Charter condemning all forms of Islamophobia launched
By Hala Ghonaim
London Free Press | July 4, 2016
The battle against Islamophobia in London must start with children and young people, community leaders were told Monday.
More than two dozen leaders signed “the Charter for Inclusive Communities” at a news conference Monday at Covent Garden Market. Similar signings took place in five other Canadian cities where community leaders denounced hate-motivated actions against Muslims and declared their support for building inclusive communities.
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Deputy mayor Paul Hubert, London West Liberal MP Kate Young, London-Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen and police Chief John Pare were among the leaders who signed the charter.
Rizwan Mohammad, a national representative of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said the charter will serve as a starting point in the long-term battle against Islamophobia.
“We’ve never had a document to guide those conversations in directions we can all agree on. … We have common ground to start from to find practical results.”
The next step for the London committee is organizing sessions that would bring together Muslim women to talk about hate-crime protection, violence prevention and personal safety tactics, said Saleha Khan, a local representative for the national council.
“We’re looking at developing and delivering peer-to-peer education on hate-crimes, identifying hate crimes and hate-bias activities, bullying, violence prevention and personal safety.”
The council hopes to expand programming to the larger community after the first peer training session in five weeks, she said.
Defined as “fear or hatred of Islam and its adherents (Muslims) that is translated into individual, ideological and systemic forms of oppression.”
The National Council of Canadian Muslims says the number of hate crimes and incidents involving Muslims has more than doubled in 2016 compared with the same period last year.