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Canadian parliament starts debating anti-Islamophobia motion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A view of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa (file photo)

Canadian lawmakers have started a formal process to approve or reject a legal motion against Islamophobia and systemic racism.

The formal debate among legislators on Motion 103 got underway on Wednesday night, according to local media outlets.

The proposed bill had been put into motion by Pakistani-born Liberal lawmaker Iqra Khalid last December.

Khalid said that, if approved, the bill would “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday night, Khalid said she did not understand why anyone would oppose it.

The proposed bill proposes a framework for a House committee to study how the government could reduce systemic racism, collect additional data for hate crimes reports, and report back to the House within eight months.

Liberal Canadian MP Iqra Khalid defends an anti-Islamophobia motion on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada, February 15, 2017.

Earlier on Wednesday, Khalid had defended the motion at a press conference held in front of the House.

“This motion is about having a study on how we can tackle important issues like systemic racism and religious discrimination in Canada. It’s calling for a study. It’s calling for a dialog,” she said.

Lawmakers opposed to the anti-Islamophobia motion claim that it is against freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Canadian Muslims has called on lawmakers to vote in favor of the motion, particularly in the wake of a shooting that targeted Muslims at a mosque in Quebec City. Six people were killed in the late January attack.

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