Quebec’s legislature unanimously adopted a motion Thursday condemning “Islamophobia” — particularly toward Syrian refugees — in response to what some politicians say is a growing anti-Muslim climate in the province.
About 100 members of the legislature voted in favour of the motion tabled by Francoise David, whose Quebec solidaire has three members in the 125-seat national assembly.
David said she was concerned by what she called the increasing number of attacks against Muslims in Quebec, notably online.
The motion condemned Islamophobia and incitement of hatred and violence toward Muslim Quebecers, in particular Syrian refugees.
The governing Liberals and the two other opposition parties in the legislature attempted to amend the motion in order for it to condemn racism more generally as well as other forms of intolerance.
But David told reporters she insisted the word “Islamophobia” be included in the text and that the motion focus on Muslims.
“The incidents that have been multiplying over the past few weeks particularly affect Quebec’s Muslims,” she said. “We need to call a spade a spade.”
David mentioned that a pregnant woman in Montreal was allegedly accosted earlier this week by youths who knocked her to the ground and removed her veil.
Montreal police said Thursday there was no evidence to suggest it was a hate crime but added the investigation is ongoing.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also weighed in on the incident.
“Such acts are completely unacceptable and run counter to basic Canadian values and rights, embodied in and protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” he said in a statement.
“Canadian multiculturalism means a country where people from every place and culture, who speak every language, live, work, build, and thrive together.”
Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil told reporters the motion “is a gesture of responsibility and it’s a gesture to reassure people, reassure Quebecers and newcomers and people who perhaps came a few generations ago.”
Absent in the motion was any mention of the niqab, the face veil worn by some Muslim women that has become a major issue in the federal election campaign, particularly in Quebec.
Political parties are split over whether people should be allowed to wear the veil during citizenship ceremonies.
David pleaded with her federal counterparts to stop talking about it and to focus on other topics.
“We debate enough around that,” she said. “We have many other things to debate. We have two weeks more (in the campaign), please debate on the environment, on social justice, on refugees.”Report Typo/Error