Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada jump 71 percent
Hate crimes against Muslim communities across Canada increased by 71 percent in 2021, according to a newly released report by the government agency Statistics Canada.
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The study, released on Tuesday, found that the number of recorded attacks against Muslims rose from 84 incidents in 2020 to 144 in 2021. The jump in attacks had followed a decline from the previous year, when in 2019 there were a total of 182 reported incidents targeting Muslims.
"We lost Canadian Muslims to hate in 2021. These numbers also do not tell the whole story - we know that the numbers of hate crimes vastly exceed what show up in hate crime stats," the National Council for Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said on Twitter in response to the report's release.
The rise in attacks in 2021 corresponds with the killing of four members of the Afzaal family in London, Ontario.
The attacker, 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, deliberately slammed his pick-up truck into Salman Afzaal, 46, his 77-year old mother, his wife Madiha, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna, as they were waiting to cross the road. Only nine-year-old Faez survived the attack.
Police said the attack was "premeditated" and "motivated by hate", while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a "terrorist attack".
"The increase also occurred in the same year as an attack in London, Ontario, which targeted a Muslim family and resulted in four homicides and one attempted homicide," the Statistics Canada report said.
"While it is not possible to link police-reported hate crime incidents to particular events, media coverage and public discourse can increase awareness as well as draw negative reactions from people who share hateful attitudes."
'Islamophobia is lethal'
Experts in Canada had previously told MEE that, while the country is seen by the outside world as a haven for multiculturalism, Canada has witnessed decades of anti-Muslim rhetoric both from politicians and the media.
Data from Statistics Canada shows hate crimes against Muslims have risen over the past decade.
Last year, NCCM released a report that listed 61 recommendations that included the development of a federal anti-Islamophobia strategy to include a clear definition of Islamophobia as well as funding to help support victims of hate-motivated crimes.