The #IRememberJanuary29 Campaign is a grassroots effort to get the Canadian federal government to designate January 29 as a day of remembrance and action on Islamophobia.
On Jan. 29, 2017, a lone gunman entered a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on dozens of Muslim Canadians ending a prayer service. By the time the shooting had ended, tragically six worshippers had been killed, and 19 more injured.
The shooter, who pled guilty in March, 2018, was known for far-right, anti-Muslim and white nationalist views. The shooter also admitted to police that political anti-Muslim rhetoric had influenced his views and actions.
As such, in October, 2018, the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF) and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) launched the “Campaign for the Federal Government to Recognize January 29 as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination.”
CJPME and the FMC-CMF have set up a platform - this Website - which enables three important things when you sign up to the campaign:
- An email to your MP and the Prime Minister: You will send an email to your MP, the Prime Minister and other political leaders, calling for recognition of January 29th
- A postcard to your MP: A postcard for the January 29th campaign (view here) will be sent in your name to your MP
- Your name on a petition for the Campaign: Your name will be added to a petition calling for the designation of January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination
The campaign platform also allows individuals to volunteer, download resources, donate, and get involved in other ways.
One may think of this campaign as a petition, articulated as follows:
WHEREAS, 6 Muslim-Canadians were killed, and 19 wounded in the tragic Quebec City Mosque Massacre of January 29, 2017;
WHEREAS, the shooter in the attack pled guilty and admitted to having been influenced by far-right, white nationalist, and anti-Muslim influences;
WHEREAS, Canada’s Parliament voted in March, 2017 to condemn all forms of religious discrimination, including Islamophobia;
WHEREAS, Parliament’s Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage recommended that January 29th be designated as a “National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination”;
THEREFORE, we, citizens and residents of Canada, call on the government of Canada to designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination
Many Canadians believe the campaign is strongly justified for several reasons:
- The rise of Islamophobic Incidents in Canada, including the Quebec City Mosque Massacre: Since 2012, Canada has witnessed a surgein anti-Muslim attitudes and incidents, including the tragic shooting on January 29th, 2017 at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City in Sainte-Foy, Quebec, known as the Quebec City Mosque Massacre. The Massacre, killing 6 and injuring 19, was the first time in Canadian history where a specific religious group was targeted by a shooter at their place of worship.
- The Prime Minister’s Promise to Stand Up for Muslim-Canadians: Following the attack, Canada’s Prime Minister promised to support Muslims in Canada, asserting, "We will defend you ... and we will stand up for you."
- Parliament’s Condemnation of Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination: In March, 2017, Parliament passed Motion 103 (M-103) condemning “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination” in Canada. A few months before, on Oct. 26, 2016, Parliament had also passed a motion by unanimous consent in the House of Parliament to condemn Islamophobia. This previous motion passed on the heels of one of the most successful Parliamentary ePetitions ever launched, ePetition e411 - with almost 70,000 signatures - which called for the condemnation of all forms of Islamophobia.
- The recommendation of Parliament’s Heritage Committee to recognize January 29th: As directed by M-103, a study was launched by Parliament’s Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on how to reduce and eliminate systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia. On February 1st, 2018 the Committee released its report, which included Recommendation #30 calling for January 29th to be “designated as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination.”
- The Existence of broad-based grassroots support for designating January 29 as a day of remembrance and action: In January, 2018, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, supported by over 70 Muslim-Canadian organizations, as well as dozens of community partners, called the government to designate January 29th as a Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia. As of July 2018, the Ontario cities of Toronto, Hamilton, Markham, London, and Windsor had already taken this step. An EKOS Research survey released in February, 2018 also found that a majority of Canadians believed the government must take action to oppose Islamophobia in Canada.
- The precedence established by the Dec. 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women: This call for a Day of Remembrance and Action has historical precedence. The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada is December 6, the anniversary of the murders of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989. Status of Women Canada declares, “They died because they were women.” In the same way, the six men who died in the Quebec City mosque shooting “died because they were Muslim.” Their deaths should serve as a reminder and a motivation to act to prevent a repeat of any similar such act of Islamophobia or religious discrimination.
As such, the FMC-CMF, CJPME and other community groups, as well as thousands of Canadians call the Canadian government to heed this grassroots call and declare January 29th a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other religious discrimination.
How might the government respond to our Call and Campaign
There are various ways the government can designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia. Any one, or a combination of the three acts below would indicate that the campaign has been successful:
- By Parliamentary Resolution: Parliament can pass a resolution recognizing January 29th, as it did when it recognized the Armenian Genocide in April, 2004.
- By Proclamation: Canada’s Governor-General, at the recommendation of the government cabinet, can make a Proclamation recognizing January 29th, as it did when it recognized June 21 as National Aboriginal Day in July, 1996.
- By Order-in-Council: Canada’s Governor-General can make an “order” and therefore approve a statement on January 29th formulated by the government cabinet, as it did in June, 2005 when it designated June 23 as a National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. Orders-in-Council are not necessarily discussed by Parliament before they have been implemented.