National Council seeing spike in anti-Muslim incidents

NCCM has seen 20 incidents so far this year, double what they saw at the same time in 2016.

By Ryan Tumilty
Metro News | March 14, 2017

From a man shouting at Muslims on a OC Transpo bus, to a deliberate fire at a Toronto mosque, to the shooting death of six men at evening prayers in Quebec City, the National Council of Canadian Muslims is tracking a worrying upward trend in hate incidents.

The council, which has been tracking Islamophobic incidents across the country for five years, has recorded 20 incidents in 2017 so far, up considerably from the same time frame a year ago.

“Last year around this time we had ten incidents of Muslim hate,” said Sehrish Amjad, a human rights officer with the NCCM.

In total, the NCCM recorded 65 incidents in 2016 up from 59 in 2015. In all of 2014, they recorded 23 incidents and in 2013 they recorded just 12.

Amjad said some of the rise could be due to more reporting, but they believe U.S. President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric is also fuelling the increase.

“It’s hard to say for sure, definitely it may be the case that people are reporting more, but we know hate crimes are still one of the most underreported types of crimes.”

Amjad said six incidents were reported during the week of debate on M-103, a House of Commons motion looking to condemn Islamophobia.

“It has received a lot of opposition inside and outside of the House of Commons, so there are a lot of misconceptions associated with it,” she said.

Amjad said the people who called the motion a step toward Sharia law were fuelling hate.

“They’re creating fears in people and those fears are being translated into discrimination and hateful acts.”

She said the incidents the NCCM tracks are reported to them, but are also confirmed with police or through media reports.

“It shows that Islamophobia is an issue in our society and it needs to be condemned and it needs to be studied.”