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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe AmericasThe Coloniality of Canadian Islamophobia – and anti-Islamophobia

The Coloniality of Canadian Islamophobia – and anti-Islamophobia

Author: Azeezah Kanji

Affiliation: Legal academic and writer based in Toronto

Organization/Publisher: Aljazeera

Date/Place: July 2, 2021/Doha, Qatar

Type of Literature: Opinion Report

Word Count: 1693


Keywords: Canadian Islamophobia, Anti-Islamophobia 


Following the recent deadly attack on Muslims in Canada—the third in four years—“anti-Islamophobia” is being used as a tool to calm the local Muslim community in the midst of a comfortably Islamophobic nation. Political leaders have shed tears for the Afzaal family downtown in London, Ontario on a public street, while yet upholding the same policies of brutality against Muslims: commonly  aggregating the  military spending; trading arms to states that slaughter Muslims; endeavoring to deport Muslim refugees to the risk of torture; and spending millions of dollars to fight the compensation claims of “War on Terror” torture survivors in court. The radical dehumanization of Indigenous peoples underpinned the genocidal violence of the US’s “Indian Wars,” which created legal and military precedents that have been carried over into the “War on Terror”: a mantle for the ongoing suppression of Indigenous and Muslim resistance to domination by colonial states, from Canada to Palestine to Kashmir. Canada targets Indigenous land and water defenders with many of the same counterterrorism powers of mass surveillance and criminalisation developed for use against Muslim communities post-9/11 – continuing the long tradition of treating those on the receiving end of state terror as “terrorists” themselves. The response to the London attacks highlights not only the fallacy, but the absurdity, of appealing to this colonial state apparatus as the solution to racism when in fact it lies at the source; an apparatus that continues to reproduce the white supremacism situated at its heart, whether by the condemned violence of a van attack or the condoned violence of police and military killings, torture complicity, and erasure of Indigenous sovereignty. For the members of the Afzaal family killed in London – Talat, Salman, Madiha, and Yumna – we say inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un, from God we come and to God we will return. This is a reminder that if we all come from the same place and will all return to the same place, then all systems of racial supremacism in between are constructed and can therefore be deconstructed: a struggle that carries on in their memory.

By: Maryam Khan, CIGA Research Associate

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