Canadians Feeling The Threat Of ISIS: Hate Crimes Reported In The GTA
It was only last week when the Pickering Islamic Centre had their doors shot at, by what is said to be a high-powered pellet or BB gun. The glass shattered, while inside local residents were attending their morning prayers. The incident happened at around 8 am, and had shaken up the town that endured little to no hate towards a religion. A few days after the incident, a graffiti message was sprayed across a train overpass 5 km away at Fairport and Kingston stating “F*** Islam” in red letters.
The administrator of the local mosque, Javed Akbar, is confused at the actions people have decided to take and said “whatever is being done elsewhere in the world, is a bunch of people who are misguided, totally misguided, and do not represent the faith they proclaim to be representing, it’s as simple as that.”
The incidents are possibly a reflection of the fear residents have of the Islamic religion. Last Sunday an audio message from ISIS was released— calling upon Muslims all over the world to fight with the group and kill civilians. Recently PM Stephen Harper declared the actions of ISIS as an issue that Canadians should be worried about when he claimed “this phenomenon is a direct threat to the security of this country.”
The threat of Islam seems to be prevalent to our neighbors in the US, however it has never seemed to be a topic of serious discussion in Canada. The country is known to be diverse and multicultural, open to all religions and cultures. Recent studies have shown Muslims makeup 3.2 per cent of the country’s total population, which is an increase since 2011.
Muslim leaders have spoken out to condemn the actions of ISIS, most recently Bin Bayyah, 79, who is a religious scholar. He discussed his disagreement with the militant group at the UN General Assembly as he dissected pages from the Quran, questioning everything that ISIS believes they are fighting for. The religious scholar is known to open debates on what the true meaning of Islam is—and has seen success through providing the same discourse in situations like the kidnappings in Boko Haram.
Whether these hate crimes are a representation of a small minority or big minority in Canada who feel the threat of Muslims, one thing that any Canadian resident should not tolerate is violence or discrimination of a single religion or culture.
Police are working to identify the perpetrators of the shooting by studying footage from the mosques camera system. There is no word yet on any possible suspects.