TORONTO – A series of recent anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant incidents across Canada has ringed alarm bells among Muslims, amid increasing concerns raised by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).
“Canadians of all backgrounds have expressed their outrage at these cowardly acts that do not reflect the values we cherish or the warm welcome refugees have received,” said NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.
“We urge law enforcement authorities to investigate each incident as a potential hate crime and work to swiftly apprehend and hold the perpetrators to account.
Gardee’s comments followed two separate incidents of assault in Alberta against two Syrian refugees were reported this week along with vandalism and arson against a Muslim family.
In Ontario, a Windsor woman was subjected to racial slurs and threats and an Ottawa-area Islamic school was vandalized.
Two Syrian refugee men said they were assaulted over the weekend in southeast Calgary.
Speaking through a translator to CBC News, Wesam Alomare said he was outside his housing complex in Forest Lawn on Saturday afternoon, where 28 newly arrived Syrian families live.
According to Alomare, two men approached, yelling in English, then one hit him in the face with an open hand.
Meanwhile, CBC News reported that Ottawa police have launched a hate crime investigation after someone spray-painted messages on the wall of a Muslim elementary school in Ottawa Sunday night.
According to news reports, people who live near the Ahlul-Bayt Islamic Education Centre in Vanier said they contacted police and the school Monday morning after waking up to see the phrases “Die Bombers,” “ISIS Go Home” and “F**k the New World” in orange and black paint on its back wall.
Series of Attacks
NCCM raised concerns followed a series of attacks targeting Muslims and immigrants.
“Our elected leaders at all levels must continue to condemn such acts and the Islamophobic attitudes that give rise to them and work together with communities to challenge hatred and ignorance,” Gardee said.
“A clear message needs to be heard that such hateful incidents will not go unpunished and those espousing views that encourage them shall not go unchallenged,” he added.
The spate of incidents appear to be part of a recent trend of anti-Muslim incidents that the NCCM has been tracking and which have been independently corroborated by Statistics Canada and more recently by the Toronto Police Service.
The NCCM maintains an online database of reported anti-Muslim hate crimes and incidents which was launched last June as part of a national awareness campaign.
The number of hate crimes and incidents documented in the database more than doubled between 2014 and 2015.
A newly updated NCCM Community Safety Guide provides tips and information about keeping Canadian Muslim institutions and congregations safe and is available for print order.
The NCCM also presents workshops to educate communities about their rights and responsibilities when faced with hate crimes, as well as workshops on Islamophobia.