Police investigating after mosque receives ‘troubling’ letter

By Julia Page
CBC News | March 26, 2019

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is calling on people to speak out and help track Islamophobic incidents across Canada, in response to a « disturbing » letter sent last week to a mosque in Lévis, Que.

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The executive director of NCCM, Ihsaan Gardee, said the letter may meet the definition of a hate crime, because its underlying message is « you’re not welcome here, » and « you don’t have a right to have a voice to advocate on behalf of your communities. »

That notion goes against the idea of equality of citizenship « that we have enshrined in our constitution, » Gardee said.

The NCCM began tracking anti-Muslim incidents in Canada in 2015, said Gardee, and it’s found there is a significant gap between the number of incidents investigated by police and the number reported the council.

« Police services are not inclined to record data unless it breaches the Criminal Code, » said Gardee.

The latest data from Statistics Canada, released at the end of 2018, showed police across Canada reported 2,073 hate crimes in 2017, including 489 in Quebec alone. Of those, 117 of these targeted the Muslim population.

So far in 2019, there have been 16 incidents in British Colombia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, the NCCM’s tracking shows.

In the wake of the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting and these subsequent incidents, the NCCM is updating recommendations it distributes to its members in a community safety kit.

The new version will include sections on how to handle active shooter situations and bomb threats — « a reflection of the world we live in today, » said Gardee.

« We have to make sure that our communities are all, on the one hand, doing their due diligence, and on the other hand, not becoming impenetrable fortresses where nobody can enter. »

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