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Islamophobia firmly rooted in Canada, Senate committee says

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A Canadian Senate committee has warned that Islamophobia is deeply rooted in the country and is on the rise, with black Muslims who wear headscarves being particularly targeted.

The Senate Human Rights Committee is examining this issue, and preliminary findings indicate that anti-Muslim incidents are often violent, more so than they are seen towards other religious groups.

“Canada has a problem,” Senator Salma Atta al-Lahjan, chair of the committee, said Wednesday in a telephone interview with the Canadian Press Agency.

“We hear about intergenerational trauma because young children are witnessing it. Muslims are speaking out because there are so many attacks that are happening and they are so violent,” she said.

The committee traveled across the country speaking to Muslims, including victims of the attacks, from all segments of society, including doctors and teachers.

The commission, which will release a full report in July, said far-right and anti-Muslim hate groups were on the rise, as were hate incidents.

Statistics Canada reported last month that hate crimes reported to police “rose from 2,646 in 2020 to 3,360 in 2021, an increase of 27%.”

The figures also showed that hate crimes targeting Muslims reported to the police rose by 71% over the same period, with a rate of eight incidents per 100,000 Muslims.

There are more than 1,775,000 Muslims in Canada. This works out to about 144 incidents. But Atta-Lahjan said the problem is worse and the accidents are not being reported.

The commission found women to be particularly vulnerable.

“Some of these women were afraid to leave their homes and it became difficult for them to take their children to school. Many spat on them,” said Atta al-Lahjan. “Muslims should constantly look over their shoulder.”

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is pleased that the Senate is preparing a report on Islamophobia.

“It’s something that everyone everywhere needs to consider,” said NCCM spokesperson Stephen Chu.

The organization recently sent out a press release detailing the hate incidents.

They include “hate messages” sprayed at a mosque in Toronto in March, a man who entered a mosque in Montreal and smashed windows with a shovel in April, a man “shouting anti-Islamic slurs” at the Islamic Society of Markham near Toronto, also in April, and two Muslim women. held at gunpoint” in Kitchener, Ontario before the suspect escaped.

Earlier on June 6, 2021, four members of a Pakistani-Canadian Muslim family were killed in an attack in London, Ontario. They are mowed down by a white nationalist into a truck as they return from an evening stroll.

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