Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, Islamophobia has been on a very dangerous rise.
Canada’s prime minister has expressed his gratitude for Doha’s efforts in securing the release of captives and facilitating the exit of foreign nationals from Gaza in a call discussing the “dire humanitarian” situation on the Strip.
In a phone call with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also discussed the ever-escalating humanitarian situation in Gaza and emphasised the need to release of all captives still being held in the enclave.
“The Prime Minister and the Emir exchanged views on the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the need to ensure safe and unimpeded access to life-saving humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza. Prime Minister Trudeau also underscored the need for humanitarian pauses,” a statement from Canada’s official government website said.
The call on Sunday came nearly one month after Israel launched a massive and brutal campaign in Gaza that has killed at least 9,922 Palestinians, including 4,008 children—making up 40% of the total toll.
The bombardment has has led to catastrophic scenes and conditions in the besieged Strip and triggered mass protests and global movements seeking an immediate ceasefire.
Last week, Canada abstained from voting on an Arab resolution that called for a humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and demanded access for much-needed aid to treat thousands of wounded civilians in Gaza.
Instead, Canada called for an amendment that included condemning Hamas and its capture of “hostages” during the October 7 attack, though the suggestion was rejected.
Israel and its principal ally, the United States, both of whom have previously blocked at least three other humanitarian ceasefire proposals, rejected the UN proposal.
While the Arab-drafted resolution was not legally binding, it holds considerable political influence. It was adopted following a vote of 120 members in favour, including Qatar, with 14 against and 45 abstentions.
During the call, Trudeau underlined Canada’s unwavering support for the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security, and the pursuit of a two-state solution, the statement added.
Expert Thomas Juneau, a public and international affairs associate professor at the University of Ottawa and former Defence Department analyst highlighted to Hill Times a disconnect between Canada’s policies and rhetoric.
“We’ve [Canada] been on the side of Israel for decades … even though we say rhetorically that we support a two-state solution, in practice, especially in more recent decades, we have not done very much in support of that,” he said.
Canada has backed Israel’s supposed right to self-defence in accordance with international law despite the occupying state being accused of using disproportionate force against Palestinians.
“Given the high number of civilian casualties [and] the scale of destruction following Israeli air strikes on Jabalia refugee camp, we have serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes,” the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights wrote on X.
The official was addressing Israel’s targeting of Gaza’s biggest refugee camp that killed hundreds on Tuesday, just hours before a second strike hit the densely-populated area on Wednesday afternoon.
On top of the tragic loss of thousands of children due to Israeli airstrikes, the young inhabitants of Gaza are also facing the deprivation of food and medicine enforced by Israel, essentially violating the fourth Geneva Convention.
On 8 October, Israel imposed a siege on Gaza’s more than 2.3 million population, blocking all access to food, water and electricity. Since then, only a limited number of aid trucks have been allowed in through the Rafah crossing, though UN officials say this has been “a drop in the ocean compared to the vast scale of needs.”
Various provisions and extra protocols, most notably within the fourth convention, grant safeguards for children in times of armed conflict.
These encompass the establishment of hospitals and secure zones dedicated to children below the age of 15, guaranteeing the availability of “essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics” for children residing in besieged regions, tailored attention for children who find themselves orphaned or separated from their families.
It also includes the safe evacuation of children to protected areas and their subsequent reunification with their families and ensuring that during children’s evacuations, “ministers of all religions, medical personnel, and medical equipment” are accessible in the locations where children are relocated.
On 6 July, 1951, the then recently created Israel officially endorsed the Geneva Conventions, becoming one of the 196 nations to have done so at the time.
Rise in hate attacks
Meanwhile, the official government statement said the two leaders also discussed a spike in anti-Muslim attacks.
“The two leaders condemned the disturbing rise in Islamophobia, antisemitism, and anti-Arab discrimination, highlighting the impact it is having on Arab, Muslim, and Jewish communities around the world,” the statement read.
Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, US-based advocacy group Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it documented 774 complaints and cases of bias against Muslims from various locations across the US since Israel carried out its relentless bombardments on the enclave.
The advocacy group said this represents the highest volume of complaints within a comparable timeframe since the period when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump declared his proposal for the controversial Muslim ban in the US back in 2015.
“Anyone with a conscience should be deeply concerned by this sudden rise in complaints amid an atmosphere of rampant anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Palestinian racism,” said Corey Saylor, research and advocacy director at CAIR.
A 6-year-old Palestinian American was stabbed 26 times with a knife by his landlord due to his Muslim faith and as a response to the Israeli war on Palestine.