PEI

P.E.I. Islamic community reacts to new anti-Islamophobia motion

​Island Muslims are reacting to news out of the House of Commons after politicians passed a motion condemning Islamophobia on Thursday.

Motion M-103 passed Thursday in the House of Commons

Zain Esseghaier, spokesperson for the Muslim Society of P.E.I. said motion M-103 is a good first step to addressing Islamophobia and systemic racism in Canada. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

​Island Muslims are reacting to news out of the House of Commons after politicians passed a motion condemning Islamophobia on Thursday.

The motion calls for the government to condemn Islamophobia and systemic racism.

It also asks the heritage committee to study ways the government should approach reducing and eliminating discrimination.

"I'm really happy that the vote today has shown us positive support for this motion and I'm really looking forward to the committee taking on this study," said Iqra Khalid, the Ontario MP behind the motion.

The motion is non-binding, with some calling it symbolic, but that doesn't mean it wasn't met by opposition.

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid tabled the motion in the House of Commons after her own experiences with Islamophobia. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

Nation wide protests and opposition to the motion in the House of Commons — out of concern it might suppress free speech.

"As I Muslim I welcome any criticism of my religion as long as people don't decide to do me harm," said Zain Esseghaier, spokesperson for the Muslim Society of P.E.I.

It's the kind of opposition that Esseghaier said for him doesn't make sense.

"The fact that certain MP's from certain parties have chosen to oppose the motion is certainly incomprehensible," he said. 

A first step

But Esseghaier also said Thursday's vote is an important step towards educating Canadians on Islam.

"If we do not know something we tend to fear it and reject it," said Esseghaier.

Esseghaier said he thinks the motion is timely given the shootings at a Quebec mosque earlier this year.

"I think there's a climate of fear, a climate of hatred towards minorities, and I don't think Canada is really immune to that," he said. 

Esseghaier said he hopes the motion will bring about more concrete action from the government.