Canada passed an anti-Islamophobia bill, but the media didn’t notice
Canada has a strong record for supporting refugees and minority communities (File)
Canada’s Muslim community have had a bittersweet week.
On the one hand, the country’s Parliament approved a motion that condemned Islamophobia and recognised that extremists didn’t represent the faith in Canada or elsewhere.
On the other, no-one in the country paid any attention.
The motion, which was approved on October 26, had previously been rejected by conservatives in the Canadian Parliament. It was reintroduced after a series of mosque attacks in Canada reiterated the need for pluralist legislation in the country, and following outcry from leaders in the Muslim community.
But aside from an article in the Huffington Post, which bemoaned the lack of attention given the Bill, and another in Turkey’s Daily Sabah, very little regarding the bill appeared in the media.
Although it doesn’t change legislation, the motion is a public and official condemnation of all kinds of Islamophobia and a political statement of support to the Muslim community, too. It’s this symbolic nature that makes the lack of coverage troubling: without publicity, Muslim leaders argue, the strength of the bill is seriously diluted.
Curious that a motion condemning Islamophobia that fails is news, while an identical motion that passes is not— ANGRY WHITE WOMAN (@Confused_Maud) 3 November 2016
Even more curiously the rejection of the original motion, which failed to pass on October the 6, was widely publicised. The subsequent response to the successful motion was eyebrow raising for some: “This may be a case of "anti-Islamophobia motion meets Islamophobic media,” said Thomas Woodley, the President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.