March 23rd, 2018

Backlash Over the False Hijab Attack Incident Shouldn’t Distract From The Issue of Islamophobia In Canada

When an 11 year-old-girl was attacked while walking to school and had her hijab cut, not only did Canadians offer support, but people from around the world.

The report ended up being false, with the Toronto police reporting that the event the young girl described had never happened.

The backlash was troubling.

People demanded she make a public apology and said that criminal charges should be laid against the young girl and her family. Some even claimed the incident was part of a bizarre conspiracy theory of Muslims trying to ‘control political narratives.’

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The most troubling consequence of this whole incident is that many have claimed that this incident is just another example of how Islamophobia and anti-Muslim violence is very much exaggerated in Canada.

It also means that Muslims who have experienced discrimination, abuse or harassment are less likely to be believed.

But Islamophobia is an issue in Canada.

It is systemic.

During the Conservative leadership race a few years ago Kellie Leitche’s proposal to test immigrants on their ‘Canadian Values’ was very popular amongst Canadians according to polls.

Last year Quebec passed a law that included a ban on face covering, leading Muslims to be fearful of discrimination, although many provisions were later struck down.

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It is leading to a rise in hate crimes.

The most well-known example is the tragedy at the Quebec City mosque where six people were shot and killed. From 2012 to 2015 hate crimes against Muslims increased by 253 per cent, and Muslims and Jews are the most frequently targeted groups in the country.

Canadians pride themselves on being a country that is diverse and open to all cultures, and this is something that unions have fought for. Teamsters Local 362 intends on implementing committees of rank and file members to represent the five key equity groups recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress. These committees will help address many forms of discrimination in the workplace and in the community.

No matter your race, religion or gender, you should always feel like a part of the community in Canada.

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