Tuesday, May 22, 2007

[Montreal] Saturday May 26th: Conference on Racism, Islamophobia and 'National Security'

The following in Montreal next Saturday - i'm thinking i'll be there transit strike or no transit strike, as i'm curious to see how some of these topics get broached:

Teach-in and strategy forum

Saturday, 26 May, 1pm to 9pm
Pavillon J.-A.-Sève, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
320 Ste-Catherine East, Montreal (Berri-UQAM metro)

WORKSHOPS and a PANEL DISCUSSION with Sherene Razack, Adil Charkaoui, Faisal Kutty, Salam El Manyawi, Najlaa Bennis, Ross Perigoe .... and many more!

  • Screening of footage from the People's Commission
  • Exhibit of Photos and Banners
  • Action materials

:::: Game room for kids (with supervision) (room DSR-340) :::
::: Free and delicious food ::::
:::: Whisper translation in English, French, Arabic and Farsi::::

Spies, media, corporations and politically-constructed public debates ... In the name of "national security", many forces in our society are helping to mobilize underlying racism and Islamophobia against Muslims, Arabs and others. The result is often devastating on people's lives.

Targetted communities are marginalized and unable to participate fully in political, economic or social life. When extreme measures such as security certificates are used against individuals, communities are often too intimidated, alienated or constrained to respond effectively.

Join us on Saturday, 26 May to take an in-depth look at some of the concrete ways in which the national security agenda is being advanced in Canada. The teach-in will bring together community members, academics, NGOs, legal experts and activists in order to develop effective strategies to resist racial profiling and defend the liberty and dignity of all.


1:30 to 3:30 Workshops

"National security" and targetting of Arab and Muslim communities (EN)
Room: DSR-520
facilitated: Helen Hudson
  • Salam El Menyawi, Muslim Council of Montreal
  • Faisal Kutty, Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association
  • Sameer Zuberi, CAIR-CAN

The "Security Industrial Complex": the new Homeland Security industry (FR)
Room DSR-525
facilitated: Raymond Legault, Échec à la guerre
  • Roch Tassé, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG)
  • Sophie Schoen, Block the Empire

3:45 to 5:45 Workshops

Media and CSIS: partners in profiling (EN/FR)
Room: DSR-525
  • facilitated: Tamara Vukov
  • Ross Perigoe, Associate Professor, Concordia University Journalism Department
  • Alex Popovic, Political researcher

Racism and the debate on "reasonable accommodation" (FR/EN)
Room DSR-520
  • facilitated: Khadija Benabdallah
  • Nazila Bettache, No one is illegal
  • May Haydar, Centre communautaire musulman de Montréal
  • Layla Sawaf, Principal, JMC Secondary and Primary School

5:45 Light meal, followed by a testimony by Najlaa Bennis, Justice for Anas

6:45 Panel Discussion: Countering the instrumentalization of 'national
security' (EN/FR)
Room DRS-510
  • video: extracts from testimonies at the People's Commission hearings
  • Sherene Razack, Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education,
  • University of Toronto: Understanding "security" and racism
  • Adil Charkaoui: Lessons from the campaign against security certificates


Najlaa Bennis is the sister of Mohamed Anas Bennis, who was killed by police officer Bernier of Station 25 on 1 December 2005 in Côte des Neiges. The Bennis family and the Coalition Justice for Anas are demanding access to all information concerning the death of Anas, a public and independent inquiry and an end to police brutality and police impunity.

Nazila Bettache is a Montreal-based organizer and member of No One is Illegal-Montreal.

Salam El Menyawi is President of the Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM). He has been an outspoken defender of human rights and against racial profiling for many years.

May Haydar is a member of the public relations committee of the Centre communautaire musulman de Montréal.

Helen Hudson is a Montreal activist working in solidarity with Political Prisoners, primarily in the United States, as well as on other social justice issues including immigration and feminist questions. She is also a programmer at CKUT community radio.

Faisal Kutty currently serves as general counsel for the Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association (CMCLA) and as vice-chair and legal counsel to the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN). He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. His dissertation explores the impact of anti-terror laws and policies on the rule of law. In the course of his legal practice, he has also advised and acted on behalf of dozens of individuals and charities that have been directly impacted and targeted by anti-terrorism laws and policies. He is currently acting as counsel to CAIR-CAN and the CMCLA at the Iacobucci and the Air India Inquiries.

Raymond Legault has been an active member and a spokesperson for Échec à la guerre over the past four and a half years.

Dr. Ross Perigoe has taught at Concordia's Department of Journalism since 1985. Prior to joining the faculty, he was a full time journalist for 12 years, later working in CBC management. His early research focussed on the portrayal of visible minorities on television, particularly surrounding the Oka Crisis of 1990. Dr. Perigoe has done a study of the Montreal Gazette's portrayal of Muslims immediately after September 11, 2001. Dr. Perigoe is now examing the representation of Muslims in the french press during the same period.

Alex Popovic is a political researcher with a keen interest in national security, law enforcement and governmental ethical issues.

Sherene H. Razack is a Professor at the Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She is the author of - among other works - "Dark Threats and White Knights: Peacekeeping and the New Imperialism" (2004) and "Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law and Politics" (forthcoming December, 2007).

Sophie Schoen is an organizer in the student movement and with Block the Empire Montreal.

Roch Tassé is National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group / Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles, a pan-Canadian coalition of NGOs which formed in response to the introduction of Bill C-36. Tassé co-authored "Control Freaks: "Homeland Security" and "Interoperability"", published in differenTAKES, January 2007.

Tamara Vukov has been active in a range of autonomous social movements, independent media and media arts in Montréal over the past 15 years (recently including SAB/SSF, the People's Commission on Immigration Security Measures, Global Balkans, and the Volatile Works collective). She is currently completing her PhD in Communication at Concordia, where her research looks at the racialized impacts of Canadian news media events focused on migration, including the post-9/11'security' agenda.

Sameer Zuberi is Communications and Human Rights Director at CAIR-CAN. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Sameer has worked in Kuwait as an elementary and high school teacher. While studying Mathematics at Concordia University, he served two terms as Vice President of the Concordia Student Union. Subsequently, through the United Muslim Students Association, he focused his activism on educating and linking the Muslim community to grassroots social justice movements.

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