Amid worldwide Eid bloodbath, rights groups in Canada endorse anti-Islamophobia charter
Canadian anti-Islamophobia demonstrators march in Montreal on March 28, 2015. (AFP/File)
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The National Council of Canadian Muslims' (NCCM) Charter for Inclusive Communities was unveiled simultaneously in six Canadian cities on Monday with the participation of politicians, activists and community leaders.
The charter underlined that Islamophobia, like xenophobia and other forms of hatred, "has no place in Canadian society."
It also urged the government, civil society groups, public officials and ordinary Canadian people to help make policies that will reduce and put an end to Islamophobia.
"Islamophobia is something that we need to name because it exists. It is something that we must tackle," Jagmeet Singh, a member of the Ontario provincial parliament, said at a news conference in Toronto, the provincial capital of Ontario.
"I think it's important that political leaders show leadership in changing the culture... Political leaders are in a great position to not only welcome and embrace, but to celebrate Islam and celebrate the Muslims that make up our country," Singh said.
The Sikh lawmaker also recalled being harassed and verbally abused while growing up in the city of Windsor in Ontario as he was mistakenly thought to be a Muslim.
Meanwhile, Munira Abukar, a Muslim community activist in Toronto, said the charter sends a powerful message of inclusion.
"It makes us all feel included and loved and valued," she said, adding it gives sense of hope.
"To many it's a piece of paper. To me, it's a physical [manifestation] of the fact that there's hope."
The Toronto Star newspaper cited a new survey by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and advocacy group Mass Minority on Monday as saying that there is "an epidemic of Islamophobia" in Ontario.
Muslims in Ontario have been subjected to several anti-Muslim incidents in recent months. The latest such case was in June when a woman was spat on, punched, and had her headscarf (hijab) pulled while at a grocery store with her infant son.
Statistics Canada, Canada's central statistical office, revealed that hate crimes against Muslim Canadians more than doubled between 2012 and 2014.
Local police also said there was a rise in anti-Muslim incidents in Toronto in 2015 despite an overall decrease in hate crimes.
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