This week, protests were held across Canada and the world condemning escalating attacks against the Palestinian people.
Numerous public officials were quick to describe these protests as violent and anti-Semitic. When politicians publish reactionary statements without credible evidence, they perpetuate Islamophobic narratives with serious consequences for Canadians.
The CMLA stands against hate of any kind. We recognize that both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia violate human rights and dignity.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the freedom to peaceful assembly and the freedom of expression in Canada, and this extends to protests expressing concerns about the treatment of Palestinians by the state of Israel. Critiquing governmental actions of the state of Israel is not equivalent to anti-Semitism nor does it represent an attack on the Jewish people. When legitimate protests around the state of affairs in Palestine are dismissed as anti-Semitism, this stifles free speech and discourse.
With Islamophobia on the rise, the CMLA calls on all levels of government and law enforcement to:
Recognize and investigate incidents of Islamophobia in relation to protests;
Ensure law enforcement’s interactions with protesters are informed by the impacts of racial bias and profiling; and
Retract and refrain from statements that characterize pro-Palestinian efforts as “anti-Semitic.”
The CMLA is here to help: a) Public Legal Education Workshops
The CMLA will hold free virtual Public Legal Education (PLE) workshops on the following topics:
A Know Your Rights workshop on protesting in Canada
A discussion on Canada’s international human rights obligations.
Please check cmla-acam.ca for further details.
b) The Muslim Legal Support Centre
The Muslim Legal Support Centre (MLSC) is a project of the CMLA which aims to ensure that Muslims in Ontario have equitable access to legal services and fair treatment within the legal system. The MLSC works to increase access to justice by providing legal information and education, referrals and summary legal advice, and by addressing systemic injustice.
Please contact the MLSC at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have, or anyone you know has:
Faced violence or acts of Islamophobia;
Legal inquiries in relation to the protests, had interactions with law enforcement and/or experienced acts of Islamophobia; and
An interest in supporting the legal rights of pro-Palestinian protestors.