The Government of Canada Intends to Appoint a Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia

News release

OTTAWA, January 28, 2022

Islamophobia and hate, in any form, have no place in Canada.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, highlighted the federal government’s intention to appoint a special representative on combatting Islamophobia. This appointment will be part of a renewed Government of Canada Anti-Racism Strategy.

Last year, the Government announced its intention to make January 29 a National Day of Remembrance of the Québec City Mosque Attack and Action against Islamophobia. This year, on the eve of the five-year anniversary of this act of terror, the Government of Canada stands with and supports Muslim communities across Canada and reaffirms its commitment to take action to denounce and tackle Islamophobia and hate-fueled violence.

Islamophobia is a concrete and daily reality for Muslim communities across Canada and around the world. As we honour the victims, we must remember that we have a responsibility to combat discrimination and continue to build a more inclusive Canada.

That is why the federal government held a virtual National Summit on Islamophobia in July 2021. The special representative appointment is one of the recommendations put forward during the Summit and will be an additional step in the government’s ongoing work through the Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy to tackle Islamophobia in all its forms.

Confronting Islamophobia is an important part of this Strategy. It includes a whole-of-government approach to tackling systemic racism with dedicated knowledge and expertise through the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, as well as investments to empower communities to combat different forms of racism, including Islamophobia, and to advance digital and civic literacy initiatives that address online disinformation and hate speech. We are committed to renewing the Anti-Racism Strategy in 2022 with a National Action Plan to expand our efforts to combat hate and racism.

Details on the role and mandate of the special representative will be confirmed at a later date.

Quotes

“In Canada, diversity is a fact but inclusion is a choice. The recent hate crimes fueled by Islamophobia in Canada and around the world remind us of the need to show even more boldness, strength and determination in our fight against hate. We have listened to the lived experiences of Muslim communities from across the country who called for a special representative on combatting Islamophobia. This appointment will be another important step to building a safer and more inclusive Canada for everyone.”

—The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

“After the London terror attack, we called for action. Specifically, we asked the government to build out a special office tasked to dismantle Islamophobia. We are pleased to see the Government of Canada commit to building out this office, and while there is much left to do, this is an important step.”

—Mustafa Farooq, CEO of the National Council of Canadian Muslims

Quick facts

  • As defined in Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, Islamophobia “includes racism, stereotypes, prejudice, fear or acts of hostility directed towards individual Muslims or followers of Islam in general. In addition to individual acts of intolerance and racial profiling, Islamophobia can lead to viewing and treating Muslims as a greater security threat on an institutional, systemic and societal level.”

  • On July 22, 2021, the Government of Canada hosted a National Summit on Islamophobia, which helped to identify ways the federal government could work with Muslim communities to implement federal anti-racism initiatives that specifically address Islamophobia and hate-fueled violence.

  • In the 2021 Speech from the Throne, the Government reiterated its commitment to combatting hate and racism, including with a renewed Anti-Racism Strategy. 

  • In 2021, the Government of Canada provided more than $6 million in funding to 150 projects to support communities at risk of hate-motivated crime through the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program (SIP).

  • In 2021, we added additional ideology-motivated violence extremist groups to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities. Consult the news release on this subject.

  • In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada provided $50 million over two years, starting in 2021–22, to expand the Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program and the Anti-Racism Action Program to deliver on the government’s anti-racism objectives, including by expanding the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat.

  • In its efforts to combat Islamophobia, on January 28, 2021, the Government of Canada announced its intent to declare January 29 the National Day of Remembrance of the Québec City Mosque Attack and Action against Islamophobia.

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Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Arevig Afarian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
arevig.afarian@infc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
pch.media-media.pch@canada.ca

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