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A motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination passed the House of Commons by a margin of 201-91 March 23. Photo courtesy of A. Yee via Flickr [https://flic.kr/p/diDhPZ]

Islamophobia motion M-103 passes House of Commons

  • March 28, 2017

OTTAWA  – The House of Commons has passed a motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination, despite concerns about freedom of speech.

M-103 passed second reading March 23 by a 201-91 vote, with the majority of Conservatives voting against the motion that has been the subject of heated debate over the last few months.

First-time Liberal MP Iqra Khalid said after the vote she is “relieved” her private member’s motion now goes to the Standing Committee of Canadian Heritage for study.

Motion M-103, however, has faced criticism because the word Islamophobia is never defined. Khalid, who represents the Mississauga-Erin Mills riding, resisted either defining the word or changing the language to target “anti-Muslim” discrimination.

Khalid told journalists after the vote “changing the wording of the motion would have watered it down.” Motion M-103 calls on the government to “recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear” and to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.”

In its second and final hour of debate March 21, Conservative MP Garnett Genuis told the House he and others would have no problem voting on a motion condemning discrimination against the Muslim community even if it were the only group mentioned.

But Genuis pointed out the word Islamophobia can mean “both discrimination against Muslims and criticism of Islamic doctrine or practice.”

“People should not discriminate against individuals, but should feel quite free to criticize the doctrine, history or practice of any religion,” he said.

Khalid, however, rejected his argument.

“This motion is not legally binding,” she told the House. “In fact, Motion No. 103 serves as a catalyst for Canadians to speak out against discrimination and be heard where they may not have been heard before.”

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