Challenging Racism and Violence in the Media Through Education
Arab, Muslim and Anti-racism groups call for an end to discrimination
|(Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) - 09 September 2002)|
Muslim and anti-racism groups came together to remember the victims of
September 11 and to call on Canadians to reflect on the diminishing
civil liberties and the legal, social and political changes in Canada
over the past year.
“Today, as we commemorate the tragic and fateful events of September 11, 2002, it behooves us as a society to reflect on how we have handled ourselves over the past year in the face of fear, hate and violence,” said Raja Khouri, CAF National President.
Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) and
National Anti-Racism Council of Canada (NARC) examined the impact of
racism, mass detentions, the Anti-terrorism Act, and the actions of CSIS
on the Arab and Muslim communities.
They found an overwhelming sense of fear, alienation and
communities are being “viewed as suspect and having to explain
themselves as loyal citizens. Arabs,
Muslims and other minorities have had to defend their religion and
demonstrate its goodness, and at times have hidden or denied their
ethnicity in a bid to escape scrutiny,” said Mr. Khouri.
effect on our communities is that, like our Japanese Canadian
counterparts during World War II, we too have become victims of
released the findings of a comprehensive, national study of the needs
and aspirations of Arab Canadians held between November 2001 and
February 2002, titled Arabs
in Canada: Proudly Canadian and Marginalized.
The study found that while Arab Canadians are proud to be part of
Canada’s culturally diverse society and are integrating well into
Canadian life, they face racism and discrimination and government
indifference to their concerns.
which has been monitoring the effect of September 11th on
communities of colour and immigrant and refugee communities, criticized
the Canadian government's actions following the fateful tragedy.
“We are extremely concerned that our government has in fact
engaged in activities which reinforce racial hatred, particularly
towards Canadians of Arab descent and the Muslim faith, and towards
immigrants and refugees,” said Avvy Go of NARC. “The Anti-terrorism
Act only adds to the illogical fear about Muslim and Arab Canadians and
makes racial profiling a legitimate measure to counter terrorism.”
commenting on the Anti-terrorism Act, Ziyaad Mia of the MLA said the
Canadian government, motivated more by economic fears than the fear of
terrorism, “cynically used the hysteria of fear and emergency to
justify the introduction of unprecedented and permanent powers, many of
which are an affront to the fundamental principles of justice and
threaten our civil rights.”
Mia called on the Canadian government to undertake a number of measures,
decisively to ensure that Muslims and Arabs in Canada are not vilified
Canadians in an open, accessible and inclusive public review of the need
for the Anti-terrorism Act
an open, accessible and inclusive public review of the use of police and
CSIS powers in the fight against terrorism
a substantive review of the impact of police and CSIS powers under the
Anti-terrorism Act on Canada’s Muslim, Arab and other minority
today also released CSIS and Your
Rights: An Arab Canadian Guide, listing the role of CSIS, the
rights of Canadian citizens in dealing with it, and guidelines and
resources for community members. CAF
feels that in light of the recent history of CSIS’s dealings with the
Arab and Muslim communities, such a guide is warranted to prevent abuses
and ensure everyone is aware of their rights.
complete and summary versions of the study report Arabs
in Canada: Proudly Canadian and Marginalized and CSIS
and Your Rights: An Arab Canadian Guide may be downloaded
from CAF’s web site at www.caf.ca