Facebook’s secret rules mean that it’s ok to be anti-Islam, but not anti-gay | Ars Technica

For all those interested in free speech and hate speech issues, a really good analysis of how Facebook is grappling with the issue and its definitions of protected groups. Urge all readers to go through the slide show (need to go to the article to access) which capture some of the complexities involved:

In the wake of a terrorist attack in London earlier this month, a US congressman wrote a Facebook post in which he called for the slaughter of “radicalized” Muslims. “Hunt them, identify them, and kill them,” declared US Rep. Clay Higgins, a Louisiana Republican. “Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”

Higgins’ plea for violent revenge went untouched by Facebook workers who scour the social network deleting offensive speech.

But a May posting on Facebook by Boston poet and Black Lives Matter activist Didi Delgado drew a different response.

“All white people are racist. Start from this reference point, or you’ve already failed,” Delgado wrote. The post was removed, and her Facebook account was disabled for seven days.

A trove of internal documents reviewed by ProPublica sheds new light on the secret guidelines that Facebook’s censors use to distinguish between hate speech and legitimate political expression. The documents reveal the rationale behind seemingly inconsistent decisions. For instance, Higgins’ incitement to violence passed muster because it targeted a specific sub-group of Muslims—those that are “radicalized”—while Delgado’s post was deleted for attacking whites in general.

Over the past decade, the company has developed hundreds of rules, drawing elaborate distinctions between what should and shouldn’t be allowed in an effort to make the site a safe place for its nearly 2 billion users. The issue of how Facebook monitors this content has become increasingly prominent in recent months, with the rise of “fake news”—fabricated stories that circulated on Facebook like “Pope Francis Shocks the World, Endorses Donald Trump For President, Releases Statement“—and growing concern that terrorists are using social media for recruitment.

While Facebook was credited during the 2010-2011 “Arab Spring” with facilitating uprisings against authoritarian regimes, the documents suggest that, at least in some instances, the company’s hate-speech rules tend to favor elites and governments over grassroots activists and racial minorities. In so doing, they serve the business interests of the global company, which relies on national governments not to block its service to their citizens.

One Facebook rule, which is cited in the documents but that the company said is no longer in effect, banned posts that praise the use of “violence to resist occupation of an internationally recognized state.” The company’s workforce of human censors, known as content reviewers, has deleted posts by activists and journalists in disputed territories such as Palestine, Kashmir, Crimea, and Western Sahara.

One document trains content reviewers on how to apply the company’s global hate speech algorithm. The slide identifies three groups: female drivers, black children, and white men. It asks: which group is protected from hate speech? The correct answer: white men.

The reason is that Facebook deletes curses, slurs, calls for violence, and several other types of attacks only when they are directed at “protected categories”—based on race, sex, gender identity, religious affiliation, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and serious disability/disease. It gives users broader latitude when they write about “subsets” of protected categories. White men are considered a group because both traits are protected, while female drivers and black children, like radicalized Muslims, are subsets, because one of their characteristics is not protected. (The exact rules are in the slide show below.)

Facebook has used these rules to train its “content reviewers” to decide whether to delete or allow posts. Facebook says the exact wording of its rules may have changed slightly in more recent versions. ProPublica recreated the slides.

Behind this seemingly arcane distinction lies a broader philosophy. Unlike American law, which permits preferences such as affirmative action for racial minorities and women for the sake of diversity or redressing discrimination, Facebook’s algorithm is designed to defend all races and genders equally.

But Facebook says its goal is different—to apply consistent standards worldwide. “The policies do not always lead to perfect outcomes,” said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook. “That is the reality of having policies that apply to a global community where people around the world are going to have very different ideas about what is OK to share.”

Facebook’s rules constitute a legal world of their own. They stand in sharp contrast to the United States’ First Amendment protections of free speech, which courts have interpreted to allow exactly the sort of speech and writing censored by the company’s hate speech algorithm. But they also differ—for example, in permitting postings that deny the Holocaust—from more restrictive European standards.

The company has long had programs to remove obviously offensive material like child pornography from its stream of images and commentary. Recent articles in the Guardian and Süddeutsche Zeitung have detailed the difficult choices that Facebook faces regarding whether to delete posts containing graphic violence, child abuse, revenge porn and self-mutilation.

The challenge of policing political expression is even more complex. The documents reviewed by ProPublica indicate, for example, that Donald Trump’s posts about his campaign proposal to ban Muslim immigration to the United States violated the company’s written policies against “calls for exclusion” of a protected group. As The Wall Street Journal reported last year, Facebook exempted Trump’s statements from its policies at the order of Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder and chief executive.

The company recently pledged to nearly double its army of censors to 7,500, up from 4,500, in response to criticism of a video posting of a murder. Their work amounts to what may well be the most far-reaching global censorship operation in history. It is also the least accountable: Facebook does not publish the rules it uses to determine what content to allow and what to delete.

Users whose posts are removed are not usually told what rule they have broken, and they cannot generally appeal Facebook’s decision. Appeals are currently only available to people whose profile, group, or page is removed.

The company has begun exploring adding an appeals process for people who have individual pieces of content deleted, according to Bickert. “I’ll be the first to say that we’re not perfect every time,” she said.

Facebook is not required by US law to censor content. A 1996 federal law gave most tech companies, including Facebook, legal immunity for the content users post on their services. The law, section 230 of the Telecommunications Act, was passed after Prodigy was sued and held liable for defamation for a post written by a user on a computer message board.

The law freed up online publishers to host online forums without having to legally vet each piece of content before posting it, the way that a news outlet would evaluate an article before publishing it. But early tech companies soon realized that they still needed to supervise their chat rooms to prevent bullying and abuse that could drive away users.

Source: Facebook’s secret rules mean that it’s ok to be anti-Islam, but not anti-gay | Ars Technica

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Report: More Than Half of Hate Crimes in U.S. Go Unreported | Time.com

Canada likely has a comparable degree of under-reporting. Interesting that this analysis does not cover religiously-motivated hate crimes:

The majority of hate crimes experienced by U.S. residents over a 12-year period were not reported to police, according to a new federal report released Thursday that stoked advocates’ concerns about ongoing tensions between law enforcement and black and Latino communities.

More than half of the 250,000 hate crimes that took place each year between 2004 and 2015 went unreported to law enforcement for a variety of reasons, according to a special report on hate crimes from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Hate crimes were most often not reported because they were handled some other way, the report said. But people also did not come forward because they didn’t feel it was important or that police would help.

The report, based on a survey of households, is one of several studies that aim to quantify hate crimes. Its release comes as the Justice Department convenes a meeting on Thursday with local law enforcement officials and experts to discuss hate crimes, including a lack of solid data on the problem nationwide. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to speak.

The new survey shows the limits of hate crime reporting, said Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, California State University.

“Many victims don’t report hate crimes because of personal and institutional reasons,” Levin said. For example, some Latino immigrants may be reluctant to call police after an apparent hate crime for fear of deportation, he said.

Advocates fear that problem is worsening as the Trump administration ramps up immigration enforcement.

The report says Hispanics were victimized at the highest rate, followed by blacks.

“I think this report shows the kind of fear that is going on in our communities,” said Patricia Montes, executive director of the Boston-based immigrant advocacy group Centro Presente. She worries Latinos will even be more reluctant to report hate crimes in the future.

The new report said there was no significant increase in the number of hate crimes between 2004 and 2015. It cites racial bias as the top motivation, representing more than 48 percent of the cases between 2011 and 2015. Hate crimes motivated by ethnicity accounted for about 35 percent of those cases, and sexual orientation represented about 22 percent. Almost all of those surveyed said they felt they were experiencing a hate crime because of something the perpetrator said.

Law enforcement officials have long grappled with how to catalog hate crimes. While some victims’ distrust of police keeps them from coming forward, Levin said, some LGBT victims may opt not to report a hate crime for fear of losing a job or being outed to family.

Levin said many large cities are claiming they had no hate crimes — calling into question the reliability of federal hate crimes data that are based on voluntary submissions from police departments. “We have Columbus, Ohio, reporting more hate crimes than the state of Florida,” he said.

Eric Treene, the Justice Department’s special counsel for religious discrimination, lamented the lack of solid data on hate crimes during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May, saying incomplete numbers stymie officials’ ability to fully understand the problem.

But he said the department is committed to prosecuting hate crimes, even as critics have blamed the Trump administration’s tough rhetoric and policies for a spike in such offenses. Civil rights groups said investigating and prosecuting hate crimes alone would be insufficient.

Source: Report: More Than Half of Hate Crimes in U.S. Go Unreported | Time.com

New Zealand gave Peter Thiel citizenship after he spent just 12 days there | The Guardian

Pretty scandalous on many accounts. Revocation on grounds of fraud or misrepresentation?

Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of Paypal, was granted New Zealandcitizenship despite spending only 12 days in the country, new documents have revealed.

The government ombudsmen has forced New Zealand authorities to release further details of Thiel’s highly unusual citizenship process because it was deemed in the public interest.

On Thursday, Nathan Guy – who oversaw Thiel’s citizenship application as minister of internal affairs in 2011 – said Theil had been “a great ambassador for New Zealand, a great salesperson”. “He is a fine individual, good character, he has invested a lot in New Zealand, he’s got great reach into the US and I am very comfortable with the decision that I made.”

The billionaire entrepreneur who is a close adviser to Donald Trump, was granted New Zealand citizenship in June 2011, after taking four brief trips to the country. He made it clear he had no immediate plans to settle in the country.

The usual route to citizenship requires applicants to be in New Zealand as a permanent resident for at least 1,350 days in the five years preceding an application.

The New Zealand government granted Thiel citizenship due to his “exceptional circumstances”, and because it was understood he would promote New Zealand on the global stage, and provide introductions and contacts for New Zealand start-ups in Silicon Valley.

Official information documents stated Thiel’s “exceptional circumstances” related to “his skills as an entrepreneur and his philanthropy”, which were deemed to be of potential benefit to New Zealanders and the country. The formal citizenship process took place in a private ceremony in Santa Monica in 2011.

In his application for citizenship Thiel stated that although he had no plans to reside in New Zealand, and did not work for a New Zealand business overseas, he intended to “represent the country on the international stage”. He also donated NZ$1m to the Christchurch earthquake relief fund, and bought prime land and luxury homes in New Zealand.

Despite this intention Thiel never appeared to mention his New Zealand citizenship in any public capacity – it was revealed by New Zealand media this year.

Labour’s immigration spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway told Radio NZ that Thiel was not promoting New Zealand internationally as he’d stated in his application, as no one knew about his citizenship or ties to New Zealand for six years.

“If Peter Thiel was an amazing ambassador and salesperson for New Zealand we would have found out he was a citizen of New Zealand because he would have told the world that he was a citizen of New Zealand,” Lees-Galloway said. “He kept it under wraps. He hasn’t gone around telling the world that he’s a citizen of New Zealand and that he’s proud of New Zealand.”

Source: New Zealand gave Peter Thiel citizenship after he spent just 12 days there | World news | The Guardian

Sen. Paul Yuzyk imagined multiculturalism as Canada’s contribution to the world

Good long read by Joanna Smith for Multiculturalism Day, with its focus on Yuzyk highlighting the early bipartisan basis for multiculturalism:

In 1963, newly elected Liberal prime minister Lester Pearson had launched the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism as a response to growing tensions between English-speaking Canada and Quebec, where nationalism was on the rise. Paul Yuzyk had been named a Progressive Conservative senator for Manitoba that year. In his maiden speech in the red chamber early in 1964, he balked at this notion of cultural dualism.

Indigenous people were on the land long before the French and the British arrived, he said, and it was immigrants from elsewhere in Europe, including Ukrainians, who answered the call to settle the western provinces.

Those who did not descend from either of the so-called founding nations — the people Yuzyk referred to as the “third element” in Canadian society — saw their share of the population more than double since the turn of the century, he told his colleagues.

Multiculturalism — or “unity in continuing diversity,” as he also called it — should be celebrated as part of what makes Canadians who they are, he argued, but also Canada what it is.

“This principle, in keeping with the democratic way, encourages citizens of all ethnic origins to make their best contributions to the development of a general Canadian culture as essential ingredients in the nation-building process,” he said.

***

In response to intense lobbying by Yuzyk, Ukrainian community and other groups, the commission dedicated the fourth volume of its report to the contributions of ethnic groups and recommended ways to foster and protect their cultural and linguistic development.

On October 8, 1971, Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau responded by unveiling his government’s new multiculturalism policy.

“Although there are two official languages, there is no official culture, nor does any ethnic group take precedence over any other,” Trudeau said in the House of Commons.

“It was just such a vindication and an acceptance of the reality in Canada,” said Vera Yuzyk.

The focus on multiculturalism was happening as Canada was also opening its borders to a greater diversity of immigrants. In 1967, it became the first country in the world to introduce a points-based system that linked permanent residency to the ability to contribute to Canada.

The doors would open wider still a few years later, allowing for more immigration based on family reunification and refugees, boosting the number of newcomers from non-European countries.

Source: Sen. Paul Yuzyk imagined multiculturalism as Canada’s contribution to the world | National Post

Canadian immigration: Why are Europeans renouncing immigrant status?

I find this concern overblown. If people are renouncing their Permanent Resident status, it suggests that they are likely not here on a permanent basis. Hard to imagine that European-origin permanent residents would renounce their PR status if only travelling back and forth for annual visits or occasional business travel.

The eTA requirement is not onerous:

Foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries who are permanent residents of Canada (who used to be called landed immigrants) are being confronted with the new step before they can get approval to board flights to this country, but also at port-of-entry airports such as Vancouver International.

The trouble arises for these travellers when they arrive at an airport without their plastic permanent resident card — or don’t realize their permanent residence status has expired for certain reasons, including not spending enough time in Canada.

They are thrust into a state of limbo.

When such travellers try to get an eTA — and airport officials then discover they are permanent residents of Canada, but their documentation is inadequate — they are not granted an eTA to board a plane to Canada or, if they somehow make it to Canada, they are not allowed through immigration checkpoints.

As a result, says Toronto immigration lawyer David Lesperance, customs and airline officials are advising such people the quickest way to be allowed to fly into Canada is to renounce their opportunity to immigrate.

As Lesperance puts it, airport officials are telling them: “Either you voluntarily relinquish your (permanent residence) status right here and right now, and we let you in as a visitor, or we deny you entry and fly you back home.”

Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland confirms European and anglophone clients who have had permanent resident status have been running into many difficulties at international airports because of the eTA.

The overall number of people from all countries who have renounced their Canadian immigrant status has gone up sharply since 2014, when Ottawa began making the process of renouncing easier.

The total volume of renunciations has jumped from just a handful a year to more than 30,000 in the past two-and-a-half years.

Of course, would-be immigrants from Europe, Asia or Africa renounce their attempt to gain citizenship for a variety of reasons. Some dislike Canada’s cold weather, some earn more money in their homeland and some are trying to avoid paying Canadian income taxes.

But the immigration lawyers say the biggest reason Germans, Australians, French, Danes, Dutch and Britons have recently renounced is the change Immigration Canada introduced last year and formalized on Nov. 10 — requiring all travellers from visa-exempt countries to apply online for an eTA.

More than 2,530 people from Britain have renounced their Canadian permanent resident status in the past year and a half, compared to just 305 in 2015, before the eTA was announced.[average number of new PRs 2006-15: 7,124]

The pace of Australians recently renouncing their PR status has jumped 17-fold — to 509 in the past year and a half compared to just 30 in 2015. [average number of new PRs 2006-15: 1,054]

More than 571 Germans have also renounced in the past year and a half, compared to 153 in 2015. [average number of new PRs 2006-15: 2,334]

So have 775 French citizens, contrasted with 117 in 2015. [average number of new PRs 2006-15: 4,902]

Most of the Europeans and anglophones renouncing their chance to become Canadian citizens are “relieved” to end their travel aggravations by forgoing their permanent resident status in Canada, Kurland said.

Many are deciding instead to travel to Canada as tourists, or by applying for increasingly popular 10-year visas.

Source: Canadian immigration: Why are Europeans renouncing immigrant status? | Vancouver Sun

ICYMI: ‘They were very persistent’: CBC finds more cash-for-jobs immigration schemes

Good article on one of the fraud schemes, appears largely related to Saskatchewan’s provincial nominee program:

An ongoing court case suggests this sort of thing may have been going on for years in Saskatchewan.

In December 2015, Qi Wang and Yujuan Cui, a couple from White City, Sask. — a bedroom community of Regina — were charged with violating the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for allegedly creating fake job offers or inducing others to do so.

The husband and wife, who now live in Roberts Creek, B.C., are set to stand trial in January for their actions related to hundreds of immigration files in Saskatchewan.

Wang and Cui have been on the radar of immigration authorities since 2008.

In its fact statement filed in court, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says from 2008 to 2010, the province of Saskatchewan had suspended Wang from using its Immigrant Nominee Program because “he had been offering jobs from Saskatchewan companies that were not in existence and offering positions from a company for which authorization had not been received.”

Then, in 2012, CBSA was tipped off by provincial officials about some more suspicious activity.

During the two-year investigation that followed, from 2012 to 2014, CBSA seized material including “documents containing signature blocks and business header information taped onto job offers as well as documents with the employer’s email address portion cut out or taped over with a new address.”

Investigators allege that Wang and Cui made fake job offers to Chinese nationals, sometimes using non-existent companies. They also theorize that the couple approached and counselled “legitimate Saskatchewan companies to provide fraudulent job offers to Chinese nationals” and promised “to compensate legitimate Saskatchewan companies for providing fraudulent job offers.”

In all, CBSA says the couple “illegally received $600,000 from Chinese nationals” and “paid out approximately $95,000 to seventeen different Saskatchewan business owners.”

In documents seized from the couple, investigators found the names of 1,229 people. The province had received immigration applications from 422 of them.

CBSA found that 27 of those had their applications rejected, but 78 had already become permanent residents.

The court document says “CBSA did not have the capacity to ascertain with certainty the number of applications that were fraudulent.”

Permanent residency marketed as ‘commodity’

None of this is surprising to Raj Sharma, a Calgary immigration lawyer who used to work for the immigration refugee board as a hearing officer.

“Wherever you have this hot economy and favourable immigration climate, you’re gonna see this type of action,” he said.

He said this is precisely the sort of thing they’ve been seeing for years in Alberta.

Sharma said he knows it goes on because he regularly gets calls from people wanting his firm to find them a job in exchange for money — which he says is illegal.

“We respond and say that’s not what we do. But obviously they make that inquiry because there are others who do,” he said.

He said those who are willing to flout the law can command “five to 10 to 100 times more than our fees.”

“Canadian residency is a sought-after commodity and an asset,” he said.

He insisted in order to stop people from exploiting that fact, enforcement needs to be tougher and the rules need to be strengthened.

He said that’s especially so in Saskatchewan, where the program “is looser and more generous than Alberta.”

When asked about CBC’s Vstar investigation, the Saskatchewan premier’s office responded with a brief written statement, saying, “Saskatchewan has the strongest nominee program in Canada and we are determined to make sure that it remains the strongest.”

“As always, the government treats any suspected immigration infractions very seriously. Government officials look into information provided by anyone showing potential evidence of wrongdoing.”

When asked, the premier’s office didn’t explain what it meant by “strongest.”

Sharma said Alberta prioritizes approving the immigration applications of people who already live in the province and work or study there, whereas Saskatchewan “will still allow someone to come directly from overseas and I think perhaps that should be tightened up.”

He said it’s implausible that someone from China with weak language skills would be able to land a job in Canada without assistance.

And he said there are many who are willing to “help.”

“It is inevitably fostering fraud,” Sharma said.

Source: ‘They were very persistent’: CBC finds more cash-for-jobs immigration schemes – Saskatchewan – CBC News

Israeli decision to shelve mixed-prayer space draws Canadian anger

Some unfordable parallels with other orthodox or fundamentalist elements within different religions:

A decision by Israel’s government to scrap plans for a mixed-gender prayer area at Jerusalem’s Western Wall has left a senior leader of Canada’s Jewish community “disappointed” but determined to fight the move.

Men and women are segregated as they approach the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.

The men’s section of the Western Wall is also considerably larger than the women’s section.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to a compromise deal last year that would recognize a prayer space where women and men could pray together.

But under pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties in his coalition government, Netanyahu and his cabinet shelved that agreement on Sunday, leading to a firestorm of criticism from some Jewish leaders who say the relationship between the Jewish State and Jews who live outside of the Israel is now at risk.

Linda Kislowicz, the president of the Jewish Federations of Canada, said Netanyahu’s decision to back down on the deal “doesn’t make me happy.”

“I’m not sure it really reflects what [Netanyahu] really believes,” Kislowicz told CBC News. “And I think that enough pressure and enough people are going to impress upon him that this was a miscalculation.”

‘We will not stop lobbying’

Kislowicz, who lives in Toronto, is in Israel this week for a series of meetings with Israeli officials. She said those discussions quickly became focused on Sunday’s decision to cancel the plans for the mixed-prayer space. She spent several hours meeting Israeli politicians on Tuesday at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

‘We will not stop lobbying and influencing and pressuring,” until the deal to recognize the egalitarian prayer space is reinstated, she said.

Still, the relationship between Canada’s Jewish community and Israel has taken a hit, she concedes.

“The damage is deep. But I hope temporary. I think that we shouldn’t underestimate the fragmentation, the fracture, the disappointment, the anger even,” Kislowicz said.

There about 400,000 Jews in Canada. It’s believed that the number of Reform or Conservative Jewish Canadians — who hold more liberal beliefs than the ultra-Orthodox — is proportionally lower in Canada compared to the United States, where Reform and Conservative rabbis have reacted with anger to Netanyahu’s decision.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel’s Foreign Ministry was preparing its diplomats in the United States to deal with the “crisis” over the Western Wall decision. There was no mention of the talking points being distributed to Israel’s embassy in Ottawa.

On the forefront of the battle for prayer equality in Israel is a group known as Women of the Wall, who have spent years seeking equal rights to worship.

The group’s early-morning prayer gatherings often turned into protests that sometimes became violent, with clashes between supporters and the police.

Source: Israeli decision to shelve mixed-prayer space draws Canadian anger – World – CBC News

Justin Trudeau wore our Muslim hipster socks

Although this is the kind of carefully managed public appearances that drive the opposition crazy, it nevertheless highlights the initiative and the political savvy behind Halal Socks (not to mention PMO’s ensuring that they were worn when most appropriate):

It’s no longer surprising when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s socks make headlines. There were Star Wars socks for May the Fourth, a NATO-themed pair for a leaders summit and maple leaves for Live with Kelly and Ryan. But no one was more surprised than Shehryar and Sara Qureshy to learn Trudeau would sport a rainbow-striped pair reading “Eid Mubarak” at Pride in Toronto on the weekend to mark the end of Ramadan. Shehryar and Sara are the husband-and-wife team behind Halal Socks, the Toronto-based company that produced the now famous pair. “We were totally flabbergasted,” Shehryar says. “I think Sara was screaming.” The company, which sells Islam-themed socks, only launched this month, and the ensuing attention crashed its website. Shehryar and Sara explain how it happened.

Q: How did you start the company?

Sara: Last Eid, I was trying to find something for my husband, and I was having a really difficult time finding something that was festive. I was complaining to him, “I’m having a hard time, let me know what you want.” He’s like, “You know I love socks. Why don’t you find me some socks that go with this occasion?” I searched but I couldn’t find anything, and I told Shehryar that. He’s like, “Okay, we got something here.” So that’s how it started.

Q: Are the socks really halal?

Shehryar: We actually went to different mosques, both conservative and liberal mosques, around the Greater Toronto Area, and talked to prominent leaders in our community to make sure the designs are compliant with their beliefs. There were some designs that had to be altered. We’ve got one with a mosque design, for example, and one imam who told us there’s a big community that will take this negatively, and see this as putting mosques underneath your feet. We said, no problem, let’s remove it. So we were confident that when we launch, we’ve got acceptance from these major Muslim hubs in the GTA.

Q: Tell me about the “Beard Bro” design.

Shehryar: Some of our brothers in the mosque are quite stylish. They’re rocking a clean haircut, their pant legs are high, they’re wearing tight clothes, and they’ve got nice, big beards. Sometimes we’ll joke, “How’s your beard game?” And we’re like, “My beard game is strong.” Now you’re showcasing your socks along with it. Think of this as for the Muslim hipster.

A: So how did the Prime Minister end up wearing your socks?

Sara: I got a hold of Omar Alghabra, the MP of Mississauga Centre, and we asked him if he could somehow gift these socks to our prime minister. We knew Eid was coming up and we knew he’s a sock enthusiast. We just hoped he would be willing to wear them. So Omar Alghabra got them to the prime minister. I think he really liked them because he wore them twice.

Q: Oh, he wore them before?

Sara: Yeah, the first time was last week at an event at the Muslim Welfare Centre in Scarborough. I got a video from Omar Alghabra, and I was ecstatic. The prime minister was giving a speech and mentioned the Eid Mubarak socks. He lifted up his pants a little bit.

Q: Have you seen sales pick up?

Sara: All of this amazing attention hasn’t really translated into many sales yet. But our international orders have gone up a little bit, so that proves Trudeau’s global appeal is there.

Shehryar: The Muslim population is growing around the world, and they’re getting more affluent and willing to spend money on things that appeal to them. Our overall vision is we start with men’s socks, and if this attention translates into orders, we could go into the wider Muslim apparel market, inshallah.

Source: Justin Trudeau wore our Muslim hipster socks – Macleans.ca

Multiculturalism Day Statements 27 June: PM, Greens but no CPC or NDP

Interestingly, no statements by either the Conservatives or NDP:

Statement by the Prime Minister on Canadian Multiculturalism Day

“Today, Canadians from coast to coast to coast join together to celebrate the multiculturalism and openness that make us who we are as a country.

“Canadians come from every corner of the world, speak two official languages and hundreds more, practice many faiths, and represent many cultures. Multiculturalism is at the heart of Canada’s heritage and identity – and as Canadians, we recognize that our differences make us strong.

“Canada’s strong tradition of multiculturalism has allowed our society to benefit from fresh perspectives and find new answers to old problems. It has also helped Canada attract some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial people from around the world, showing that openness is the engine of both creativity and prosperity.

“This year, we mark both the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These milestones remind us of the values that unite us – openness, inclusion, and deep respect for our differences. Whoever we are, wherever we come from, these values bring us together as equal members of this great country.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I wish all those celebrating a happy, fun, and educational Multiculturalism Day. I invite Canadians to take part in the many activities happening across the country, and I ask all of us to work even harder to protect and promote multiculturalism. Today, and every day, let us celebrate the differences that make Canada strong, diverse, inclusive, and proud.”

Source: Prime Minister of Canada | Justin Trudeau

The Green Party of Canada released the following statement for Canadian Multiculturalism Day:

“Canada is a multicultural society with a strong history of welcoming immigrants and celebrating ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. We are proud to foster an environment where all have equal voice and opportunity to participate fully in Canadian society.

“As 150th anniversary events take place across Canada this week, we acknowledge the original and diverse inhabitants of this land and recognize that all non-Indigenous peoples are immigrants. Indigenous values of consensus-building and reconciliation are part of what makes us Canadian. But we remain acutely aware that for many Indigenous peoples, this 150th anniversary represents 150 years of discriminatory policies, colonialism and oppression. The task of the next 150 years is to achieve genuine reconciliation and justice.

“We also turn our attention to the worsening global refugee crisis. In past decades, Canada has been strengthened when we embraced those fleeing from conflict and displacement. Now, more than ever, the world needs more Canada, and Canada must welcome more of the world’s people.”

Source: Statement on Canadian Multiculturalism Day 2017

‘Before tragedy strikes’: Liberals launch centre to prevent homegrown terrorism – Politics – CBC News

Good and appropriate that it includes all forms of radicalization and violent extremism:

The federal government has launched a new centre tasked with preventing the radicalization of Canadian young people.

A special adviser will be named in the coming months to oversee the local outreach and research projects funded through the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence.

The centre will have dedicated staff, but will be located within the existing Public Safety Canada space.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canada must become a world leader in understanding and dealing with radicalization that leads to violence, in order to retain its national character as an open, diverse society that is also safe and secure.

“The new Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence will help us do as much as humanly possible to prevent radicalization to violence before tragedy strikes,” Goodale said in a statement. “It will support and empower local leaders to develop initiatives that are suited to their community.”

Last year’s budget set aside $35 million over five years and $10 million each year after to combat radicalization and violence in Canada.

Ontario Liberal MP Arif Virani, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of heritage (multiculturalism), said the new centre will drive better research, understanding and engagement, with a special focus on youth vulnerable to radicalization. Building up trust relationships and opening lines of communication are critical to combating radicalism at the ground level, he said.

No boundaries to extremist views

The centre will not focus on Islamist extremism alone, but will cover a wide spectrum, because while some attacks are perpetrated by Islamist extremists, others target Muslims, Virani said.

“When we look at what’s happening across the country, radicalization is not endemic to any one group, institution, race or religion,” he said. “It doesn’t have particular boundaries that are tied to a religion or an ideology. That’s very important to keep in mind because that’s a situation we need be upfront about in terms of where the threats are coming from and not focusing on any one particular community.”

In January, six people were killed and 19 others injured in an attack by a gunman at a Quebec CIty mosque.

Source: ‘Before tragedy strikes’: Liberals launch centre to prevent homegrown terrorism – Politics – CBC News