By Sawyer Bogdan Global News; Posted June 17, 2021
A week following the deadly attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., a new report from police is showing hate crimes have risen in the city.
The Hate and Bias Motivated Crime Report is based on data from 2020 and shows hate crimes in London increased 46 per cent from the year prior.
The report comes a week after police say a family was targeted and killed for their Muslim faith. The man who targeted them now faces terrorism charges.
Data from the report showed 44 hate crimes were reported in 2020 and 49 incidents of hate, compared with the 30 and 31, respectively, reported in 2019.
Deputy Chief of Police Patrica McIntyre said the difference between a hate incident and crime comes down to the specification in the Criminal Code.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
During the London Police Services Board (LPSB) meeting Thursday, McIntyre said the numbers for 2020 are likely the “tip of the iceberg” as data shows two-thirds of hate crimes go unreported.
She said that 72 per cent of the reported occurrences happened after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, noting the increase could be attributed to the calls for action and awareness around racism and hate.
However, Safwan Choudhry, a spokesperson with Ahmadiyya Muslim Canada, said an increase following moments like Floyd’s death or the attack in London could be because people who commit hate crimes feel “emboldened” to do so after seeing someone else do it.
“While hearts feel broken in London, Ontario, already we have seen other types of incidents take place at various mosques across the country,” Choudhry said.
“One would think it would be a time of reflection and reconciliation.”
Addressing the recent attacks on the London Muslim family, LPSB chair Javeed Sukhera shared a message of solidarity with the Muslim community.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“We understand your fear, but we are committed to your safety. You belong here today and every day. Do not be afraid to be who you are and know your community has your back,” Sukhera said.
Later in the meeting, Sukhera addressed the report itself.
“In the wake of the tragedy, I have had multiple members of our Muslim communities reach out to me with their experiences,” he said.
“Far too many of these incidents go unreported.”
Sukhera said he wanted to reassure the community that when they report issues around hate, their claims will be taken seriously by the London police.
“When a member of the commuting builds up the courage to make a report, there is a risk of them being retraumatized in that process,” Sukhera said.
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