Thursday, July 17, 2014

-For Immediate Release- NCCM denounces attack on Hamilton Muslim students

(Ottawa - July 17, 2014) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties advocacy organization, condemned the assault last night on two McMaster University students in Hamilton, Ontario which is being investigated by the Hamilton Police hate crimes unit.

According to a media report the victims - both Muslims originally from Egypt - were leaving evening prayers at a local mosque when a group of approximately ten youth yelled racial slurs at them. Shortly thereafter 3 males from among the group ran towards them and attacked them from behind. One of the perpetrators also brandished a knife.

"While we are relieved that no one was seriously injured, the Muslim community is understandably very shaken by this latest attack on their community coming as it does towards the end of Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Such hateful and cowardly acts are abhorrent to all Canadians who stand united in condemning all crimes motivated by xenophobia and hatred," says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

"While disturbing, we believe this attack on members of the Hamilton Muslim community does not represent the sentiments of the vast majority of Canadians.

"We call on the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law in order to send a strong message against potential hate crimes and intolerance. The NCCM urges elected leaders and security officials at all levels to publicly denounce these hateful acts and to support public awareness campaigns around the issue," says Gardee.

"We also urge community leaders to review the NCCM's community safety kit and to immediately report such incidents and suspicious behaviour to the proper authorities, as well as to the NCCM, in order to establish a clear record of such incidents."

Anyone with information is requested to contact the hate crime investigator at 905-546-5678 or call Crime Stoppers at 905-522-8477. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers or www.tipsubmit.ca

This latest attack on Canadian Muslims is similar to another attack in Kingston on Muslim youth late last year. That attack came on the heels of an Angus-Reid poll highlighting that anti-Islam sentiment is on the rise in Canada.

The NCCM presents workshops to educate communities about their rights and responsibilities when confronted with a possible hate crime.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit grassroots organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704 or613.853.4111

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