TORONTO (Reuters) – Hate crimes in Canada increased 47 percent in 2017, primarily targeting Muslims, Jews and black people, according to figures released by the country’s statistical agency on Thursday.
The biggest increase was in crimes targeting Muslims, Statistics Canada reported, in a year that saw a deadly mass shooting in a Quebec mosque, followed by a government motion to study Islamophobia that itself sparked anti-Muslim sentiment.
The spike mirrors an increase in hate crimes south of the border in the United States, where they rose in 2017 for the third consecutive year, according to the FBI.
“We were shocked by the numbers – and, at the same time, we weren’t,” said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims. “This increase didn’t occur in a vacuum.”