CONTAGIOUS spread of anti-Muslim sentiments in Canada is leading to increased violence and discrimination against the community.
Just weeks after a Pakistani family was murdered, another Pakistani in Saskatchewan province was harassed and stabbed on Friday by two attackers who also cut off a part of his beard.
Canada has been one of the most favourite destinations for Pakistanis for education and job opportunities but the country is fast turning into a dangerous place for them.
According to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, a majority of Canadians, fifty two percent, believe that Muslims cannot be trusted while forty two percent feel that racism is mainly the fault of Muslims themselves.
Official Canadian police reports demonstrate that hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise with 166 such incidents reported in 2018, 181 in 2019 and so on with violent crimes becoming more intense and bloodier with time.
In the latest incident, the Pakistani Muslim was attacked only for wearing traditional Muslim clothing.
Various Canadian provinces have either passed or drafted laws that specifically target Muslims. For Instance, Quebec’s bill restricts the wearing of niqab in public gatherings.
If the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau really believes in human rights then words won’t be enough rather he will have to take practical steps in the form of doing away with controversial legislation and launching crackdown against the groups involved in Islamophobic incidents.
Instead of fuelling anti-Muslim sentiments, the Canadian media also needs to play a positive role.
They must also allow the Muslim community members to present their point of view and offset the negative perception created against them and Islam.
If the current situation was not checked in Canada, it will have far serious consequences not only for the country itself but it will engulf the whole western world.
The Muslim countries need to come forward and engage with the western world to put a stop to Islamophobic incidents. Interfaith dialogues need to be held to remove misunderstandings before it is too late.