– By Nina Badwal –
Each year since 2007, Canada has officially recognized the month of October as Islamic History Month. It’s a time where all Canadians can learn more about the culture, contributions and achievements of the Muslim community.
“During this month I want people to know that Islam is a beautiful religion and that not every Muslim is a spokesperson for the religion as a whole,” said Munira Yusuf, Caseworker for Health Access St. James Town.
Munira Yusuf says the hate-motivated attacks against Muslims in Canada come from ignorance.
Yusuf said the hate-motivated attacks against Muslims in this country come from ignorance. “It is ignorance that not many people are willing to confront. It takes work from the inside to be accepting of others – to address our own biases, prejudice, and continuing to learn. Those with hatred for Muslims see our existence as a threat to their own and their own core beliefs.”
Abdullah Hakim Quick is an Imam and lecturer at the Islamic Institute of Toronto in Scarborough. He agrees that ignorance and the fear of Muslims and Islam are to blame for the hate crimes. He also believes misinformation in the form of propaganda has played a huge part in fuelling Islamophobia.
Quick referred to “American-style movies” in which the villain is portrayed as a foreigner. “If you follow movies over the past decades, you’ll see that at one point it was Germans, another point it was Russians during the Cold War. It was also Japanese and Chinese drug cartels. But in the past few decades, it’s been terrorists – especially Arab terrorists or Afghan or Muslim so-called terrorists.”
Despite condemnation from Canadian politicians and leaders against Islamophobia, anti-Muslim hate crimes continue to plague Canada. On June 6th of this year, four members of a family were run down and killed by a male driver in London, Ontario. Police said the attack was planned and premeditated and the victims were targeted because of their Muslim faith.