Dozens of Calgarians of different religious, racial, and cultural backgrounds have come together to launch the city’s first anti-hate task force, Global News reported.
“Coming together is for our children our community,” Mukarram Zaidi with the Think for Action think tank said.
“If we want to live together, we have to respect and love. We have to respect each other‘s culture and the way they live.”
The event, organized by Calgarians Against Racism Violence and Hate (CARVH), was held at the Akram Jomaa Islamic Center Friday night.
Junaid Mahoon, the head of the Islamic Center of South Calgary, said he wished the meeting never needed to be held.
“But it is a necessity. It’s not just Canada, the world is ignorant,” Mahoon said. “Unfortunately, it brews further ignorance and hatred because people don’t know better.”
The terrorist attack in Christchurch, in which 50 Muslim worshippers were killed, fast-tracked the creation of the group.
“We have seen the hate narrative, in one form or the other, slowly brewing and spreading, especially at political times,” Mahoon said.
“At the end of the day, we hold our values true. We are Canadians.”
Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey estimated Muslims in Canada to be around 1,053,945, or about 3.2% of the population, making Islam the second largest religion in the country after Christianity.
Last February, Alberta’s first anti-racism advisory council started work, focusing on strengthening the human rights commission, improving the recognition of immigrants, and ensuring school curriculum reflects the province’s diversity.
The anti-racism advisory council is one of the major projects to come out of a series of high-profile racist incidents, including the shooting of six men at a Quebec City mosque in January 2017.
Statistics Canada reported a 151% spike in police-reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2017 following the Quebec mosque attack and the RCMP says far-right extremists have become emboldened in Canada.