A disgusting act of murderous Islamophobia has cost the lives of four people in London, Ontario. With love and outrage we stand with the family and friends of those lost on June 6th.
The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) stands in solidarity with Muslim communities in South Western Ontario and across the province, who are the broader intended target of this terrorist act.
Sadly, Sunday’s act of mass murder is far from an isolated act of violence. We also remember the six men shot and killed by a white supremacist at a Quebec City mosque in 2017, and we remember Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, who was killed by a neo-Nazi outside of a mosque in Toronto last fall. Muslims in Canada face violence, harrassment and discrimination across the country on a daily basis. We pledge to redouble our efforts to stand with our Muslim comrades and friends who have never stopped resisting and organizing.
It is no longer news that ultra-right and fascist groups have grown in recent years. London, Ontario has a long history of Nazi and white supremacist organizing going back decades. Most recently the Islamophobic PEGIDA group and the fascist militia the Three Percenters organized a series of protests in 2017 in London. Canada has hate speech laws that are rarely enforced, especially when hatred is directed at Muslims. This must end and white supremacist and fascist organizations must be prosecuted as the criminal organizations they are.
A main source of this hate also comes from the “mainstream”. Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist acts are widespread because ideologies of hate have been purposely promoted and coddled by media and politicians for many decades. Before Donald Trump was elected south of the border, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party introduced the racist “Barbaric Cultural Practices Act” and floated a Niqab ban in the 2015 election. One of Doug Ford’s first initiatives upon election was the so-called “Free Speech” policy which threatens post-secondary institutions with defunding if there are checks on hate-speech activities on campus, including anti-hate protests organized by students. This was used by Maxime Bernier’s racist and xenophobic “People’s Party” in the 2019 federal election to gain access to Ontario campuses. We should also remember Ford’s reluctance to disassociate himself from Faith Goldy, a white nationalist and Islamophobic media personality who came in third place in the last Toronto mayoral race.
The Conservative Party’s ties to explicitly white supremacist figures are clear, but it is not just the Conservatives who have helped to fan the flames of Islamophobia in the political arena. The Liberal Party and Trudeau himself, then in opposition, voted for the dog whistle “Barbaric Cultural Practices Act” in 2015. The Liberals have maintained most of Bill C-51 which expanded CSIS powers that are often used to attack Muslims in Canada and it was that party that expanded other security state laws after 2001. The current Liberal government also maintains xenophobic immigration policies such as the “Safe Third Country Agreement”.
Canada’s Islamophobia problem cannot be understood in isolation. The main reason for Islamophobia’s current strength is the US and NATO’s imperialist expansion in resource rich, majority Muslim countries. Under the guise of the “war on terror” and “responsibility to protect,” the US has been involved in a permanent war in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia since 2001 resulting in the deaths of at least a million people and the displacement of thirty-seven million. The United States has dropped an average of 46 bombs a day on these regions for the last twenty years. Canada has sent troops to Afghanistan, helped to bomb Libya and Syria and currently has troops in Iraq. Ideologies used to justify war and occupation find their way home.
This phenomenon can also be seen in the rising anti-Chinese and anti-Asian racist violence accompanying the intensification of new Cold War propaganda from corporate media and politicians against China. These are very dangerous developments for world peace and provide more fuel to white supremacy here in Canada.
This dangerous rise of racism is taking place at a time when the vast majority of people are facing poverty and economic insecurity on a planet that is being thrown into climate chaos. Islamophobia, along with other forms of racism and xenophobia, are an integral part of the social crisis caused by capitalism.
The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) unites with all those expressing outrage, demanding justice and acknowledging that Islamophobia must be isolated and ended.