Muslims have increasingly been a target of aggression in Canada — and 2019 is off to a discouraging start.
Members of far-right hate groups recently entered the Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton, Canada, and gathered outside to harass worshippers on their way to Friday prayers.
The incident evoked memories of the shooting, two years ago almost to the day, that left six people dead and 19 injured at a Quebec City mosque. It also served as yet another illustration of growing anti-Muslim bigotry in the country.
“Over the last three years we’ve seen a rise in two far-right movements in Canada, and those are the anti-Muslim and the alt-right neo-Nazi groups, which sometimes overlap but are two distinct things,” said Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. “We have had regular anti-Muslim demonstrations in cities across Canada, mostly in our largest cities, at least every month going back at least two years. This isn’t just an isolated incident. It’s just constant.”
Metropolitan Police are reviewing a video that appears to show a West Ham supporter directing anti-Muslim abuse at Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.
In the mobile phone footage, which circulated on social media on Wednesday, an unidentified West Ham fan can be heard insulting Salah about his Muslim faith as the Liverpool forward prepared to take a corner during Monday’s 1-1 draw in the Premier League between the teams at London Stadium.
West Ham were made aware of the video by the Football Association and have launched their own investigation into the incident.
“We are aware of a video in which it appears racial abuse is being directed at a player at a West Ham vs. Liverpool game at London Stadium on Monday, Feb. 2,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement issued to ESPN FC. “Officers are in the process of reviewing the footage.
“No arrests have been made and enquiries continue. Anyone who witnesses inappropriate behaviour during a match is urged to bring it to the attention of a steward or police officer.”
A West Ham spokesperson added: “At West Ham United, we have a zero tolerance policy to any form of violent or abusive behaviour.
“We are an inclusive football club. Regardless of age, race, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or disability, everyone is warmly welcomed at London Stadium.
Letter was sent to Markaz-Ul-Islam in southeast Edmonton
Alberta politicians quickly denounced hate mail sent to an Edmonton mosque this week that told worshippers of Islam they “don’t belong here in Alberta.”
The letter, which was left at Markaz-Ul-Islam on 36th Avenue and 79th Street, was posted online Wednesday by the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council.
Faisal Suri, president of AMPAC, said the incident is disheartening and concerning.
“People do fear these things. It’s very close to the Quebec shooting incident — a lot of those things are in the heads of people. We’re not saying that that’s what this is. We’re saying people don’t know anything better. They’re quite heightened when somebody trespasses into a place of worship.”
In January 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette murdered six Muslim men after storming into a mosque in Quebec City. He is scheduled to be sentenced for the crime Thursday.
Less than two weeks ago, a pair of “suspicious men” walked into a different Edmonton mosque, one wearing a tuque with the word “infidel” written on it in Arabic. The incident was reported to police.
“These letters have happened before,” Suri said. “They are concerning.”
Premier Rachel Notley, in a statement posted to Twitter, said she “stand(s) with Muslim Albertans and all who oppose this hate.”
UCP Leader Jason Kenney also condemned the letter, which had the United Conservative Party logo pasted at the bottom of the message, along with a symbol for “The Clann.”
Edmonton police have confirmed the hate crimes and violent extremism unit is investigating the letter sent to Markaz-Ul-Islam.
The self-funded group sees itself as a neighborhood watch. But there was alarm after its cars were spotted in Brooklyn without warning, or explanation.
Maeen Ali remembers the worry he felt when he first spotted the “Punish a Muslim Day” screed online.
The letter, mailed last spring throughout England, encouraged violence that ranged from pulling off a woman’s head scarf to bombing mosques. Each attack, the letter instructed, would be rewarded with points. The hate campaign prompted the police in New York and other big cities to expand patrols around mosques and Islamic centers on the specified day.
Mr. Ali, who lives in Downtown Brooklyn, said he was consumed by thoughts of his four children’s safety.
“That just boiled inside of me,” said Mr. Ali, 38, who moved to the United States from Yemen in 1990. “That’s when I said to myself that it was really important to come out and protect Muslims in the community.”
He added, “I have to stand up.”
Israeli settlers vandalized a mosque with Hebrew-language graffiti on Monday in the occupied West Bank village of Deir Dibwan near Ramallah.
Settlers also poured flammable material on the shoe rack placed at the entrance of the mosque.
Among the anti-Palestinian slogans were, “Here they incite to murder Jews” and “The Jewish nation lives,” as well as the Star of David symbol.
This kind of vandalism is often called a “price tag” – a term Israeli settlers and extremists use to describe sometimes lethal attacks on non-Jews and their property, especially Palestinians.
Yousef Idis, the Palestinian Authority’s religious affairs minister, condemned the settler attack.
“There are no longer safe places of worship in light of Israeli forces and settlers’ attacks and crimes [against the Palestinian people],” Idis said, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.
Israeli police have opened an investigation into the suspected hate crime, Haaretz.
But data from the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din show that just three percent of Israeli police investigations of “ideologically motivated” crimes against Palestinians by Israeli civilians result in a conviction.
Increasingly, according to Yesh Din’s research, Palestinians do not even bother to report crimes against them to the Israeli police, given the effective impunity Israeli perpetrators enjoy.
Amnesty International published an open source investigation on Wednesday, reporting on increasing violence and danger in the Yemen conflict, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ‘recklessly’ supporting militias with heavy and developed weapons.Continue Reading