afraid to leave the house to go to work and school”, some would even suffer Islamophobia every day.
Definition, secularism and ideology
This is because the proposed definition of Islamophobia is very broad in order to cover as many cases as possible. For example, not giving local Muslims time for prayer in the workplace is considered Islamophobia, in the sense of anti-Muslim racism (p. 66). The intersectional approach, such as the notions of systemic Islamophobia and unconscious microaggressions, also allows the phenomenon to be amplified.
The report also maintains a very cartoonish interpretation of the Law on State Secularism. The witnesses interviewed, who confuse respect for people with absolute respect for the precepts of Islam, “all agree that Law 21 is discriminatory, that it has exacerbated Islamophobia and that it must be repealed” (p. 65) . He is even accused of “dehumanizing people”. As we can see, the CSPDP heard none of the many Muslims who support Bill 21 as witnesses.
The report also avoids thinking about the reality of violent Islamism and the legitimate fear it arouses, even among Muslims. Only Rachad Antonius, among the 138 witnesses heard during the 21 public sessions, dares to address it expressly, but the report will pass it by in silence. According to the rest of the witnesses, there would only be prejudice and stereotypes to combat with large media campaigns and mandatory training against unconscious bias for all officials and students.
The report only retains what supports a previously drawn conclusion. Any statistical discrepancy, such as the underrepresentation of Muslims among officials or their overrepresentation in prisons, is taken as “proof” of systemic Islamophobia, without any search for a more plausible explanation. The report also confuses ideology and science by asserting, without justification, that “the greatest threat to national security comes from white supremacist groups” (p. 50). So we’ll shut up a document on Canada’s counter-terrorism strategy which, however, specified that “violent Islamic extremism is the number one threat to Canada’s national security.”
An offensive against the institutions responsible for security
It is undoubtedly the authorities responsible for national security who are pursuing this report. Five of the 13 recommendations address this, but go in the opposite direction of what a credible Senate committee would expect. This is because the latter seems to particularly follow the recommendations of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (CNMC), which we already warned against here.
The CNMC calls for nothing less than the discontinuance of the National Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization, and the suspension of the Review and Analysis Division (DRA) of the Agency for Revenue Canada (CRA), in charge of identifying the financing of terrorism. threats to Canada that are carried out through charities. Instead, he proposes that national security agencies, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and Canada’s border services, be monitored, which he suspects of racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic practices and even suffering from “penetration of white supremacy”.
The CSPDP endorses all of this and asserts that “national security laws, policies, and practices are deeply rooted in Islamophobia and continue to perpetuate bias against Muslims” (p. 51). the test? Seventy-five percent of the revocations of the charities that posed the greatest terrorist financing risk in Canada were directed at Muslim organizations, even though they make up less than 1% of all charities (p. 57 ). Despite the testimony of Sharmila Khare (Director General of the CRA’s Charities Directorate), that “DRA audits are only carried out when there is a risk of terrorist abuse”, the report nevertheless concludes that the DRA “demonstrates a structural bias against Muslim charities” (p. 58).
The simple fact that the evaluation model of the Ministry of Finance is risk-oriented would even be, according to law professor Anver Emon, “an explicit declaration of Islamophobia”. Better yet, for a Canadian to travel to Gaza and fight for Hamas to become suspect to the government would, he adds, be an “example of systemic Islamophobia”! Should we really notice that the CSPDP thus loses all credibility by “forgetting” that Hamas is on Canada’s list of terrorist entities? That by combining Islam and violent Islamism under the umbrella of Islamophobia, it undermines the sense of security of its citizens?
How can we explain such irresponsible poisoning? Part of the explanation may lie in the fact that the chairperson of this Senate committee, Salma Ataullahjan, remains an advisor to the NCMC. Finally, we remember that this organization is one of the plaintiffs who are before the courts to invalidate Law 21.
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