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Premier noncommittal about supporting NDP’s 'Our London Family Act' to combat Islamophobia

The London Muslim Mosque is seen in London, Ont. on Feb 25, 2022. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV London) The London Muslim Mosque is seen in London, Ont. on Feb 25, 2022. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV London)

Community leaders in London are hoping that partisan politics and the upcoming provincial election don’t delay new anti-Islamophobia legislation recently introduced at Queens Park.

“We’ve been up to Queens Park,” says Nawaz Tahir with the London Muslim Mosque. “We are very hopeful that by the time this comes for a vote, that it will be passed and given royal ascent before the next election.”

On Wednesday, the Ontario NDP introduced the ‘Our London Family Act’ at Queens Park, named in honour of the Afzaal family.

Eight months ago, four family members were killed in what police called a targeted attack because of their religion.

On a campaign-style swing through London and Middlesex County, Premier Doug Ford was noncommittal about whether he and his PC government would support the NDP bill.

“We’re reviewing the legislation,” Ford said. “We will review it. We will continue to work with all the communities in combating hate.”

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that never happens again, and we’ll have more to say about that in the very near future,” the premier added.

Developed in consultation with the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Our London Family Act would:

A provincial review of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents in Ontario in order to reduce their occurrences.

Safe zones around religious institutions, which are often the targets of intimidation and hate-motivated demonstrations.

New tools and strategies for Ontario schools to combat all forms of racism, including Islamophobia.

Empowerment of the Speaker to ban protests at Queen’s Park that incite racist, homophobic, transphobic or xenophobic hate.

Dismantling white supremacist groups by preventing them from registering as societies.

The establishment of an Ontario Anti-Racism Advisory and Advocacy Council, to make sure racialized communities have a say on government policies that impact their lives.

Tahir says the passing of anti-hate legislation must be non-partisan, even in the lead up to an election.

He reflects on the Premier’s comments during a vigil for the Afzaal family last June outside the mosque.

“We hope that the Premier will keep his word about doing whatever it takes to combat Islamophobia.” Top Stories

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