Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Islamophobia has been fed by populism and the politics of division.
“There are politicians who have been stoking hatred and division that we as a government have been pushing back against,” said Trudeau in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Global News’ Farah Nasser in Brampton, Ont., on Monday.
The National Summit on Islamophobia is set to take place on July 22.
According to the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), since the targeted hate crime against a Muslim family in London, Ont., that left four dead and a nine-year-old boy orphaned, violent hate-filled attacks have been a daily occurrence in Canada.
“The reality is that Canada has suffered more mass killings motivated by Islamophobia in the last five years than any other country in the G7,” says CEO of the National Council of Canadian Muslims Mustafa Farooq.
Nasser asked the Prime Minister on how policies contribute to hate and specifically Quebec’s Bill 21, the provincial legislation in place in Quebec that bars the wearing of religious symbols by some public service workers in positions of authority, including teachers and police officers while on the job.
Trudeau maintained that while he disagrees with the bill, it is up to the people of Quebec to challenge the legislation in court if they feel it is infringing on their rights.
“The federal government isn’t the dad to the provinces. The Constitution lays out areas of jurisdiction where we are watching very closely what happens,” says the Prime Minister.
Critics of the bill argue it treats Muslims like second-class citizens and legitimizes hate.
“He can get involved and the Attorney General can intervene. It’s quite simple,” says Farooq.
“We expect the AG, who has the right to intervene in these cases, to get involved.”
“We are seeing a rise in Islamophobia right across the country,” said Trudeau in the Global News interview.
“Those Edmonton women who were attacked for wearing a hijab weren’t impacted by 21. They’re being impacted by a larger intolerance and hatred and division that is present right across Canada and present right around the world.”
The National Summit on Islamophobia will address the 61 recommendations the group has put forward including asking the government to build a support fund for those who have lost livelihoods because of the bill.
Other recommendations includes a federal review of the human rights act, a study at how the National Security Agency has failed to deal with white supremacy groups and developing anti-Islamophobia strategies in education at the provincial level, as well as launching municipal anti-racism campaigns.