Deconstructing Islamophobia: Discussion on the first anniversary of the Quebec Masjid Massacre

We mark the first anniversary of the Quebec Masjid Massacre, by taking time to reflect on the events affect with a series of rotating panel discussions with leading experts sharing their lived experiences and analysis in deconstructing the state of Islamophobia in Canada.

The six victims were: Ibrahima Barry (aged 39), Mamadou Tanou Barry (aged 42),
Khaled Belkacemi (aged 60), Aboubaker Thabti (aged 44), Abdelkrim Hassane (aged 41) and Azzedine Soufiane (aged 57), they left 17 children and their families fatherless;
up to 19 were injured in a mass shooting in the Masjid at the Islamic Cultural Center
of Quebec City on Jan 29 2017.

Panel Discussion Titled: Deconstructing Islamophobia: Voices Heard, Unheard & Ignored
held on Jan 29, 2018 – click on the links below to hear the discussion.

In this segment we are joined with Dalhousie University student leader Masuma Khan, who is facing a backlash for criticizing “white fragility” and standing with Indigenous Peoples on Canada 150 celebrations.
And Immigration Lawyer Zool Suleman recently awarded the title of “Queen’s Counsel”, by the Attorney General of British Columbia for his contributions to the law, Zool is a co-founder of the Islamophobia Hotline in BC and publisher of Rungh Magazine.

In this segment we are joined with
Ava Homa – a celebrated writer, journalist,
and political analyst specializing in women
issues and Middle Eastern affairs and
Irfan Chaudry – lead researcher with the
Alberta Hate Crime Committee.

Sunera Thobani a feminist sociologist, academic, and activist.
Her research interests include critical race theory, postcolonial feminism, anti-imperialism, Islamophobia, Indigeneity, and the War on Terror, is joined with Ryan Scrivens a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Concordia University, with primary research interests in hate crime, right-wing extremism, countering violent extremism.

Andrew Mitrovica – an award winning investigative reporter
and journalism instructor writing for a variety of
Canadian news organizations and publications, and
Yavar Hameed – a Human rights lawyer based in Ottawa,
interested in resistance and struggles for social justice.

Fathima Cader a public interest and human rights lawyer,
Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui a doctoral candidate at McMaster University, researching the immigrant experience, including race/ethnicity and identity and issues relating to immigrant/refugee integration, racism, Islamophobia; and
El-Farouk Khaki a Toronto based, immigration lawyer, and human rights activist on issues including gender equality, sexual orientation, and progressive Islam.

Imtiaz Popat a media Producer working in film, radio,
television & community activist, and
Gurpreet Singh an independent journalist,
author involved in social justice activism, and
publisher of the magazine Radical Desi.

We mark the first anniversary of the Quebec Masjid Massacre, by taking time to reflect on the events a/effects in a series of panel discussions with leading experts sharing their lived experiences and analysis in deconstructing the state of Islamophobia in Canada.  The series is dedicated to the families and individuals impacted by this tragedy.

Deconstructing Islamophobia: Voices Unheard & Ignored a live panel discussion with critical analysis aired on January 29, 2018 on Vancouver CoopRadio & is archived here.
This series extends the discussions titled “Unpacking Antiterrorism” held from 2014-2017 on the various iterations of Canada’s Anti-terror legislation and its a/effect on Muslim communities.

The only suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette, has been charged for murder of 6 men, leaving 17 children and their families fatherless.  He injured up to 19 in a mass shooting when he opened fired in the Masjid at the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec City on Jan 29 2017.

Muslim communities across the country, already suffering post-traumatic stress from the cognitive dissonance of doublespeak, are now left to negotiate an evermore emboldened environment of hate.  Constantly profiled as terrorist threats to public security, and cultural threats to an ever Whitening sense of Canadiana increasing agitating for their exclusion – despite a state rhetoric of multiculturalism and pluralism, of diversity and inclusion – Muslims are increasingly targeted by the national security apparatus and daily through macro-and-micro-aggressions in the course of living their lives by “Arian specimens” who claim a greater legitimacy of existence.

Muslims in Canada today live in a society with over 100 white supremacist groups. While these groups have a history of targeting a range of minorities and while Muslims are not the only groups; the number of police-reported hate crimes targeting Muslims more than tripled nationally between 2012 and 2015, representing an increase of 253% according to Statistics Canada; and doubled in Quebec City in 2017.

The Quebec Masjid Massacre is another brutal assertion of who belongs and who does not; repeating a history – And raises some important and large questions we discuss with our panelists:
What are the lessons we can draw from this event?

What have we learned? What has changed – if anything?

What are we integrating into? Are we fighting? And if so for what?

In the year since, What has surprised us?

What are those, who experience Othering, despite the state and national rhetoric of Multiculturalism and Pluralism and Inclusion, to do? Are our expectations realistic?

These questions are not new, they are large, persistent and complex; and living in troubling times demand that we embark on initiating entry points in thinking through them. This series  explores and analyzes the contexts surrounding these questions, the issues, concerns and implications arising from them in a series of rotating 30 minute conversations with leading experts: Sunera Thobani, Fathima Cader, Irfan Chaudry, Zool Suleman, Masuma Khan, Ava Homa, Andrew Mitrovica, Ryan Scrivens, Yaver Hameed, El-Farouk Khaki, Imtiaz Popat, Gurpreet Singh, and Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui, is hosted by Alnoor Gova.  We acknowledge that there are several voices and constituencies missing from this list of panelists and we intend to speak to more people and include more diversity on this panel in the weeks ahead.  We hope they help listeners better inform themselves about intersectionalities and responsibilities  inherent in being Muslim and Canadian.