The National Council of Canadian Muslims called upon London to help take a stand against Islamophobia.
London was among six Canadian cities to host a news conference Monday morning, calling on people to endorse a charter calling for inclusive communities.
Huron University College Chair of Islamic Studies, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, was one of the speakers at the London event.
“What happens very often is Canadians will say, ‘look at those violent extremists acting in the name of Islam or Islamic extremists, Muslim extremists’, not seeing that in fact the victims, almost all of the victims or the vast majority are Muslims. That’s part of the problem is who do we identify with?”
Dr. Mattson adds that combating Islamophobia takes a shift in perspective.
“What we all need to do and really is the moral act, is for all of us to say ‘I’m not going to see my neighbour or my co-worker through the filter of those perpetrators of violence in the news but I’m really going to meet them for who they are and try to get to know them for who they are’ and it really takes some effort but that’s what we need to do today to live peacefully together.”
Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, London Fanshawe New Democrat MP Irene Mathyssen and London West New Democrat MPP Peggy Sattler were among the dignitaries in attendance at the Covent Garden Market.
Mathyssen encourages Canadians to go out and meet their neighbours.
“Find out about what they’re doing, what they’re thinking, find out about their kids, their family, and you will discover they are so much like you.”
Windsor, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver also took part.
Residents are encouraged to sign and support the Charter for Inclusive Communities which stresses the following:
- Islamophobia, like all other forms of racism, hate, xenophobia, and bigotry, has no place in Canadian society
- Discrimination and acts of hate against anyone, marginalize individuals and communities and exclude them from participating fully in society and fulfilling their potential
- The dignity of every person in Canada is essential to a healthy and vibrant society
- Everyone in Canada has a role to play in creating safe environments for us all
- All levels of government, civil society, communities, and public officials have a duty to work together in developing policies, programs and initiatives to reduce and eliminate Islamophobia in all of its forms
- By working together, we can nurture inclusive communities and strengthen our shared commitment to Canada’s values of equality, respect, justice, and the dignity of all persons.