The anti-Islamophobia motion, M-103, is sparking protests across the country. On Saturday, people on both sides of the controversial issue clashed in Saskatoon.
Chants of “protect Canada” and “everyone welcome” battled across 23rd Street East. The Canadian Coalition for Concerned Citizens stood in Civic Square while the Rally Against Islamophobia took up position outside Frances Morrison Library, with a dozen police officer separating the protesters.
The Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens protested against Sharia law, globalization and Motion 103. They called it the “Saskatoon march for freedom, liberty and justice.”
Jason Bushie, a spokesperson for the rally, believes the motion is silencing critics of Islam and therefore affecting their freedom of speech, giving preference to Muslims and setting up a first step in the Islamization of Canada.
“This law is going to allow the groundwork for other MPs to introduce Sharia law. It is going to restrict Canadians’ freedom of speech. No other religious group in Canada has asked for such unique and vague representation under the law,” Bushie said.
The motion, presented to the House of Commons in December, condemns Islamophobia and all other forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination. The motion asks the federal government to study how racism and religious discrimination can be reduced and collect data on hate crimes.
The march for freedom, liberty and justice was by far outnumbered by anti-Islamophobia protesters across the street.
“They’re a bunch of white supremacists and racists who are trying to mask being terrible to people behind a facade of free speech,” Rally Against Islamophobia organizer Ryan Mitchell said.
Many of the Rally Against Islamophobia protesters invited members of the freedom, liberty and justice rally to come over and peacefully talk about Sharia law and misconceptions of Islam, but only one did.
“We are all born as humans, why do we all forget that? We run towards are race and religion and we attack toward that. We forget we’re all the same,” Raja Akhtar said.
“Their opinions don’t really hurt because they’re coming from fear and misunderstanding,” Omaer Jamil, president of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, said.