The Government of Canada has been making false or unverifiable claims about Islamophobia and hate crimes. In an area with enough problems already, false reports by very senior officials do not help.
London Ontario Attack
In June of 2016, a woman wearing a hijab was approached by another woman, unknown to her” who “began yelling at her for no apparent reason spat on the victim, then punched her several times” creating “minor injuries” before grabbing “onto the victim’s hijab and attempted to pull it off of her head before pulling the victim’s hair.”
The media began spinning this as an Islamophobic attack almost immediately. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he was “Saddened to hear about the recent attack on a Muslim woman in London, Ont. This deplorable act has no place in Canada.”
The Minister and the media went silent shortly thereafter. The reason? It appears that it was a case of one Muslim woman attacking another, and therefore difficult to assess how such an attack could be defined as Islamophobic.
Mosque Burning No Evidence of a Hate Crime
In November of 2015, a mosque in Peterborough suffered an internal fire that caused approximately $90,000 in damages. According to local fire officials, the fire was deliberately set.
Immediate claims of a hate crime were made. Following the attack, Prime Minister Trudeau urged Canadians to avoid acts of hatred and racism.
Following repairs to the mosque, Prime Minister Trudeau appeared at the re-opening ceremony and stated What happened to this place of worship just one day after the brutal terrorist attacks in Paris is reprehensible. I have not met a single Canadian who was not as profoundly disturbed as I was to see this kind of hate crime taking place.
The problem, of course, is that there is no evidence of a hate crime having been committed at the Peterborough Mosque. No one has been arrested, no one charged and there have been no publicly known interviews with suspects. This is some nine months after the event.
The mosque is run by Shazim Khan, a well known misogynist. In YouTube videos posted in 2009, entitled Marriage: Are You Ready? Shazim Khan, prior to holding his current post as imam of the Peterborough mosque, gave a lecture in which he explained it’s “a major sin” for a wife to not have sex whenever her husband wants and “there is no need for her to go out” if her husband provides for her, along with other sexist musings.
Other mosques have suffered similar fires.
In Houston Texas, a fire with multiple points of origin broke out at the Islamic Society of Greater Houston on 25 December 2015. The Houston chapter of CAIR immediately called for authorities to investigate the arson as a hate crime. As it turns out, the fire was set by a Muslim who was a regular attendee at the mosque. The call for a hate crime investigation by CAIR USA, itself listed as a terrorist front group, remains on their website, even though they are aware of the facts of the case.
In Fresno, California, the Islamic Cultural Center was vandalized on 25 December 2014. The police and the media immediately labelled it a hate crime and the FBI joined the case. As it turns out, the individual who attacked the centre was Asif Mohammad Khan.
Other fake hate crimes have also been reported:
- October 2014: Two Muslim activists released a video showing NYPD cops harassing and “racially profiling” Muslims just for wearing Islamic garb. The video went viral; CAIR demanded an investigation for discrimination. But the whole thing was staged. The cops weren’t even real.
- June 2014: After three burned Qurans were found in front of a mosque in Dearborn, Mich., the imam there led a campaign to pass a local statute criminalizing the desecration of holy books. The media ran with it, and his crusade gained traction — until it was revealed that the Quran burner was none other than a Muslim named Ali Hassan al-Assadi.
The Prime Minister and his chief law enforcement and intelligence officer have both made unsupported claims of hate crimes against Canadian citizens, even though there is no evidence to support either case. These kind of false claims against Canadian citizens in an area where too many fake claims are already made is damaging. From very senior officials, we expect better.