November 22nd, 2021
November 22nd, 2021
QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) CEO Mustafa Farooq announced Monday that they have partnered to create new legislation to combat Islamophobia.
“No one should be scared to go for a walk while wearing a hijab, or fear worshipping at a masjid,” said Horwath. “But Islamophobia and white supremacy are on the rise in Canada, and here in Ontario.
“In the wake of an Islamophobic terrorist attack that took the lives of three generations of the Afzaal family in London, we heard the calls to action from Muslim families and faith leaders — they said words are not enough.”
Police-reported hate crimes in Canada rose to 1,946 crimes in 2019, up from 1,362 in 2015. Hate crimes against Muslims spiked by an alarming 151 per cent in 2017.
On June 6, 2021, three generations of the Afzaal family were killed in an Islamophobic terror attack in London. Madiha Salman, her husband Salman Afzaal, their daughter Yumna Afzaal, and Salman's mother, Talat Afzaal were killed. Nine-year old Fayez Afzaal was the sole survivor.
“In the last two years, I've had to attend funerals at the IMO mosque in Etobicoke and the killing of three generations of a family in London,” said Farooq. “We shouldn't have had to wait this long for change. That’s why the National Council of Canadian Muslims welcomes the opportunity to work on this bill with Andrea Horwath and the NDP. We are here to call on all parties to support this bill and to stand together for what should be common-sense changes to end Islamophobia in Ontario.”
The bill, The Our London Family Act, will be tabled in early 2022. It will address the calls to action directed at provincial governments in the NCCM’s recommendations to the National Summit on Islamophobia.
The bill will create a provincial hate crimes accountability unit that provides best practices, collects data, and investigates potential gaps in combatting hate incidents. It will dismantle white supremacist groups by preventing them from registering as societies, and prevent acts of intimidation on provincial property or targeting worshippers at synagogues, mosques, or gurdwaras. It will restore the provincial Anti-Racism Directorate. And it will give Ontario schools new tools to help young people understand Islamophobia.
Horwath said generations of Muslim Ontarians who have been a part of the fabric of Ontario deserve action — including young survivor Fayez Afzaal.
“We want Fayez to know that Ontario is his home, and he is welcome, loved and safe here. We want Fayez to grow up knowing that we did everything we possibly could to make sure of that,” said Horwath.
The Our London Families Act will include: