It is not a big surprise that incidents of hate crime have gone up. According to the Statistics Canada Report, Muslim women and Jewish women bear the brunt of being targets of hate crimes. 53% of all victims were women. It has been an unfortunate reality with an increase in reported incidents. Being victims of such attacks is a key factor in causing trauma, alienation, depression and low self worth in young women and men.
As a mother of a man who was bullied in school, I can bear witness to the devastating consequences of how hatred, suspicion and prejudicial treatment can negatively affect the mental well being of vulnerable youth. The overstressed mental health system in Canada is inadequately equipped to help families affected by incidents of hate.
In 2017 when most Canadians like me are feeling hopeful at being at least heard by our government, we unhesitatingly raise a red flag and urge a cohesive, national policy on action against the creeping hate-crime wave. We need inter-ministerial and inter-jurisdictional collaboration to curb the disturbing trends of hate, ignorance, suspicion and violence.
All levels of government need to step up with resources and act quickly to allocate urgently needed funds to school programs and agencies involved in education, public awareness and prevention of conflict and violence in our communities. “Effective hate crime policing is more urgent than ever” according to Bernie Farber, a hate crime expert with the Mosaic Institute.
On our part, the CCMW will continue to focus on civic engagement and connect with the indigenous communities to pave the way for better understanding of the history and experiences of indigenous peoples. We try to provide welcoming spaces to the LGBTQ Communities and speak up for their inclusion in mosques.
We hope this is an opportunity for governments and civil society to be proactive in addressing the root causes of the alarming statistics that we are hearing about today. We need to act before the seeds of hate take root.
By Farhat Rehman,
CCMW – Ottawa