The organizers of our counter-protest today have rightly named the so-called “March for Freedom” a “thinly-veiled anti-Muslim” rally. M-103 is a motion in Parliament that names Islamophobia as something that needs to be condemned. The backlash against M-103 that emphasizes “all religions” is eerily similar to the slogan “All Lives Matter”. These alternatives attempt to erase the issues of violence at hand.
The point of course is that Muslims are facing hatred daily, and to fight this targeted discrimination, it must be named – hatred against Muslims is Islamophobia. It is not enough to say that all religions deserve respect, when a particular religion, Islam, is being villainized, stereotyped, and misrepresented today.
The organizers of our counter-protest today rightly called for the destruction of any platform for the far-right. Instead, today we create:
- A space to condemn neo-Nazis and white nationalists, who hide behind the idea of “free speech” while actually defending white supremacy and the ruling class; we create
- A space to condemn Islamophobes, and those who are unwilling to name and condemn Islamophobia; we create
- A space to condemn those who will not recognize that we are here on stolen Mi’kmaq territory, and that those of us who are settlers in Canada must support decolonization and Indigenous self-determination
Today we create a space to name the Canadian politicians who have rejected M-103 out of a fear of the very word “Islamophobia”:
- Kelli Leitch
- Kevin O’Leary
- Maxime Bernier
- Steven Blaney;
- Andrew Scheer; and more.
Shame on all of them!
Solidarity Halifax strives to build a culture of solidarity. So what does that mean today?
- It means listening to our Muslim comrades and friends
- It means recognizing that there is no single experience of being Muslim, no single experience of Islamophobia
- It means taking opportunities to meet Muslims, to go to mosque open houses, to go to events hosted by Muslim Student Associations; to connect and to unlearn prejudice
- It means committing to self-education and to education in our communities – our families, our workplaces, our classrooms, our organizations, and among our fellow athletes, artists and friends
- It means joining the struggle for the liberation of Palestine, and for an end to imperialist wars that thrive on the spread of Islamophobia
- Solidarity means intervening in situations of Islamophobic harassment
- It means challenging the people in our lives who make Islamophobic statements, who justify attacks on Muslims, and who will not support M-103 because of the use of the word “Islamophobia”
- It means supporting Muslim refugees and migrants, and people from Muslim-majority countries
- It means supporting Muslims in the LGBTQ+ community, Muslim women and non-binary people, disabled Muslims, and Muslim victims and survivors of violence
- Solidarity means condemning racist carding practises by the Halifax police that leave Black people more than 3 times more likely to be carded than white people, and Arab or West Asian people almost twice as likely to be carded as white people; it means recognizing that the Black people named in those stats include Black Muslims
- Solidarity means leaving no space for white supremacist organizing in this city
- It means making space for continued and organized feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-imperial, and anti-capitalist resistance.