Five years after Quebec mosque shooting, everyday Islamophobia continues to have long-term impact on Muslims

Of note. Would benefit from linking to other forms of bias, prejudice and discrimination that affect many groups:

Every year on the anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting, I am reminded of my visits with the families of the six victims who continue to endure the consequences of deeply rooted hatred for Muslims. It’s important as we approach Jan. 29 — the National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia — their stories continue to be heard, and that, as a society, we work together to make this form of racism as unacceptable as any other.

The need continues to be urgent, with last year’s violent attack in London, Ont. that killed four family members and left a 9-year-old survivor.

That’s why our team here at Islamic Relief Canada has been talking to Muslims about their experiences with hatred and ignorance, and compiled them in our new report, “In Their Words: Untold Stories of Islamophobia in Canada.”

Our research reveals that hate is present in all spheres of Muslims’ lives. We heard from women who had their head scarves ripped off at school or experienced Islamophobic comments in the workplace; a man who faced discrimination within sports; a woman whose non-Muslim in-laws openly insult her religion at family dinners; and from a Quebec shooting survivor who was targeted at the mosque.

Often, when we talk about Islamophobia, we read and hear about the political implications. While that is important — you cannot combat Islamophobia without adequate legislation — the consequences of hate for ordinary people are often overlooked.

They can include emotional and mental trauma, stress in personal and professional relationships, and even long-term physical injury. For some research participants, negative experiences have led to switching schools or ceasing participation in sports. In one instance, it has meant deliberations on leaving Canada.

Sanaa (not her real name), a teacher in Quebec, says last year she was told by her school to remove her hijab to comply with Bill 21 regulations (the bill prevents those working in the public sector from wearing religious symbols). She was suspended for months, but was able to return to work on a contract technicality. Disheartened, she is taking foreign teaching exams and contemplating leaving the country she grew up in.

Along with Sanaa, others also told us Bill 21 was a pressing issue and felt strongly that the federal government needs to address it. As a country that prides itself on multiculturalism and tolerance, it is unacceptable to have legislation that discriminates against Muslims and other minority groups.

Source: Five years after Quebec mosque shooting, everyday Islamophobia continues to have long-term impact on Muslims

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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