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How Canadian media normalizes Islamophobia

04 July, 2017 12:22
How Canadian media normalizes Islamophobia

Responding earlier this year to the fatal shooting of six Muslims at a Quebec City mosque, the Canadian Council of Imams stated, “Islamophobia has killed innocent Canadians.” The media is not a unified body, but all of its parts are complicit in normalizing the Islamophobia that made this shooting possible.

Journalists sometimes own up to the problem, condemning the most obvious offenders, like Rebel Media. That criticism is warranted, as Rebel appeals to the bottom of the barrel with cheap stunts, and has become immensely successful through doing so, no longer capable of being written off as a fringe outlet.

Still, much of the opposition to The Rebel centers on the idea that they aren’t respectable enough. They’re loud, adversarial, and blatant in their biases. Whereas The Walrus raises money through bougie talks that journalists are comfortable with, Rebel Media passes the plate around at sadistic sermons where reporters aren’t sure if audience members are doing “Christian hand-raising” or a Nazi salute.

It’s unclear how much of the criticism Rebel Media receives from journalists is genuinely concerned with their anti-Muslim sentiment, as Islamophobia in Canadian media stretches in an unbroken chain from at least 9/11 to today. Mainstream media was demonizing Muslims when Ezra Levant was a little-known lawyer in Alberta, and there’s no indication it has gotten better. In a 2016 lecture at the Aga Khan Museum, Haroon Siddiqui, a former columnist and editorial page editor emeritus at the Toronto Star, claimed that “the biggest culprits have been the National Post and the Postmedia group of newspapers across the country.”

… After the Quebec mosque shooting, Fatah reacted with glee when initial reports incorrectly stated that one of the shooters was Muslim. When the truth came out, he then claimed it was an elaborate cover-up to “avoid any talk of MuslimOnMuslim terror.”…

The stakes of combating Islamophobia are only getting more severe, as police-reported hate crimes against Muslims have increased by 253 per cent since 2012, according to the latest Statistics Canada report. Ontario, meanwhile, faces what the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and advocacy group Mass Minority call an “epidemic of Islamophobia.” Media outlets need to do their best to combat the normalization of this hate. So far, they have just been enabling its proponents.

Source: Canadaland

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