National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia
January 29 marks the second National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia. On this date in 2017, six worshippers lost their lives at a Québec City mosque.
Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufiane, and Aboubaker Thabti were fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, and community members. Today we remember this senseless act of violence and reflect on the ongoing presence of Islamophobia, xenophobia and racism in Canadian society. We also renew our call to action as a strong and united national labour movement working to challenge Islamophobia.
Islamophobia, a form of systemic racism and religious discrimination, is generally defined as the irrational fear and hatred of the religion of Islam or Muslims. Canadian Muslims account for 3.2% of the Canadian population yet, in the last five years, have been killed in targeted hate attacks in Canada more than in any other G7 country. For Ontarians, this hit close to home in June 2021 when three generations of the Afzaal family were killed while out for a walk in the City of London due to one individual’s hate. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Examples of Islamophobic attacks are noted on the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) Hate Crimes Map and website.
UFCW Canada recognizes that Islamophobia is deeply rooted and systemic in our society. Last June UFCW Canada joined the NCCM and leading organizations across the country in calling for a National Action Summit on Islamophobia. We also continue to support NCCM’s #Green Square Campaign.
In representing a quarter of a million workers nationally, UFCW Canada understands that eliminating Islamophobia requires a multi-level approach as it impacts every aspect of Canadian society including healthcare, education, employment, and personal safety. Islamophobia has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the increased presence of stigma and stereotypes against Muslims, particularly online.
As we talk about what an anti-racist post pandemic recovery looks like, we highlight the national #Stop the Hate campaign. One of the actions in this campaign calls on the federal government to use an inter-ministerial and inter-jurisdictional approach to support the work of the Anti-Racism Secretariat in combatting Islamophobia and intersecting oppression. Sign the petition now at www.ufcw.ca/stopthehate.
In the workplace, this day of remembrance is also an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with UFCW Canada Anti-Islamophobia resources, created in partnership with the NCCM:
On this date, and everyday let us continue to support organizations leading this fight and continue to affirm our solidarity with Muslim communities across Canada.
To find out more about UFCW Canada’s Social Justice work, click here.