NCCM expresses concern about anti-Muslim rallies and events

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – June 23, 2017) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, is expressing deep concern regarding anti-Muslim rallies and events planned for this coming weekend in Alberta and in Ontario.

The Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) says it will be marching in Calgary this Saturday even though it was denied a permit « on the basis that your organization, and messages it espouses, are hateful, » according to city officials.

In Toronto, the controversial Jewish Defence League (JDL) of Canada has said it will hold an anti-Islam death march at Toronto’s Pride parade this Sunday. More recently, a Toronto member of the JDL was charged with a hate crime for attacking a Palestinian man in Washington, D.C.

These reports come at a time when Canadian Muslim communities are already on edge due to a number of high-profile attacks against Muslim communities in the West, including the attack on worshippers at the Finsbury mosque in London, U.K., and the brutal killing of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen in Virginia.

The NCCM has received numerous reports of alleged hate crimes and hate incidents from across the country in the past few weeks as well.

« At the end of Ramadan, Canadian Muslim communities are typically looking forward to the Eid celebrations which mark the conclusion of a sacred month of fasting and worship. However, this year, there is a palpable sense of anxiety among many community members, » says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

« We look to law enforcement agencies, elected officials, and fellow Canadians to continue to stand with Muslim communities in confronting Islamophobia and hatred in all its forms, » says Gardee.

The NCCM calls on community members and institutional leaders to review its Community Safety Guide.  All suspicious activity should be immediately reported to police. Any incidents of hate, or alleged hate crimes, should also immediately be reported to police and to the NCCM.

Last week, Statistics Canada reported a 61% increase in hate crimes against Muslims, the most significant rise of any group in the country between 2014 and 2016.

« If we allow hate to fester in our communities, it will have an impact on all of us, » says NCCM Communications Director Amira Elghawaby.

« We call on all levels of government to do more to address this alarming and growing phenomenon. There is renewed urgency following recent news that some hate groups are even arming themselves, » says Elghawaby.

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