NCCM urges investigation of Vancouver assault on refugees as potential hate crime

(Ottawa – January 9, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, condemns the assault on a crowd of refugees attending a welcome event at the Muslim Association of Canada Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. The NCCM calls for the incident to be investigated as a potential hate crime.

According to a media report, an unknown assailant riding a bicycle pepper sprayed Syrian refugees gathered outside the community building on Friday evening.

“This is an act of cowardice condemned by all Canadians of conscience. We call on local authorities to investigate this assault as a potential hate crime so a clear message is sent that such abhorrent acts have no place in our communities,” says NCCM Board Chair Kashif A. Ahmed, a Vancouver-based lawyer.

“Whether this crime was motivated by anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant animus or a combination of both, it is incumbent on community members to report any such hate incidents to the police, as well as to the NCCM, in order to establish a clear record and for follow-up,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

The NCCM maintains a database of reported hate crimes and incidents which is regularly updated and visible on its online tracking map, which was launched last June as part of an national awareness campaign. The number of hate crimes and incidents documented in the database more than doubled between 2014 and 2015.

A newly updated NCCM Community Safety Guide provides tips and information about keeping Canadian Muslim institutions and congregations safe and is available for print order. The NCCM also presents workshops to educate communities about their rights and responsibilities when faced with a possible hate crime.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit grassroots organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

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