A Canadian Muslim advocacy group has launched a website to track Islamophobic vandalism, hijab pulling and similar forms of bigotry.
The total number of reported hate crimes in Canada was 1,167 in 2013, down from 1,414 in 2012. About half of those were motivated by racial prejudice, while 28 percent stemmed from bias against religion, followed by 16 percent based on sexual orientation. Overall, both religiously motivated and racial crimes have reduced. At 181 crimes, Jews still made up more than half of victims targeted for their religion, while black people made up the bulk of the race category with 255 incidents. Muslims, however, saw an increase from 45 incidents in 2012 to 65 in 2013.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims is looking to close that gap by giving victims a platform for reporting incidents online, even when they’re afraid to go to police. When confronted with hate, users are asked to submit an account with as much detail as possible, including the time, date, photos, and a description of what happened, all of which is plotted on an interactive map.
Amira Elghawaby, the group’s human rights coordinator, told Vice News that their data shows a further doubling of anti-Muslim incidents between 2013 to 2014, suggesting the trend is continuing. She said that vandalism is the most common problem, but that assault and harassment are frequent enough, especially for women wearing headscarves. Even so, the National Council of Canadian Muslims noted that victims might be even less likely to go to police in rural areas.