The Canadian Muslim Alliance is appalled by the open message of intolerance and prejudice made by the Councillor of Anjou, Mrs Lynne Shand.
Although she claims that she is not racist, her words clearly express otherwise. It is through dehumanizing remarks like these and intolerant Islamophobic rhetoric that we make such tragedies that occurred in Quebec City on January 29th 2017 and in New Zealand on March 15th 2019 possible.
As Phillipe Couillard stated after the tragedy in Quebec City: “Words matter.”
As the Muslim community all over the world is still reeling from the tragedy that took place days ago in New Zealand, we are forced to deal with xenophobic and degrading rhetoric like this.
By dehumanizing any subset of society by means of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or xenophobia, it becomes easier to oppress them as they are no longer considered humans but as veils or beards. By creating an “us versus them” sentiment, we promote the idea that “they” are a threat that needs to be stopped.
She has apologized which is always a sign of good leadership – albeit after a great public outcry. However, being in a position of power, these types of comments not only stimulate hatred, but make it acceptable in society. They are not acceptable. Therefore, we demand that, as a responsible leader, she resigns from her post and be held accountable for what she has stated.
It has come to our attention that she is a subscriber of the “La Meute Facebook closed group”. It is very troubling to find that an elected official is part of any such group. Association to similar groups that promote hatred and violence would not be tolerated for an average citizen, let alone an elected official. Can we imagine an elected official being a member of ISIS’ Facebook page? It would not be tolerated!
We enthusiastically request the borough councils and the executive committee at the City of Montreal to condemn this unanimously so no other elected official in this beautiful City of Montreal repeats offensive words which can be easily categorized as hate speech.
We strongly appeal to all the City officials to condemn this using the word “Islamophobia” and call it what it is, so the Muslim community can relate and feel a sense of reassurance that their elected officials are aware of their distress and represent them during these troubling times.
To our fellow citizens, Muslim and those who do not adhere to the Muslim faith, we are all in this situation together, the seeds we sow today will give us the fruit we reap tomorrow. We are all looking for a safe and comfortable life for ourselves, our children and our generations to come in this charming country. This can only happen in an environment of tolerance. We need to make our voices heard that we will not allow this type of intolerance and a simple apology is not enough – especially from people in positions of authority.