Montreal

Researcher who raised concerns about Quebec Islamophobia leaves anti-radicalization centre

Hicham Tiflati, a researcher at Montreal's new anti-radicalization centre, argued in an opinion piece that Quebec Islamophobia "seems to be unique, and quite worrisome."

Hicham Tiflati argued in op-ed province's anti-Muslim sentiment 'seems to be unique, and quite worrisome'

Hicham Tiflati says anti-Muslim sentiment in Quebec is "worrisome." (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

A researcher at Montreal's new anti-radicalization centre has left his job days after writing an opinion piece raising concerns about Islamophobia in Quebec.

Hicham Tiflati's article, titled "Quebec needs to confront its Islamophobia problem," was published Dec. 14 in the Toronto Star without the centre's knowledge.

"While Islamophobia and anti-Muslim animus exists throughout Canada, the nature of it in Quebec seems to be unique, and quite worrisome," he wrote in the op-ed.

Tiflati told CBC News the article is based on interviews with Muslims in Quebec who don't feel welcome in the province. 

In it, he also cites a 2015 Quebec Human Rights Commission survey that found 43 per cent of Quebecers believe we should be suspicious of anyone who openly expresses their religion, and 49 per cent of people expressed some uneasiness around the sight of Muslim veils.

Hicham Tiflati says the decision to leave Montreal's anti-radicalization centre was mutual. (LinkedIn)
But Tiflati says the piece has been misquoted by French-language media outlets and that his reputation has been tarnished.

"This is just a form of character assassination," he said. 

Tiflati said the decision to leave his job as a researcher at the centre was mutual.

"We decided that it was better for me as someone who cares about the centre," he said.

A representative from the anti-radicalization centre confirmed it no longer has ties to Tiflati but would not offer any further information.

The centre, intended to help families worried their children or relatives may be turning towards extremism, was officially inaugurated this November. 

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