Canadian Muslims worried about backlash after Paris attacks

By Levon Sevunts | Radio-Canada International
November 16, 2015

Canada’s Muslim community already reeling from the Friday attacks in Paris and the deadly bombings in Lebanon and Iraq, is now worried about an anti-Muslim backlash, says a Muslim civil rights advocacy group.

That fear was further reinforced over the weekend when a mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, was intentionally set on fire on Saturday. No one was injured in the blaze, but the fire caused about $80,000 in damage.

Police in Peterborough are investigating the arson, though they have drawn no link between the fire and Friday’s attacks in the French capital that killed at least 129 people.

Amira Elghawaby, a spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), said any time horrific events like the attacks in Paris play out in the media and where the perpetrators call themselves Muslims and seem to be acting out using Islam as their guise, there is concern in the Muslim community about being targeted.

“There is always a concern that people who don’t know a Muslim or Muslims, who don’t understand what Islam actually stands for may unfortunately act out their anger on their fellow neighbours or community members who are visibly Muslim,” Elghawaby said.

“There is always a spike in incidents impacting Canadian Muslim communities, whether it’s vandalism, whether it’s verbal and physical harassment.”

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