Toronto, Canada – Canada has suffered extra mass killings motivated by Islamophobia within the final 5 years than every other nation within the G7, in line with the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).
Whereas political leaders have made constructive steps to fight Islamophobia, Canadian Muslims – who account for 3.2 % of the nation’s inhabitants – say way more nonetheless must be achieved to handle the issue as Canada prepares to vote within the upcoming federal elections on September 20.
There’s a “sense of concern and frustration” amongst Muslims as many ladies have been verbally and physically attacked in Edmonton, Noor al-Henedy, the director of communications and public relations at al-Rashid Mosque in Edmonton, Alberta, advised Al Jazeera.
Warning has particularly elevated since June when a person ran down a Muslim family out on their night stroll along with his pick-up truck in London, Ontario, killing 4 of the members of the family. A nine-year-old boy was the one member of the Afzaal household to outlive, however sustained critical accidents.
Some girls and women who put on the hijab, have opted to put on toques to cowl their hair once they exit for walks particularly within the night, in order that they are not visibly Muslim and a goal, al-Henedy mentioned.
“They’re extra vigilant. They don’t go for walks placing their air pods on. They attempt to exit in a gaggle,” she mentioned.
“To be speaking about assaults in opposition to [Muslims] is such a shock to us.”
Since 2017, 11 Canadian Muslims have been killed in three lethal assaults pushed by Islamophobia.
In 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette stormed a mosque in Quebec City, killing six Muslim worshippers and injuring a number of others, the worst anti-Muslim mass homicide in Canadian and United States historical past.
In September 2020, an alleged neo-Nazi Satanist fatally stabbed Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, 58, in an unprovoked assault exterior of a Toronto mosque the place he volunteered as a caretaker.
Mosques similar to al-Rashid have been met with vandalism and threats. Earlier this month, the Langley Islamic Centre in British Columbia obtained an nameless be aware, threatening the mosque to close down inside two months, or else a Christchurch-inspired homicide would ensue.
We are conscious of a violent menace directed on the Muslim neighborhood in Langley, BC.
We are in contact with the Langley Islamic Centre and can present extra updates as they turn out to be out there. pic.twitter.com/JrPuD4PCuH
— NCCM (@nccm) September 1, 2021
Al-Henedy mentioned that whereas federal social gathering leaders have all been verbally supportive, particularly after Islamophobic assaults, “Not a number of work is going on on the bottom.”
The federal government of Alberta did present al-Rashid Mosque with some additional funding to assist a self-defence initiative for Muslim girls and different programmes, but it surely was “extra on a grassroots organisation scale, not on a nationwide or provincial scale,” al-Henedy mentioned.
“I don’t need to say that phrases not matter, however they’re not highly effective sufficient. We’d like modifications on the bottom. We’d like this downside to be taken severely as a result of we will’t afford to lose any extra lives.”
‘Tackling second-class citizenship’
An Ipsos poll revealed on Wednesday confirmed the Liberals, led by present Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Conservatives led by chief Erin O’Toole to be in a “useless warmth” within the federal race.
They have been each predicted to win 32 % of the determined nationwide in style vote, with the New Democratic Get together (NDP) coming in third place, receiving 21 % of the vote.
The NCCM mentioned the present Liberal authorities has acted to handle Islamophobia by taking a stronger stance on dismantling white supremacist teams, however some gaps nonetheless must be addressed.
The council famous that not one of the federal leaders within the run-up to elections has dedicated to preventing Quebec’s Invoice 21 in court docket.
The invoice, adopted in 2019, bans some civil servants together with lecturers, cops and authorities legal professionals, from carrying non secular symbols at work (such because the hijab, kippah or turban).
When the moderator requested Yves Francois Blanchet, chief of the Bloc Quebecois why his social gathering “helps these discriminatory legal guidelines” similar to Invoice 21, throughout the televised leaders’ debate final week, the query was met with a flurry of criticism.
All three main federal leaders referred to as for an apology from the consortium of media broadcasters, calling the query on Quebec’s secularism legislation offensive and unfair.
Mustafa Farooq, CEO of NCCM advised Al Jazeera all three main leaders have sacrificed “ideas for political expediency”.
“The truth that anybody requested for an apology as a result of somebody has the temerity to ask a query a couple of invoice that’s discriminatory on its religion, is mind-boggling to me,” Farooq mentioned.
The NCCM mentioned on Twitter: “We can’t be critical about tackling Islamophobia however not decide to tackling second-class citizenship on the books for Muslims who select to put on the hijab in Quebec.”
‘A scarcity of response’
The Conservative Get together of Canada has mentioned it’s dedicated to preventing on-line incitement to hurt, however there’s no mention of Islamophobia or racism of their complete platform, the council mentioned.
The social gathering has proven “an absence of response on a variety of policy recommendations introduced ahead throughout the Nationwide Summit on Islamophobia. Of the over 30 home suggestions introduced by NCCM, the Conservative social gathering solely dedicated to 2,” the NCCM mentioned.
Whereas federal leaders have talked about Islamophobia on the marketing campaign path, “it’s deeply obvious that each one three of them didn’t do what wanted to be achieved when it comes to totally addressing the rise of hate and the truth of systemic discrimination on this nation,” Farooq mentioned.
Among the many dozens of proposals listed of their Federal Election Coverage Information (PDF) revealed final week, the NCCM is looking for funding a particular envoy to sort out Islamophobia.
For Steven Zhou, an incident hit near dwelling final July when a person lingered exterior the doorway to the Toronto mosque the place he volunteered as a caretaker, and made disparaging remarks and threats to worshippers as they arrived for a Friday early afternoon sermon.
Fortunately, the incident didn’t end in any deaths or accidents and the person left earlier than the police arrived.
Zhou advised Al Jazeera that the federal government nonetheless doesn’t “perceive us very effectively”.
“The liberal and progressive wing say they’re mates of Islam however most have by no means even concerned themselves within the Muslim neighborhood earlier than,” Zhou mentioned.
“They see Islamophobia, Muslims as potential vote-getting alternatives that belong on their platforms, not fully-alive human beings with advanced existences.”