Liberal government backing controversial motion on condemning Islamophobia

Published on February 15, 2017

Justice MinisterJody Wilson-Raybould addresses the First Nations "Expanding the Circle" conference, in Ottawa on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is coming out strongly in favour of a motion to condemn Islamophobia.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly says passing the non-binding motion would send a strong message about discrimination against the Muslim community, particularly in light of the recent deadly attack on a mosque in Quebec City.

The private member's motion, put forward by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, was scheduled to be debated in the House of Commons later today.

It calls on the government to "recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear" and condemn Islamophobia, as well as all other kinds of racism and religious discrimination.

If passed, the Commons heritage committee would also be asked to study the issue.

A number of Conservative MPs have called for the motion to be more inclusive, warning it risks stifling freedom of expression by preventing criticism of elements of Islam or Muslim culture, such as the face-covering veil known as the niqab.

The Canadian Press