NCCM denounces spate of vandalism of religious institutions in Ottawa

Raises concerns about a rise in hate incidents in Canada following U.S. election

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – November 18, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, denounces the recent spate of vandalism of religious institutions in Ottawa this week.

The latest incidents occurred last night, targeting a local church and mosque. They follows three other incidents at two synagogues and the home of a Jewish rabbi.

According to a media report, worshippers arrived at the Ottawa Muslim Association (OMA) mosque to find offensive words, swastikas and symbols spray-painted on the front of the building. Officials with the centre contacted police immediately and have asked for a full investigation. Similar hateful messages were found at the Parkdale United Church overnight as well.

“These hateful acts are disturbing,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee. “As Canadians, we stand united against all forms of hatred which seek to instill fear in our communities. We remain proud of our inclusive communities and will continue to speak out with one voice to condemn those who act out on their ignorance and prejudice.

“We also call on community members to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activities to local police forces.”

There have been a number of reports of alleged hate crimes and incidents in Canada since the election of Donald Trump.

“We have observed a consistent pattern of an increase in these types of incidents whenever hateful and divisive rhetoric targeting minorities is used by elected officials. We saw this in the past Canadian federal election and, more recently, across the border in the US presidential election,” says Amira Elghawaby, NCCM Communications Director.

“It is critical that our elected officials and community leaders speak out forcefully not only against hate crimes and incidents that seek to create fear and division, but also against any kind of political rhetoric that seeks to normalize xenophobic attitudes and extremism,” says Elghawaby.

The NCCM urges Canadian Muslim communities across the country to review its Community Safety Guide and to immediately report any suspicious activities to law enforcement and to the NCCM so that a record of these incidents can be maintained.

Further, the NCCM keeps statistics on reported anti-Muslim hate crimes and incidents through its online hate crimes and incidents map.

Elected officials, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to sign NCCM’s Charter for Inclusive Communities launched earlier this year to affirm that Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, hate, xenophobia and bigotry have no place in Canadian society.