Muslim leaders urge governments to fight Islamophobia after mosque attack

By Les Perrexau
The Globe and Mail | February 8, 2017

Muslim leaders hand-delivered a message to Ottawa Wednesday calling on governments on all levels to act against Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination in the wake of the bloody attack on a Quebec City mosque and the outpouring of support that followed.

Leaders from dozens of national and provincial organizations and the president of the Quebec mosque attacked by a gunman last week called on all three levels of government to take steps against the hate crimes, xenophobia and systemic discrimination.

At the municipal level, the leaders want police forces to boost training for hate crimes investigators and to improve statistical tracking on hate crime investigation and convictions. The leaders asked provinces to establish school courses to teach children about racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of xenophobia. They also called on the federal government to establish Jan. 29 as a national day of remembrance for the Quebec City massacre that killed six people and of action against Islamophobia.

“What happened in Quebec City is a wake-up call for the entire nation that leaving hatred to fester in our communities can lead to loss of life,” said Amira Elghawaby of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

Six men died and 19 others were wounded Jan. 29 when a gunman stormed a Quebec City mosque where Muslim faithful were praying. Medical authorities say two people remain in hospital in critical condition. A man who espoused anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant views is in jail and charged with murder.

Since the shooting, political leaders and ordinary citizens have rallied to express support for Muslims and to denounce intolerance. Thousands of people gathered for marches and vigils from Victoria to Iqaluit to New Glasgow, N.S. “We have felt the widespread support of Canadians across the country,” Ms. Elghawaby said.

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