Liberal MP swamped by hate mail over anti-Islamophobia motion
Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississagua), who sponsored the motion, says she was subject of thousands of death threats, racist and sexist taunts.
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OTTAWA—Mississauga MP Iqra Khalid says she has received thousands of death threats, sexist comments and Islamophobic remarks after introducing a motion to condemn and combat Islamophobia.
Khalid said her office has been swamped with hateful messages over Motion 103, which asks the House of Commons to condemn Islamophobia and all religious discrimination, and commits a parliamentary committee to study the issue.
The motion has been seized by far-right blogs, who call it an attack on freedom of expression and have whipped up concerns about Canada adopting Islamic sharia law.
The motion does not change Canada’s hate speech laws, and does not remove Canadians’ right to free speech.
Khalid read the transcript of one particularly disturbing YouTube video sent to her office in the House of Commons Thursday.
“She, the terrorist, the terrorist sympathizer, the terror inducer, the disgusting human being,” Khalid read.
“This little girl, with very little intelligence, no personality, no strength in character, no brave bone in her body, that idiot, that scumbag, the guys out there are not going to debate you. You are going to see what the uncivilized Canadians out there take exception to. I’m not going to help them shoot you, I’m going to be there to film you on the ground crying . . . Ha ha ha ha, the member got shot by a Canadian patriot.”
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Khalid said.
Motion 103, which Khalid submitted as private member’s business, has been taken up and championed by the Liberal government and cabinet.
On Wednesday, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly held a press conference to say the Liberal caucus would support Khalid’s motion.
The Conservatives, however, are refusing to support the motion. Most of their arguments against it boil down to being uncomfortable with the term “Islamophobia,” and several Conservative MPs have suggested the motion singles out Islam instead of condemning all religious discrimination.
(The text of the motion does, in fact, condemn all forms of religious discrimination.)
“(Motion 103) is highlighting one religion in particular but without clear language on what (the term Islamophobia) means,” Conservative MP David Anderson said Wednesday night.
“It is unfortunate that this motion does not encourage conversation, because in the content of the motion the focus is on one term, Islamophobia.”
On Thursday, Anderson put forward a version of the motion that removed reference to Islamophobia — which the Liberals flatly rejected.
Joly told the Commons she considered the Conservative motion “watered down” and meant to address “internal divisions” within the Conservative movement.
“Islamophobia is a real problem. Neighbours, friends, co-workers of the Muslim faith endure systemic racism and religious discrimination in our country,” Joly said.
Adding to the confusion, Global News reported Thursday that the Conservatives voted for an anti-Islamophobia motion only five months ago.
Last year, Statistics Canada reported that hate crimes in Canada declined in 2013, the latest year we have data for. Hate crimes against Muslims and Jews, however, increased.