February 22, 2018
Chinese and Asian Canadian and Québec organizations and community members across the country are standing up against the rise of Islamophobia, and are calling for all Canadians to fight for a just and inclusive society that welcomes all people regardless of their faith, race and their immigration status.
In particular, we are alarmed by recent demonstrations by some Chinese Canadians calling on the Prime Minister to resign and to apologize to the Chinese Canadian community for his support of the Muslim community in Canada. These demonstrations were sparked by recent media reports of an attack on an eleven-year old girl wearing a hijab in Toronto allegedly by an “Asian man”, an attack which the Toronto police later confirmed did not happen.
We are extremely concerned that there are those within our community who seized on moments like this to achieve their political goals, and in so doing, further vilify and stigmatize Muslims in Canada (many of whom are people of Asian descent).
We are also alarmed by the xenophobic speeches given during the anti-Muslim demonstration in Ottawa on February 18, 2018, equating refugees with terrorists, twisting calls for anti-islamophobia action as promoting “inequality,” and attempting to create divisions and hierarchies among racialized minorities. It is shameful that these demonstrations have come on the heels of the first anniversary of the massacre of six Muslim men at a mosque in the Quebec City suburb of Sainte-Foy. Let us not add to the pain Muslim Canadians are already made to endure by fanning fears against their community using groundless accusations.
We would like to remind all Canadians, including members of our own Chinese communities in Canada and in Quebec that any attack against one marginalized group is an attack against us all.
It was not that long ago that, similar to today’s Muslim Canadians, Chinese in Canada were regarded as social pariahs. Labelled as the “yellow peril”, Chinese Canadians were subject to 62 years of legislated racism and immigration bans. One lesson learned from the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act is that by targeting legislation against one group of people, the government creates an atmosphere of hate in the larger society for all.
Instead of reinforcing hate, racism and fascism, racialized communities in Canada should unite and fight for a more compassionate and equal society.
As Chinese Canadians and Quebeckers, we denounce all attempts by fascist and far right groups to co-opt members of our communities into their campaign of hate, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. We stand with our Muslim community members; we stand with asylum seekers; we stand with the Indigenous Peoples; and we categorically denounce any form of hate and intolerance against ANY racialized group.
Chinese Workers Network (Toronto & York Region Labour Council)
Chinois progressistes du Québec (PCQ)
Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA)
Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC)