A recent report released by Statistics Canada said that hate crimes targeting Muslim communities across Canada experienced a significant 71 percent increase in 2021.
The report released on Tuesday noted that there were 144 attacks against Muslims in 2021, an increase from the 84 incidents recorded in 2020. However, the spike in attacks decreased compared to 2019, when there were 182 cases targeting the Canadian Muslim community.
In a Tweet, the Canadian National Council of Muslims (NCCM) said Canada’s Stats Figures showed a dramatic spike in anti-Muslim hatred in 2021. But he said the number of hate crimes far exceeds what the hate crime statistics appear.
The increase in attacks due to Islamophobia over the past year has coincided with the murder of four members of the Afzaal family in London, Ontario, by Nathaniel Veltman. He deliberately rammed his pick-up truck into the Afzaal family as they crossed the road.
According to a police investigation, the attack was planned and motivated by hatred, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a terrorist attack.
Canada’s statistical report explains that while it is challenging to link hate crime incidents reported to the police to specific events, media coverage and public discourse can undoubtedly increase awareness and negative reactions from people who share hateful traits.
According to the agency, the number of hate crimes recorded by police has increased 71 percent since 2019. The first year of the pandemic saw the highest number of hate crimes reported by police since Statistics Canada began tracking data in 2009.
Despite Canada being seen by the outside world as a haven for multiculturalism, experts say the country has faced an increase in hate crimes against Muslims over the past few decades caused by anti-Muslim rhetoric from politicians and the media.
Last year, the NCCM released a set of 61 policy recommendations for all levels of government to take action against Islamophobia after holding consultation sessions with mosques and civil society groups representing Muslims across Canada.
The Canadian government then opened a valuable app for combating Islamophobia in response to the non-profit advocacy group’s call. The app’s role is to reach out to the public and advise the prime minister and government on how best to fight Islamophobia in the country.