Muslims in the House: September 18-22

Rohingya in Myanmar
MP Randeep Sarai (Surrey Centre) raised the issue of the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar, asking the government for an update on what actions they are taking in response. MP Omar Alghabra (Mississauga Centre) stated that the government is actively engaged on the matter. He mentioned that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have raised the issue at the highest levels, including with Aung San Suu Kyi and Kofi Annan, and they will continue to raise it at the UN General Assembly. MP Alghabra added that the government will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Rohingya. Later in the week, MP Matt Jeneroux (Edmonton Riverbend) made a statement condemning the killing of Rohingya, called out the inaction of the Myanmar government, and stated that it is the international community’s responsibility to maintain pressure until the Myanmar government steps in.

Immigration and Refugees
MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East) raised the issue of asylum seekers crossing into Quebec and British Columbia. She asked the government if they would work with all sides to develop a comprehensive and humanitarian approach to this situation. In response, MP Ahmed Hussen (York South—Weston) stated that the government is working with the provinces of Quebec and Ontario under the federal task force and has increased the capacity of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenships Canada (IRCC) office in Montreal to improve and shorten the process for asylum seekers.

Saudi Arabia’s use of Canadian-made Combat Vehicles
MP Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie) brought to the House the allegations of Saudi Arabia using Canadian-made combat vehicles against civilians. She inquired into the results of an investigation launched by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Matt DeCourcey (MP for Fredericton) responded by stating that the government expects the end-user of all exports to abide by the end-use terms in issued export permits. He stated that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has asked for a review of the situation, confirmed that no new export permits have been issued for vehicles to Saudi Arabia, and that the government has expressed concern to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and ask that they respect international human rights law.

Islamic History Month
MP Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East) made a statement celebrating the 10th anniversary of Islamic History Month this October, recognizing the important contributions of Muslims to Canadian society and encouraging others to take the opportunity to learn about the history and diversity of Muslims. She also recognized the launch of Islamic History Month by the Toronto District School Board on September 25 at the Aga Khan Museum.

Ismaili CIVIC 150
MP Alexandra Mendes (Brossard—Saint-Lambert) made a statement to recognize Ismaili CIVIC 150, an initiative engaging members of Canada's Ismaili community to pledge one million volunteer hours to improve the lives of their fellow citizens. Ismaili CIVIC 150 celebrates the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Montreal's 375th anniversary, and the diamond jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan.

Islamic New Year
MP Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West) made a statement to mark the beginning of the Islamic new year. She also noted the efforts of the Prairie Muslim Association to bring the first Muslim graveyard to Saskatchewan and the efforts of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan to organize a rally to draw attention to the violations against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.