- A man attempted to run over congregants and threatened to burn down a mosque in Markham, Ontario, raising concerns among the Muslim community in Canada.
- The incident is part of an upsurge in harassment and acts of violence targeting Muslim communities in Canada, leading to fear and concern among Muslims.
- The Canadian government has taken steps to address the problem of Islamophobia, including holding a national summit on Islamophobia and appointing a special representative on combating Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is on the rise in Canada, a recent incident of Islamophobic hate crime in Markham, a city located in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada, has raised concerns among the Muslim community. The incident occurred when a man attempted to run over congregants and threatened to burn down the mosque. The Muslim leader of the Islamic Society of Markham, Qasir Nasir Khan, has described the incident as one of many that have taken place across the country, leading to fear and concern among Muslims.
Suspect Charged in Connection to the Incident
The suspect, a 28-year-old Toronto man, was charged with a “suspected hate-motivated incident” at the mosque just before 7 am local time on Thursday. The man was charged with three offenses: uttering threats, assault with a weapon, and dangerous driving. Police are concerned that there may be other victims and are urging them to come forward.
Islamophobic Incidents on the Rise in Canada
The incident in Markham is part of an upsurge in harassment and acts of violence targeting Muslim communities in Canada. In 2017, a gunman killed six Muslim men while they were praying at a mosque in Quebec City. A mosque caretaker was also killed in the Toronto area in 2020, and in June 2021, four members of a Muslim family were killed when a man hit them with his truck in London, Ontario. The latter attack led to the Prime Minister’s government holding a national summit on Islamophobia, and in January of this year, Canada appointed its first special representative on combating Islamophobia.
Muslims have Reasons to be Afraid
Khan believes that the incident outside the mosque is indicative of a much larger problem. In light of this and other recent Islamophobic incidents in Canada, “our congregation and Muslims across the country have a reason to be concerned,” Khan said. He added, “Whether looking at the Quebec City mosque massacre or the London attack where an individual ran down an entire family with his truck, our communities have reasons to feel afraid. Make no mistake, we could have been at a funeral today.”
A Call for Unity and Action Against Islamophobia
The National Council of Canadian Muslims has urged people to fight hate with unified resolve. The advocacy group tweeted, “What happened in Markham could’ve been even worse. But hate must be fought with unified resolve.” Marit Stiles, the head of the opposition New Democratic Party in Ontario, has also expressed solidarity with the Muslim community in Markham and pledged to combat violence and Islamophobia. She wrote on Twitter,
The violent hate crime that took place in this Markham masjid is very disturbing, especially so close to the anniversary of the London attack + during Ramadan. On behalf of @OntarioNDP, we send love & strength & will continue to work with you to combat violence & Islamophobia ☪️ https://t.co/Yf6ULVl4vt
— Marit Stiles (@maritstiles) April 10, 2023
Efforts to Counter Hate and Combat Islamophobia
The Canadian government has taken steps to address the problem of Islamophobia. Following the attack in London, Ontario, the government held a national summit on Islamophobia. In January 2022, Canada appointed Amira Elghawaby as its first special representative on combating Islamophobia. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed Elghawaby to her post, stating, “Diversity truly is one of Canada’s greatest strengths, but for many Muslims, Islamophobia is all too familiar. We need to change that. No one in our country should experience hatred because of their faith.”
The Need for Accountability and Counteraction
Elghawaby, in a tweet, emphasized the need for accountability and counteraction. She stated, “We must do all we can to counter the hate that threatens our rights and freedoms and hold perpetrators accountable.” The incident in Markham has drawn attention to the issue of Islamophobia in Canada and the need for continued efforts to address it.
In conclusion, the recent Islamophobic incident outside a mosque in Ontario has sparked concerns and fears among the Muslim community in Canada. The incident is part of an upsurge in harassment and sometimes deadly acts of violence targeting their communities. Muslim leaders have called for action against hate and Islamophobia, and the Canadian government has appointed a special representative on combating Islamophobia. It is crucial to address and combat all forms of hate and discrimination to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals and communities in Canada.