This column is an opinion by Mustafa Farooq, a lawyer and the CEO of the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims. For extra details about CBC’s Opinion part, please see the FAQ.
This week, days earlier than the fourth anniversary of the Quebec Metropolis mosque capturing, a movement handed unanimously within the Home of Commons calling for the federal government to “use all obtainable instruments to deal with the proliferation of white supremacist and hate teams,” and to listing the Proud Boys as a “terrorist entity.” A transparent sign is being despatched that motion must be taken – however way more must be executed.
The movement, which is now being thought-about by the federal government, was a vindication of the various Canadians who got here collectively within the fall of 2020 to demand the introduction of a bipartisan nationwide motion plan to dismantle white supremacist and neo-Nazi teams that function in Canada.
Take into account that these Canadians gathered collectively, and achieved essential commitments from our authorities leaders, effectively earlier than the occasions on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. And there is a vital motive why.
The riot at Capitol Hill this month prompted routine warnings of how Canada should not really feel proof against the violence of white supremacy and racist populism. “It may occur right here!” we’re informed repeatedly. This tiresome cliché overlooks how Canada is already sick with the illness of violent white supremacist teams.
That truth will not be clear to those that refuse to see these previous few years via the eyes of their Muslim neighbours, a lot of whom know that our authorities must be doing extra to struggle towards alt-right organizations.
The assault in Toronto final yr by which a mosque caretaker named Mohamed-Aslim Zafis was stabbed to loss of life by a person apparently linked to a neo-Nazi occultist group made few headlines. The suspect reportedly has hyperlinks to the Order of the 9 Angles (O9A), a lethal neo-Nazi group. Our neighborhood hasn’t stopped reeling since.
In actual fact, most of us have not gotten over the killing of six Muslim worshippers inside a Quebec Metropolis mosque in 2017.
And this previous summer time, mosques in downtown Toronto and Edmonton have been vandalized repeatedly, with smashed home windows and graffiti.
The concern, trauma, and dread change into extra acute once we witness racist, militarist teams just like the Three Percenters spewing hate towards Muslims in Canada. Their Islamophobic members prepare with firearms and stake out mosques. Then there’s The Base, one other neo-Nazi militia with its fair proportion of individuals in Canada, together with within the navy. The listing goes on and on.
What are we presupposed to do about this?
The answer means taking a complete method, knowledgeable by a robust emphasis on civil liberties, to dismantle white supremacist organizations.
The Muslim neighborhood, amongst many others, has had its criticisms of our nation’s anti-terror laws (and to be clear, we aren’t proposing an growth of that laws). However so long as these legal guidelines are round, provisions underneath the Felony Code resembling part 70, which can be utilized to ban militia teams, could possibly be used to dismantle hate teams in order that they cannot bodily plan or set up.
In 2019, for instance, Canada added a pair of white supremacist and neo-Nazi teams — Blood and Honour, and Fight 18 — to its listing of terrorism organizations for the primary time.
Moreover, as these organizations proceed to function, it turns into clear that we have to ask how our nationwide safety businesses have failed Canadians by refusing to take care of the problem of white supremacy.
The holes in our anti-terror and nationwide safety infrastructure level to the necessity for a full and clear evaluate. How have our businesses been preventing white supremacist hate teams? And has their concentrate on the Muslim neighborhood, the environmental motion, Indigenous of us, and different racialized communities allowed a pernicious risk to develop unabated?
Then there are the clearly anti-immigrant and usually violent teams resembling Troopers of Odin, which bodily patrol metropolis streets searching for “prison immigrants.” It’s vital that we develop new legislative approaches, whether or not prison or regulatory, which are particularly designed to determine white supremacist teams as white supremacist teams.
Additionally it is essential to make sure that civil liberties teams are consulted on easy methods to fight the difficulty of white supremacists organizing and speaking on-line.
Alexandre Bissonnette was uncovered to Islamophobia on-line and browsed websites linked to white supremacists earlier than he killed six individuals and injured 19 others on the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec Metropolis on Jan. 29, 2017. We want new, up-to-date legal guidelines which are balanced and constitutionally sound to disrupt far-right extremist boards, social media platforms, and on-line chat rooms.
Mosques and different establishments which were focused need assistance with safety and safety, as effectively. They’re eligible to obtain funding via Public Security Canada’s Safety Infrastructure Program (SIP), however the course of is sluggish. Months go by earlier than funding is obtained to construct new gates, put in cameras, and construct a safety infrastructure. As a substitute, this system ought to present rebates after the work is completed.
Canada’s Muslim neighborhood shouldn’t be the one one asking these questions. These common sense concepts have broad help throughout many communities, significantly racialized ones. Whereas many teams elevate legitimate issues in regards to the attain of anti-terrorism laws and have questions on freedom of speech points, we consider that many Canadians, no matter neighborhood and as indicated by the unanimous consent movement in Parliament, are on the identical web page relating to white supremacist organizations.
Sufficient is sufficient.
However phrases imply little. Constructing a safer nation takes political will. It takes motion.
There is a broad consensus amongst Canadians that we have to act. The unanimous consent movement within the Home of Commons on the eve of the anniversary of the Quebec Metropolis mosque capturing demonstrates that. All eyes are on our MPs and officers to comply with via.