top of page

Heritage Committee - October 4 Meeting

The 76th meeting of the Heritage Committee to discuss systemic racism and religious discrimination was truly remarkable - not for its deliberations but for the manner in which it closed. The meeting was shortened due to a late start and follow on House voting requirements. Liberal members insisted it be closed earlier even as the Conservatives were in the process of pressing some very pointed questions. These queries are noted below in the Ihsaan Gardee section below. This meeting was chaired by MP Van Loan as MP Fry was absent.

As individuals


  • Anver Emon, Professor of Law & Canada Research Chair in Religion, Pluralism, and the Rule of Law, University of Toronto. He stated that Islamophobia is already well entrenched in Canadian jurisprudence. As examples, he used the polygamy case of 2011 and the Barbaric Practices Act of 2015. In the former, he stated Islamic practices were used to establish just how foreign the Bountiful case was to the Canadian context. In the second instance, he offered the Islamic examples used in establishing the Act as evidence of a predisposed inclination that augured against Islam. In neither case did he address the counter argument that Islamic doctrines do, indeed, harbour practices that are out of step with those of a Western, liberal democracy.

  • Jasmin Zine, Professor, Sociology and Muslim Studies Option, Wilfrid Laurier University. She stated that current Canadian law permits the critique of religion but demonization of same falls into a different category - it is this demonization that can lead to instances such as the Quebec City mosque attack of 2017. She did not address the fact that this example might be less than pertinent as no hate or terror charges have been laid in this particular case. Her definition of Islamophobia included an irrational fear of both Islam and Muslims. She closed by recommending dedicated, priority funding to study Islamophobia, develop counter narratives to push back on the stereotyping of certain minorities  and to introduce European-style youth mentoring programs.


National Council of Canadian Muslims


  • Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director of NCCM stated that a singular focus on Islamophobia was absolutely justified due to similar initiatives that dealt with anti-Semitism - not to mention the Quebec City mosque attack of 2017. He presented a definition of Islamophobia that differed from most as it only included discrimination against Muslims and the followers of Islam rather than Islam itself. He concluded with several recommendations including the establishment of 29 January as a "remembrance" day dedicated to the cause of Islamophobia and the founding of both federal  and provincial anti-racism directorates. In the question session, MP Sweet asked where the line between critique of Islam and its demonization occurs and whether or not Mr. Gardee agrees with the TDSB definition of Islamophobia. The question was intercepted by Ms. Zine who stated she didn't mean to say that "demonization" should be criminalized and that the definition of Islamophobia was not as important as the fact that everyone knew what it meant - just as they know what "racism" means.

  • Eve Torres, Public Affairs Coordinator. She stated that the rise of extreme right groups in the country has become a very real problem and the Quebec Muslims do not feel their concerns are being taken seriously.

4:30 p..m. to 5:30 p.m.


Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims

  • Shahid Akhtar, Co-Chair - not accomplished

  • Barbara Landau, Co-chair - not accomplished


Manitoba Islamic Association

  • Osaed Khan, President - not accomplished

  • Idris El-Bakri, Past President - not accomplished


Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Mansoor Pirzada, President - not accomplished

  • Haseen Khan, Executive Committee Member and Treasurer - not accomplished

  • Ayse Akinturk, Executive Committee Member - not accomplished

  • Mahmoud Haddara, Member, Advisory Board - not accomplished

The audio transcript of these proceedings can be heard here:

bottom of page