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Canadian election caused rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes

29th Sep 2017

Harun Nasrullah

The Federal elections in Canada caused a whopping 60 per cent spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes. New data released in June by Statistics Canada show there were 159 anti-Muslim incidents reported to police that year, up from 99 in 2014.

National Council of Canadian Muslims Vice-Chair, Khalid Elgazzar, called 2015 a “difficult year” for Muslim Canadians, as two terrorist attacks in France inflamed anti-Muslim sentiment and former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, made a woman’s right to wear a veil at citizenship ceremonies a “central issue” of the election campaign.

“The Canadian Muslim community bore the brunt of the sinister political rhetoric surrounding the federal election which painted Muslims as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers as well as being anti-women,” said Elgazzar.

He stopped short of blaming the Conservative campaign for the rise in hate crimes, but said the campaign rhetoric was “a factor.”

Elgazzar said many victims of hate crimes do not report to police because they are fearful of further victimization or don’t think the police will do anything. He called on governments at all levels to boost funding for police investigations and data collection to better understand the scope of the problem. Farhat Rehman, of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, said there must also be more money spent on education to curb the “disturbing” trend.

“All levels of Government need to step up with more resources and act quickly to allocate urgently needed funds to school programs and agencies involved in education, public awareness and prevention of conflict and violence in our communities,” she said.

The Statistics Canada data show the number of incidents targeting Jewish people declined to 178 in 2015, compared to 213 the previous year. There were a total of 1,362 incidents motivated by hate based on race, ethnicity or religion, 67 more than in 2014.

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