Who has the most to fear from C-51? Canadian Muslims

April 15, 2015
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shahina Siddiqui, President of the Islamic Social Services Association, and Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, announce the release of the handbook "United Against Terrorism: A Collaborative Effort Towards A Secure, Inclusive and Just Canada" on September 29, 2014. PHOTO: The Canadian Press.
By Amira Elghawaby

This article was originally published by iPolitics.

Just over a month ago, Canadian citizen Benamar Benatta quietly settled his lawsuit against the federal government over the unlawful treatment he suffered in the days immediately after 9/11.

Benatta, an Algerian, spent five years in American prisons because Canadian border officials at Fort Erie, Ont., turned him over to U.S. officials for investigation after he showed up at the border crossing and said he wished to claim refugee status. It took him years to clear his name.

“Canada is a great country but, unfortunately, there are many examples where Canadian officials have dispensed with human rights in the name of national security,” Mr. Benatta said after his lawsuit was settled.

“People need to understand a terrible injustice was done to me. I was labelled a terrorist because I happened to be Muslim … That is racial profiling at its worst. These Canadian officials ruined my life without a second thought, and that is really hard to bear.”

Benatta’s story is yet another cautionary tale that should convince Canadians — and their government — of the need to stop and think before granting even broader powers to law enforcement agencies. Canadian Muslims know that what happened to him could easily happen again — and that they’re likely to be the ones paying the price for flaws in the federal government’s new and hastily-crafted anti-terror law, C-51.

Justice Dennis O’Connor, overseeing the inquiry into Maher Arar’s case back in 2006, said as much. “Given the tendency thus far of focusing national security investigations on members of the Arab and Muslim communities, the potential for infringement on the human rights of innocent Canadians within these groups is higher.”

Look beyond these high-profile ‘false positive’ terrorism cases — which have robbed some Canadians of their reputations and livelihoods, and have cost the taxpayer millions of dollars in compensation in the few instances where the government was held to account — and it’s clear there are many more Canadians out there suffering racial profiling, particularly while travelling. Many Canadians are seeing their passports suspended, are being turned away from border crossings or are otherwise being treated unfairly — without full explanations. This little known and humiliating reality was brought into sharp view earlier this year when a Toronto ER physician and his family were denied entry to the U.S. for a planned trip to Disneyland.

Under C-51, Canadian Muslims can expect more, not less, of this sort of discrimination. Even after the Conservative government buckled to pressure to amend the law, Canadians can still be deemed too dangerous to travel by airline and won’t be allowed to challenge the “evidence” against them. As lawyer and author Faisal Kutty puts it, Canadian Muslims can be considered “too guilty to fly, but too innocent to charge.”

The Arar Inquiry report offered recommendations on how to ensure that the egregious mistakes made by law enforcement discovered by the inquiry would never be repeated. The government has ignored most of them.

Law enforcement agencies already have many tools at their disposal under existing (yet seldom used) anti-terrorism measures. It’s up to the federal government to justify the further erosion, or outright suspension, of Canadian rights and freedoms. It has not done so.

Bill C-51 is a reckless attempt to win over an understandably fearful electorate under the pretence of fighting terrorism.

Rather than implementing a new and dangerous security regime that fails to guarantee safety, the government should heed the advice of security experts and leaders who argue that community partnerships are urgently needed to effectively confront the threat of violent extremism. Simply put, we won’t be able to spy and arrest our way out of this problem.

What’s needed now is a national, comprehensive and well-funded grassroots campaign based on mutual trust, solid research and genuine scholarship. Marginalizing the very Canadians who are on the frontlines of this struggle is worse than poor policy — it’s a threat to all of us.

Amira Elghawaby is the human rights coordinator at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).

What do you think?

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Brittany Dustin
    commented 2021-12-29 04:29:18 -0500
    GET RICH WITH BLANK ATM CARD … Whatsapp: +18033921735

    I want to testify about Dark Web blank atm cards which can withdraw money from any atm machines around the world. I was very poor before and have no job. I saw so many testimony about how Dark Web Cyber hackers send them the atm blank card and use it to collect money in any atm machine and become rich.( [email protected] ) I email them also and they sent me the blank atm card. I have use it to get 250,000 dollars. withdraw the maximum of 5,000 USD daily. Dark Web is giving out the card just to help the poor. Hack and take money directly from any atm machine vault with the use of atm programmed card which runs in automatic mode.

    You can also contact them for the service below
    • Western Union Transfer Hack
    • Bank Transfer Hack
    • PayPal / Skrill Transfer Hack
    • Crypto Mining Hack
    • CashApp Transfer Hack

    Email: [email protected] OR [email protected]

    Text & Call or WhatsApp: +18033921735

    Visit: https://darkwebcycberhackers.com/
  • Sharon Elizabeth
    commented 2021-06-20 17:19:03 -0400

    Effective love Spell caster who can help you bring back your ex lover & save your marriage fast contact: ([email protected]) is certainly the best spell caster online and her result is 100% guarantee!. My Name Sharon Elizabeth form NY, USA. After 9years of my marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. I tried to be strong just for the kids but I could not control the pains that torment my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because I was really in love with my husband. Every day and night I think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and I needed help, so I searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr.Noruwa can help get ex lover back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted her and she told me what to do and I did it then she did a (Love spell) for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day, with lots of love and joy, and he apologized for his mistake, and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day, our Marriage was now stronger than how it was before, all thanks to Dr.Noruwa. she is so powerful and I decided to share my story on the internet that Dr.Noruwa is real and powerful spell caster who I will always pray to live long to help everyone in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need your Ex back or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here is her contact to chat her on Telegram/ WhatsApp: +1(562)774-3626 ,Email him at: ([email protected])