Event Seeks To Dispel Myths And Fight Islamophobia

A London man holds up a sign of hope at solidarity rally at the London Muslim Mosque, January 30, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

Windsor Law and the Windsor Islamic Council hope to stem the rising tide of Islamophobia with an event at the University of Windsor.

“What we want to do in the forum is just to recognize that in our diverse, tolerant, wonderful city of Windsor, we’re not immune to this,” says law professor Dr. Julie MacFarlane. “We need to start being prepared to counter some of that rhetoric with real information.”

MacFarlane says in her work, she has noticed an increase in the levels of fear people have about their Muslim neighbours, especially after a terrorist attack, “and don’t really have any understanding of what lies behind it.”

Unfortunately, some politicians have chosen to use that fear for political gain, says MacFarlane, using the election of U.S. President Donald Trump as an example.

Trump is not alone. Islamic extremism is a campaign topic in upcoming votes in France and Germany. In Britain, suspicion of immigrants is believed to have fueled the vote to leave the European Union.

“The story of around the woman who wanted to wear her niqab for the citizenship ceremony became a major symbol of that [suspicion] leading up to the last federal election,” says MacFarlane. “But we also saw that Canadians, I think, rejected those views in the results of the election.”

She hopes with more information residents can become more critical of the media they consume and differentiate between the Muslims in their community and the acts of organizations like the Islamic State.

Although the event Wednesday night will feature expert faith-based speakers, it is open to all residents regardless of faith, or absence of faith.

It is in the Moot Hall of the Law School Building on campus and gets underway at 6pm.