Attacks against Canada’s Muslims spike after Danforth shooting

By Victor Ferreira
National Post | August 1, 2018

Less than 24 hours after Faisal Hussain opened fire in Toronto’s Greektown, a middle-aged white man approached a visibly Muslim family at the city’s ferry docks, pushed two men and screamed: “Where the f— are you from?”

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In the wake of the Danforth shooting, there’s been a spike in hate-related incidents targeting Muslims across Canada, according to the National Council of Canadian Muslims. Although the average number of recorded incidents between April and June was 1.5, the Muslim council says there have been five in the past week alone.

When Muslims are at the centre of large-scale violent incidents such as the Danforth and Parliament Hill shootings as perpetrators, the council’s statistics show that hate incidents — anything from verbal and physical attacks to vandalism — spike. The same occurs, the statistics show, when Muslims have been the victims.

“Either way, we can’t win sometimes,” said Leila Nasr, a council spokewoman. “Every time things like this happen, the Muslim community has to go into damage control to somehow defend itself from people who wish to lump everyone into the same category.”

Seeing such an increase in Islamophobic incidents has led Nasr to suggest that the tension in the aftermath of the Danforth shooting is causing some to “act out on their fears or their prejudices.” It wouldn’t be the first time.

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The council has collected data on anti-Muslim hate incidents since 2013. It keeps track of the incident reports that members of the Muslim community file with them along with those that are publicly reported.

In the week following the Parliament Hill shooting in 2014, the council recorded four anti-Muslim hate incidents that were publicly reported. The average per week in 2014 was 0.4. Nine incidents were also reported directly to the council. In the wake of the Quebec mosque shooting on Jan. 29, 2017, when Alexandre Bissonnette shot and killed six Muslim worshippers, the number of reported hate incidents jumped from four in January 2017 to 11 one month later. In March, there were another 10.

But these numbers aren’t completely accurate, Nasr acknowledges. They can’t be when two-thirds of hate crimes go unreported, according to a 2014 Statistics Canada survey.

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