National Muslim human rights organization calls on authorities to condemn attack on Ontario girl

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – September 26, 2013) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is calling on public officials to condemn an alleged assault on a Muslim girl by teenagers in St. Catharines, Ont. that happened earlier this month.

According to recent media reports, a 17-year-old girl wearing a headscarf was assaulted and verbally taunted by three other female teens as she was leaving a mosque. Two of the young women have reportedly been charged with assault.

« Canadians must face the reality that Islamophobia is as serious a threat to the safety and well-being of our communities as any other racist, hateful ideology, » says Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM Executive Director.

« We call on the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of these acts to the fullest extent of the law in order to send a strong message against potential hate crimes and intolerance.

« NCCM further urges politicians of all levels, educators, and security officials to publicly condemn these hateful acts and to support public awareness campaigns around the issue, » says Gardee.

« We also urge community leaders to remain vigilant and to immediately report suspicious behaviour to the proper authorities, as well as to the NCCM, in order to establish a clear record of such incidents. »

NCCM encourages anyone with information about the case to contact Niagara Regional Police at call (905) 688-4111 (St. Catharines division) and/or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

In 2011, Statistics Canada noted that « youth and young adults comprised the majority of those accused of hate crimes and were also overrepresented among hate crime victims ». The same summary identified race or ethnicity as the largest motivating factor in hate crimes (52%), followed by religion (25%), and sexual orientation (18%). However, possible hate crimes are typically underreported.

When requested, NCCM presents Hate Crime Workshops to educate communities about their rights and responsibilities when confronted with a possible hate crime.

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

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704; 613.853.4111