NCCM, UARR & Other Community Groups Denounce Planned Hate Rallies in Toronto

-For Immediate Release-

(Toronto – September 7, 2018) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) categorically condemn the rallies due to be held in Toronto on Saturday September 8 by Pegida Canada and on September 9 by the Canadian Combat Coalition. While ostensibly about commemorating the 9/11 attacks and in remembrance of the “victims of Islamism”, the Islamophobic and anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric employed regularly by both groups is deeply troubling.

Pegida Canada is an offshoot of the European far-right movement ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of Occident’ – a group which defines itself as being in opposition to ‘Islamism’ and the ‘Islamicisation’ of Western countries.

“These rallies do not occur in a vacuum; they happen against the backdrop of a rise in right-wing populist movements and at a time where we see elected officials both here in Canada and abroad cynically utilizing dog whistle politics to either get elected or to solidify the base of their support. We call on our fellow Canadians, different faith and social justice organizations, and elected officials to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Canadian Muslims and other targeted minorities against hatred and division,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

“We are deeply worried by the rising tide of anti-Muslim hate in our city this summer. While freedom of expression and assembly are hard-won rights that all Canadians cherish, we believe it is essential that we speak out strongly when this expression so clearly borders on hate speech,” says Nigel Barriffe, president of the UARR.

“We stand with Muslim individuals and communities and express our deep concern at the rise of Islamophobic and anti-immigrant bigotry. Those spreading hatred seek to divide us into factions and to create fears of scarcity and loss. We commit to challenging this ideology of hatred and division,” says Rev. Sarah Miller of Eastminster United Church.