Hate Crimes in America and Canada

A Muslim cleric in Montreal was allegedly asked by a knife-carrying man if he wanted to "die a martyr," say police who suspect it was a hate crime.
Imam Said Jazeri said he and a friend were leaving a mosque on Friday night when a man with a butcher's knife approached them.

Imam Said Jazeri alleges a knife-wielding man asked 'Are you carrying belts full of explosives?' before he chased Jazeri's friend down the street.
The man pointed the knife at Jazeri and asked: "Do you want to die a martyr?"

Then, Jazeri said, he asked: "Are you carrying belts full of explosives?"
Jazeri managed to call police when the man chased his friend down the street.
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Const. Benoit Couture said no one was hurt, but it appears the man wanted to cause the pair harm. He said investigators consider the attack a hate crime.
A 34-year-old man has been charged with armed assault, uttering threats and possession of a dangerous weapon. He will appear in court on Monday for a bail hearing.
Jazeri is a prominent voice in Montreal's Muslim community. His mosque was among four in the city to be vandalized after he organized a protest against the controversial editorial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The publication of the cartoons, initially by a Danish newspaper in the fall of 2005, offended many Muslims who consider them blasphemy, because Islamic tradition forbids even favourable depictions of Muhammad out of fear they could lead to idolatry.
Jaziri said the alleged knife threat "looks like it has to do with our situation these days," an apparent reference to the arrests in southern Ontario on June 2-3 of 17 Muslim men and youth who are accused of plotting to bomb Canadian targets and of being inspired by al-Qaeda.
Harper meets Muslim leaders
Muslim leaders in Toronto met privately with Prime Minister Harper on Saturday night to discuss their concerns about an anti-Muslim backlash after the arrests, which were made under the federal Anti-terrorism Act.
The meeting was held Saturday night, a week after the bomb-plot arrests.
Farzana Hassan-Shahid of the Canadian Muslim Congress said the talks were a positive step, but that more empathy needs to be developed between the Muslim community and government officials.
"Government policies, especially, should reflect that," she said.
Participants said there were "very frank exchanges" and that the prime minister took detailed notes. He also assured the group that he recognizes their concerns.
Muslims call for end to preaching of intolerance
Muslim leaders representing about 30 mosques in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec also met Saturday in Toronto and later called for a zero-tolerance policy in mosques and community centres against preaching "any form of hatred or intolerance."
The leaders said Muslim-Canadians can either ignore or deny the presence of radicals, or remove those radicals.
But they also insisted that the vast majority of Muslims in Canada are moderate and don't advocate violence.

Woman is harrassed in Washington is a Hate crime
Coldia was harassed by three white men while she was going for her morning walk.

WASHINGTON, August 10, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – A leading US Muslim civil liberties group called on US security agencies to investigate an assault against a pregnant Muslim woman by a group of men shouting anti-Muslim slogans.

“We believe these types of incidents are the direct result of the growing level of virulent anti-Muslim rhetoric Americans are exposed to on the Internet, in newspaper editorial pages and on radio talk shows,” said Ibrahim Hooper, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Communications.

Mary Anne Coldia, a 23-year-old Muslim woman who is 8 months pregnant, was attacked by three white men in a pick-up truck in Arlington, Va., Tuesday, August 9, while she was going for her morning walk, CAIR said in a statement, a copy of which was e-mailed to IslamOnline.net.

The three men began to scream anti-Muslim and racist slurs at the Muslim woman, who is of African origin.

“You terrorist b*tch, go back to your country. . .You n*gger b*tch.”

As the Muslim woman continued walking down the street, one of the men, who was wearing military-style clothing, jumped out of the truck, walking in front of her and pushed her around before getting back into the truck.

“You terrorist b*tch. . . We're going to kick your a*s. . . you're nothing,” the man shouted.

"The other two guys they were just laughing and screaming at the top of their lungs like it was a joke, and then they just sped off down the street," Coldia said.

Coldia, who was born in California and raised in Lowa, embraced Islam about five years ago.

Some 35 percent to 40 percent of US Muslims are African Americans, 25 percent are South Asians and 15 percent are Arabs, according to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).


The US Muslim advocacy group said the law enforcement should treat the assault against the Muslim woman as a hate-crime.

"Sometimes when local law enforcement authorities get these kinds of reports, they can fall through the cracks," Hooper said.

"It's treated as a simple assault or it's not viewed with the seriousness of a hate crime. We want to focus the attention of both the Arlington police and the FBI on this incident."

A recent report released by CAIR on May 11, showed that anti-Muslim hate-crimes, discrimination and harassment in the United States have increased by half over the past year.

A Washington, D.C. radio talk show host was recently suspended without pay for repeatedly claiming that “Islam is a terrorist organization,” Hooper said.

“Our nation's political and religious leaders must begin to challenge Islamophobic hate-mongers.”

The Muslim minority in the US came under scrutiny as never before after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

A May 2004 report released by the US Senate Office Of Research concluded that Arab Americans and the Muslim minority have taken the brunt of the Patriot Act and other federal powers applied in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Amnesty International said that racial profiling by US law enforcement agencies had grown over the past years to cover one in nine Americans, mostly targeting Muslims.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, with 30 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.

Source: IslamOnline.net, 10 August 2005
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