Hamilton

Hamilton mayor backs Muslim community push for inclusive city charter

Hamilton's mayor will take the advice of local Muslim leaders Wednesday and push for the city to sign a "charter for inclusive communities." Follow the debates live here.

Follow live here: Council will also vote on the police building, supervised injection sites, Red Hill safety

Three men stand outside the Ibrahim Jame Mosque on Sept. 15, 2016, hours after a man was charged with arson after setting fire to the entrance. (David Beatty/CBC)

Hamilton's mayor will take the advice of local Muslim leaders Wednesday and push for the city to sign a "charter for inclusive communities."

The entire community gets blamed for the actions of a few crazed individuals.- Ali Ghouse, chair of the Muslim Council of Hamilton

Fred Eisenberger will bring forward a motion at a city council meeting for the city to sign the charter.

The charter, which originated with the National Council of Canadian Muslims, affirms that Islamophobia "has no place in Canadian society."

CBC Hamilton reporter Samantha Craggs will tweet live from the meeting at 5 p.m. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC or in the window below.

On mobile? Follow the live blog here.

Follow along with the agenda here.

"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 its forms," the charter reads.

Eisenberger said he was inspired to bring the motion forward after this month's arson at the Ibrahim Jam-E Mosque.

The fire came hours before the 15th anniversary of an arson at the Hindu Samaj Temple on Hamilton Mountain, which burned down four days after 9/11.

Ali Ghouse, chair of the Muslim Council of Hamilton, encourages council to sign the charter, even if it has no immediate tangible impact.

Ghouse said there's a "recent phenomenon" of increased Islamophobia brought on by terrorist attacks.

"The entire community gets blamed for the actions of a few crazed individuals," he said.

By signing the charter, he said, council would be "sending out the right message."

Here's what else is on the agenda Wednesday:

  • Council will ratify spending $100,000 to look at better lighting on the Red Hill Valley and Lincoln Alexander parkways. Preliminary estimates show better lighting could cost as much as $10 million.
  • That city council look at a feasibility study for safe injection sites for drug users as part of the 2017 budget process.
  • Ratifying the decision to take out a $14 million loan on behalf of Hamilton Police Service to build a new forensics building in downtown Hamilton.

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