NCCM: Canadian Muslims endorse call for public consultation on changes to anti-terrorism law

(Ottawa – November 20, 2015) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, joins other organizations, academics and privacy experts in an open letter calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to hold an effective and credible public consultation process on proposed amendments to the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, popularly referred to as Bill C-51.

“The NCCM supports measures that effectively enhance security while respecting civil liberties and the protections afforded under the Constitution. At the same time, we share virtually all of the concerns expressed by civil liberties advocates and national security experts regarding this deeply flawed piece of legislation,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

“Canadian Muslims remain deeply concerned that without meaningful and substantive changes, this law will be used disproportionately against them and will create a chill on communities from engaging in lawful activity. Group-based scrutiny, direct or indirect, is contrary to equality rights as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Striking the right balance between security and our cherished civil liberties by holding robust and transparent debate is precisely what is needed to restore the trust of Canadians after years of their voices being ignored or silenced.

“By committing to an open, public debate on Bill C-51 as a precondition to the tabling of any legislative changes, the new government will demonstrate in word, and by deed, its pledge to uphold the values of Canadians.

“In times such as these, it is vital that we stay true to our values,” says Gardee.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit grassroots organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613-254-9704, 613-853-4111