Canadian Muslims speak out about Islamophobia experiences in new Islamic Relief Canada report

IN time for the fifth anniversary of the Quebec mosque shooting anniversary and the National Day of Action Against Islamophobia on January 29, Islamic Relief Canada on Thursday released a new report that sheds light on how everyday Islamophobia affects Canadian Muslims.

“We often hear about Islamophobia in the context of violent attacks, but what is less known are the everyday incidents and microaggressions Muslims experience regularly in all spheres of their lives. With our report, we wanted to share those stories, and capture the long-term effects of hate,” said Reyhana Patel, head of communications and government relations at Islamic Relief Canada.

The report features stories from a wide variety of Muslims, including:

  • Saleha Islam, a university student in Abbotsford who had her hijab pulled at by some boys at her high school computer lab. She also shared how people have yelled out “terrorist” or called her “filthy” on the street, as well as subjecting her to misogynistic insults on a public bus. “Because of these experiences, growing up I was very anxious … I was afraid and uncomfortable, thinking I may be attacked. I can’t lie; sometimes that fear is still there,” Saleha says.

  • A teacher in Quebec who was asked to remove her hijab in the workplace due to Bill 21 and almost lost her job for not complying

  • A man who temporarily stopped participating in organized sport in Alberta after he experienced racial slurs and discrimination

Some of the key findings from the report are that Islamophobia is systemic, gendered and normalized. The report also reveals that short- and long-term consequences for those who experience Islamophobia can include emotional and mental trauma, stress in personal and professional relationships, and even long-term physical injury.

Islamic Relief Canada is calling on governments to reflect upon the gravity of Islamophobia in Canada and immediately take all necessary actions to tackle Islamophobia and its root causes.

The full report can be viewed here.