There's Been A Steady Increase In Hate Crimes Against Muslims In Canada

    There were 159 police-reported hate crimes against Muslims in 2015.

    Hate crimes committed against Canadian Muslims is one of the biggest factors in an increase in hate crimes more generally, according to a new Statistics Canada report.

    Val Young / The Canadian Press

    There were 159 police-reported hate crimes against Muslims in 2015, the last year for which StatsCan has full figures. The number of hate crimes targeting Muslims has increased each year since 2012, when there were 45 incidents. That's a 253% increase over four years.

    Hate crimes targeting Muslims comprised 12% of all incidents. While hate crimes targeting Jewish people declined slightly in 2015, they still account for 13% of all incidents.

    Incidents targeting black people (224), as well as "Arab and West Asian" populations (92), also accounted for many of the reported hate crimes. People targeted for their sexual orientation (141 incidents), meanwhile, were mostly likely to be victims of violence, the report said.

    Community advocates are calling on federal and provincial governments, as well as local police departments, to track and release hate crime statistics in a more timely fashion.

    Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    "The tragic and cold-blooded murder of six men at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec last January is a painful reminder of how hate can destroy lives and deeply shake communities," said Khalid Elgazzar, vice-chair of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

    The NCCM was joined at a Tuesday press conference by representatives from black, Indigenous, Muslim, and Jewish communities. They said there were many more incidents not recorded by police, and called for more study of online hate speech.

    The StatsCan figures also showed an alarming rate of hate crimes committed in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

    Statistics Canada / Via

    The rate of 22.3 hate crimes per 100,000 residents was more than double that of the next closest city in Canada. That rate of hate crimes was largely due to incidents against Indigenous people, according to StatsCan, and the city represented almost a third of all anti-Indigenous hate crimes reported across Canada in 2015.

    Thunder Bay police have come under scrutiny for a series of deaths of Indigenous youth, whose bodies were found in the city's waterways. First Nations leaders have expressed frustration with the police's handling of the investigations, and last month called on the RCMP to take over the cases.

    Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

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