Islamophobia in Canada has been recognized a priority area for research and documentation as acknowledged in Motion 103 (M-103) which passed in the House of Commons on March 23, 2017. M-103 called on the Canadian government to "condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” asking the government to "recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear.” The motion was passed after the tragic attack in a Quebec mosque in 2017 where six men were shot dead after evening prayers, shocking the nation and challenging the ideals of multiculturalism.
This study supports M-103 through its objectives to analyze, document and map the Islamophobia industry in Canada. The Islamophobia industry perpetuates fear and negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims, leading to hate, violence and discrimination. It is comprised of media outlets, political figures, academics, think tanks, far right groups and ideologues, and the donors who fund their campaigns. These individuals, groups, and institutions comprise a network that supports and engages in activities that demonize and marginalize Islam and Muslims in Canada.
Since the 9/11 tragedy, Muslims have been more openly vilified and targeted. Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada grew 253% from 2012–2015. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) has developed an online hate crimes map to show the impact of these incidents across the country. A 2007 Environics poll revealed that 66% of Muslims surveyed were concerned about discrimination and that 30% were “very concerned.” These concerns were validated by a 2017 Angus Reid survey that found 43% of Canadians had unfavourable views of Islam as compared to other faiths. A 2016 Leger poll found a steady decline in Francophone views of Islam since 2012, with 48% of Quebec respondents holding negative views. Alarmingly, a year prior at the same Quebec mosque where the 2017 attack occurred, a pig’s head with a sign that said “bon appétit” was left at the door.
As a partner in this study, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) plays a vital role in identifying, analyzing, and mapping the Islamophobia industry that stimulates the kind of fear and moral panic that leads to violence and hate. This strategic collaboration allows for a better understanding of how the Canadian Islamophobia industry operates as a network of political, ideological, institutional, and economic ties, promoting anti-Muslim racism. This partnership supports and enhances the mission and mandate of the NCCM in promoting human rights activism and developing strategies for anti-discrimination, community outreach, media relations, and public advocacy.
The study is organized around the following objectives:
To achieve these objectives, the research team headed by Professor Jasmin Zine and the NCCM have employed Social Network Analysis (SNA) and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to examine relevant media, speeches, websites, and videos relating to key political figures, organizations, media outlets and alt-right groups and white nationalist groups that purvey Islamophobic agendas. This partnership is working to make academic research relevant and accessible within policy and community forums to support community advocacy and social justice interests.
Stay tuned for upcoming book publication and opportunities.
If you are interested in doing graduate research in the area of Islamophobia, get in touch to discuss possibilities. If you are interested in undergraduate study in the area of Islamaphobia, consider Laurier’s Muslim Studies Option or Religion and Culture program.
Jasmin Zine, Lead Researcher
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