Religious groups sound alarms as hate crimes appear to be on the rise
By Sammy Hudes
Toronto Star | August 21, 2017
In one part of the GTA, three schools were plastered with anti-Semitic, anti-Black graffiti. In another, a Muslim woman’s car window smashed, with “derogatory” comments spray-painted on her property.
Hate crimes are nothing new, but religious groups are sounding the alarms as they appear to be on the rise….
Amira Elghawaby, a spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said hate crimes against Muslims across the country show no sign of slowing down.
“Our concern is always quite high. Whenever there is, for instance, a terrorist attack done in the name of Islam, we will notice a spike in what’s being reported,” Elghawaby said. “I don’t want to say that it’s the new normal, but it pretty much is the new normal.”
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Last week, Durham police arrested 57-year-old William Carnahan, accused of assaulting a 22-year-old Muslim man in Whitby on Aug. 12. The victim had been in a washroom when he was approached by Carnahan, who allegedly made several “hate-related threats” before punching him and fleeing on a bicycle.
Elghawaby’s organization keeps a running tally of anti-Muslim incidents across Canada. There have already been 57 in 2017, compared to 64 at the end of last year and 59 in 2015.
“We’re likely going to outpace last year in terms of what’s being reported to NCCM,” she said. “It only represents a very small sliver of what’s going on as two-thirds of hate crimes are not reported, according to Statistics Canada.”
A Statistics Canada report in June showed hate crimes targeting Muslims rose by 60 per cent in 2015. Jews remained the most targeted religious group with 178 incidents that year.