Islamophobia in Canada
By: Arshiya Alam, HYI Volunteer
June 17, 2021
Community in London, Ontario pays respects at a memorial placed where a Muslim family were killed in terrorist attack. Photo Source: Mark Gollom/CBC https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.6058653 Retrieved 17 June 2021
Although many don’t like to acknowledge it, discrimination has unfortunately always been, and still is, present within our society in various forms. Canada is no exception to that. One form is Islamophobia, which I will be discussing here.
Islamophobia is defined by Oxford as an “intense dislike or fear of Islam, especially as a political force; hostility or prejudice against Muslims.” Islamophobia first stemmed from other forms of discrimination such as racialization and xenophobia. In recent years however, it has been amplified from the negative and biased representation of Muslims, and Islam in general, in the media. Whether it be through the news or entertainment, Muslims have been frequently labelled as “terrorists” and Islam as a “violent religion”.
As a result, people carrying this irrational hatred fueled by the media have been committing atrocious hate crimes against innocent Muslim people for years. Even here in Canada, where diversity and multiculturalism are the most celebrated aspects of the country, Islamophobia and hate crimes prevail. Over the past decade, many Islamophobic crimes have occurred here, like the recent terrorist attack killing an entire Muslim family in London, the 2017 shooting in a Quebec City mosque and the stabbing of an innocent Muslim man at an Etobicoke mosque in 2020, to name a few.
To say that this discrimination is unfair to the large Canadian-Muslim community is an understatement. As a Muslim myself, I speak on behalf of the rest of us when I say that Muslims should never feel ostracized or anxious simply for practicing their faith. We should not need to fear for our lives when we go to the Mosque to worship, when Muslim women wear the hijab or niqab or when we so much as go for an evening walk in our neighbourhoods. Unlike the misconceptions perpetuated by the media, Islam is a beautiful religion of peace, promoting equality and justice among all people, regardless of background.
To combat the normalized Anti-muslim sentiments and bias, we must speak up about it. Spreading awareness, properly educating the youth and enforcing policies and laws to prevent Islamophobic violence are some of the ways to take action. As Canadians, it’s imperative that we all work together to end Islamophobia to build a safer and more inclusive Canada for everyone. Especially in times like these, we must spread love, not hate.