Monday, March 20, 2017

Minister Joly interview on CBC's Power & Politics regarding "Islamophobia" motion

I received a copy of this letter from a Canadian citizen to Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, regarding the "Islamophobia" Motion. Well worth the read. 

The Minister doesn't seem to grasp the problem with the motion as it currently stands.

Interview here.


Dear Minister Joly,

I just finished watching Terry Milewski interview you on Power & Politics regarding the "Islamophobia" motion. 

He asked you why you would not consider changing the word "Islamophobia" in the motion to "hatred of Muslims" for example. Irwin Cotler apparently also made the same suggestion to you, as did some Conservative MPs.

And yet, you did not explain why you refused to make that change, which members of all parties would probably agree with. Terry Milewski repeated a few times that "Islamophobia" means (at least for some people) fear of the religion, Islam, and not fear/hatred of the Muslim people. In other words, fear of the ideas that Islam espouses (for example, death to infidels.) And in the debate in Parliament today, I heard Conservative MPs make this distinction as well.

With respect, Minister Joly, you did not seem to grasp what Mr. Milewski was saying. You do not seem to grasp this important distinction. You kept going back to examples of hatred against Muslims. And yes, we can all agree that is WRONG. So why do you not then change the word "Islamophobia" in the motion to "hatred against the Muslim people"?? That is exactly what Mr. Milewski was asking, as have people like Irwin Cotler. And, with respect, you have not given a coherent response to that question.

I urge you, Minister Joly, to watch for yourself the interview you gave to Terry Milewski. You will see that you are not addressing his questions regarding the distinction between "Islamophobia" and "hatred of Muslims." 

You go on to say you don't want to curtail free speech. Well, if a person criticizes an Islamic idea such as "death to infidels," then they could be considered "Islamophobic" (since there's no definition of that term in M-103) and because M-103 condemns "Islamophobia" then you are effectively saying you want to condemn people who make legitimate criticisms of ideas like "death to infidels."

I sincerely hope, Minister Joly, that you/the PMO/Ms Khalid will amend M-103 accordingly. Otherwise, we can only conclude that the Liberal government really does intend with M103 to condemn people who validly criticize the religion of Islam, thus putting a chill on freedom of expression which will also undermine freedom of religion in this country. 

I have to assume you want to do the right thing, Minister Joly, for Muslims and indeed for all Canadians. Then please, try to understand what Terry Milewski was getting at and what Irwin Cotler and some Conservative MPs were explaining was the problem with M103. Please don't discount what someone is saying, just because they are not part of your Liberal government. I would hope, in the spirit of inclusiveness, you would listen to what is reasonable, regardless of who it is coming from, and not continue down this divisive path, purely for the sake of partisan politics. 

Thank you for considering my remarks, Minister Joly, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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