Why hate crimes are hard to prosecute

Incidents of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia draw attention to the difficulty of prosecuting hate crimes. The law is cautious not to infringe on free speech.

By Jennifer Yang
Toronto Star | February 27, 2017

Anti-Semitic vandalism inside a North York condo. Protests against Islam outside a downtown mosque. And the emergence of a video — reportedly filmed in that same mosque — capturing a prayer that was “offensive to those of Jewish faith.”

It’s been a bigoted few weeks for Toronto, where a spate of high-profile incidents have catapulted hate crime allegations into newspaper headlines and Facebook feeds.

The three incidents are being investigated by Toronto police, but whether criminal charges will be laid remains to be seen.

. . .

The National Council of Canadian Muslims would like to see more resources devoted to policing and prosecuting hate crimes.

While Toronto police say they haven’t noticed an increase in hate crime reports, the NCCM, which tracks anti-Muslim incidents across the country, says it has definitely seen a recent surge, according to spokesperson Amira Elghawaby.

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