“It's hard for Muslim women. If you're black and Muslim, it's even worse. »
Black and Muslim women face Islamophobia.
The Senate committee, which is doing a cross-Canada tour of the cities most affected by Islamophobia, heard that black Muslim women in Edmonton are victims of complex racism.
It's the alarming rise of Islamophobia in Canada that prompted the committee to launch this series of hearings across the country, according to committee chair Senator Salma Ataullahjan. The tour kicked off Wednesday in Vancouver.
The number of hate crimes against Muslims reported to police in Canada has risen from 84 in 2020 to 144 in 2021, according to Statistics Canada data.
President of the ;African Canadian Civic Engagement Council (ACCEC), an Edmonton organization, asked senators to study Islamophobia from different angles.
Black and Muslim women face Islamophobia, Dunia Nur told them, but also anti-Black racism, phobia of Africans, and gender-based discrimination and violence. It's a complex and “multidimensional” discrimination, she says.
When you deal with this pain on a daily basis, it feels a bit we were excluded, isolated, that we did not belong to any community, explained Dunia Nur in an interview after her presentation to the senators.
According to Dunia Nur of the African Canadian Civic Engagement Council, black Muslim women face multifactorial discrimination in Edmonton.
Black Muslim women have been the target of numerous verbal and physical attacks in Edmonton in recent years. According to a victim cited by Dunia Nur before the committee on Thursday, the Edmonton police even discouraged her from filing a complaint.
Senator Salma Ataullahja believes that the committee should look into gender-based Islamophobia.
We notice that the situation is really difficult for Muslim women, explains the president of the committee of human rights. If you're black and Muslim, it's even worse.
Dunia Nur would like the committee to go further. She wants a dedicated audience for black Muslim women, who have been largely overlooked during consultations on violence in the past, she says.
I don't see anyone here who is directly from this community, Dunia Nur told the Senate committee.
Senator Mobina Jaffer said she was shocked what she learned about the Edmonton police during the hearing. She added that the committee would follow up.
“Hearing from community members that they receive little support from the police is shocking to me. This is not the image I have of our police system.
—Mobina Jaffer, Member of the Senate Human Rights Committee
The Edmonton Police Service has not commented on the allegations presented to the committee.
Committee members will continue their hearings in Quebec City and Toronto in the coming weeks. They will then submit recommendations to the federal government to overcome Islamophobia.
With information from Andrea Huncar and Min Dhariwal