IMPACT: Rise Canada is a Canadian anti-Muslim group that works in coalition with other anti-Muslim groups in Canada whose members have opposed religious accommodations for Muslim students in schools and a parliamentary motion condemning Islamophobia. Rise Canada’s social media accounts often post inflammatory and derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims.
According to its website, Rise Canada “defend[s] Canadian values, which often conflict with the Islamic way of thinking.” Its stated aim is “to awaken the masses to the danger of losing our inalienable rights.” While the year of Rise Canada’s founding is not publicly available, the website’s earliest posts date to February 2014.
Under Rise Canada’s “Meet Our Senior Advisors” section, Ron Banerjee is the sole individual listed. Banerjee is a Canadian anti-Muslim activist who has protested against religious accommodations for Muslim schoolchildren, and who organizes anti-Islam and anti-Muslims rallies throughout Canada. In a video of one of Rise Canada’s rallies, Banerjee states that “Islamophobia is a fake term; there is no islamophobia [sic].” According to court documents, Banerjee owns Rise Canada’s website.
In a Rise Canada YouTube video, published in June 2018, Banerjee states that Rise Canada, the Canadian Combat Coalition (C3), the Jewish Defense League (JDL) of Canada, and others have formed a “multi-faith, multi-ethnic alliance” to “work together to promote patriotism” and “promote Canadian values.” In a Rise Canada YouTube video, published in September 2018, the description states that C3 with Rise Canada and JDL Canada organized a vigil for “worldwide victims of terror” at the site of the deadly Toronto van attack, which took place in April 2018.
Rise Canada is a proponent of Hindu Nationalism. According to Rise Canada’s 2018 annual report, it has worked with Pegida Canada, Myanmar Buddhist organizations, and “many Hindu Nationalists.” In September 2018, Rise Canada tweeted a Facebook post of Banerjee, in which he described those who opposed Hindu Nationalism as “brown boot lickers” and “vile creatures.” Rise Canada’s Twitter account, whose handle was “@CanadaVsTerror,” has been suspended.
Rise Canada actively opposed Motion 103, a non-binding motion introduced by the Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) Iqra Khalid in December 2016 and passed in March 2017. It called on the Canadian government to condemn Islamophobia and “all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” as well as to recognize the need to “quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear.”
In February 2017, Rise Canada members marched to a mosque in downtown Toronto and protested against M-103 while holding banners saying “ban Islam.” Another video posted on Rise Canada’s YouTube Channel in January 2018, titled “Rise Canada members grill Liberal MP Ruby Sahota over M103,” shows MP Sahota discussing the motion while Rise Canada members refer to the motion as “Islamofascism” and “civilization jihad.”
In 2017, Rise Canada and Banerjee protested the Peel District School Board and their accommodation policy which allows Muslim students to pray the Friday prayers on schools’ premises. In a video published on Rise Canada’s YouTube channel in January 2017, anti-Muslim activist Sandra Solomon is seen supporting Banerjee’s appeal in front of the Peel School Board and saying, “Allah is Satan.” In another video, Banerjee is seen confronting someone from the School Board and saying, “Will they start blowing you up? Will they rape your wife? What about when they rape your daughter?”
In September 2017, Jennifer Bush, a Canadian anti-Muslim activist, confronted the then New Democratic Party leadership candidate Jagmeet Singh at a campaign event in Brampton, Ontario, and accused him of wanting to support Sharia law and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. In response to this incident, Rise Canada put out a statement that Bush is a “heroic independent activist” and “supporter” of Rise Canada, but not a member. Rise Canada’s statement went on to praise Bush’s “inclusive message of constructive criticism of his policies.”
In a video published on Rise Canada’s YouTube account in January 2018, in which a protestor disrupted a town hall meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Rise Canada cites “the example set months ago by JENNIFER BUSH” and describes Rise Canada as “proud to empower Canadian patriots.” Bush is also featured in numerous other videos posted on Rise Canada’s YouTube account.
Risa Canada has an extensive record of tweeting prejudicial and inflammatory statements about Muslims and Islam. In November 2016, Rise Canada tweeted its support of then-U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, stating: “Both Trump and Hindus know this Islam is vile and despicable. Kudos to both.” In January 2017, Rise Canada tweeted that “peaceful Muslims” is a “contradiction in terms.” In July 2017, Rise Canada tweeted a Facebook post by Banerjee: “We MUST defeat Islam but we must do it together, as Westerners and Buddhists and Hindus together.”
In January 2018, Rise Canada tweeted a Facebook post by Banerjee, in which he stated that “many White Muslims from Europe, ie Chechnya and Kosovo, have been implicated in jihadi attacks,” which he claims “PROVES that IQ differences are not about RACE or skin color AT ALL. It is about culture and religion more than anything.”
Rise Canada has also made prejudicial statements about Sikhs. In April 2018, Rise Canada tweeted that Sikhs are “cowards, very good at shooting women children blowing [sic] up Air India jets, but no match for real men.”