Motion M-103 began as an innocuous way of eliminating islamophobia in Canada. It was designed to end systemic racism and religious discrimination. However, this is further from the truth or its implications.
The bill suggests that Muslims are being uniquely targeted for discrimination, however, there is no strong evidence to support this theory. Research indicates that Jews are being discriminated against more than any other religious group. There have been more reported cases of violence and vandalism in Canada against those who are Jewish and the survey included Muslims. Jewish people are only a small fraction of the Canadian community when compared to Muslims.
Recent reports from Statistics Canada from 2013 (most recent report), indicate indeed that Jewish people are more likely to be targeted for hate crimes. Hate crimes against Jewish people were recorded at 181, while hate crimes against Muslims were 65 (less than half).
- 54.9 police-reported hate crimes per 100,000 individuals reporting that they were Jewish.
- 6.2 hate crimes per 100,000 individuals reporting that they were Muslim.
- 84% of crimes against Jews were reported to be non-violent and mostly mischief related.
- 67% of crimes against Muslims were non-violent and mischief related.
- 16% of crimes against Jews were violent ( uttering threats-37%, and assaults (of all types)- 20%)
- Hate crimes targeting Muslim populations were more likely to be violent offenses (33%).
Additionally, statistics conclude that most hate crimes (66%) were based on sexual orientation, while hate crimes based on religion/ethnicity were 44%. Additionally, out of those hate crimes, only 14% were violent. The majority was mischief related.
Is Motion M-103 Supported By Evidence?
It does not appear to be, according to the most recent statistics we found regarding hate crimes. Eliminating “hate speech” will not quell the issue facing Muslims. The statistics support that Jewish people are targets for more non-violent hate crimes, while Muslims are significantly subjected to more violent hate crimes. It should be noted, however, that the report did not indicate what defined a violent crime such as assault, murder, or uttering threats.
The report did note that women were a higher target for crimes (47%) which may be attributed to wearing head coverings.
The report does conclude that Muslims are at higher risk for violent hate crimes. A ban on speech will not decrease this number. Increased awareness and policing will help protect people from violent crimes, but a ban on speech will not be very effective. Additionally, hate crimes based on sexual orientation were significantly higher. So what are we going to do about that?
The Results of Motion M-103- What Canadians Should be Aware Of
The Canadian government says that those who engage in acts of terrorism aren’t really Muslims. Yet they do profess to be. A more accurate statement would be that they represent an “extreme” form of the religion that is not represented by the Muslim people as a whole. As in everything in life, there are always extreme forms of something ie. “alt-left”, “alt-right”, etc. that is not represented by people as a whole and comprise a small fraction of the population. However, even this small fraction can do a lot of damage.
What Motion M-103 will do is eliminate any speech that is against Muslims or Islam whether it is true or not. We will no longer be able to state the truth or any opposing opinions on the matter thereby quenching our rights of freedom of expression by simply stating that we do not agree or here are the facts in a particular situation. “Do not agree” is not the same as hate speech, and neither is a presentation of facts over a particular documented incident- of which there is not evidence to support that any such thing exists against the Muslim community.
Terrorism is a much larger reality, and although Muslims have been the recipients of fear, eliminating freedom of speech will not remedy this problem. It will not extinguish fear and violates our constitutional rights. Canada has protected the rights quite adequately by incorporating that Muslim boys and girls can be segregated in schools, leave for prayer, and have special dietary restrictions in place. Yet we have removed evidence of God, and Christian prayers/celebrations so that we do not offend others. This doesn’t seem particularly inclusive.
And what about protection for the Jewish population who statistically are targets for hate crimes?
The real war is with terrorism. While the public needs to separate out terrorism from being a Muslim, Motion M-103 will do nothing but create long-term problems for the country. “Islamophobia” will not stop, nor will any of the issues surrounding it cease until we address the real issue. Until then, all we are doing is telling people that they do not have the freedom to speak against a certain group (but all others are fine!), nor do they have a right to voice their opinion. Seems pretty “unCanadian”- especially given the fact that the claims are not supported.
Additionally, keep in mind what other freedoms we may be sacrificing if this bill passes. While we need equality and compassion for others, this is not the way to do it. All it’s doing is creating inequality which will, in the end, result in civil unrest.
If you are against Motion M-103, please sign the following petition. This effects media, businesses, and normal citizens who could, unknowingly, be subjected to being charged with hate speech. Not only that, but it does violate freedom of expression.
Also, read this article which goes into further explanation and provides thoughtful insight into the situation.