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Canada Trudeau 'in reflection' over day of action against Islamophobia

18:08  18 january  2018
18:08  18 january  2018 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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QUEBEC – The federal government is still “in reflection” on the idea of making the anniversary of the attack on a Quebec City mosque a day of action on Islamophobia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.

Saying he wants to find the right way to commemorate the tragedy, Trudeau added the government doesn’t want to spark a backlash against any minorities, either.

Trudeau made the remarks in an interview on Radio-Canada’s French language morning show in Quebec City, Première heure, as he launched a day-long charm visit of the provincial capital.

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“We are in reflection on this,” Trudeau said. “We have seen over several years a worrisome increase of hate crimes against the Muslim community. We also see hate crimes against all religions.

“I think it’s important to underline that intolerance against people of faith. … We want to avoid the kind of backlash we sometimes see when we launch such actions because unfortunately there is still a small, intolerant minority.

“But we are in reflection on how to go about this.”

Trudeau confirmed, however, that he will be present in Quebec City Jan. 29, for ceremonies marking the first anniversary of the tragedy. He was one of a dozen leaders who rushed to Quebec City the day after the attacks for an outdoor candlelight vigil.

Six Muslim men were shot and killed and 19 others wounded in an attack on the mosque during prayers. Alexandre Bissonnette is to stand trial in March on six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

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It is the National Council of Canadian Muslims that asked Trudeau to make Jan. 29 a national day of remembrance and action on Islamphobia.

Quebec’s political leaders have expressed reluctance on the idea. Premier Philippe Couillard, who is in Montreal Thursday meeting Mayor Valérie Plante, said he thinks it would be better to highlight the government’s commitment to fight all forms of racism and discrimination rather than single out one incident of this nature.

Trudeau’s day in Quebec City is jammed. Following the interviews, he is to meet Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume.

Later Thursday, Trudeau will hold another of his town hall meetings in the region.

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