Barely elected, MP Haroun Bouazzi targeted by hate messages

Barely elected, MP Haroun Bouazzi targeted by hate messages

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, candidate in Gouin and spokesperson for Québec solidaire went to the Maurice-Richard riding to meet candidate Haroun Bouazzi and volunteers./Josie Desmarais/Metro

Elected since Monday evening, the new deputy of Quebec solidaire in Maurice-Richard, Haroun Bouazzi, received a flood of messages and insults on social networks. On Twitter, many tweets refer to his Muslim faith.

Many accuse him of supporting radical Islam. The 43-year-old politician has been denouncing discrimination against his religious community for several years.

Others call him a pro-Sharia Islamist, or an “Islamo-leftist” who is said to have “radical pro-Islamic remarks”. Several of these comments – pronounced under anonymity or a false identity for the most part – refer to remarks made by Mr. Bouazzi in 2015. The latter then explained that Sharia was “something very broad”.

“There is not one, there are many. There are as many as there can be interpretations, many of these systems coexist,” said the Canadian-Tunisian.

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In an interview with Le Devoir, still in 2015, he denounced Islamophobia. He then associated it with other types of discrimination. “The principle is always the same, we take a group, we essentialize it, we stick a culture on it, which we inferiorize, and there we are superior. It works for women, homosexuals, Jews,  etc.”, he explained.

That same year, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec recognized his contribution to the advancement of rights and freedoms in Quebec.

Support from all sides

The day after the election on Tuesday, Haroun Bouazzi responded to his detractors on Twitter. “There are many emergencies: climate crisis, dilapidated public schools, housing crisis, dying health system, labor shortage,” he recalls, promising that he will not let himself “ not distracted by noise.”

The co-founder of the Association of Muslims and Arabs for Secularism in Quebec (AMAL) is supported by his party. Manon Massé, co-spokesperson for QS, called on “elected officials and citizens to denounce this toxic climate and warmly welcome [their] new colleague”.

The formidable Haroun Bouazzi has earned his place in the National Assembly. Hatred and Islamophobia have no place in Quebec.

Manon Massé, co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire

Caquiste Benoit Charette for his part wished “the most cordial welcome to the National Assembly” to his new colleague. He described as “very deplorable” the flood of denigrating messages of which Mr. Bouazzi is the particular subject.

The supportive MP also received the support of the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly. “The Islamophobic remarks aimed at Haroun Bouazzi following his election in Maurice-Richard are unacceptable. Such hatred has no place in our democracy. Haroun Bouazzi, I'm by your side,” she said.

Recall that the newly elected snatched the riding of Maurice-Richard from the Liberal Party of Quebec. Solidarity thus collected 10,633 votes (34% of the votes).

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