World Bulletin / News Desk
Hate crimes against Muslims have increased 60 percent, according to the latest figures released Tuesday by Statistics Canada.
There were 159 incidents in 2015, a significant jump from 99 the previous year, the agency said on its website.
The numbers have been steadily increasing and are up 253 percent since 2012, although overall instances of police-recorded hate crimes were down 3.8 percent in 2015 to 1,362 from 1,424 in 2012.
Khalid Elgazzar, board vice chairman of the National Council of Canadian Muslims and an Ottawa-based lawyer, termed 2015 as a “difficult year.”
Two terrorist attacks in France fed anti-Muslim flames in Canada, while former Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2015 made an election issue out of the right of a Muslim woman to wear a veil at citizenship ceremonies.
“The Canadian Muslim community bore the brunt of sinister political rhetoric surrounding the federal election which painted Muslims as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers as well as being anti-women,” Elgazzar said at a press conference in Ottawa.
But the number of hate crimes was probably higher.
“The number of hate crimes in this release likely undercuts the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all crimes are reported to police,” Statistics Canada said.
Eglazzar said the incidents are under reported because some Muslims do not believe police will take action and are afraid of being further victimized.
But Muslims were not the only target, or even the largest target.
Statistics Canada figures show the largest number of hate crimes were against blacks, with 224 incidents in 2015. Jews were next with 178 incidents reported and sexual orientation hate crimes stood at 141.
Others targeted included members of various religions.
But Muslim hate crimes were the only ones to show an increase in 2015.
And the number of violent incidents included in hate crimes – assault, threat and criminal harassment – was also up, at 38 percent, an increase of 15 percent compared to the previous year.
Businessman Rashid Nekkaz covered face with banknotes, pictures of Austrian foreign minister over so-called 'burqa ban'
Protestors: We are talking about Shariah law, which goes against the Constitution of Canada
Interior ministry says offenders could face fines, or be taken into custody
New Charlie Hebdo cover accused of stirring up hatred against Muslims by linking Islam to terrorism
Muslims now facing more serious threat as far-right groups not hesitating to use violence
Jewish, anti-Islamophobia groups make joint complaint about controversial tabloid piece
Donor pledges 1M pesos to each kin of fallen troops involved in Marawi operation where army fights ISIL-linked militants
Authorities claim they were operating without official permission
'Direct connection' between misleading information about Islam, uptick in Islamophobic attacks, says Imam Omar Suleiman
Syrian woman divorcing from husband instructed to remove headscarf at hearing
Negative media portrayals of British Muslims leading to increased hostility, say observers
John Tomlin turns himself into police after attack lets 2 Mulsim cousins with ‘life-changing injuries’
Surge in anti-Muslim hate crime leaves many fearful for the future
Academics from leading universities see links between 'white supremacy problem' and Islamophobia in the US and Europe
Darren Osborne, 47, will be charged with terrorism-related murder, attempted murder, say UK prosecutors