[Jamila]: Hello. I'm Jamila.
[Alan]: And I'm Alan.
[Alan]: So you want to learn about how the Ontario Human Rights Code protects against discrimination based on creed.
[Alan]: The Human Rights Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario.
[Jamila]: For the ground of creed, this means that the Code protects the right to freely hold and to practice creed beliefs in specific areas of our lives, like in housing in services like education and health care in employment and also in contracts and membership in unions, trade or professional associations.
[Jamila]: Under the Code, a creed group may restrict its membership to people who share the same creed belief.
[Jamila]: No right under the Code is absolute. Rights can be limited if they interferes with other peoples rights.
[Alan]: That sounds a little confusing.
[Jamila]: Let me offer an example. The Code does not protect creed practices when members incite hatred or violence against other people or break criminal laws.
[Alan]: So what does the ground of creed include?
[Jamila]: Creed includes religions as well as non-religious beliefs that have a major influence on a persons identity, their worldview or their way of life. And protections under the ground of creed also apply to people who have no creed belief or practice.
[Jamila]: So a person may be treated differently because of their creed or they could face discrimination even if they dont follow a creed.
[Alan]: For there to be a Code violation, creed discrimination only has to be 1 factor in the decision to not hire someone, or to refuse to provide services or to rent an apartment.
[Alan]: At the same time, if you are harassed because you dont follow a particular creed, that could be discrimination too.
[Alan]: And discrimination may occur with a policy or a practice. For example, a clean-shaven policy at work can discriminate even if it wasnt created for that purpose, when it affects people who have religious requirements around facial hair.
[Jamila]: Here are some types of creed-based discrimination: Harassment because you follow or do not follow a creed Treating someone differently and unequally because on their creed Creed profiling, which is similar to racial profiling
[Alan]: Sometimes stereotypes and bias towards different faiths shape how we view events.
[Alan]: Just look at the media and how the coverage of international and local events has influenced attitudes like Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.
[Jamila]: and when religion, race and ethnicity are linked together, religious minorities in Ontario may be exposed to forms of racism, discrimination and harassment based on the intersection of their creed with other Code grounds such as ethnic origin, place of origin and ancestry.
[Alan]: Lets talk a bit more about xenophobia and Islamophobia.
[Alan]: Xenophobia involves attitudes and behaviours like mistrusting or excluding people who are viewed as outsiders or foreigners.
[Alan]: Islamophobia is more specific. It can include racism, stereotypes, prejudice and fear or acts of hostility directed at people who are Muslim or who are followers of Islam.
[Alan]: Islamophobia is when Muslim people, or Islam in general, are depicted in one-sided sweeping negative portrayals like when they are stereotyped or racially profiled as a threat to Canadian security or Canadian values.
[Alan]: All too often, these images are accepted as normal. And when this happens Islamophobia occurs over and over again.
[Jamila]: And the effect? Muslims may be treated unequally, evaluated negatively, and be excluded from positions, rights and opportunities in society and its institutions.
[Jamila]: That animosity can carry over to other racialized communities who are targeted because of their appearance.
[Jamila]: Weve seen what can happen when people who arent Muslim are perceived to be associated with Islam. One of the first crimes after 9/11 was the fire-bombing of a Hindu temple in Hamilton that was mistaken for a mosque.
[Jamila]: Generally, the more visible and different a person or a community is, or their faith practices are perceived to be, the more likely they are to face undue scrutiny and disapproval.
[Alan]: Islamophobia, like anti-Semitism, often blames all members of the religion holding everyone collectively guilty for objectionable or heinous acts that are carried out by individuals.
[Alan]: Discrimination based on creed is a real problem in todays society, and the best way to eliminate it is to understand and recognize it.
[Alan]: For more information :
[Alan]: Contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre or the National Council of Canadian Muslims also known as NCCM.
[Alan]: Both provide services in Arabic.
[Jamila]: Or, visit the OHRCs website at www.OHRC.on.ca