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Policy Matters: Oumalker Idil Kalif

Later this year, Canadians will vote in the 43rd federal election. Many non-profit organizations, networks, and coalitions see elections as a critical opportunity to raise relevant public policy issues. Recently, the rules for charities engaging in public policy have become a prominent source of debate and discussion in government and the sector. As we countdown to the next election, The Philanthropist is asking non-profit leaders what public policy issues are top of mind for them.

Name and organization/Nom et organisme: Oumalker Idil Kalif, Femmes Noires Musulmanes au Québec

What current election issues might impact your work? 

Given the current political climate in Quebec, a greater and more pragmatic understanding of the realities related to racism and Islamophobia is more crucial than ever. Bill 21, for example, now a law, is being challenged in the courts, pitting the provincial government against the civil society it is supposed to represent. Quebec is showing, in no uncertain terms, how the violation of Canadians’ fundamental rights can further tear the social fabric that is meant to hold society together. How can we foster stronger social cohesion when political strategies of this nature are being advanced by our leaders? How can Canada and Quebec be models of democracy if the very premise of the initiatives that are being put forward and endorsed by those in power is designed to systematically target communities that are already socially disenfranchised and economically impoverished?

Quels enjeux électoraux actuels pourraient avoir un impact sur votre travail?

Le climat politique du Québec invite à plus de compréhension pragmatique concernant les réalités liées au racisme et à l’islamophobie. Le projet de loi 21, par exemple, est un projet maintenant greffé à une poursuite judiciaire impliquant le gouvernement et sa société civile. À lui seul, le Québec démontre concrètement comment la violation des droits fondamentaux des Canadien(ne)s peut continuer à déchirer le tissu social d’une société. Comment en arriver à une cohésion sociale plus stable avec de tels projets politiques embrassés par des dirigeant(e)s ? En quoi le Canada et le Québec sont-ils des modèles de démocratie si la prémisse des initiatives proposées et endossées a pour but de systématiquement violenter davantage des populations déjà profondément marginalisées et appauvries ?

What issues would you like to bring more attention to in the election? 

A genuine respect for the fundamental rights of all our citizens is what should inherently be guiding politics (and politicians) at all times and in all government departments. Femmes Noires Musulmanes au Québec advocates for black Muslim women in Quebec. We are one of many groups looking to find better ways to address the social inequality that undermines various segments of the population, many of them women, who are all too often overlooked when it comes time to engage in a conversation about ethical public policy. When will real corrective action be taken to ensure we respect the lessons that history has taught us? And how can we keep working together to strengthen our communities and our families?

Quels enjeux aimeriez-vous davantage mettre en valeur lors des élections?

Le réel respect des droits fondamentaux des citoyen(ne)s est ce qui devrait intrinsèquement animer la politique (et le politique), à tout moment et dans tous les ministères. Le Collectif Femmes noires musulmanes au Québec, comme plusieurs autres groupes, cherche à mieux agir sur les inégalités sociales qui touchent surtout des femmes trop souvent oubliées lorsqu’il s’agit de réfléchir des politiques publiques intègres. À quand le devoir de mémoire incarné en réels dédommagements ? Comment allons-nous continuer à cheminer ensemble afin de renforcer nos communautés et nos familles ?

Where can we learn more about these issues?/Où pourrions-nous obtenir plus d’information au sujet de ces enjeux? 

Why Black Muslim Women Are Organizing In Quebec: muslimlink.ca/news/why-black-muslim-women-are-launching-their-own-organization-in-quebec

Black Muslim women empowering each other to break stereotypes — within their own communities: cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/black-muslim-women-empowering-each-other-to-break-stereotypes-within-their-own-communities-1.5096136

Oumalker Idil Kalif is the co-founder of Femmes Noires Musulmanes au Québec.

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