Most of Canadian adults use the internet and social media platforms. Many people have experienced or faced racist, sexist or homophobic comments or content, and have seen or experienced comments or content that incites hatred and racism.
It’s not just the government but in order to get a solution, all Canadians should take a stand, to find ways to address the fear and discrimination they see in their daily lives and that can mutate into violent hate and racism online.
The executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Mohammed Hashim said “I think Canadians need to step up in a way that’s real, we all have crazy uncles. They all say crazy stuff, and I think that we just have to have greater conversations with them because we might think that they’re harmless at home and not doing anything, he added. “But they might be liking something, they might be sharing something online and that fuels this environment.”
Four members of a Muslim family were killed in a “premeditated” vehicle attack on Sunday, The attack took place in the city of London, Ontario province. A boy aged nine, the family’s only survivor, is in hospital with serious injuries “It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim,” it is believed to be a hate crime.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the National Council of Canadian Muslims condemned the attack as a “terrorist act,” This has led to calls for the government to implement hate legislation that would crack down on hateful material posted on the internet.
Experts have warned that legislation needs to be strengthened and modernized so that the same rules apply consistently online. An emergency summit was held by the government on Friday called by the Members of the House of Commons to develop a plan to deal with Islamophobia.
MP Michelle Rempel Garner apologized for not speaking out against proposals her party made in 2015 including the barbaric cultural practices tip line and a niqab ban. She said “Those policies were wrong. To the Muslim community, I’m deeply sorry for not fighting it then. I can assure you I won’t make the same mistake again,”
“None of us can afford to be silent. We have too long watched the debate in the halls of power of our country echo with what clothes a woman should wear, or how those who are oppressed can be protected from themselves, as opposed to enacting real change.”
Hamish said all Canadians have to step up and try to counter the unprecedented speed that hate is spreading online. “Hate is actually fear turned into extreme violence. And what we’re seeing is that fear is being fuelled dramatically, especially online,”
One-third of young people encountered hate speech online, 33% of parents and children were concerned about being exposed to hate speech, A European study in2016 found that a third of young people were worried about being targeted by online hate material, Hate crime committed whether online or offline is illegal, The majority of platforms have community guidelines and specific policies on hate speech which outline what is and isn’t allowed on the platform. If a user breaks these rules their account can be blocked or removed from the platform.
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