After another attack on Muslims, critics demanded commitments to online hate legislation
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that online hatred may have contributed to the radicalization of men who killed Muslim family members in London, Ontario over the weekend. This prompted human rights advocates to criticize his government for failing to deliver on its promise to solve the problem through legislation.
Trudeau said at the Progressive Governance Digital Summit: “They were deliberately dragged down maliciously and inexplicably. We don’t yet know all the reasons or reasons.” “There may be factors that online incite violence or get things we must consider.”
On Sunday, 46-year-old Salman Afzaal, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughters Yumna Afzaal and Salman Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother were killed by a black truck while they were walking. . Fayez, the youngest member of the family, survived and is 9 years old this year.
On Monday, London police charged a 20-year-old man with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, which they described as a “planned and premeditated act” against a family of five “because of their Muslim beliefs” “.
After the mosque shooting in New Zealand, Trudeau signed the Christchurch Call for Action, promising to “eliminate terrorism and violent extremist content on the Internet.” Trudeau subsequently promised to “target online hate speech, exploitation and harassment, and take more measures to protect the victims of hate speech.”
But only ten days before the summer parliament convenes, the federal government has not yet proposed such legislation.
Human rights advocate Amira Elghawaby has spent more than a year researching online hatred. She said Canada’s regulations on hate speech are dying.
Elghawaby said: “It is really regrettable that real work will not only change people’s lives, not only Canadian Muslims, but also other racialized groups on the Internet. This change has not happened yet.” It’s really a shame for Canadians.”
‘A key point’
Elghawaby said that there have been many “alarm bells” that indicate that some measures must be taken.
In 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette killed 6 men in a mosque in Quebec City. An investigation revealed that the gunman was radicalized online and was reported by far-right media.
The investigation into the London attack is ongoing, but Trudeau’s remarks about his possible “inciting violence online” raised concerns about the lack of progress in legislation.
“If this person does radicalize online, then I think this is a terrible reality that we must face,” Elghawaby said.
Bernie Farber of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network said that most people who committed crimes such as mosque shootings and London attacks have radicalized online, and the best way to prevent further attacks is to legislate.
“Laws must be enacted and fines must be imposed on hate materials, which will directly hit them in the stomach, which will make them want to change, because without these, it will not happen,” he said. Tell CBC.
Although the federal government did not take any action, Faber said he was optimistic about prompting the government to take action.
“Every time something happens there seems to be a different excuse, but now, with the terrible tragedy in London, I think it makes everyone refocus,” he said. “I very much think this may become a key point.”
The office of Heritage Minister Steven Gilbert said it is committed to introducing a bill “in time” that would force online platforms to monitor and remove illegal content. However, with only 10 days left before the summer recess of Parliament, and elections may be imminent, any legislation proposed now will die as soon as the election is held.