In a big blow to known hatemongers such as Tarek Fatah, the Canadian government has decided to enact a law criminalising hate speech. The extraordinary development comes just days after terrorist Nathaniel Veltman killed four members of a Muslim family in London in Ontario.
The proposed law to combat growing Islamophobia, however, doesn’t include the social media platforms yet.
“The actions we are taking today will help protect the vulnerable, empower those who are victimized and hold individuals to account for the hatred they spread online,” news agency Reuters quoted a statement from Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti.
Once enacted, the new law would allow individuals to file police complaints against individuals who use their social media pages or websites to promote hate speech targetting a community. As well as facing a prolonged period of imprisonment, an individual can also be fined up to CAN $20,000 if found guilty of hate speech that personally identified a victim.
Though the social media networks are not yet included in the proposed law, the government has said that it would launch a public consultation on devising ways to make them more accountable in the future.
The new law would be a huge blow to hatemongers like Tarek Fatah, who’s long used his social media pages to vilify Islam and the Muslim community by often peddling fake news.
Fatah, who had reportedly fled Pakistan to avoid being prosecuted, now resides in Canada and has frequently written for the Toronto Sun newspaper, which has also faced criticism for promoting Islamophobia in Canada by providing space to a known hatemonger such as Tarek Fatah.
Four members of a Muslim family were killed on 6 June when terrorist Nathaniel Veltman rammed his truck into them. He faces murder and terrorism charges.