28 and 29 janvier. We Refuse to Forget. Neighbourhood Rallies against Islamophobia / anti-Muslim Racism in Montreal.

Media Advisory

We Refuse to Forget. Neighbourhood Rallies against Islamophobia / anti-Muslim Racism in Montreal.

Côte des neiges / NDG / Westmount: Community gathering and candlelight march at Unitarian Church of Montreal, 5035 de Maisonneuve W., Sunday 28th January at 4 p.m.
McGill: Rally on the stairs of the Arts Building, Monday, 29th January at 12:15pm
Hochelaga: Rally at Pie-IX metro, East exit, Monday, 29th January at 5pm
Plateau: Rally in front of Mont Royal Metro, Monday, 29th January at 5pm
Verdun: Rally in front of Verdun Metro, Monday, 29th January at 5pm
Villeray: Rally in front of Jean Talon metro (exit Tour Jean Talon), Monday 29th January at 5pm
Montréal nord: Rally on corner of Henri-Bourassa and Lacordaire, Monday 29th January at 6pm

January 29th, 2018 marks one year since 6 men were killed and 19 wounded at the Grande Mosquée de Québec in an act of racist hatred against Muslims. Under the banner, "We Refuse to Forget; We Reject Islamophobia / anti-Muslim Racism," community rallies are being organized on 28 and 29 January in at least 7 Montreal neighbourhoods.

The attack on the Grande Mosquée de Québec was not an isolated event, but a reflection of mounting anti-Muslim racism in Quebec. Many Muslims have experienced discrimination, harassment, physical attacks, and insults on the streets and at work. Other mosques and Muslim schools have been vandalized.

In 2016, Quebec saw 327 hate crimes reported to the police. This represents a 20% increase from the previous year. Montreal alone saw 59 reported hate crimes against Islam and 35 reported hate crimes against Arabs or Western Asians in 2017. The SPVM also recorded a rise of hate "incidents" in Montreal – from death threats to throwing eggs at a mosque. Many of these incidents happened at places of worship. These numbers do not include many more acts of anti-Muslim racism that go unreported.[1]

This anti-Muslim racism has been fueled by political initiatives such as the public forums on "reasonable accommodation," the introduction of the "Charte des valeurs," and Bill 62. The cancellation of the planned commission on systemic racism, the outrageous refusal of the Parti Québecois and the Coalition Avenir Québec to acknowledge the attack on the Grande Mosquée as an act of Islamophobia, and the failure of Premier Philippe Couillard, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume to recognize 29 January as a day of action against Islamophobia are symptomatic of the complicity of political leaders. Media outlets have also played a significant role in spreading racist misinformation and fear. In this context, explicitly anti-Muslim, far-right groups have been able to march openly in our streets.

The climate in Quebec is not unique. An Angus Reid poll taken two weeks after the Quebec City mosque massacre found 46 per cent of Canadians hold negative views of Islam. There was a 253 per cent increase in police-reported hate crimes against Canadian Muslims from 2012-15. The National Council on Canadian Muslims must keep its map of anti-Muslim racist acts continually updated.[2]

In much of the West, Muslims are targeted. This is political and systemic. Muslims are treated as scapegoats as austerity measures are implemented; "outsiders" who don't share "our values" in re-assertions of white supremacy; and "security threats" to justify closing national borders and to conceal the economic interests in imperialist wars.

Ibrahima Barry
Mamadou Tanou Barry
Khaled Belkacemi
Abdelkrim Hassane
Azzedine Soufiane
Aboubaker Thabti

We refuse to forget. We reject Islamophobia.


Contacts for media:

Comité 29 janvier CDN/NDG/Westmount
Dolores, 514-885-5976

Comité 29 janvier Plateau Mont Royal
Mary Ellen (FR/EN), 514 270-7983

Verdun Neighbours In Rage Against Islamophobia!
Anne-Marie, verdunlibre@gmail.com

Villeray contre l'Islamophobie

Montréal nord
tél. 514 759 0726 poste 201

[1] Le SPVM ; Statistics Canada
[2] Matthew Behrens, Trudeau government still targets Muslims as threat, rabble.ca, 24 January 2018

"Those six men killed and the five injured came here to this place called Canada, because they were pushed out of other places they called home. The murdered and the murderer did not suddenly appear before each other as if conjured outside of history. […] If people do ask, they wonder how could this be avoided? But to answer that, we have to go back as much as forward. We can’t change the future without understanding the past. How can we make Muslims less replaceable, less killable in the eyes of the murderer? That would mean an end to every war against Muslims, where over and over, those bodies, our bodies, are made disposable. What would it take to ensure that no one was pushed out of their home, that everyone had the right to return? […] Muslims are [presented as] deportable, extinguishable, killable terrorists. Why wouldn’t a young man in Canada, seeing [these perspectives in] the news, think it was acceptable, perhaps even necessary, to murder?"  – sk hussan