Hate Crimes Targeting Muslims in Canada Up 151% in 2017, According to New Data

-For Immediate Release-

Statistics Canada data released today shows stark increases in hate crimes against most racial, religious and other minority groups

(Ottawa – November 29, 2018) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) says it is deeply concerned by new data from Statistics Canada showing significant country-wide increases in police-reported hate crimes in 2017. Hate crimes increased by 47% overall, while those targeting Muslims increased by 151%. Black and Jewish communities also saw disturbing increases of 50% and 63% respectively.

“The data, while very unsettling for our communities, unfortunately does not surprise us. 2017 was an immensely difficult year for the Canadian Muslim community, beginning on January 29th with the single largest Islamophobic attack in Canada’s history in which six men were brutally murdered and many others injured while worshipping in their Quebec City mosque. This new data reveals anti-Muslim hate crimes peaked in February 2017, signalling that the shooting very much set the tone for the increase in hate crimes against Muslims for the remainder of the year,” says NCCM Executive Ihsaan Gardee.

The biggest increases were seen in Ontario and Quebec where police-reported hate crimes increased by 411 and 162 incidents, respectively. In Ontario, hate crimes specifically targeting Muslims increased by 207% and in Quebec by 185%.

“This tells us that Islamophobia in Canada is getting more intense and more pervasive. And these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg – approximately two-thirds of hate crimes are never even reported to police for a variety of reasons including fear of retaliation, shame, and fear of not being believed by police,” says Gardee.

“When analyzing this data, it’s equally important to consider what the data does not show. The numbers don’t tell the story of victims who are targeted because of multiple aspects of their identity. For instance, hate crimes committed against an Arab Muslim woman or a Black Jewish man are not fully captured by the data. Additionally, the data does not speak to the issue of perception of identity. In some cases, Arabs, Sikhs and others are targeted because they are perceived to be Muslim but the data isn’t able to account for this nuance. Therefore, there is an ongoing need for improvement to the data collection process on hate crimes in Canada,” says NCCM Communications Coordinator Leila Nasr.

The NCCM recently released an open letter, endorsed by over 100 Muslim organizations, faith-based groups and civil society allies, to the federal government asking for January 29 to be designated as a National Day of Action Against Hate and Intolerance.

“The new data shows clear increases in hate crimes targeting almost every minority community in Canada; no community is immune. With this in mind, if we truly hope to see a decrease in hate crimes, it is essential that we come together to address all forms of hate and racism wherever and however they emerge. To accomplish this, we must stand together with other minority communities and develop joint strategies to address the systemic, root causes of hate crimes well before they happen,” adds Nasr.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit advocacy organization that is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

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