Today’s world is a world defined by a new era of war and occupation that started with invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Anyone under the age of 16 has never known a world where imperialist forces are not constantly and continuously opening new fronts of war, occupation, military intervention, sanctions, drone attacks or covert operations. This new era of war and occupation has been mainly centered on the Middle East and North Africa, destroying Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria to name the hardest hit targets.
In order to justify their war drive, the governments of the US, Canada and other imperialist countries are using Islamophobia as a tool of fear-mongering, spreading hatred and division. Islamophobia has gone hand in hand with the wars and occupations of Muslim majority countries, as well has gone hand in hand with attacks against the Muslim community here at home. We saw this most recently with the January 29th terrorist attack on the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Quebec City, Canada, where six Muslim men were gunned down and killed. We have also seen Islamophobia come out of the Trump administration with their Muslim travel ban, and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
February 10th: MAWO Forum on Islamophobia
To discuss Islamophobia, and how and why it is used as a tool in this new era of war and occupation, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) organized a forum on Friday February 10th titled “No to Islamophobia! No to War and Occupation!” The forum started out with a series of film and media clips which documented the rise and incidents of Islamophobia especially in the US and Canada. The clips also reflected the inspiring response to Trump’s Muslim ban, with huge protests saying no to Islamophobia and against the Muslim ban across the US.
The panel of speakers started out with Mamdoh Ashir, an Iraqi-Canadian and Muslim community activist, who appealed for people of all religions to come together against Islamophobia. Mamdoh was followed by Azza Rojbi, a Tunisian social justice activist and MAWO executive committee member. Azza spoke on how Islamophobia is being used as a tool to divide communities at home and to fuel war mongering abroad. The final speaker was Ali Yerevani, an Iranian social justice activist and political editor of the Fire This Time Newspaper. Ali highlighted how Islamophobia, while targeting Muslims, enables governments to also cut back on the rights of all people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. The speakers were followed by a discussion from forum participants, who given the recent tragic and angering Islamophobic events in the US and Canada had much to say.
February 24th: MAWO Rally
On Friday February 24th MAWO activists and supporters brought antiwar politics to the streets in downtown Vancouver, for MAWO’s monthly antiwar rally and petition drive. Banners, picket signs and voices raised the demands of “US Hands Off Syria!” and teams of petitioners collected signatures demanding that the government of Canada stop its military involvement against Iraq and Syria. The info table was busy with passers-by who stopped to talk with organizers and to sign petitions and pickup more information.
Islamophobia, and how it’s being used in wars abroad and dividing communities at home, must be discussed, protested and exposed for what it is – a tool of dividing and conquering, and a means to attack and diminish the rights of all poor and working people. Mobilization Against War and Occupation is committed to continuing educating, organizing and mobilizing against Islamophobia and against these brutal wars, occupations and all imperialist military actions taken against our brothers and sisters around the world. To find out about MAWO’s upcoming events go to www.mawovancouver.org or follow @mawovan on twitter.
US Hands Off Syria!
Canada Hands Off Ukraine!
US/Canada Hands Off Iraq!
US and Saudi Arabia Hands
Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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